Tapioca flour substitutes can be a lifesaver when you're short on ingredients. These versatile replacements can do a lot, from thickening your sauces and soups to making your dumplings look firmer and fluffy.
Tapioca Flour vs Tapioca Starch
In general, tapioca flour and starch come from the root of the cassava plant. Despite this, the processing of these two powders differs. However, many manufacturers label these powders as the same product. Tapioca starch comes from the whole cassava root, including the skin. Meanwhile, tapioca flour derives from the skinless starchy middle of the cassava root. Ultimately, both powders have the same binding properties used to thicken stews and baked goods.
Based on our research from collecting chefs’ advice and Reddit opinions, as well as our own testing, we bring you this comprehensive guide! We have found some great substitutes that mimic this useful fine powder.
Furthermore, we will provide you with all the specific ratios needed for the best results for different foods. So, continue reading to discover how these substitutes can add depth, texture and a range of flavour to your dishes.
Best Tapioca Flour Substitute (Purpose Based)
Not all tapioca flour substitutes are suitable for every recipe. Some have a neutral taste and are ideal for thickening soupy dishes. Meanwhile, others offer a sweet flavour and add a glossy finish perfect for chewy desserts.
|Purpose||Tapioca Flour Substitute||Ratio To Substitute 1 Cup of Tapioca Flour|
|Best for boba||Cornflour||½:1|
|Best for pao de quejio||Cassava flour||1:1|
|Best for frying||Rice flour||½:1|
|Best for baking||Xanthan gum||1:1|
|Best for steaming||Arrowroot flour||1:1|
|Best for keto diet||Coconut flour||1:1|
|Best for gluten-free diet||Almond flour||1:1|
Cornflour is a great alternative because it offers a sweet and earthy flavour. In addition, it adds a matte-like finish to your food. You can use this popular thickener in sauces, marinades, and soupy dishes. Furthermore, it can also be used as a tapioca flour substitute for boba making.
Moreover, this substitute has a high heat tolerance and only starts to cook at 95°C. Therefore, you can use this powder in recipes that require high heat, like stewed chicken wings and Chinese chicken corn soup.
What also makes this fine powder versatile is its thickening property. It has double the thickening ability you get from tapioca flour. So, the best conversion ratio when swapping out tapioca with this powder is ½:1. When mixed in cold water, it often results in lumps. So, instead, ensure that you dissolve this alternative in boiling water.
This is a perfect tapioca flour substitute because it offers a naturally sweet taste while giving your baked goods a moist and compact texture. With only 18 grams of carbohydrates per cup, this alternative is also a great option for a keto diet.
Furthermore, if you are a fan of Asian food but looking to lower your carb intake, use this powder. You can use it as a sweet rice powder substitute when making mochi or Filipino sweet cakes.
Moreover, this alternative is a fibre-rich powder that binds well with other ingredients. This quality makes it suitable for baking. As a result, your bread, cakes, and cookies will also have a firm and dense texture. In addition, this fibre-rich substitute is also highly absorbent. So, depending on the serving size and amount of water, your baked goods can take shape quicker than other powders.
As this powder adds a nutty and mild coconut scent to your food, it doesn't go well with soupy recipes that require a neutral-tasting thickener. However, this substitute won't affect the final taste if your dish includes bold and strong-flavoured ingredients. You can swap this alternative at a 1:1 substitution ratio for baked goods and keto food. Since this alternative is highly absorbent, too much water can make your food too dense. Therefore, using 1 cup of water for 1 cup of the substitute is enough.
Another versatile tapioca flour substitute is xanthan gum. You can use this neutral-tasting powder to thicken tapioca syrup and other sweeteners. Although xanthan gum has 120 grams of carbohydrates per cup, our bodies don't absorb any of the sugar or carbs in it. Thus, it has zero total net carbs and is perfect for keto recipes. Furthermore, using xanthan gum for baking yields fluffy, thick, and firm cakes.
Moreover, since this powder is concentrated, you only need half the amount to make baked goods. For instance, when making Pandan chiffon cake, you would need ½ cup of xanthan gum for every 1 cup of tapioca. This alternative thickens your batter instantly when mixed in. Hence, it speeds up the baking process and requires less time in the oven.
On the other hand, for sweeteners, stews, and soupy dishes, you would follow a ¼: 1 ratio. Adding too much gum can make your soups and stews overly sticky and hard to blend. Worst of all, you can also get clumps that are hard to dissolve. Additionally, it also takes less than 10 seconds for this alternative to thicken your soupy dishes. So, you must quickly stir the mixture to prevent lumps.
This substitute adds sweet and mildly nutty flavours to your food. If you use it to thicken soups or stews, the nutty taste may be more pronounced in your food. However, the flavour change is subtle if you include stronger-flavoured ingredients like onions or ginger.
Since this alternative comes from skinless raw almonds, its delicate and smooth textures blend well with other baking ingredients. For instance, you can use this tapioca flour substitute to make Chinese almond cookies. Furthermore, as it is gluten-free, your dough will absorb more water, resulting in cookies with more structure and a firmer feel. This alternative is also keto-friendly, with 23 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
Moreover, this replacement is naturally gluten-free and mainly consists of protein and fibre. So, anyone with celiac disease and gluten-related health issues can safely make their favourite foods using it. You can use this alternative at a 1:1 substitution ratio for cookies, brownies, and pancakes. This powder also produces the same consistency when you mix it with water. So, there is no need to alter any amount of ingredients.
Arrowroot flour comes from the starchy parts of arrowroot plants. This grain-free alternative is high in protein, resulting in a tender yet compact consistency in your steamed goods.
