6 Substitutes for Tapioca Flour (2024)

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Tapioca flour, or tapioca starch, is gluten-free and often used in baking and cooking. If you find you don’t have any tapioca flour but a recipe calls for it, you can use any of these 6 substitutes.

Tapioca flour, or tapioca starch, is a popular, gluten-free flour made from the starch of cassava root (1).

It’s perhaps best known for the thick, chewy texture it lends to gluten-free baked goods but also works well as an allergy-friendly thickener for sauces, soups, puddings, and stews.

If your recipe calls for tapioca flour but you have run out, you can use several alternatives.

Here are 6 of the best substitutes for tapioca flour.

6 Substitutes for Tapioca Flour (1)Share on Pinterest

1. Cornstarch

Cornstarch makes a great replacement for tapioca flour and is easily accessible. In fact, you may already have some in your pantry or cupboard.

Cornstarch is naturally gluten-free, which makes it particularly suitable for gluten-free cooking and baking.

It has a much stronger thickening capacity than tapioca flour, so you need to cut the amount in your recipe by about half. For instance, if your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour, use only 1 tablespoon of cornstarch as a substitute.

Summary Cornstarch is a
gluten-free substitute for tapioca flour, but be sure to only use half as much
cornstarch as you would tapioca.

2. Cassava flour

Cassava flour is a great gluten-free substitute for tapioca flour and contains more fiber, making it a more nutrient-dense option (2, 3).

Both products are made from cassava root, but cassava flour incorporates the whole root, whereas tapioca flour is made up of only the starchy part of the plant.

In most recipes, cassava flour can be swapped evenly for tapioca, but the fiber content gives it slightly more thickening power.

Thus, if your recipe calls for any additional thickeners or gums you may want to reduce or eliminate them when using this particular substitute.

Cassava flour also has a slightly nutty flavor that may be noticeable, depending on the type of recipe you’re using.

If you have trouble finding cassava flour locally, you can buy it online.

Summary Cassava flour can be used
in an even ratio to replace tapioca flour, but its fiber content gives it
slightly more thickening power. Thus, you should reduce or eliminate any
additional thickening ingredients.

3. Potato starch

Potato starch is gluten-free and can replace tapioca flour. However, it has a heavier consistency and may result in a denser product, depending on what you’re cooking.

If you’re using a small amount to thicken a sauce or stew you can simply swap it in a 1:1 ratio.

If you’re using a larger quantity for something like a baking mix, there’s a little more guesswork involved.

Try taking the amount of tapioca flour your recipe calls for and reducing it by about 25–50%. Replace the tapioca with this quantity of potato starch and add in a little extra of any other flour-like ingredients to make up the difference in total volume.

Summary Potato starch makes a
good substitute for tapioca flour but may result in a much denser final
product.

4. All-purpose flour

All-purpose flour can replace tapioca flour in a 1:1 ratio in most recipes, though the texture may differ depending on what you’re using it for.

Tapioca flour creates a bright, glossy finish when used as a thickener for gravies, soups, and sauces. The same dishes thickened with all-purpose flour will take on more of a matte finish and duller color.

You probably need to adjust your cooking time, too.

Tapioca flour is flavorless and mixes quickly, but all-purpose flour needs to cook a little longer to get rid of the powder-like texture it has when it’s raw.

Keep in mind that all-purpose flour is made from wheat and contains gluten. Therefore, it’s an unsuitable replacement for tapioca if you’re trying to keep your recipe gluten-free.

Summary All-purpose flour may be
used as a replacement for tapioca flour in an even ratio, but it may slightly
change the color, appearance, and cooking time of your recipe. All-purpose
flour contains gluten and is inappropriate for use in gluten-free recipes.

5. Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a flavorless, gluten-free flour made from the Maranta arundinacea plant. It’s very similar to tapioca flour and may be substituted in a 1:1 ratio for most dishes (4).

Arrowroot is a great stand-in for tapioca flour when used as a thickening agent or as part of a baking mix that includes other types of starches and flours.

However, it doesn’t create the same chewy consistency as tapioca when used as a stand-alone flour.

Thus, if your baked-good recipe calls for tapioca flour as the only starch, arrowroot will not make a good replacement unless it’s used alongside a combination of other flours.

You can find arrowroot in selected stores or online.

Summary Arrowroot is a great
gluten-free replacement for tapioca flour and may be swapped in a 1:1 ratio in
most recipes. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work well as a stand-alone flour in
baked goods.

6. Rice flour

Rice flour makes for another good gluten-free alternative to tapioca flour.

It’s made from finely ground grains of rice and has a very mild flavor that will not compromise the taste of your final product.

Rice flour can be stickier and has a stronger thickening capacity than tapioca flour, which means you may need to adjust your recipe a little.

A good rule of thumb is to use about half as much rice flour as you would tapioca. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour, use only 1 tablespoon of rice flour to replace it.

If rice flour isn’t available at your local supermarket, you can buy it online.

Summary Rice flour is a
gluten-free replacement for tapioca flour, but you should use half as much rice
flour as you would tapioca.

