Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog (2024)

February 22, 2020 · Written by Foodtolive Team

Are you looking for healthier and gluten-free alternatives to common flours? Then you will love yucca, a starchy and fibre-rich tuber plant similar to sweet potatoes, from which you can obtain cassava flour and tapioca flour, which are healthier and gluten-free options.

5 Amazing Flour Alternatives

Both flours have many similarities and share many properties and often used interchangeably. However, these ingredients are distinct products with different uses.

You are going to learn why they have been a staple in several parts of South America and Asia, especially cassava flour, the same reasons that are making it extremely popular in the fitness community.

You will find all about them below.

Cassava flour and tapioca flour originate from the yucca plant, a starchy, fibre-rich tuber plant similar to potatoes and plantains. Cassava flour, in particular, has been a staple in parts of Asia as well as South America. Now, it has gained popularity among those looking for a nutritious alternative to flours containing gluten and nuts.

Here’s everything you need to know about cassava and tapioca flours.

Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog (2)

Differences in Processing and Flavor

Both flours come from the same plant, but their processes are different, and in consequence, the flavor also differs.

More Fiber, Nutty Taste

Cassava flour uses the whole blanched part of the yucca root – which has a simpler makeup than tapioca – and then it is dried and ground to create a flour of fine texture which is an excellent substitute for recipes that use wheat flour.

Since cassava flour comes from the entire root, it contains more fibre, and therefore, it supports your digestive system, controls your levels of sugar blood and lowers your cholesterol levels.

If you love to bake, then you will love this flour, because it enhances the texture of the food. In addition, it adds a mild and delicious nutty taste to recipes.

Starchy, Flavorless

Tapioca flour uses a process called washing and pulping, where the root is grated and rinsed, leaving behind starchy water. When the water evaporates, it leaves a white residue, which is the tapioca flour.

Unlike cassava flour, it has no flavor, which makes it excellent if you want to preserve the original flavor of your recipes, being similar to corn starch and similar products.

Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog (3)

Nutrition: Which Is Healthier?

Both starches offer more nutrition than flours containing gluten, and therefore, they have been popular alternatives in the fitness community.

Cassava Flour: More Protein, More Minerals and Vitamin C

Cassava is a nutritionally rich starch compared to other flours. When cooked or dried, the plant leaves can hold as much as 25% protein. However, compared to other root vegetables, cassava lacks the same nutrition.

Here is the nutritional profile for one cup of cassava flour:

  • Calories: 330
  • Protein: 2.8 grams
  • Carbs: 78.4 grams
  • Fibre: 3.7 grams
  • Calcium: 33 milligrams
  • Magnesium: 43 milligrams
  • Potassium: 558 milligrams
  • Vitamin C: 42.4 milligrams

It also contains high levels of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Since the flour itself has low amounts of protein and fat, you should supplement your diet with additional nutrients, in case you want to start using it.

Although it is a healthy substitute for many dishes, cassava flour is extremely high in carbohydrates. Therefore, use it with moderation if you’re following a keto, paleo or low-carb diet.

Besides having a range of nutrients that contribute to healthy body functions, other health benefits of cassava include:

  • Aids with digestion. This food is an excellent source of resistant starch, a compound similar to soluble fibre that promotes healthy digestion. It can also help you to lower inflammation, specifically in the gut, and promote feelings of fullness throughout the day.
  • Suitable for weight gain. If you are trying to gain weight, calorie-dense cassava flour can help. Since it is rich in carbohydrates, it is excellent for weight gain.

Tapioca Flour

While gluten-free, tapioca flour has less nutrition than cassava flour, 100gr of it has 360 calories, the majority of which are carbs. Nonetheless, it is still a decent gluten-free starch.

Here’s what to expect from 100 grams of tapioca flour:

  • 358 calories
  • Protein: 0.19 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 88.69 grams
  • Calcium: 20 milligrams
  • Iron: 1.58 milligrams
  • Potassium: 11 milligrams

Unlike cassava, tapioca contains only .9 grams of fibre and nearly no vitamins and minerals. Despite its low nutritional value, this food does have several health benefits:

  • Easier on the stomach, help your bowel health. Since it doesn’t contain gluten, tapioca flour is easier to digest than other starches. It can also act as a good source of calories if you suffer from IBS and other bowel problems.
  • Excellent source of calcium. With 20 milligrams of calcium, tapioca can help you to meet the daily recommended calcium intake. Calcium is essential for bone and teeth health, nerve communication, and blood clotting, which will boost your health.
  • Rich in iron, stay away from anemia. Iron is a critical element in hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. When your body doesn’t have enough iron, it can develop a deficiency and lead to anemia. This condition causes shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Tapioca will help you to prevent it.

Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog (4)

Are Cassava and Tapioca Flours Interchangeable?

Cassava flour can be used in many of the same instances that call for tapioca flour. Cassava’s rich fibre content makes it a better choice for baked goods, especially ones that need structure to rise.

The lack of fibre in tapioca flour makes it less versatile, so it won’t work as well as cassava in baking. However, the fibre makes cassava a great thickening agent and ideal for dredging foods before frying or baking.

