Who would have thought something so simple as cornstarch could be so versatile?
This powdery substance is derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel and is used for everything from thickening sauces to creating a smooth texture in baked goods.
But what if you’re out of cornstarch and need a quick substitution? Here are five of the best substitutes for cornstarch.
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a type of starch that is derived from corn.
It is a white powder typically used as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, and pies.
Cornstarch is also commonly used to coat fried foods, such as chicken or fish.
When cornstarch is added to liquid, it forms a gel-like substance that can help to thicken and stabilize the mixture.
In addition to its culinary uses, cornstarch can also be used for household tasks, such as polishing furniture or cleaning windows.
It can even be used as a gentle exfoliator for the skin.
As you can see, cornstarch is a versatile ingredient that has many uses, both in the kitchen and around the house.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Cornstarch
For those with corn allergies or sensitivities, finding substitutes for cornstarch can be a challenge.
Here are 5 of the best substitutes for cornstarch that you can use in various recipes.
1 – Potato Starch
Potato starch is a type of carbohydrate that is extracted from potatoes.
It is a white powder often used as a thickening agent in food.
Potato starch can be used to thicken sauces, soups, and puddings.
It can also be a binding agent in recipes such as cakes and pies.
Potato starch is a good source of dietary fiber and protein.
It is also low in calories and fat.
Potato starch is gluten-free and does not contain any artificial additives.
2 – Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is a white, powdery substance extracted from the cassava plant.
It is often used as a thickening agent in foods such as puddings, soups, and sauces.
Tapioca starch can also be used to make tapioca pearls, which are small, round balls commonly used in bubble tea.
In addition to its culinary uses, tapioca starch has many industrial applications.
It is often used as a binding agent in adhesives and plastics.
Tapioca starch is also used to add body and stiffness to fabrics in the textile industry.
3 – Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide that is produced by bacteria.
It is commonly used as a food additive, and it can be found in items such as salad dressings and ice cream.
Xanthan gum can also be used as a thickening agent, and it is often substituted for cornstarch.
While both substances effectively thicken liquids, xanthan gum has some advantages over cornstarch.
It is more soluble in cold water, which means that it can be added to beverages without first being dissolved in hot water.
Additionally, xanthan gum is less likely to cause lumps, and it can provide a smoother texture to sauces and soups.
As a result, xanthan gum is an excellent choice for looking for a cornstarch substitute.
4 – All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour can be used as a substitute, although a few things to keep in mind.
First, unlike cornstarch, which is pure starch, all-purpose flour contains protein, so it will impart a slightly different flavor to your dish.
Second, all-purpose flour doesn’t absorb liquid as readily as cornstarch, so you’ll need to use more of it to achieve the same thickness.
Finally, all-purpose flour doesn’t dissolve as completely as cornstarch, so your sauce or gravy may have a slightly cloudy appearance.
5 – Rice Flour
Rice flour is a staple ingredient in many Asian cuisines, but it can also be used as a substitute for cornstarch.
Rice flour is made from grinding rice grains into a fine powder, and it has a similar consistency to cornstarch.
When used as a thickener, rice flour can provide the same smooth texture as cornstarch without adding any flavor.
Additionally, rice flour is gluten-free, making it a good option for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
While rice flour may not be a pantry staple in most households, it is worth keeping on hand as a versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
In conclusion, cornstarch is a versatile ingredient that can be used for various purposes.
However, it is not always the best option, and several substitutes can be used in its place.
Some of the best substitutes for cornstarch include xanthan gum, potato starch, tapioca starch, and rice flour.
Each of these ingredients has its unique properties, and they can all be used to achieve different results.