If you are looking for the best tapioca flour alternative but have no idea where to even start or want to know which one is the best and how to use it depending on your recipe, this guide is here to help you.
While it all depends on what you may have lying around in your pantry or what you personally prefer, it is a guarantee that any of these options will help you achieve the perfect recipe.
But first, what is tapioca flour?
Tapioca flour or tapioca starch is a very reliable and efficient thickening agent but it turns out that it’s not the only ingredient that can play this role in cooking.
In fact, there is quite a large number of other substitutes that can do just as well in your kitchen!
That being said, if you have run out of tapioca flour without realizing before starting a new recipe that calls for it, do not panic – there is a big chance you may already have a substitute for it lying around!
Tapioca flour is certainly a really versatile ingredient but, as mentioned before, it can easily be replaced.
Just keep in mind that some of the alternatives are ideal for desserts and baking in general while others are more suitable for thickening some savory, hearty stews and other savory dishes.
All in all, tapioca flour and all alternatives can be used in a variety of recipes whether they involve baking or frying or thickening and most are also go-to’s for those who follow a keto diet as well.
Here you can find a list of some of the best and most versatile replacement options for this wonder ingredient, in no particular order!
If there is any chance you have any of the ingredients mentioned on this list in your pantry already then it’s most likely cornstarch. Or at least you’ve definitely heard of it since it has so many different uses!
First of all, cornstarch is not the same as corn flour.
While the latter is dried and finely ground corn kernels, cornstarch is made only out of the starchy part of the corn kernel.
With that being said, if you need to thicken any sauce, cornstarch is a great replacement for tapioca flour but, as mentioned before, it can be used in other recipes too.
Just keep in mind that cornstarch has a greater thickening power than tapioca, however, which means that you should use half the amount of cornstarch than you would tapioca flour for your recipe.
More precisely, if a recipe says two tablespoons of tapioca flour are needed, you should only use one tablespoon of cornstarch if you want to use it as a replacement.
Finally, you may be pleased to know that cornstarch is actually naturally gluten free so it’s the ideal choice for everyone who is trying to avoid gluten for whatever reason.
The arrow root powder is one of the best tapioca flour alternatives out there due to the cat that it is made out of a very similar root plant and related to ginger.
Another reason why it is a great choice is that, for the most part, it is also neutral tasting.
In fact when it comes to being combined with acidic ingredients, it manages to perform better than tapioca flour.
Just keep in mind that you should be careful when combining with dairy products as it might result in a rather slimy texture and that is not what you want!
Potato starch is another great alternative for tapioca flour due to the fact that it absorbs water effectively and can be used for thickening sauces.
Furthermore, to avoid any confusion or mistakes when cooking pick potato starch as the replacement as it can be used in the exact same quantity as tapioca flour in any recipe, being a direct substitute.
On the other hand, however, it isn’t the most ideal pick when it comes to baking.
This is because it has a heavier consistency than tapioca flour which can result in baked goods being dense than you may want based on the recipe at hand.
But, of course, it is also possible that you may prefer that so you can experiment with it if you want and figure it out!
Otherwise, you may also just use less potato starch than you would tapioca flour when it comes to baking recipes.
Finally, potato starch is gluten free as well!
The most similar tapioca flour substitute is none other than rice flour!
All you need to know is that, to substitute one for the other, you can use a 1:1 ratio no matter the recipe. So easy and convenient!
While cassava flour is actually made out of the exact same root plant as tapioca flour, the first is more fibrous but that’s not to say they can’t substitute each other in cooking.
Cassava flour is also gluten free and has a slightly nutty flavor to it.
The ratio of substitution is generally 1:1 but consider reducing or even getting rid of any other gums or thickeners if called for by a recipe.
It’s called “all purpose” for a reason!
This flour should work for pretty much any recipe that calls for tapioca flour but just keep in mind that it is a product that contains gluten.
Furthermore, it is an alternative that works much better in savory fishes rather than desserts such as tarts, puddings and custards,
All-purpose flour is much more similar to cornstarch than to tapioca flour but since cornstarch is also an alternative, you shouldn’t have any problem substituting it especially since the ratio is 1:1.
And if you are wondering whether or not you can use whole wheat flour as a substitute, the answer is definitely yes.
All you need to keep in mind, however, is that whole wheat will add a slightly nutty flavor to your cooking no matter what recipe you are following.
