For someone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it is advisable to stay away from wheat products because they have gluten. However, wheat starch does not have gluten.
Wheat starch can help thicken sauces, soups, and other dishes. It is also used as a thickener to many baked goods. You cannot use wheat starch as a substitute for wheat flour. Those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease may consume products that contain wheat starch. What if you don’t have wheat starch around?
Check out this best wheat starch substitute list and ease your worries. These substitutes have unique properties and may not meet the requirements of certain recipes. You need to be clear on what you want a certain wheat starch substitute to do before settling on one.
Best Wheat Starch Substitute List
Cornstarch works well with any recipe, and it is always easy to find and is available anywhere. Manufacturers extract powder from the corn kernels to make cornstarch. The finished product is versatile, easily modified, and gluten-free. Paper products also use cornstarch.
Cornstarch is much easier to dissolve into the mixture than any other wheat starch substitute. Cornstarch can easily absorb water, especially when heated.
Cornstarch has many uses. It is a great thickening agent for gravies, stews, sauces, and soups. It is also a good coating for tarts, waffle cakes, fruit pies, and other desserts or baked goods. Health experts agree that is a healthy alternative to wheat starch.
When using cornstarch as a substitute for wheat starch, you can follow the ratio 1:1. It means you can use the same amount of cornstarch as wheat starch in the recipe. Measure the cornstarch accordingly, and blend well until thoroughly combined.
When you need a gluten-free baking alternative, tapioca starch is a perfect choice. It brings out firmness as it improves your baked goods’ liquid balance.
It has a neutral taste, which will not affect the flavor of your dish. You may know it by its other name, cassava starch. You need cassava root to produce tapioca starch. The cassava root is ground down to extract the liquid, which goes through the drying process to get the starch.
Tapioca is a healthy choice, but it cannot stand high temperatures. You may need to stay away from tapioca starch if you are cooking a dish that requires a high temperature.
It gives a glossy finish to your dish. If you accidentally put too much tapioca starch into your dish, you don’t need to worry because it won’t make the sauce of your dish go thick quickly.
There’s enough time to add a little more liquid to preserve the thickness that you want to have. You can use tapioca starch in sweet or savory dishes. You can also use it when you want to make crisp crusts.
Don’t try to make your tapioca starch from scratch if you don’t want to get poisoned by cyanide, which the cassava plant contains. The manufacturers of tapioca and cassava flour know how to prepare the tapioca starch without the dangerous chemical.
For a tablespoon of wheat starch, you need 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch as a substitute. Adjust the recipe accordingly to achieve the same effect that the wheat starch provides
Potato starch is also a gluten-free substitute for wheat starch that you can use. Potato, which is the source of this particular starch, is a root vegetable and not grain – it does not have gluten.
Potato starch provides the same tenderness that wheat starch provides in baked goods. It can thicken the sauce of your dish without trouble.
Potato starch can withstand high temperatures. However, you need to be careful not to set the temperature too high or it may break down.
Potato starch has higher protein, fat, and carbohydrates than wheat starch. It is also denser than the other substitutes for wheat starch.
Many homemakers commonly use potato starch in pie fillings, sauces, and soups. You can use potato starch to coat the fish before frying. It is a wonderful gluten-free option that can tolerate high temperatures.
You can follow the 1:1 ratio when substituting wheat starch with potato starch. It will give you the same consistency and thickness when you follow your recipe.
This wheat starch substitute is plant-based, and you only need a small amount to thicken your sauces or soups. You need to be careful when using xanthan gum and make sure not to use too much.
Otherwise, you may end up having a slimy dish. Too much xanthan gum may also cause stomach problems. To be on the safe side, take everything in moderation. Too much of anything may harm your body.
To make xanthan gum, there’s a need to ferment sugar with plant-bacteria called Xanthomonas Campestris. Due to the increasing number of people paying interest in gluten-free cooking, many stores have begun to sell xanthan gum.
One of the most noticeable things about xanthan gum is that it forms a gluey texture. It enhances the elasticity of the food. It helps gluten-free food to maintain its texture in its original form.
However, adding too much may result in gastrointestinal issues, and make the food look slimy. Xanthan gum is an excellent wheat starch substitute when preparing guilt-free desserts.
Xanthan gum is typically used when you need to maintain the appearance of gluten-free foods and keep them together. Some people use xanthan gum to make shampoo at home.
