15 Tapioca Flour Substitutes (Just Like The Real Thing)


If you’ve ever run out of tapioca flour (or didn’t have any to begin with), you know it can be a pain to find a good substitute.

Tapioca flour is a key ingredient in many recipes, so skipping it is not an option.

Worry not! Here are fifteen substitutes for tapioca flour that will work in a pinch.

Let’s find out right away what they are!

15 Tapioca Flour Substitutes 

Here are my top picks for substituting Tapioca Flour.

1. Corn Starch

Great for thickening

Corn starch is derived from the starchy corn kernel, making it an organic and naturally gluten-free substitute for Tapioca flour. 

One thing to consider with corn starch is that the longer it is cooked, the thicker it gets, and has a higher thickening ability than Tapioca starch.

How to substitute

For every 2 tablespoons of Tapioca flour, use 1 tablespoon of Corn starch due to the difference in their consistency once cooked.

Try this easy dessert made with milk and Cornstarch.

2. All-purpose Flour 

Great for frying

All-purpose flour can be used to substitute Tapioca for both frying and baking purposes giving the recipe a light, airy, crispy, and savory flavor.

Keep in mind that All-purpose flour contains gluten. Making it unfit for gluten-free recipes.

When baking, it should ideally be mixed with other types of flour to replace Tapioca flour.

How to substitute

All-purpose flour can be used in a definite 1:1 proportion for both frying and baking recipes.

Soft and airy pancakes with All-purpose flour.

3. Rice Flour 

Great for baking

Rice flour is used as stand-alone flour for both sweet and savory dishes like pancakes, cakes, and rice noodles to replace Tapioca flour.  

It is important to note that Rice flour has a subtle rice flavor that may seep into your meal but does not overpower other flavors. 

How to substitute

Rice Flour can be used to replace Tapioca flour entire in an equal 1:1 ratio for most recipes.

Easy Rice Flour snacks.

4. Almond Flour 

A great Keto-friendly choice 

Almond Flour is prepared by grinding almonds into a fine powder and can also be store-bought.

It is great for baking cookies, cakes, pancakes, and even in pudding or savory sauces.

Do consider that Almond flour too, has its distinct flavor and can sometimes remain lumpy when made at home.

Store-bought almond flour seems to be a better choice in this case. 

How to substitute

Almond flour has a heavier texture than Tapioca flour but can be used in equal amounts, with subsequent adjustments in other ingredients.

Delicious cake with Almond flour.

5. Arrowroot

Arrowroot is yet another gluten-free Tapioca flour substitute made from a starchy root vegetable that can directly be added to a recipe to thicken it instantly. 

A small caution: Mixing Arrowroot with dairy products for baking can result in a slimy outcome.

Arrowroot is also not the best as a flour substitute and should be mixed. 

How to substitute

Arrowroot can be used to substitute Tapioca flour in equal 1:1 proportion for thickening purposes.

6. Potato Starch

Potato starch is also derived from a root vegetable with a relatively neutral taste and can effectively replace Tapioca flour for sauce thickening and sometimes baking purposes.

Do bear in mind that Potato starch has a thicker density and may result in the baked goods being too dense.

Using lesser quantities would help.

How to substitute

Since Potato starch is much thicker than regular Tapioca starch, half the quantity would be enough. 1 tablespoon of Potato starch for 2 tablespoons of Tapioca flour is suggested.

Delicious Korean potato pancake with Potato starch.

7. Cassava Flour 

Both Tapioca flour and Cassava flour are produced from the same root plant and can be used to replace each other directly for most recipes like soups and sauces.

It is important to note that Cassava flour has a slightly nutty flavor that is retained when used. It also has a higher thickening ability and should be adjusted accordingly. 

How to substitute

Cassava flour has higher fiber content making it a thicker solution and should be used in lesser quantities than Tapioca flour.

Try these healthy and tasty recipes with Cassava flour.

8. Instant Tapioca Pearls / Boba

Instant Tapioca pearls are also called Boba and are a pre-packed baking ingredient with the same essence as Tapioca flour. 

One thing to bear in mind is that instant Tapioca pearls may differ in taste depending on different brands and can only be used in limited recipes.

How to substitute

A slightly less amount of instant tapioca pearls or boba is sufficient for the same amount of Tapioca flour. 1 tablespoon of boba for every 1.5 tablespoons of tapioca flour is ideal.

Enjoy this easy Tapioca pudding with Instant tapioca pearls.

9. Heavy Cream 

Heavy cream is an unusual but equally efficient substitute for Tapioca flour when used to thicken soups or pasta sauces or desserts like pudding.

Other thickening agents are not required if heavy cream is used.

Do remember that Heavy cream is a rich dairy product with comparatively higher fat content than tapioca flour. 

How to substitute

Heavy cream can be used in the same amount as diluted Tapioca flour when it is mixed with water to get the same consistency as heavy cream.

