12 Best Cornstarch Substitutes

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Us bakers and chefs are no strangers to cornstarch, a pantry essential for thickening, creamy, or crunchy dishes. Still, it is not the only cooking ingredient that can do this job. Suppose you don’t have this substance in hand, or you want to experiment with different types of ingredients; I got you! Over the years in this baking world, I have found some incredibly useful cornstarch alternatives that bring excellent results.


Do you want them? Check out the section below!

What Can I Use Instead Of Cornstarch?

1. All-Purpose Flour

You can substitute flour for cornstarch! Many of my fellow bakers doubt me when I say this, but it’s true that all-purpose flour works really well as a thickening agent. It will work in a pinch, but it won’t give the same glossy sheen as cornstarch if you’re whipping up those glistening puddings. Also, notice that it can subtly alter the flavor profile if it’s not cooked through, so you better watch out!

Even if you’re using flour, you still need to prepare a slurry mixture: two tablespoons of all-purpose flour to one-fourth cup of cold water. Stir the slurry into the fruit or custard sauce until it thickens and bubbles. Just to make sure the flour is cooked completely and does not taste “raw,” heat it for a further two to three minutes.

2. Arrowroot Powder


Good news for health-conscious bakers! This ingredient, extracted from the maranta plant’s ground roots, is a fantastic higher-fiber alternative to cornstarch and has comparable thickening abilities. Plus, it’s plant-based and totally gluten-free.

When I use arrowroot instead of cornstarch, it thickens any custard sauce or pastry cream without leaving a taste or odor behind. It comes in handy if you’re about to serve your dessert right away because I find it doesn’t reheat and is less stable than cornstarch. 

Replace the cornstarch with arrowroot, making sure you use the same amount (1:1) as needed. Mix 1:2 parts water to make a liquid slurry, then pour it into the sauce.

3. Potato Starch

Potato starch, which is made by extracting the starch from mashed potatoes and pulverizing it to a powder, is a superb component that is flavorless and works well as a cornstarch alternative, even though it is not as popular in American kitchens as flour. When used in cakes, potato starch helps the cake hold its moisture longer than when made only of flour.

When utilizing this cornstarch alternative, you will need to use potato starch in a ratio of around 1:1 to the amount of required cornstarch. Here’s a tip from me: if you are whipping up some fruit or custard sauce, add your potato starch later. This is due to the fact that high heat significantly increases its water solubility, gradually decreasing its thickening qualities.

4. Rice Flour

This substance is no stranger to my fellow Asian followers out there as it is used quite frequently in their cuisines. The good news is that since it is prepared from finely crushed rice, it is 100% gluten-free.

I recommend you use this ingredient instead of wheat flour or potato flour when making pie fillings or sauce. Let me tell you why: the rice flour will stay clear and colorless even when cooked, so your dish won’t change color. Moreover, it has higher nutritional fiber and protein content than cornstarch.

5. Tapioca Starch

Tapioca flour is extracted from the pulverized cassava roots, which is a type of plant located in South America. This popular ingredient among boba tea drinkers makes a fantastic replacement for cornstarch. Since this flour already has a slight sweetness, it works well for pie fillings, puddings, and even sweet sauces.

This might be desirable in some recipes, like fruit fillings, but not necessarily for cookies or cakes that aim for a crumbly texture since I notice a little chewy texture when swapping cornstarch for this ingredient. For every tablespoon of cornstarch, I use from 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch.

6. Wheat Flour

Who doesn’t have some wheat flour lying around in the kitchen pantry? Not us, bakers! And it makes a simple replacement for cornstarch. But I want to make it clear that since it’s only powdered wheat, it will throw in some twists in the flavor profile.

Here’s what I learned over years of baking: use a 2:1 ratio to replace cornstarch with wheat flour. Similar to all-purpose flour, it has to be combined with water first in order to break up any clumps and create a paste consistency.

Oh, let’s not forget that wheat flour is not a viable option for those with gluten sensitivity as it contains gluten, just like all-purpose flour.

7. Glucomannan

This is another plant-based cornstarch replacement made from a konjac plant. It has additional health advantages, such as lowering cholesterol and probiotics. The best part? It beautifully stands in for cornstarch in fruit or pie fillings, custards, and even puddings! I have to warn you this: only use around half as much glucomannan as cornstarch because it’s a much stronger thickening agent.

My go-to ratio is one teaspoon for every cup of water. Before adding this ingredient to your baking recipe, mix it with some cold water because it tends to clump when heated to a high temperature.

8. Guar Gum

Guar Gum

This plant-based substitute for cornstarch in baking is made from guar beans. Guar gum also adds flexibility to dough and a wonderful texture to gluten-free baked goods, making it an excellent addition to gluten-free baking.

Moreover, it is invariant to temperature, making it ideal for use in both warm recipes and chilled ones, like frozen smoothies or cream cheese without gluten. Since a small amount is enough, apply guar gum cautiously when adding it to many types of sauces and other liquids.

9. Xanthan Gum

When sugars from vegetables, wheat, or dairy products are combined with the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, a gel is produced and then dried into a powder. Yes, it’s xanthan gum! 

Surprisingly, it works well as a thickener in my kitchen. It is possible to add it straight to your baking recipe, but remember that xanthan gum works best when used sparingly. My motto is that just a little can go a long way.

Since this cornstarch alternative degrades quickly, it works best in chilled and room-temperature dishes such as puddings, pie fillings, salad dressings, and cold desserts. Though it can work wonders in gluten-free baking, be advised that it might also upset some people’s stomachs.

10. Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is an excellent choice for swapping for cornstarch. When mixed with water, ground flaxseed, a high-fiber alternative to cornstarch, works incredibly well as a thickening agent. Flaxseeds are well-known for their health advantages since they are rich in minerals that fight cancer and omega-3 fatty acids, which also aid in digestion and prevent heart disease.

To replicate the same thickening effect as 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, I always combine the flaxseed and water in 1:4 tablespoons ratio. When your liquid reaches boiling point, immediately add finely powdered flaxseed to thicken it.

11. Psyllium Husk

Because psyllium husk is low in carbs and soluble fiber, it is a popular replacement for cornstarch. This powder immediately takes on the consistency of gel when it comes into contact with liquid, making it a great addition to sweet sauces and pie fillings. Due to its composition of various pulverized fibrous plants, psyllium husk is appropriate for gluten-free and vegan diets.

Having been working with this substance for quite a while now, I have learned that you just need a tiny quantity of psyllium husk. This is because its consistency is considerably much thicker compared to cornstarch. When you get the desired texture, start your recipe with one and a half teaspoon and gradually add more.

12. Kuzu Starch

Kuzu starch, also known as kudzu starch, is an all-purpose thickening agent found in East Asian cooking. It is comparable to cornstarch. The name “kuzu” comes from the origin of this ingredient: the kudzu plant, a kind of vine indigenous to China and Japan.

Since kudzu is a raw component, it must be cooked; the longer it is cooked, the harder the texture gets. In my experience, this Kuzu starch works best for my Vegan Panna Cotta recipe at a 1:1 ratio. It will give the dessert a bouncy and smooth texture, which appears to be an almost mochi-like consistency that keeps my kids (and my customers) coming back for more.

Each substitute will shine in a different baking recipe! Experiment to find your best pick!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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