People who find it difficult to swallow food or have experienced stroke use xanthan gum as a thickening agent to the liquids.
You only need a small amount of xanthan gum to replace wheat starch in your recipe. You need to add xanthan a little at a time to see if you have achieved the texture that you want for your dish. Remember that you should not use more xanthan gum than necessary to avoid an unfavorable outcome.
Like xanthan, guar gum is also vegetable gum. It is made from a legume called guar beans. It is low in calories and high in protein. Due to this, many people choose guar gum over other starches. It is an excellent thickening agent. Most home cooks and chefs prefer to use guar gum over xanthan gum because it is safer and cheaper.
Guar gum has resistance to grease or oil and has superb water-binding capacity. It is a good thickener and stabilizer that is soluble in cold or hot water.
Guar gum is a good binding, suspending, stabilizing, and thickening agent for beverages and foods. It is also used for treating diabetes, obesity, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and diarrhea.
It can also help prevent atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries. It can help lower cholesterol levels. It is also a good laxative. In the manufacturing industry, guar gum is used as a thickening agent in creams and lotions. It is also the top binding agent when producing tablets.
You only need a small amount of guar gum to substitute wheat starch in your recipe. You need to add it a little at a time until you see the thickness and consistency that you want to achieve.
If you are looking for a wheat starch substitute that’s gluten-free and vegan, you may want to try psyllium husk. It is a soluble fiber gathered from plants and can be used as a thickener.
Psyllium husk can help improve the texture of your dish and also gives a mild nutty flavor. If you want to add a hint of nuttiness to your dish, your best option is psyllium husk.
It is most ideal to add psyllium husk to hot drinks, fruit juices, stews, and soups. It is necessary to add enough liquid to where you are going to use the psyllium husk. Doing so can give the starch time to develop. It can also get very thick.
You need to add a small amount first and wait for the starch to develop in liquid because it can get very thick quickly. Usually, a little is enough to thicken your dish.
Flaxseeds are among the superfoods that are high in fiber. They are used as an aid for weight loss. Ground flaxseeds can be a decent wheat starch replacement.
Ground flaxseeds absorb liquid well, and then the liquid will form into a gel. The downside is that it yields a rougher texture than the other wheat starch substitutes.
You may opt for ground flaxseeds as a replacement for wheat starch and add them into your stews, soups, cookies, and bread dough. You may use the ground flaxseeds in other recipes that need a thickening agent.
To replace 2 teaspoons of wheat starch as a thickening agent, you need to mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 4 tablespoons of water.
Arrowroot powder also works well as a substitute for wheat starch. It is a good thickening agent. It has high fiber content, which is one of the reasons why many people prefer it over the majority of wheat starch substitutes. It is also gluten-free.
Like psyllium husk and ground flaxseeds, it also turns into a gel when combined with water. It goes well with ingredients that contain acid, but it curdles when mixed together with sauces that contain milk.
It is also not suitable for dishes that require high cooking temperatures.
You need to use twice as much arrowroot to substitute the wheat starch in the recipe of the dish you are making.
You need to use white rice to extract rice starch, which is a gluten-free carbohydrate. You should not interchange rice starch with rice flour, which contains gluten. Rice starch creates a creamy, smooth texture when mixed in hot water.
Rice starch is commonly used in food coatings, sauces, soups, and baby foods.
Rice starch may not be the first wheat starch replacement that comes to mind. However, its neutral taste and color will still give you the same appearance and taste that you expect from a dish made with wheat starch.
You may need to add a lesser amount of rice starch to replace the wheat starch in the recipe, and you need to adjust according to your preference.
This wheat starch substitute is even rarer to use than rice starch, but it is an effective thickener. It is a soluble fiber in powder form, and it is made from the konjac plant roots.
Glucomannan is a very absorbent powder. It forms an odorless, colorless gel when you stir it in hot water. Glucomannan is pure fiber, which does not contain carbs or calories.
It is also a popular wheat starch or cornstarch substitute for people who choose to have a low-carb diet.
Its thickening power is higher than that of wheat starch. You only need to use less than the amount required for wheat starch in the recipe.
Most people usually substitute 2 teaspoons of wheat starch with 3/4 teaspoon of glucomannan.
It is recommended to stir it in the half cup to one cup cold water first (it thickens quickly at low temperature) before adding it to your dish.
Doing so can avoid forming clumps when it gets in contact with the hot dish. You may adjust as you see fit.