Cornstarch substitutes can be used as a thickening agent and is mainly added to sauces, gravies, soups and desserts. Some cornstarch substitutes may be used as a preference instead of cornstarch or because it is available at the time it is needed to thicken a recipe. Cornstarch and cornstarch substitutes thickening process consists of molecular and starch chains colliding during the heating process which then creates a mesh field and thickens the liquid. Cornstarch substitutes can also be used in baby powder and added to sugar containers to prevent caking.
- Arrowroot Flour. This can be used an easy cornstarch substitute and is preferred by many. Use arrowroot equal parts to cold water and stir to a smooth blend before adding to the food preparation. Arrowroot facilitates the thickening process at relatively lower temperatures and is much more flexible than cornstarch—also known as-maize starch.
- All-Purpose Flour. Using flour mixed with water before adding it to thicken a liquid-based food may create more of an opaque—rather than translucent appearance. This is probably the most popular and easy cornstarch substitute simply because of the convenience.
- Potato Flour. This needs to be prepared at higher temperatures and may take longer to reach the thickened stage but should not be overcooked as it may begin to thin. It is a non-gluten flour and keeps well in the freezer after preparation.
- Rice Flour. This cornstarch substitute is a combination of brown and white rice extractions. Mix the rice or potato flour with equal parts water to a smooth consistency before adding to liquid. This also requires more cooking time to reach thickness and is very freezer friendly.
- Tapioca. You will be pleased to find that tapioca can gel at much lower temperatures and thus, an advantage when you are preparing a delicate sauce that requires creative changes. Tapioca used as a cornstarch substitute will tolerate freezing temperatures for storage compared to cornstarch in prepared foods may coagulate when refrigerated. Tapioca is also preferred by chefs because of the shiny appearance it finishes the dish with. Use two tablespoons of regular tapioca in place of one tablespoon of cornstarch and mix until smooth, in equal parts water.
- Konjac Flour. This is a powerful cornstarch substitute with thickening abilities about ten times greater than cornstarch; only use one-tenth the amount with cold water. This is ideal for custards and egg-based desserts like pies, puddings or glazes. It is a zero-calorie, non-gelatinous and non-glutinous flour that will add a glistening sheen to dishes and glazed delicacies.