There are various types of flour, seeds, and starches like potato starch to be used as thickening agents instead of cornstarch.
Cornstarch, a common thickening agent in cooking and baking, has alternatives like arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, or potato starch. For those seeking a healthier option, these alternatives provide varied choices to suit specific dietary needs. Consider them for a cornstarch healthy alternative in your recipes.
In this blog, you will get to know about some of the thickening agents to be used as a thickener in your dishes.
Substitute for Cornstarch for Thickening
- Wheat flour
Wheat flour is obtained by grinding wheat into a fine powder. It contains protein, fiber, and starch, unlike cornstarch, which only has starch. If you want to use wheat flour as an alternative to cornstarch for thickening, you’ll need to use twice as much flour.
Because wheat and whole-grain flour have more fiber, you might need even more to achieve the same thickening effect. To thicken the recipes with wheat flour, mix it with cold water to make a paste before adding it to your dish.
A simple reminder to have in mind while cooking is that, wheat flour contains gluten, so it’s not suitable for people with gluten-related disorders.
The starchy flour known as arrowroot is derived from the tropical roots of the Maranta genus of plants.
Since arrowroot has more fiber than cornstarch, some individuals prefer it.
It’s excellent for thickening clear liquids because it also creates a clear gel when combined with water. To achieve comparable effects, use twice as much arrowroot as cornstarch.
Those who avoid gluten can use arrowroot, as it is also devoid of gluten.
- Potato starch
Potato starch is another substitute for cornstarch for thickening. It’s made by crushing potatoes to extract their starch, which is then dried into a powder. Potato starch is gluten-free because it’s not derived from grains. It’s a refined starch, so it’s high in carbs but low in fat and protein.
The great thing about potato starch is that it has a neutral taste so it won’t affect the flavor of your recipes. When substituting cornstarch with potato starch, you can use a 1:1 ratio.
One tip is that root or tuber starches, like potato or arrowroot, thicken much faster than grain-based starches.
It’s generally recommended to add them later in the cooking process to avoid over-thickening. If they are heated for too long, they can also lose their thickening properties.
Tapioca is a processed starch product made from cassava, a root vegetable. The process involves pulping the cassava roots, straining out their starch-rich liquid, and drying the resulting tapioca flour.
To make sure the cassava is safe, it must first be treated because certain cassava plants contain cyanide. You can get tapioca flour, pearls, or flakes; it is also devoid of gluten.
The majority of chefs advise using two teaspoons of tapioca flour in place of one tablespoon of cornstarch.
- Rice flour
Finely grained rice is used to make rice flour, a powder. In Asian cultures, it’s frequently utilized as a component of soups, rice noodles, and desserts.
Being naturally gluten-free, it’s also well-liked as a replacement for conventional wheat flour by those with gluten-related diseases.
Rice flour is also used as a substitute for cornstarch since it thickens recipes.
When combined with water, it becomes colorless, which makes it very helpful for thickening transparent liquids.
- Ground flax-seeds
Ground flax seeds can be used as a substitute for cornstarch. When mixed with water, they become jelly-like in texture. However, flax seeds can have a slightly grainy consistency compared to the smoothness of cornstarch.
To use ground flax seeds as a thickening agent, you can mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with four tablespoons of water.
Another alternative is glucomannan, which is a powdered soluble fiber made from the konjac plant’s roots. When combined with hot water, it forms a thick, colorless, and odorless gel.
Usually, around a quarter of a teaspoon of glucomannan is used for every two teaspoons of cornstarch.
It’s essential to mix glucomannan with a small amount of cold water before adding it to your food to prevent clumping. This ingredient thickens at low temperatures.
- Psyllium husk
Psyllium husk is another natural option for thickening recipes. It’s a plant-based soluble fiber with very few carbohydrates. Since you only need a small amount to reduce your dishes, you can start with half a teaspoon and adjust as needed.
Apart from using alternative thickeners, there are a few other techniques you can try:
Simmering: Cooking the meal at a lower heat for a longer time helps evaporate some of the liquid, resulting in a thicker sauce or stew. This method can be used as an alternative to cornstarch for frying.
Blended vegetables: Pureeing leftover vegetables can add thickness to tomato-based sauces and provide extra nourishment.
Sour cream or Greek yogurt: Adding these to a sauce can make it creamier and thicker.
In summary, there are plenty of alternatives to cornstarch for thickening recipes. These alternatives may offer different nutritional properties and can also cater to various dietary preferences.
If you need to add a little bit of extra fiber to your recipes, are on a low-carb diet, or are out of cornstarch, there are undoubtedly alternative thickeners to consider.
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