Tapioca starch(or sometimes referred to as Tapioca flour or Cassava starch) is a fine, white powder that looks very much like regular flour. It has a neutral taste and is used for baking and thickening soup, getting that crisp texture when frying chicken, and of course, acting as a thickening agent for sauces and gravies.
This flour substitute is made from Cassava root from the Cassava plant and it is a gluten-free variant, suitable for vegan foods, vegetarian food, and folks who are on gluten-free dietary restrictions.
You may find this type of starch in health stores but either way, it is much more difficult to find it than the regular flour or starch for that matter.
So, that’s why we’re making a list of the best Tapioca starch substitutes that you can easily find at the local store and even at your home in your pantries.
Substitutes for Tapioca starch are
- Arrow Root
- Potato Starch
- Corn Starch
- Cassava Flour
- All-Purpose Flour(Wheat Flour)
- Pearl Tapioca
- Legumes and Vegetables
- Gluten-Free Flours
- Coconut Flour
- Rice Flour
Keep up with the rest of the article to find out more about these 13 Tapioca starch substitutes.
Tapioca Starch Substitutes
Arrowroot powder is a great alternative for Tapioca powder or simple regular wheat flour. It adds a lighter structure to your baked goods, especially if we’re talking pastries like croissants that should be light as air. Arrowroot powder is also a great thickening agent for stews, soups, sauces, and gravies.
Potato starch or potato flour is made by crushing potatoes and extracting the starch out of the product. This starch looks like a powdery substance and has a neutral flavor.
The starch is made from crushing potatoes and extracting the natural starch out of them. Potato starch is mostly used as a thickening agent in soups and stews, pie fillings, but you can also do your gluten-free baking with it.
I’m sure that you heard about corn starch(or cornflour) before, so there is no reason to explain that much. Corn starch is basically the natural starch that’s extracted from corn grain.
This is a white/yellow powdery substance that is used as a thickening agent. You can also bake with it and treat it a regular flour.
You might think that Cassava flour is the same thing as tapioca flour but that is not the case. Granted, all tapioca products are made from the root of the Cassava plant and that is the actual difference here.
As I mentioned before, Tapioca starch is the starch extracted from the Cassava root. Cassava flour, on the other hand, is made from the whole root of the plant. It is peeled, dried, and ground to look like powder.
Wheat Flour Or All-Purpose Flour
You probably have this essential in your pantries as we speak. All-purpose flour is made from a blend of many different types of wheat and is, without doubt, the most used flour amongst people in the whole world. This is the most affordable substitute for tapioca starch and I’m sure you already have this baking flour in your kitchen.
Tapioca pearls (Instant tapioca) are small balls with a chewy texture made from tapioca starch. These balls are black in color and are mostly used for making delicious Bobba Tea(or bubble tea if you will).
You can easily substitute tapioca starch with these balls since they are basically the same thing but in another shape. You can use it as you would regular tapioca starch like baking & thickening soup.
Tapioca pearls also make a great thickener in sauces and are amazing for tapioca pudding. You can usually find them in nearby health food stores or big supermarkets.
Agar-Agar or just Agar is plant-based gelatin that is made from seaweed. This is a dairy-free and vegan product that can easily be used in the place of gelatin (which is a product made from animal collagen, mostly pig) Agar-Agar is sold in either block, flakes, or powder form.
Gelatin is what you get when you extract the collagen from the hides and bones from animals, mostly pigs. It is used for the purpose of solidifying products like jam, jelly, pudding, and other desserts.
Eggs are famously known to be thickeners and binders in many dishes and recipes. So naturally, why not use it as a substitute for tapioca in recipes since you probably already have it in your fridge?
Simply just add one or two eggs(depends on the recipe) instead of tapioca starch to get the thick texture that you need for your recipe.
Legumes And Vegetables
One excellent hack for thickening your soups and stews is adding some vegetables or legumes. I find that okra works amazing as a thickening agent in stews as well as soups, and even salad dressings.
Okra gives a thick texture and an earthy flavor to every dish. Other legumes and veggies that work amazing as thickeners are lentils, black beans, potatoes, and green peas.
All-purpose flour is a great and affordable alternative to tapioca starch but what about the people who are on gluten-free diets or are gluten-sensitive? Well, of course, you can use variations of gluten-free flours instead of regular wheat flour.
Coconut flour is a product made from dried coconut meat and it’s a favorite when it comes to gluten-free baking. It is also diet-friendly in case you’re looking for alternatives for wheat flour.
It’s completely gluten-free and grain-free. The only thing that you need to know about this flour is that it does not have a neutral flavor profile like wheat flour. So, I suggest using this product in recipes that are sweet and can use a subtle hint of coconut.
Rice flour is made from raw, ground rice and it’s famously used for making rice noodles and rice pancakes but it can also be a great substitute for tapioca flour in soups and stews. This flour is gluten-free so feel free to use it in your diets without fear.