Top 9 best alternatives (2021)

by | Apr 20, 2021 | cutlery and knife | 0 comments

Starch is one of the most useful ingredients in your pantry.

These are used as a thickener and binder for salty dishes, as a coating – whether dry or in dough – for frying and in several baked confectioneries.

Most of us are more familiar with the ubiquitous corn starch – often reaching for it in the grocery store.

Its popularity is understandable because corn is the number one product in the United States.

But another common starch that you should probably try soon comes from another very important crop: wheat.

What can you do with wheat starch?

As mentioned, this can be used as a thickener and binder, for deep frying and for baking.

What it can not do is be like flour, so do not use this as such.

But this ingredient is found mostly in bun wrappers, especially in Har Gow and Char Siew Bao.

It is also used for various noodle recipes like Liang Pi, Loh Shi Fun and Hong Kong Silver Pin Noodles.

A short story about the old old crop

Wheat Starch Substitute

Wheat is one of the first grains to be grown because it was relatively easy to remove this from the husk, but it is difficult to find out where this was first grown because the grass grew almost everywhere.

However, it was the Romans who kind of perfected the grinding process to turn the grains into flour.

But the flour at that time was still discolored and coarse.

It took a millennium to see real improvement in the grinding process.

It was not until the 19th century that they were able to separate the parts of the grain: the endosperm made into flour, bran, and germ.

It took a few years to detect wheat starch, extracted by dissolving the cellulose of the endosperm and then evaporating the water and retaining the powder.

Of all the wheat-based products, this is the only one that has the least amount of gluten that some believe is ‘gluten-free’.

The FDA considers it as its content is less than 20 ppm.

However, note that there is still residual gluten as this is very difficult to remove completely during manufacture.

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Replacement of wheat starch

Do you have celiac disease or another intestinal problem and should not have gluten?

Are you a health fan who does not want anything to do with gluten?

Did your local grocery store run out of this ingredient?

If your answer to all these questions is YES, do not worry.

Here are some great alternatives to our selected ingredient.

Corn starch

✓ best as a thickener
✓ also as a binder and coating for frying, for baking and random life shacks
✘ gluten, color and taste

This should not come as a surprise because it is the most popular type in this category. It is also the most affordable.

Derived from the endosperm in the corn kernels, this has no trace of gluten at all.

It also does not affect the color or taste of the dish.

How to switch

The ratio of substitution is 1: 1.

The right way to use

Never add this straight to a pot of hot water. This will result in lumps.

Dissolve a tablespoon first in a small amount of cold or lukewarm water before adding it to a larger amount of liquid.

Whisk the slurry in the pan as the mixture simmers.

Potato starch

✓ best as a coating (dry or in dough) when frying
✓ as a thickener, binder, for baking and random life shacks
✘ gluten, color and taste

Extracted from mashed potatoes, which are then dried and then pulverized, this is a healthy option as it is one of the few food products that did not undergo a whole lot of chemical processes.

This is also quite popular, second largest on corn.

Because this can be replaced with corn in many dishes, it also acts as a good substitute for our selected ingredient.

How to switch

Like the corn above, this is also measure by measure.

The right way to use

Compared to corn, this can handle heat better; Therefore, it is good for deep frying.

However, it is still best to mix this in a slurry first and pour it into a pot of soup once you have turned off the heat and not while the soup is simmering.

Tapioca starch

✓ best for baking, cooking desserts and as a thickener
✓ Also used as a binder and for frying
✘ gluten and color

The tapioca root is first washed and pulped, leaving a thick liquid which is dried and then ground to a powder.

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This tuber underwent some treatment to remove the cyanide that some plants may contain.
In that regard, choose only well-known, reputable brands.

Note that this is marketed as cash starch. Cassava is Tapioca.

How to switch

The ratio of our selected ingredient to the alternative is 1: 2.

The right way to use

Mixing this in lukewarm water to create a slurry is a must.

Add this yourself before the soup gets hot.

Rice starch

✓ best for baking, cooking desserts
✓ is also used as a thickener and binder
✘ gluten and color

Rice, usually the crushed ones, is soaked in a soda to soften it.

The alkaline water is removed before the softened grains are pounded so that the starchy component is extracted, dried and then pounded into a powder.

This is a must-have in food processing because it increases the shelf life of the food, whites and smooths confectionery and helps with the food’s freezing-thawing stability.

How to switch

The ratio is also 1: 1.

The right way to use

Make a slurry first if you want thick soups or pie fillings.

If you trade this straight for noodles or dumpling wraps, add a little water to it until it forms.


✓ best for baking
✓ is also used as a thickener and binder
✘ gluten

Flaxseed, considered one of the few truly wonderful foods, is packed with vitamins and minerals and has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cancer.

Used to support the nutritional value of baked goods, this is a good substitute because it can also thick sauces.

If you do not mind the color (brown or golden) and the nutty taste it can give to your dish, continue to use it.

It’s very healthy, so you get so much more!

How to switch

The proportion of our featured ingredient for flaxseed is 2: 1

The right way to use

Grind the flaxseed before adding water to make a slurry to thicken the bowls.
Otherwise, just mix it in butter or dough as it is.

Arrowroot Mel

✓ mixed with other flours for baking, such as thickener, binder and frying
✘ gluten, color and taste

Still made traditionally, this is a gluten-free, paleo-friendly alternative to our featured ingredient loved by strict vegans.

How to switch

If the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon, use only half a tablespoon (or even less) of arrowhead flour.

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The right way to use

This degrades quickly at high temperatures, so whip the slurry just before serving.

Psyllium remember

✓ as it is, as a thickener, binder and in baking
✘ gluten

An important ingredient in laxatives, Psyllium Husk comes from an herb called Plantago ovata.

It is also used for baking to retain moisture and prevents bread from crumbling too quickly.

How to switch

Use half a tablespoon of Psyllium for each tablespoon of wheat starch.

Xanthan gum

✓ as a thickener and binder
✓ also for baking
✘ gluten

Extracted from bacteria found in fermentation, this industrial additive is becoming more and more common in homemade food – especially in gluten-free recipes.

How to switch

A little goes a long way. Use only one-eighth of what the recipe calls for.

The right way to use

Be extra careful when using this because too much can cause digestive problems.

Guar gum

✓ as a thickener and binder
✓ also for baking
✘ gluten

Also a common industrial food additive, this alternative is made from legumes called Guar.

More people prefer this because it is a safer option for gluten-free baking compared to Xanthan Gum.

How to switch

The ratio is the same with Xanthan Gum – one-eighth of what was originally required.

The right way to use

This can be sprinkled over food – hot or cold – and then mixed until completely incorporated.

It’s pretty hard to get past

Admittedly, your local grocery store may not have our ingredient on their shelves, as this is not a common ingredient in Western cuisine.

Fortunately, Asian stores may have this, though you may have better luck getting one if you order online.
Here are some common brands:

  • Polar bear mark
  • Red lantern
  • Wheat starch
  • Windmill
  • Sadaf
  • Bapao
  • Cock Brand
  • Hoong Son with low seat

However, if you are pressed for time and there is not an ounce of this nearby, you can use any of the substitutes listed above.

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