How to Use Cassava and Tapioca Flours?

Vegan Mac and Cheese

In its raw form, cassava can be toxic to people, so it’s important always to peel and cook the root before eating. The primary way that people around the world enjoy this ingredient is cooking or boiling it.

Cassava flour is perfect for adding fibre to any baking recipe, as well as baked goods that need structure, such as bread and pastries.

Here are just a few of the many recipes for cassava flour:

  • Tortillas
  • French fries
  • Mashed cassava
  • Baked cassava chips
  • Coconut sauce
  • Yuca con moja

When you need a gluten-free binder or thickening agent, tapioca starch works very well. It is commonly used in bubble tea and pudding.

Additionally, it can also be used for foods like flatbread, where there isn’t a need for rising. It can also be useful for substituting cornstarch or rice flour for thick and creamy soups and sauces.

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Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog (2024)

FAQs

Cassava Flour vs. Tapioca Flour: Differences, Benefits and Uses – Healthy Blog? ›

The lack of fibre in tapioca flour makes it less versatile, so it won't work as well as cassava in baking. However, the fibre makes cassava a great thickening agent and ideal for dredging foods before frying or baking.

Which is healthier cassava flour or tapioca 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.

When should you not use cassava flour? ›

It's High in Carbs

Lastly, due to its starchy nature, cassava flour is a high-carb flour which means that it won't work well for individuals following low carb diets like the ketogenic diet.

What is the difference between tapioca and cassava? ›

Tapioca starch is obtained from the roots of the cassava plant, which is found in equatorial regions between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The name cassava is generally applied to the roots of the plant, whereas tapioca is the name given to starch and other processed products.

What does tapioca flour do to your body? ›

When eaten, tapioca takes longer for the body to break down into sugar when compared to other grains or carbohydrates. This might help lower blood sugar levels after eating. People use tapioca for prediabetes and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Is cassava flour anti inflammatory? ›

Cassava contains anti-inflammatory properties due to its high vitamin C content. When eaten regularly, cassava's vitamin C content can help lower inflammation by reducing the risk of oxidative stress. It does this by providing antioxidants that can balance out free radicals.

Is cassava flour good for gut health? ›

Cassava flour's resistant starch content can benefit your gut health in more than one way ( 11 ). Because resistant starch gets fermented in the large intestine, it serves as a prebiotic or food for your gut's friendly bacteria ( 7 ).

What is the downside of cassava flour? ›

Cassava that is prepared improperly can contain chemicals that are converted to cyanide in the body. This may cause cyanide poisoning and lead to certain paralysis conditions. This is especially true if eaten as part of a low-protein diet. In some people, eating cassava can cause an allergic reaction.

Who should not eat cassava? ›

Nutrition of Cassava

However, it's a good source of potassium, folate, vitamin C, and several other nutrients. Though this doesn't make cassava unhealthy, people following low-carb diets and people with blood sugar regulation issues, such as those with type 2 diabetes, should avoid consuming large amounts of cassava.

How do you prevent cyanide in cassava? ›

Sun drying eliminates more cyanide than oven drying because of the prolonged contact time between linamarase and the glucosides in sun drying. Soaking followed by boiling is better than soaking or boiling alone in removing cyanide.

Which is healthier, potato or cassava? ›

However edible varieties of cassava and potatoes grown for consumption are low on toxicity. Cassava is more healthier if you can eat the green leaves which are edible after blanching/boiling and straining and contain useful amounts of amino acids/proteins.

Can cassava flour replace tapioca flour? ›

Tapioca Flour Substitute: Cassava Flour

Cassava flour is fantastic! If you haven't baked with it yet, it lends structure to baked goods in a remarkable way and is used by many bakers as a one-flour wonder for gluten-free baking. It also acts as a thickener in soups, stews, and desserts.

Is tapioca related to pancreatitis? ›

Protein-calorie malnutrition, macronutrient deficiency, and diets high in consumption of cassava (tapioca) predispose to the disease.

What happens if you eat tapioca everyday? ›

When processed properly, tapioca does not seem to have many negative health effects. Most negative health effects come from consuming poorly processed cassava root. Furthermore, tapioca may be unsuitable for people with diabetes since it's almost pure carbs.

What does tapioca do to your gut? ›

Easy to digest

Many people find it easier to digest than flours that producers make from grains or nuts. Doctors may recommend tapioca as a suitable source of calories for people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis that can cause flares of digestive symptoms.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of tapioca? ›

It provides a few vitamins and minerals, like iron and potassium. Tapioca is entirely composed of carbohydrates and contains no fat or protein. Tapioca isn't a good source of many nutrients, but it does supply small amounts of minerals, such as calcium, iron, and potassium. It also has a bit of fiber.

Can Type 2 diabetics eat cassava flour? ›

One such disease is diabetes. For a long time now, cassava flour is believed to be good for diabetics. However, this is a misconception.

What is a healthy substitute 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.

Can I substitute cassava flour for tapioca flour? ›

Yes. They are, in fact, the same product; they are just labeled differently from brand to brand. The fiber is removed from the starch of the dried cassava, so it is referred to as tapioca starch.

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