Finding a potato starch substitute can be easy or difficult, depending on how familiar you are with this ingredient, so there are times when the hunt for an alternative can become an ordeal.
But don't get discouraged. All problems in the kitchen have their solutions, and you’ll find that some common foodstuffs can often replace an elusive ingredient in your pantry or refrigerator.
Have you remembered the article I wrote about tarragon and garam masala? Many people thought that they couldn't be substituted, but with a little creativity and intuition, I was able to come up with alternatives to these ingredients. Of course, I had my chef friends to help me out with the brainstorming process!
At this point, it is safe to say that potato starch has several viable replacements. You just need to know how potato starch works in your recipes and see what other ingredients can replicate its effects.
But if you are unsure about searching for them yourself, then allow me to do all the dirty work for you. I have listed below some of the best alternatives for potato starch.
What Is Potato Starch?
Before we delve into the main topic, let us discuss this first, as knowing the very nature of potato starch is necessary if you want to know about its alternative.
Potato starch is just like its names suggests, a starch derived from crushed potatoes. Specifically, the starch that comes from the squeezed cells of the crop. It then undergoes a refining process and eventually becomes a smooth powder.
If the starch has been properly refined, it can provide health benefits, especially for those who follow a gluten-free lifestyle. After all, it has small quantities of fat and protein.
Potato starch can generally be used in a variety of recipes. A lot of people use it as a texture enhancer for their sauces and noodles, and you can also use it in pastries.
Can You Substitute Potato Flour For Potato Starch?
Just because these two ingredients have "potato" in their names, it does not mean they are interchangeable. Not only are the various components and procedures used in their manufacture different, but their intended purposes are different too.
As I mentioned earlier, potato starch is very smooth and fine, while potato flour is a heavy type of flour that can give a distinct texture to the food.
Moreover, potato starch has a neutral tang, which is great if you don't want to overwhelm your food with extra flavor. Whatever the recipe is, potato starch will blend in completely.
In contrast, potato flour retains its strong potato taste, so you should be careful when using this flour in a recipe.
But despite this restriction, you should not worry. After all, there are a myriad of potato starch substitutes that you can use if you are in a rush. If you want to know them, proceed to the next section!
Potato Starch Substitutes
Fortunately, most potato starch alternatives are widely accessible and can be applied to many different recipes and dishes. Therefore, your options will never be limited.
1. Tapioca Starch
Like potato starch, tapioca is taken from a plant root, called the manioc root. If you live in any Southeast Asian regions, you will know that manioc is known there as cassava. Even the West Indians call this root by the same name.
The process of making tapioca starch is similar to potato starch. First, the root is taken out to be dried. Next, it is pounded heavily until it becomes extremely fine.
Some people call tapioca starch by the name of tapioca flour. These two terms refer to the same ingredient, so do not be confused when you spot these two labels in the market.
Both tapioca starch and potato starch can be a substitute for wheat flour. But if you are going to use a tapioca starch as a replacement for potato starch, always remember that they have different thickening capabilities, and potato starch can make any food thicker compared to tapioca starch.
To solve this problem, you just have to double the amount of tapioca starch that you use. The amount should be in reference to the original amount of potato starch that is required.
Another thing to remember is that, unlike potato starch, tapioca starch is incompatible with acidic fluids. If you mix tapioca starch with them, its thickening prowess is lost. Furthermore, it is not ideal for extensive cooking, so only include it at the end of your cooking procedure.
When it comes to thickening purposes, arrowroot is an excellent choice. It is still classified under root starches, and so is pretty similar to tapioca starch and potato starch.
Arrowroot can be derived from a plethora of plant variants, specifically from the Marantaceae family. Interestingly, there are some parts of the world where tapioca is labeled as arrowroot. But always remember that the two have their differences and should not be confused with one another.
Arrowroot starch is created by pounding the roots of the plant so that they are separated. The pulp that you can get from the grinding process is then dried before it is converted into a powder.
Once it becomes a starch, arrowroot tends to be a great food thickener. It also doesn't break or loosen when it’s exposed to acidic content. You can freely substitute it for potato starch without minding about the amount used. If a particular recipe tells you to use one teaspoon of potato starch, you can replace it with one teaspoon of arrowroot.
You can even use the arrowroot as a replacement for wheat flour. Since it doesn't contain too much protein, it can serve as a thickener for gluten-free recipes. Cakes and other pastry products can also benefit from this ingredient.
It is an undeniable fact that cornstarch is a popular food thickener. It is widely available in many parts of the world, and its usability is good for beginners. However, cornstarch should not be your first choice if you are looking for an alternative to potato starch.
Please remember that cornstarch is actually a grain thickener. All of the options that I have listed here, including potato starch, are referred to as root thickeners. But despite this, cornstarch is still a versatile ingredient. It possesses the same neutral flavor as potato starch, which makes it a decent substitute. Its texture is fine and glossy too.
Furthermore, cornstarch can be subjected to high heat for extended periods without ill effects. Most of the starch I have listed here cannot achieve such finesse. The major drawback of this ingredient is its deterrence to acidic liquids. For instance, if you are going to include cornstarch in fillings and sauces (that are usually acidic in nature), the food will not thicken. Instead, it will develop a chalk, bland texture.
For certain particular recipes, you can substitute cornstarch for potato starch by using the same ratio. You don't have to double or lessen the amount unless you deem it necessary.
4. Coconut Flour
This is another alternative that you can use for potato starch. It is a grain-free substitute and can be used by anyone who engages in a gluten-free or vegan lifestyle.
Make sure you lessen the amount of the coconut flour by around 15%. It tends to seep out of the liquid contents of the food, which can lead to the alteration of its texture. This typically occurs when you use the flour for baking. If you use too much flour, the mixture will become hard and difficult to work with.
I recommend that you add the coconut flour gradually until you can get the optimal texture you want. Alternatively, you could also increase the amount of liquid to balance out the flour.
There are a variety of potato starch substitutes that you can use, so you should never worry yourself if this particular ingredient has gone missing from your kitchen. As long as the following options that I have listed are present, you can still make your desired cuisine or delicacy.
The best thing about these alternatives is they are easy to find, as they are very accessible, even in your local stores, and they are also inexpensive. Using them won't be a problem either. Therefore, if you are in a tight spot, you should try any of these ingredients.
Was this article helpful? If you know of some other viable substitutes for potato starch, just drop them in the comment section below!