July 23, 2017

The Best Potato Starch Substitute List Every Gluten-Free Cook Needs

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If there's one thing I love giving my readers, it would be flexible recipes that fit their diets and health preferences. I know that a lot of my readers follow a gluten-free diet for health and other personal reasons, which is why I'm glad that many types of ingredients keep my dishes safe for gluten-free eaters to create.

Potato starch is a huge help for those who want an alternative to flour because of its gluten-free substances. Whether you want to thicken your soup and gravy or have a light and fluffy cake, potato starch is here for your gluten-free needs. But what if you have none of it at home? Fortunately, you can still find a substantial potato starch substitute.

So read on as I show you the ideal substitutes for those who want an alternative to potato starch.

What Is Potato Starch?​

​Just like what the name suggests, potato starch is made from potatoes, crushing them and getting the starch grains that were released from destroyed cells of the potatoes. Once the starch is released, it is washed out then dried to make into a powder. It's a very refined starch, with very little protein and fat

The process gives the starch a clear white color, and the cooked version of it has a neutral taste with a nice clarity and binding strength. It also has a long texture and less tendency to foam or yellow when used.

What makes potato starch a prevalent form of starch is the fact that it is made out of a vegetable, therefore making it vegan-friendly and gluten-free. Just like flour, potato starch is used for many types of recipes to create noodles, sauces, or even sponge cakes.

What makes potato starch different from flour is that the latter is made from whole potatoes, with a heavy and cream-colored result. Potato starch thickens and has no potato flavor, giving your baked goods a light and fluffy texture. For potato flour, it gives off a heartier texture.​

The Best Potato Starch Substitute​

There is not just one good potato starch alternative, but many for you to choose from when in a pinch or can't find any in your local groceries! Here are the top choices based on my experience:

For Grain-Free

For those who are following a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle, I recommend you to use almond or coconut flour. BUT, you will need to reduce the amount by more or less 20%, as coconut flour tends to absorb liquids that may alter the texture of your dish.

This happens especially during baking, which is why it can be a bit hard baking with grain-free substitutes such as coconut flour.

If you will be using coconut or almond flour, reduce the amount by 20% and add a bit more as you go until you reach the desired consistency. You may even want to leave it as is because of its absorption, or add additional liquid to your batter for the ingredients to being better.

Other Grains and Flours

If you aren't following the grain-free lifestyle, you can use any other grains and flour, including quinoa, buckwheat, oat, teff, gram, or tapioca flour (commonly known as tapioca starch). I recommend tapioca starch the most, as it helps bind paleo and gluten-free recipes quite nicely. Most of the time, it improves the texture of my dishes when baking!

You can use any of these flours to the equal amount the recipe asks for when using potato starch. These are great substitutes especially if one is allergic to potatoes.

Arrowroot, Cornstarch, Tapioca

Arrowroot is a type of starch from tropical plants. Cornstarch (sometimes called cornflour) is another popular ingredient found in households to thicken particular liquid based dishes.

While both these starches are different from the original potato form, they have their advantages and can be used to thicken your recipes quite nicely.

If you're creating a dish high in acidity and want to tone it down a bit, then arrowroot is better to use than cornstarch, as the latter would lose its effectivity once it meets with acid. For those looking for a substitute for gravy (or any liquid base with milk), then using cornstarch is better as arrowroot may make your dishes or sauces slimy.

Tapioca, made from cassava and a known starch, is also another useful choice to thicken sauces quickly. Make sure to use an equal amount needed, but expect the consistency of your food to alter slightly. Cornstarch and tapioca are perfect for soups and stews, while any sauces or dishes with milk are better with arrowroot.​

Making Your Potato Starch

If you can't find any potato starch available in grocery stores but need a gluten-free ingredient for thickening your recipes, then you can make your own. Here's a recipe for making potato starch:

Ingredients:​

  • High starch russet potatoes (baking potato)
  • A cup of water

​Steps:

1. Line your colander with cheesecloth (two layers), placing the colander over a bowl. Grate your potatoes with the smallest holes. Make sure to grate it carefully over the cheesecloth.

2. Fold the cheesecloth to cover your grated potatoes and press the cloth down until you see starchy liquid from your potatoes draining into the bowl.

3. Open the cheesecloth, pouring half a cup of water over it. Close the cloth again and squeeze the potatoes this time. Repeat one more time with the other half cup of water. Be sure to press it on top of the colander.

4. Place the potatoes (covered with the cheesecloth) back to the colander and put two heavy cans on top of it, letting it squeeze more starch for about one or two hours. Remove the strainer and throw the cheesecloth and potatoes away.

5. Pour the liquid into a measuring cup (avoid disturbing the starch at the bottom). The potato starch you will use is what is remaining in the bowl.​

​Tips When Using a Potato Starch Substitute

Wondering how potato starch substitutes should be utilized? Read these important tips to follow:

  • Keep in mind that potato starch is meant to thicken soup more so than create a flavor. So if you're after a better flavor and need a potato starch substitute, it's best to add in seasonings to the ingredient like salt and pepper before adding it to what you're making.
  • For those who are more keen on texture, focus on starches rather than flour, which has a natural thickening agent.
  • When storing any of your potato starch substitutes, do so in a dark and cool area where it won't easily spoil or get attacked by pests.
  • While I recommend you to match the weight of your ingredients when substituting potato starch, it may come out gummier or less dense, depending on how much you put. So I recommend you to start off with a little less than what the recipe calls for, then work your way up until you reach the desired consistency.

​In Conclusion

Making your dishes gluten-free is possible with the help of ingredients that have your dishes taste good while still adhering to your diet. Potato starch is a versatile (and gluten-free!) ingredient that will contribute to achieving just that.

And if you have none of it around your kitchen, no need to panic! You can still find the perfect potato starch substitute that will retain your dishes' flavor and texture.

I hope that this article on the ultimate potato starch substitute list helped you find what you're looking for when baking or cooking. So don't bother scratching your recipe off if you have no potato starch at home. Instead, try any of these substitutes to help you achieve your dishes today!​

If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences when using any potato starch substitute, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.​

    Claire J. Ruiz

    I'm Claire, and my passion is cooking. I believe that food is what actually unites people and the dining table is where we set aside our differences. When we eat we become vulnerable because enjoying food requires a different level of trust and surrender to the person preparing your food. Sharing and enjoying food is one of the most intimate experiences in life.​

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