Cornstarch Substitute

Corn Starch Substitute. Photo © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    1 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    1 min
  • Yield

If you're out of cornstarch, or cooking for someone who's allergic to corn, one of these cornstarch substitutes should stand in nicely. You probably have at least one of them in your pantry. Keep reading for help picking the right one.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Instant tapioca
  • Arrowroot starch


Option 1: Replace the cornstarch in your recipe with double the amount of all-purpose flour. This is the best substitute for dairy-based sauces, and is a good substitute for any other type of sauce.

Option 2: Replace the cornstarch with an equal amount of instant Tapioca (Minute Tapioca). This is a good substitute to use in sauces, but does not work well in dairy-based sauces. It's also good in dishes that will be cooked at a high temperature (pies, for example) or anything that you plan to freeze.

Tapioca doesn't dissolve completely when cooked, so you will have little balls of Tapioca in your finished dish. If this is a concern, grind your tapioca into a fine powder before you use it. Only have regular tapioca or pearl tapioca on hand? Just grind it first. A few quick pulses in the food processor should do the trick.

Recipes prepared with tapioca will have a glossier finish than those prepared with cornstarch. With pies, this is usually a plus. For the best results, add the tapioca, and allow the ingredients to sit for 5-15 minutes before cooking. This will give the tapioca time to start absorbing the liquids in the dish, so it thickens properly.

Option 3: Replace the cornstarch called for with an equal amount of arrowroot starch. Arrowroot works well in cooked dishes and foods that are destined for the freezer. It is not a good substitute to use in dairy-based recipes because it will result in a slimy texture.

All of these options are corn-free, but if corn allergies or sensitivities are a concern, do consult the product packaging to ensure they haven't been manufactured in facilities that also process corn.

Did You Find This Substitution Helpful?

Then, be sure to check out all of my other ingredient substitutions.

I have over 70 substitutions to date, and I'm constantly adding more. Bookmark or pin the page, so you can reference my list of subs whenever you run out of an ingredient or need to work around an allergy. It's sure to save you some money and trips to the grocery store.

More Corn Substitutes

Trying to avoid products with corn because of a gluten sensitivity or intolerance? Check out these articles for more ideas on how to cut the corn out of recipes: