Tapioca Flour Substitute – Tapioca flour comes from the tapioca plant roots—a plant native to the Amazon. Its ability to absorb water makes it perfect for thickening soups, gravies, and so on. When you find yourself running short of tapioca flour while cooking a dish that requires this ingredient, it is best to have a few tricks up your sleeve to solve this problem immediately.
The Best Tapioca Flour Substitute
While you may go out and buy one right away, this is not always the best solution in some instances. Great news, however, there are a lot of tapioca flour substitutes you can find in case of an emergency. In this article, you will learn about the five best tapioca flour substitute. Namely, arrowroot starch, cornstarch, flour, cassava, quick cooking tapioca/homemade tapioca.
Arrowroot is a type of root starch that shares almost the same properties as tapioca. This tapioca flour substitute comes from the plant family of Marantaceae and other tubers as well. Other than its neutral taste, it gives a clear and glossy surface when added to liquid, just like tapioca.
Besides the similar effect it provides, arrowroot starch is gluten-free. Although, unlike tapioca flour, it can’t be subjected to heat for a long time as it will easily thin out and break down. Note that for every two tablespoons of tapioca required, use only one tablespoon of arrowroot.
Cornstarch is considered an excellent substitute for tapioca flour. Both are starch thickeners that appear to be silky powders. Like tapioca flour, cornstarch does not noticeably change the flavor of the finished product and it as well does not add much fat.
Two disadvantages of cornstarch are how it becomes spongy when frozen and how it easily breaks down when mixed together with an acidic liquid. It also does not provide a shiny look to the food as compared with tapioca flour. Just like arrowroot starch, for every two tablespoons of tapioca, use one tablespoon of cornstarch.
Another good replacement for tapioca flour is an ordinary wheat flour. However, flour is only 5% starch which takes it longer to create a thickening gel as it does not absorb water quickly. One main difference between wheat flour to tapioca flour is that it contains gluten.
Hence, for those who are on a gluten-free diet, this alternative might not be a great substitute. It is important to note that for every tablespoon of tapioca flour required, a tablespoon of wheat flour should be used.
Although cassava and tapioca flour come from the cassava plant root, the way they are processed is different. Cassava flour is basically made from the cassava root itself, while tapioca flour is a starch extracted from the root alone. Similarity wise, both are thickeners and gluten-free and enhance the texture of baked goods. In baking, cassava flour provides a thicker consistency than tapioca flour.
Compared with tapioca flour, a quick-cooking tapioca appears to have small grains and can stand long hours of cooking and freezing. Also can use to make tapioca pudding by utilizing thickening alternatives. Other names for quick-cooking tapioca in stores are quick tapioca, instant tapioca, tapioca granules, instant pearl tapioca, and granulated tapioca.
All aforementioned five tapioca flour substitute have their own advantages and disadvantages. Hence, in the end, your top choice of alternative for tapioca flour will always depend on your requirements, such as the texture it gives to baked goods or the absence or presence of gluten.
See also: Cake Flour Vs. All-Purpose Flour