Furthermore, since it has no taste, this powder can also thicken your gravy, puddings, and sauces without changing the overall taste. This replacement also blends with acidic ingredients like pineapple or lemon juice. Therefore, it doesn't break or lose its thickening ability like other powders.
Moreover, it can maintain your food's texture even after you keep it in the refrigerator. You will also get a glossy finish using this replacement in sweeteners and sauces.
You can use this tapioca flour substitute when making steamed tapioca thousand layers cake. As it is grain and gluten-free, your steamed cakes will be firm and fluffy. The substitution ratio you need to use with this alternative is 1:1. The powder will easily break and turn watery at a high temperature, so avoid boiling your mixture when cooking.
What separates this alternative from tapioca flour is that it comes from the whole root, including the skin. Meanwhile, tapioca flour comes mainly from the interior, starchy part. Some people also call this powder tapioca starch. With the inclusion of other fibres, this version has a coarse texture and rough feel. Mixing this powder with water produces a stickier, firmer, gum-like mixture.
In addition, this replacement also adds a subtle earthiness without altering the overall taste of your food. Mix this powder for soups or stews during cooking or when the soup is boiling. Furthermore, cassava is perfect as a tapioca flour substitute for pao de queijo. It makes the bread fluffy and moist.
To make Brazilian cheese bread, use this alternative at a 1:1 substitution ratio. With this replacement, your little cheese puffs will have crispy skin and a spongy texture.
Potato starch extract has a thicker and heavier consistency than tapioca flour. Adding this replacement to your batter can yield dense, firm cakes or cookies with a chewy texture. Additionally, it retains moisture better than other powders, thus making your baked goods fluffy and thick. Use potato starch at a 1:1 substitution ratio when baking.
Moreover, potato starch can tolerate high heat better without turning into lumps. For example, you can also use potato starch to make Chinese corn soup. To avoid getting a thick, gum-like soup, the best conversion ratio when swapping the other powder with potato starch is ½:1.
This delicate, neutral-tasting alternative comes from either long or medium-grain white rice. Unlike glutinous rice flour, this gluten-free powder doesn't add much chewiness to your food. The usage of this replacement isn't also limited to Asian snacks like steamed rice cakes and honeycomb cakes. For example, you can use it as a tapioca flour substitute for frying. For instance, use this alternative at a 1:1 substitution ratio to make Karaage chickens or chicken tempuras.
Furthermore, this substitute absorbs less oil and moisture than store-bought frying powders. As a result, your fried food becomes crispier and healthier. You will also get crusts that are crunchy and not too chewy.
This milled wheat-derived alternative is available in two types, bleached and unbleached. The bleached variety is a bright white, fine powder that gives your cakes and buns a softer texture. Meanwhile, the unbleached variety is a cream-coloured powder that gives a firm consistency to chewy foods like pizza dough, cookies, and bread.
You can use the bleached variety when making Asian milk bread or Chinese steamed fresh pork buns. This alternative will yield softer, airy buns that are easy to chew. When cooking, use this tapioca flour substitute at a 1:1 substitution ratio. Since this alternative has gluten, you will also get a compact dough that blends well with water.
Keto Tapioca Flour Substitute
A ketogenic diet requires you not to exceed 50 grams of total carbohydrate intake daily. So far, out of all the substitutes mentioned above, only almond, coconut flour and xanthan gum are considered low-carb. Here are some more keto-friendly options.
This tapioca flour substitute adds a nutty, sweet, and buttery flavour to your dishes and baked goods. It only contains 48g of carbohydrates per cup. Furthermore, it is also packed with protein and calories, thus making it a good energy source for vegans.
You can use this substitute to make Chinese hazelnut cookies and Miso cakes. Swap this replacement with any powder at a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can combine half cup of this substitute with another half cup of almond powder to get a unique, nutty taste.
Lupin replacement is special because it retains moisture and adds an airy texture to your keto cakes and cookies. It also has 4 grams of total net carbohydrates per cup. Due to its mildly bitter taste, you should use this keto tapioca flour substitute in food with sweet ingredients like creams or glazes. For instance, you can use this substitute to make Asian-style pork belly lupin pancakes and keto blueberry muffins. Replace this alternative at a 1:1 ratio with other powders.
This keto-friendly replacement enriches your food with a nutty and earthy taste. It also makes your baked goods smoother while retaining moisture, making your food tender. A cup of this alternative contains 20 grams of carbohydrates. Furthermore, this powder is also rich in protein. Therefore, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of this alternative to smoothies for an additional energy booster.
This keto tapioca flour substitute can be used in Asian recipes like Japanese rice cakes and dumplings. Swap this alternative at a 1:1 ratio with any powder. This powder is coarse, so you may get some lumps when mixing it with water. Therefore, use hot water and keep stirring until you get a smooth mixture.
Incorporating this versatile alternative in your recipes gives your dishes a nutty and maple-like flavour. In addition, a cup of this substitute contains 12 grams of carbohydrates. You can use this for recipes like blueberry pecan pancakes and pecan pies. However, this powder has lesser binding strength than other options.
Therefore, you can swap this keto tapioca flour substitute with another powder at a 1 ½:1 ratio. Then, add binders into the mix, like an egg or ½ cup of xanthan gum, to improve the food's texture.
Tapioca Flour Recipes
Tapioca is an all-around thickener that adds a chewy texture and glossy finish to different dishes. This powder also improves the depth and consistency of Asian delicacies like boba pearls, dumplings, and pancakes. Let's look at some of the best homemade tapioca flour recipes made with affordable and healthy ingredients.
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