Delicious garlic chicken with Heavy cream.

10. Agar-Agar

Agar-Agar is derived from red algae and is used in many vegan sweet and savory dishes.

It is most often added to hard or cut cheeses. 

It is important to note that agar-agar is not suitable for all recipes and is often not used in desserts and baked recipes as it results in a slimy texture.

How to substitute

The amount of Agar-agar used depends on the subjective recipe but a slightly lesser amount than Tapioca flour is recommended initially.

Try this no-bake Agar-Agar pudding.

11. Chestnut Flour 

Chestnut flour is prepared from dried, roasted, and ground chestnuts making it an organic, gluten-free, and vegan alternative to replace Tapioca flour in various baked recipes. 

Remember that Chestnut Flour has a distinctly earthy and nutty note that easily seeps into the baked goodies. 

How to substitute

Chestnut flour can be used in an equal 1:1 proportion to directly substitute Tapioca flour for bread and pancakes.

Chestnut pie with Chestnut flour.

12. Chia Seed Flour 

Chia seed flour is made by simply grinding chia seeds into a fine powder that can be used to replace Tapioca flour in savory sauces and sweet desserts.

It is known for its great nutritional value.

A small caution: Ground chia seeds have a distinct aroma that remains even after it is baked or cooked into the sauce. 

How to substitute 

Chia seeds flour can be used to substitute Tapioca flour in a slightly lesser quantity than the required quantity of tapioca flour.

Try these healthy Chia seed pancakes.

13. Chickpea Flour 

Chickpea Flour, also known as Garbanzo flour, is essentially binding flour and can be used as a thickening agent for soups, and for baking bread, wraps, flatbread, and muffins.

Do remember that Chickpea flour has an organic savory flavor that is hard to mask but can be managed by carefully measuring other ingredients in the recipe.

How to substitute 

Since chickpea flour is most often used as a binding agent, its measurement varies with recipes but can be used for the same amount of Tapioca flour.

Cookies with Chickpea flour.

14. Pectin And Gelatin

Pectin and Gelatin are most often used in the making of jams and jellies and desserts like custard, pudding, and fruit sauces and can replace Tapioca flour in other such recipes.

Remember that Pectin and Gelatin cannot be used for savory sauce recipes and only work where other kinds of flours don’t. 

How to substitute

Only a small amount of Pectin and Gelatin can go a long way when substituting Tapioca flour.

Fruity and chewy Pectin candy.

15. Collagen or Eggs

Yet another unusual but equally efficient substitute for Tapioca flour in desserts like custard and pudding and savory dishes like meatballs, meat patties, burgers, and fritters.

Do pay attention to the fact that both Collagen and Eggs are non-vegan substitutes and many people are allergic to them.

Other alternatives are recommended in such a situation. 

How to substitute

The quantity of Collagen and Eggs needed to replace Tapioca flour changes with different dishes and should be added accordingly.

Try these delicious and healthy Collagen smoothies.


What Is The Best Substitute For Tapioca Flour?

Cornstarch, Cassava flour, Potato starch, All-purpose flour, Arrowroot, and Rice flour are known to be the best substitutes for Tapioca flour. They are all used for different recipes when replacing Tapioca flour.

Cornstarch, Arrowroot, and All-purpose flour are great for use in baked desserts while Cassava flour and potato starch are great in savory recipes.

What Is The Difference Between Tapioca Flour And Cassava Starch?

Tapioca flour and Cassava starch are derived from the same Yucca root vegetable but differ in their properties. Tapioca flour is the result of the starchy water obtained after the root is rinsed and grated. 

Cassava starch, on the other hand, is prepared from the whole root and is rich in fiber, and has a distinct nutty flavor.

Can I Use Cornstarch to Substitute Tapioca Flour?

Yes, Cornstarch is one of the most commonly used and easily available substitutes for Tapioca flour for both sweet and savory dishes. Cornstarch is most often used as a thickening agent.

A lesser amount of Cornstarch can do the job as well as more amounts of Tapioca flour for thickening sauces.

What Can I Use Instead Of Tapioca Flour For Boba?

When substituting Tapioca flour to make Boba specifically, the choices narrow down to Arrowroot, Potato starch, and Cornstarch. The chewy yet light texture of Tapioca boba can only be replicated by these three alternatives.

Arrowroot, Potato starch, and Cornstarch can be used in the same proportion and method as Tapioca flour to make Boba pearls.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a tapioca flour substitute, these 15 are great to give a try.

Have you tried any of these substitutes? Did you like them? Do you have any other substitutes to recommend?

Share this post with your friends and family to see if they can help you find the perfect tapioca flour substitute.

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About Barbara Foster

Barbara is a traveler who has traveled to more than 25 countries. She loves the variety of food she gets to experience on her trips and maintains detailed journals of her travels which she plans to publish as a book someday. She loves to bake. Her favorite cuisines are Italian, French, and Mexican.