Tapioca flour substitute: thickening, frying, baking, keto


Tapioca flour has a number of uses in cooking and baking. It works well as a thickener, makes a good gluten-free addition in baking, and is effective for coating ingredients before frying. There are many great tapioca flour substitutes that a person can use when looking for an alternative.

Tapioca flour comes from the starch in a vegetable called cassava and is also known as tapioca starch. To make tapioca flour, a person peels the cassava root, washes it, and finely chops it into small pieces. You wash and spin this pulp until the starch comes out of the mixture. They then dry this starch until it forms a white, powdery substance. This substance is tapioca flour.

Tapioca flour is different from cassava flour. Tapioca flour only contains the starch of the cassava, while the entire root is used in the manufacture of cassava flour.

This article lists the best alternatives to tapioca flour for thickening, frying, baking, and for those on a ketogenic diet.

Tapioca flour works well as a thickener for soups, sauces, sauces, and cake fillings. Here are some alternative flours that can be effective thickeners:


Corn starch is different from corn flour. Corn flour comes from finely ground, dried corn kernels. Corn starch comes only from the starchy part of a corn kernel.

Corn starch is a great alternative to tapioca flour when it comes to thickening sauces.

Corn starch actually has a greater thickening capacity than tapioca flour. This means that a person should be using half the cornstarch that they would be using tapioca flour. If a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour, a person should use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

Corn starch is naturally gluten-free, which makes it ideal for gluten-free cooking.

Find out more about corn starch substitutes here.

Potato starch

Potato starch absorbs water effectively, making it a great alternative to thickening sauces. When thickening a sauce, a person can directly replace tapioca flour with potato starch.

If a person is baking, potato starch may not be the best alternative. It has a heavier consistency than tapioca flour, which can make baked goods feel denser.

A person should use less potato starch than tapioca flour when baking.

Potato starch is also gluten-free.

Cassava flour

Cassava flour is another gluten-free substitute for tapioca flour. It also has more health benefits than tapioca flour because cassava flour contains more fiber than tapioca flour.

In most recipes, a person can substitute tapioca flour directly for cassava flour. However, cassava flour has a higher thickening power due to its higher fiber content. Therefore, a person should use a little less cassava flour than tapioca flour when thickening.

Cassava flour has a slightly nutty taste that a person should consider when using.


Arrowroot is a starchy root vegetable that is similar to cassava and sweet potato.

Arrowroot flour is a good thickening alternative to tapioca flour. A person can directly replace it when a sauce is thickened.

Arrowroot works well in a baking mix that also contains other starches or flours. However, it is not effective as a flour on its own in baking.

Arrowroot is also gluten-free.

Find out more about gluten-free recipes here.

People can use tapioca flour when frying food. It’s a good coating for meat, fish, or other foods before frying takes place. This will help create a crispy crust or outer layer during the frying process.

Here are some alternatives to tapioca flour for frying:


Corn starch is a very effective substitute for tapioca flour when frying. Like tapioca flour, corn starch forms a crispy outer layer when roasted. It also withstands sauces well without getting wet and damp.

Like tapioca flour, corn starch absorbs less cooking oil than an all-purpose flour, making it a healthier alternative to wheat flour.

Potato starch

Potato starch is similar to corn starch and is another great alternative to frying to tapioca flour.

Similar to tapioca flour, potato starch offers a light, crispy coating and doesn’t absorb too much oil.

Potato starch is another gluten-free option that is ideal for gluten-free frying.

Rice flour

Rice flour, made from finely ground rice grains, is another gluten-free alternative to tapioca flour.

Rice flour is a great alternative to tapioca flour for frying and creates a similarly light, crispy coating on fried foods.

Find out more about the healthiest oil for frying here.

Tapioca flour is found in a number of gluten-free baking recipes.

This is because gluten helps bind the ingredients together in baking. Tapioca flour mimics the binding ability of gluten and can prevent a gluten-free casserole from becoming dry and crumbly.

When combined with another starch in a gluten-free flour mix, tapioca flour can give baked goods a light, airy, and chewy texture without losing their crispness. However, too much tapioca flour can cause a baked good to become thick and rubbery.

Baked recipes rarely contain tapioca flour alone. Here are some other options:

All-purpose flour

All-purpose flour can be an effective alternative to flour mixes that include tapioca flour in baking. However, because it contains gluten, it is unsuitable for gluten-free recipes.

Find out how to find out if someone has a wheat allergy here.

Chestnut flour

Chestnut flour comes from dried, roasted and ground chestnuts. It can replace tapioca flour in a gluten-free baking recipe.

Chestnut flour is a healthy alternative to tapioca flour because it’s high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

Chestnut flour can also give the casserole a slightly nutty, earthy taste.

Rice flour

Rice flour is a great alternative to tapioca flour in baking. It offers a mild rice flavor for baking and is gluten free.

Rice flour is a common ingredient in rice noodle recipes and some pancakes.

Find out more about egg substitutes for baking here.

A ketogenic diet or keto diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fat.

The main goal of a keto diet is for a person to consume more calories from fat than from carbohydrates.

Some studies suggest that even though it is high in fat, a keto diet can help a person lose weight.

Some health professionals believe that keto diets are beneficial in fighting diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy.

There are a number of low-carb flours that are suitable for a keto diet, including:

Almond flour

When making almond flour, blanched, sweet almonds are ground in a food processor. A person can also buy it from a supermarket or health food store.

Almond flour is gluten-free, high in protein, and a good keto-friendly alternative to tapioca flour.

Almond flour works well in baking, especially in pancakes, cookies, brownies, and puddings.

It can also act as a thickener in sauces. However, it is important that a person use very finely ground almond flour for thickening. Store-bought almond flour can work best for this reason. If it’s not fine enough, almond flour can add an undesirable texture to a sauce.

Chia seed flour

Chia seed flour consists of very finely ground chia seeds. It’s gluten-free and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a number of health benefits. It also contains fiber, proteins, vitamins, and some minerals.

Chia seed flour is effective for thickening sauces and makes a good coating for fish, meat or vegetables before frying. It can also be used in a number of gluten-free baking recipes.

This makes chia seed flour a powerful keto-friendly alternative to tapioca flour.

Chickpea flour

Chickpea flour consists of finely ground chickpeas. Chickpeas are low in carbohydrates, making them a good keto-friendly alternative to tapioca flour. They also have a number of health benefits and are high in protein, fat, vitamins, and fiber.

Similar to tapioca flour, chickpea flour is good for gluten-free baking when combined with other flours. It is effective in recipes for quick flatbreads, wraps, muffins, and cakes.

Chickpea flour is also effective in recipes that require frying and thickening.

Other good keto-friendly alternatives to tapioca flour include hazelnut flour, psyllium husk, coconut flour, and flaxseed flour.

Find out more about bread alternatives for keto or low-carbohydrate diets here.

Tapioca flour is found in a number of recipes and has a variety of uses in both cooking and baking.

Tapioca flour is an effective thickener for sauces, a useful addition to gluten-free baking, and also works well as a coating before frying.

There are a number of effective substitutes for tapioca flour.

Alternative thickeners include corn starch, potato starch, cassava flour, and arrowroot. Corn starch, potato starch and rice flour are good substitutes for frying. Alternatives in baking include rice flour, chestnut flour, and all-purpose flour. Keto-friendly substitutes include almond flour, chia seed flour, psyllium husk powder, hazelnut flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed flour.


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