Of course, depending on the person and personal taste, that could even be a plus!
Chestnut flour is made out of dried, roasted and then ground up chestnuts and can replace tapioca flour in all kinds of recipes, even those that are supposed to be gluten free!
Furthermore, this alternative is actually really healthy due to the fact that it is a trusted source of protein, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
And whether you prefer that or not, you should know that chestnut flour also adds a little bit of a nutty, earthy flavor to your bakes.
Gluten-free flour mixes
When you run out of tapioca flour or can’t find it in the store, you can also replace it with any gluten free flour mixes without an issue.
This option is perfect for pretty much any savory dish but it is usually avoided when it comes to making custards, puddings and fruit sauces because of some properties like the clarity.
Almond flour is actually something you might even be able to make yourself at home if you have some almonds in your pantry and a certain kitchen device.
This is because it involves grinding blanched, sweet almonds in a food processor.
But if you would rather not have to do that at home, you can, of course, also purchase it from any supermarket or health food store as it is widely available.
It is an alternative preferred by many due to the fact that it is gluten free and a great source of protein in addition to also being great for those who follow a keto diet.
Almond flour is great for baking, especially when making brownies, cookies, pancakes and puddings.
However, it might also work as a thickening agent in sauces as long as you pick a very thinly ground variety.
This is because if it’s not fine enough, almond flour might add an unpleasant texture to your sauce.
Instant tapioca pearls or boba
Boba and tapioca pearls are terms that can be used interchangeably and they are quite common in baking, which is why they can be a great substitute for tapioca flour.
Just remember to use less tapioca pearls than flour, depending on the recipe.
For instance, for every 1 ½ tablespoons of tapioca flour, use 1 tablespoon of boba instead.
Chia seed flour
Chia seed flour is made out of really finely ground chia seeds.
It is a gluten free option that is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are amazing for your health.
And that’s not even all! This alternative also contains protein, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber!
Chia seed flour does a good job thickening sauces but is also the perfect coating for meat, fish and vegetables prior to frying them.
At the same time, you can also use it in a number of baking recipes without a problem which means it’s really versatile.
Finally, chia seed flour is the perfect go-to for those who follow a keto diet.
Since heavy cream has high fat content, it works great as a thickening agent that will certainly add a lot of richness to all of your dishes.
Furthermore, if you use heavy cream in dishes like creamy soups or pasta sauces, you can get rid of any other thickening agents the recipe may call for entirely as the cream is more than enough to fulfill that role on its own.
Chickpea flour is obtained by finely grinding chickpeas.
This is a really good ket -friendly option for people on a keto diet due to the fact that chickpeas are low in carbohydrates.
But that is not where their health benefits end as they are also a trusted source of healthy fat, protein, fiber and vitamins.
Chickpea flour works well in gluten-free baking if you combine it with other flour types.
You can use it in a number of recipes including flatbreads, muffins, wraps and even cakes.
At the same time, it is just as effective in recipes that call for thickening or frying.
Vegetables and legumes
Another ingenious alternative to tapioca flour especially for soups or stews is using lentils, beans, potatoes, tomato paste or squash!
For instance, black bean brownies are a great healthy option without compromising on the delicious taste at all!
Collagen or eggs
When you need to thicken a recipe, especially if it is a dessert such as a pudding or custard, you can use eggs or collagen as well to replace tapioca flour!
At the same time, these ingredients work in savory food too including patties, meatballs, burgers and fritters.
That cannot also be said about sauces and soups in addition to it not being vegan.
Besides, it’s common for people to be allergic to this ingredient, which is why you should be careful and know who you’re cooking for and what their diet or health status is.
Pectin and gelatin
This is a starch often used to thicken jellies and jams and it is definitely a reliable replacement for tapioca flour in some other desserts as well such as fruit sauces, custards and puddings.
Just keep in mind that they are not suitable for savory dishes like stews and soups and that you only need a really small amount when you substitute tapioca flour as not to get your food too tough.
Agar agar is made out of red algae and it is pretty much just like gelatin, the only difference being that it’s a vegan option!
It can be used especially in cheeses as long as they are the slicing kind as opposed to those that tend to melt and stretch such as mozzarella.
As for the ratio of substitution for tapioca flour, there is not really a rule of thumb, the amount varying depending on the recipe so be careful when using it and do your research beforehand.