13 Best Substitutes for Wheat Starch

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Wheat starch is a food element used in countless recipes and processes of cooking. It is a carbohydrate derived from the endosperm of wheat.

There are abundant glucose molecules present in wheat starch that make it a suitable ingredient for baking, thickening, and stabilizing.

Wheat starch is generally used in making pasta, noodles, and bread.

It can also help with texture, viscosity, adhesion, and emulsification.

Despite this widely prevalent use of wheat starch, many people look for a substitute. This could be because of a wheat allergy or inaccessibility.

13 Best Substitutes for Wheat Starch

In this quick guide, we’ll go over some substitutes for wheat starch.

What Are Some Substitutes for Wheat Starch?

In case wheat starch is not an option for you, you can try these other starches for the same purposes. Some of these might sound familiar while others could be articles you have never heard of or considered.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a kind of starch derived from maize grains. It is made by refining corn flour to remove protein and fiber. Compared to wheat starch, cornstarch is a purer form of starch.

Another reason that makes cornstarch an excellent replacement for wheat starch is the fact that it contains no gluten.

People with an intolerance for wheat or gluten can enjoy the foods they were missing by using cornstarch instead.

Even without an allergy, nutritionists agree that cornstarch is a healthier ingredient for carb-rich foods.

Arrowroot

Arrowroot is a type of starch derived from rhizomes of various plants found in tropical regions. It is used to make various dishes like biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, and sauces.

Many kitchens across the globe use arrowroot to make fruit gels and ice creams.

It can be used as a substitute for wheat starch because of its thickening properties. Moreover, it is gluten-free, easy to digest, and a source of Vitamin B.

Arrowroot is said to boost metabolism, promote circulation, lower cholesterol, and help in healing.

Potato Starch

This is the starch that comes from potatoes that are crushed, washed, and dried to powder.

Potato starch contains high quantities of phosphate, which increases the viscosity and swelling power of the solution it’s added to.

Because of these properties, this starch is popularly used in many recipes. It’s a brilliant gluten-free alternative to wheat starch and is used in making noodles, bakery cream, instant soups, and cakes.

Potato starch is a staple in Finnish, Dutch, and Jewish cuisine.

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca is the extracted starch from cassava plants and is a common ingredient in Brazilian, African, Portuguese, and Asian cooking.

It is a natural thickener and texture enhancer, which is why it can easily replace wheat starch. Chefs use tapioca starch as a key ingredient in making gels and stabilizing emulsions.

This wheat starch substitute has several health benefits and contains no saturated fats. It supplies calcium and iron, making bones stronger and preventing disabling diseases like osteoporosis.

Rice Starch

Rice starch is the main component of rice and is a natural polymeric carbohydrate.

These long chains of glucose make it another good replacement for wheat starch, and a healthier one too. It is generally used to thicken custards and puddings.

Consuming rice starch increases the amount of butyrate in the gut. This is great for gut barrier function, inflammation, and preventing colon cancer.

It can also be used as an ingredient in baby food as it thickens and is easier to digest.

Ground Flax Seeds

Ground flax seeds are the next wheat starch substitute on our list. When ground, flaxseeds form a powder very similar to cornstarch.

These seeds are considered a superfood because they are rich in omega-3-fatty acids.

They are a good source of fiber, thiamin, magnesium, and manganese, some important nutrients for good health.

Naturally gluten-free, ground flax seeds can replace wheat starch with a lot more nutrition and the same functional properties.

Psyllium Husk

The seeds of the plant Plantago ovata are used to produce psyllium, a fiber generally consumed as a laxative. Psyllium husk tends to soak up water and other liquids.

That’s why, when you add it to your sauce, soup, or confectionary, it will make the food thicker.

It’s not the best replacement for wheat starch because of its impact on your gut, but it will do the job. However, if you suffer from digestive issues or flatulence, this might just be perfect for you.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a common food additive because of being a polysaccharide. It is an effective thickening agent and can also be used to stabilize ingredients that might separate.

The natural high molecular weight makes it an effective wheat starch substitute.

This agent is formed when sugar is fermented by a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. This is where it gets its name from.

Xanthan gum is sometimes taken to lower cholesterol or blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes.

Guar Gum

Also called guaran, guar gum is a galactomannan polysaccharide, a type of carbohydrate found in plants and fungi. Guar gum is derived from guar beans, a leguminous plant.

The seeds of these beans are mechanically de-husked, hydrated, and milled for their various applications. As a food additive, it is used to thicken and stabilize foodstuffs.

That makes it another viable option for wheat starch substitutes.

Cassava

Don’t confuse cassava with tapioca starch because though they come from the same plant, they’re formed from different parts.

Cassava comes from the whole root of Manihot esculenta. Here, we are talking about cassava flour, another good replacement for wheat starch.

However, because of the additional fiber content in cassava, you’ll need to use lesser quantities of it. This ingredient can thicken a little more than other foods used for similar applications.

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a natural, water-soluble dietary fiber. It is extracted from the roots of the elephant yam, otherwise known as konjac.

Normally, it is taken as a dietary supplement as a way to lose weight faster.

Glucomannan is sold in powder form, as a drink mix, and is also used in cooking. It is the main ingredient of shirataki noodles and is added to dishes like pasta and soups. This can be another substitute for wheat starch.

Mung Bean Starch

Derived from green gram, mung bean is a staple in East Asian, Southeast Asian, and Indian cuisine. It is used as an ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes.

When these beans are ground, they form starch, which is used to make transparent cellophane noodles.

It is a good source of protein and is often added to vegan cooking as an alternative to animal-based protein. This makes it a healthier substitute for wheat starch if you want to avoid carbs.

Water Chestnut Starch

Water chestnut is an aquatic tuber vegetable that grows in marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes. Despite being called a chestnut, it’s not really a nut.

The starch extracted from this vegetable is a favorite in Asian cooking as a thickener.

It can also be used to make food crispier when frying. Water chestnut starch is very low in calories and can be consumed to promote weight loss. It keeps you full for longer and is good for heart health.

FAQs

Is wheat starch the same as flour?

No, wheat starch and flour differ in many aspects. They are extracted from the wheat plant using different techniques. Wheat starch has a lot less protein content than flour. It is also a gluten-free ingredient whereas flour is not.

What can I use as a substitute for wheat starch when making hair grow?

You can try rice starch, corn starch, and baking soda instead of wheat starch. All three of these have been shown to benefit hair growth.

What is wheat starch in Chinese cooking?

Wheat starch is used in Chinese cooking as a thickening agent and to stabilize ingredients that are hard to mix. It is a base ingredient for many savory and sweet items. Wheat starch can make noodles, dumplings, cakes, jellies, and a lot more.

Bottom Line

If you’re allergic to wheat or if you can’t get access to a box of wheat starch, do not worry.

There are quite a lot of other food ingredients that you can use instead. Some of these are actually healthier, gluten-free, and easier to digest.

Wheat starch can be replaced by cornstarch, arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca starch, or rice starch.

Xanthan gum, ground flaxseeds, psyllium husk, guar gum, cassava, glucomannan, and starch from mung and water chestnut are more substitutes.

 

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.

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