Potato starch, as its name suggests, is the extracted starch from potatoes. To make potato starch, a person peels and crushes raw potatoes allowing the starch grains to be separated from the destroyed cells.
Then, the starch is cleaned and left until dried. Once fully dried, the potato starch will have a powdery, flour-like texture.
Since potato flour is gluten-free, it is often used in several recipes. Before we head on to the 13 potato starch substitutes, let us first determine the different uses of potato starch.
What is potato starch used for?
Below are the uses of potato starch:
1. As a thickening agent
Since potato starch has the ability to effectively absorb water, it is often used as a thickener in various recipes. It is also flavorless which means that it will not ruin or affect the taste of your dish.
However, too much heat will cause the potato starch to break down, which can result in improper absorption of moisture that defeats its purpose as a thickening agent. Therefore, it is suggested to heat and add the starch gradually to a dish.
Typically, potato starch is used as a thickener for soups, sauces, gravies, stews, and pie fillings.
2. As an alternative to flour
Potato starch is gluten-free, which makes it a healthier substitute for flour. However, it is important to note that excessive potato starch will result in dry and crumbly baked goods. For this reason, potato starch is used in baking recipes in conjunction with other starches.
Potato starch as an alternative to flour is commonly used in making muffins, bread, and other pastries.
3. As a coating for fried foods
Potato starch makes an ideal ingredient as a fried food coating for fish, chicken, and vegetables right before the food is fried. The use of potato starch in frying gives the food a golden and crispy texture.
4. As an additive
Some items have shorter shelf lives than others, including noodles, baked goods, cheese, processed meats, etc. To prolong their shelf lives, potato starch is added to serve as an additive. Potato starch gelatinizes the item while keeping its original flavor and consistency.
13 Potato Starch Substitutes to Consider
If you run out of potato starch, here are 13 potato starch substitutes to consider:
1. Sweet Rice Flour
Sweet rice flour can be used as a substitute for potato starch in gluten-free baking. Coming from sweet rice, this flour is sticky and holds a higher amount of starch compared to regular rice.
Its starch does not have any gluten, and it helps incorporate ingredients better, making it a good choice for gluten-free baking. However, take note that using sweet rice flour will give a chewier texture to your baked goods than using regular flour.
Cornstarch may be used in place of potato starch for frying. In fact, this ingredient is often used to make fried chicken and other fried foods crispier.
Cornstarch does not have a taste, and the moisture that it absorbs creates a shiny finish to liquids. In addition, it is also gluten-free and can be used in the same amount that is used for potato starch.
3. Arrowroot Starch
Arrowroot starch can be used as a substitute to make gluten-free bread. It is made by gathering the roots of various tropical plants. Those roots are then pounded to make a pulp, which is then dried and turned into powder.
Arrowroot starch does not have any protein, and it also holds only 3% of fiber which makes it an ideal choice for gluten-free baking. Arrowroot powder can be used in the same amount you would use for cornstarch.
4. Water Chestnut Flour
Water chestnut flour is made by boiling, peeling, and processing water chestnuts until it turns into powder. This thickening agent is also gluten-free and can be used for frying and baking.
However, using water chestnut flour will give your dish a slightly sweeter and smoky flavor, so it is best used in cooking. To use, it is suggested to dilute the flour first with water then add to your dish.
5. Almond Flour
Almond flour is grain-free and packed with several nutrients. An ounce of almond flour contains 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
In fact, it is healthier than whole wheat flour and grain flour. The only drawback is that it’s more expensive than other flour.
Almond flour is commonly used in making baked goods, such as brownies and cookies. Its nutty and sweet flavor will make your baked goods taste better.
6. Ground Matzo
Matzo, or matza, is a flatbread and a part of Jewish cuisine. While it is not a popular item, ground matzo can be used as an alternative to potato starch. To use, matzo is pounded until it turns into thick powder, just like breadcrumbs.
However, it is one of the least recommended substitutes since it has a flavor, and it absorbs more liquid which makes it heavy.
7. Wheat Flour
Commonly used for baking, wheat flour can also be used to coat frying foods, as well as a thickening agent. Wheat flour should be cooked slowly in low heat. Otherwise, it will clump the dish. Also, wheat flour is not gluten-free.
8. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch comes from the cassava root and should be treated the same way as arrowroot powder. However, note that tapioca starch is lighter than potato starch, so you would need to use double what you would usually use of potato starch.
Just be careful in adding tapioca starch, as too much of this can cause the final product to be too sticky.
9. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is a good alternative for potato starch, especially for vegans. However, because it has a different texture compared to potato starch, using this may change the appearance of the dish.
With this, it is suggested to reduce the amount of coconut flour by around 15%. Otherwise, the product may become too hard.
10. Potato Flour
Potato flour is different from potato starch, but it still can be used as a substitute for the latter. However, because of the earthy flavor that is present in potato flour, it is best used in savory dishes rather than baked goods.
11. Rice Flour
Rice flour may be grainy in texture, but it serves its purpose as an alternative to potato starch. It is flavorless, gluten-free, and works well as a thickening agent to various dishes, especially in soups and stews because it is heavier compared to other potato starch alternatives.
12. Mochi Flour
Mochi flour is similar yet different from sweet rice flour since it is made using short-grain rice, which gives it a slightly different taste and texture.
A gluten-free alternative to potato starch, mochi flour can be used in a 1:1 ratio.
13. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour is made by grounding quinoa seeds. This should be a last resort alternative to potato starch since it tends to leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Potato Starch vs. Cornstarch
Cornstarch is made from using corn. It is rich in starch and has more nutrients compared to potato starch. In addition, it tends to have a lesser chance of clumping when compared to potato starch.
On the other hand, potato starch can work well even at a higher temperature, so it is preferably used in baking.
Potato Starch vs. Potato Flour
Although both came from potatoes and are gluten-free, potato starch and potato flour are different from one another. Potato starch is made from extracted starch of crushed potatoes, while potato flour is peeled, cooked, dried, and processed until it turns into fine powder.
Moreover, potato starch does not have flavor, while potato flour has an earthy taste. The former only contains starch, while the latter comprises starch, protein, and fiber.
Potato Starch vs. Sweet Potato Starch
While sweet potato starch and potato starch are similar in how they are processed, both have different elements that are present in them.
Sweet potato starch is grittier than potato starch, which makes it harder to dissolve. Because of this, it does not make an effective thickening agent.
Potato starch is used for different purposes such as a thickening agent, gluten-free ingredient in making baked goods, a coating for frying foods, and as an additive.
In addition, it also provides health benefits, including better colon health conditions, better insulin sensitivity, and it may help in weight loss.
While there are various alternatives for potato starch, it is suggested to use which one best fits your purpose as some may be suited for baking, while others should be used in frying and other methods of cooking.