The bottom line

Tapioca flour is a popular ingredient for gluten-free baking and cooking.

If you don’t have any on hand, you have several viable replacements to choose from.

You may have to make minor adjustments to your original recipe to accommodate for the substitutions, but the experience will put you one step closer to becoming an expert gluten-free chef.

Still, if you prefer to use the real deal, stock up on tapioca flour.

6 Substitutes for Tapioca Flour (2024)

FAQs

What can be substituted for tapioca flour? ›

There are a number of effective substitutes for tapioca flour. Alternative thickeners include cornstarch, potato starch, cassava flour, and arrowroot. Good substitutes for frying include cornstarch, potato starch, and rice flour. Alternatives in baking include rice flour, chestnut flour, and all-purpose flour.

How much cornstarch is equivalent to tapioca flour? ›

“The rough substitution is 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour for 1 tablespoon cornstarch.” Another significant benefit of tapioca is that it freezes well, keeping your baked goods the perfect consistency.

What is a substitute for tapioca flour in vegan cheese? ›

If you can't find tapioca starch, you can replace it with corn starch and potato starch mixed together. The corn starch makes the cheese creamy, the potato starch makes it stringy.

Can I substitute tapioca flour for corn flour? ›

Numerous cornflour substitutes exist, including but not limited to arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, potato flour, and all-purpose flour. The best substitute depends on the specific needs of your recipe.

What is a substitute for instant tapioca flour? ›

Not many people realize this, but regular wheat-containing all-purpose flour can be used 1:1 for tapioca flour in most recipes. Keep in mind that it contains gluten. The texture may be slightly different, having a little less chew and a touch more density, but the results will be similar.

Can I substitute tapioca flour for almond flour? ›

Tapioca Starch

This flour, derived from the cassava root, serves as a versatile almond flour substitute. It is often used as a thickening agent for gravies, sauces and soups. Tapioca starch also helps to create crispy baked goods when combined with other flours.

Which is better, tapioca or cornstarch? ›

Tapioca flour often provides a glossy final product, whereas cornstarch results in more of a matte finish. In most recipes, these two starches can be used interchangeably. Yet, you'll want to be careful of the differences listed and only swap in cornstarch if tapioca flour is not readily available to you.

What is the healthiest thickening agent? ›

Easy-to-access alternatives are wheat flour, arrowroot flour, and rice flour. These are good alternatives to cornstarch because they are more nutritious and contain fewer carbohydrates and calories. Xanthan and guar gum are much stronger thickeners than cornstarch, but they can be harder to obtain and use.

Is tapioca similar to gelatin? ›

This comes down to the fact that despite its jelly-like consistency, tapioca bubbles are actually made from tapioca starch, making them safe for you to consume. On the other hand, gelatin is a protein that is 'extracted by boiling the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skin' of cattle and pigs.

What can I use instead of tapioca in cobbler? ›

You can replace the instant tapioca in a pie or cobbler recipe with an equal amount of arrowroot starch. This will thicken up the filling just as well as the tapioca, and give the fruit a beautiful glossy sheen.

What's the difference between tapioca and cassava? ›

The main difference is that while cassava contains both the fiber and starch of the cassava root, tapioca starch is mainly composed of starch. This means that cassava flour has a higher dietary fiber content compared to tapioca starch.

Does cornstarch go bad? ›

Good news: Cornstarch is one of those baking staples that can last for years and doesn't really expire. If cornstarch does go bad, it's usually because moisture or pests have been able to get to it—and you'll notice it immediately. It may have an off taste or flavor (think sour or "funky"), or an off color.

Can I substitute tapioca flour for sweet potato flour? ›

Tapioca flour (starch) can be substituted for any other starch, keeping in mind that it is a little gummier than some other starches. if your sweet potato flour is a flour rather than a starch, you would need to substitute a similar product.

What is a substitute for tapioca in pies? ›

Replace the instant tapioca called for in your recipe with an equal amount of cornstarch. Your pie filling won't come out quite as thick and glossy as it would with tapioca, but it'll still taste great. To avoid lumps, mix the cornstarch with the sugar that's supposed to go into your pie filling.

What does tapioca flour do in baking? ›

When added to baked goods, tapioca starch helps the ingredients properly bind together. A function that gluten is often used for. Tapioca starch's binding abilities help bakers achieve baked goods that are fluffy, light and spongy in texture.

How does tapioca flour compare to regular flour? ›

Tapioca flour is flavorless and mixes quickly, but all-purpose flour needs to cook a little longer to get rid of the powder-like texture it has when it's raw. Keep in mind that all-purpose flour is made from wheat and contains gluten.

What can you use as a thickener instead of flour? ›

Cornstarch or arrowroot

Arrowroot and cornstarch are gluten-free alternatives to thickening with flour. They'll also keep your sauce clear and cloud-free. You'll need about 1 tablespoon for every cup of liquid in the recipe. Mix the cornstarch with equal parts water to create a slurry and pour it into the pot.

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