Don’t have cornstarch, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best cornstarch substitute to use for thickening in recipes.
Making a recipe that calls for cornstarch and don’t have it? Don’t worry, there are few options that are perfectly suited as a substitution. Cornstarch is used as a thickener for sauces: both savory and sweet. You’ll find it in fruity desserts like strawberry rhubarb crisp, and savory recipes like vegetable stir fry. Whether you’re addressing an allergy or just ran out, there are a few easy substitutes that work well.
Best cornstarch substitute
1. Arrowroot starch
The best substitute for cornstarch? Arrowroot starch. It’s the starch extracted from the arrowroot plant, and often used in gluten-free baking to bring a light texture to baked goods. It’s a great substitute for cornstarch that works for people with corn allergies, and it provides that nice glossy shine just like cornstarch. Replace arrowroot starch 1 for 1 with cornstarch. (Here’s an example recipe: Blueberry Crisp.)
Another great substitute for cornstarch? Flour! Flour acts in a similar way to thicken sauces, though the sauce won’t end up with the glossy finish that cornstarch gives. Here’s the substitution ratio: use 2 tablespoons flour for every 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a recipe.
Other substitutes you can try: tapioca starch or rice flour. We haven’t worked with either in our recipes, so can’t comment to the effectiveness. But you’re welcome to try! Let us know how it goes in the comments below.
Note: Our Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream and other dairy-free ice cream recipes use cornstarch as a thickener to get a creamy texture. You could try with arrowroot starch, but flour wouldn’t have the same properties.
Here are some recipes where you could use this cornstarch substitution:
- Easy Strawberry Sauce
- Classic Strawberry Crumble
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Broccoli Stir Fry
- Teriyaki Salmon
- Easy Blueberry Sauce
- Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- Rhubarb Crisp Recipe
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.