Potatoes are one of the most common food staples around the world. We use them for everything from French fries to mashed potatoes and gravy and we can make flour of out them as well.
They’re inexpensive, readily available, and naturally-gluten free.
Making your own potato flour at home is possible, but quite the endeavor. Most people prefer to buy potato flour on Amazon or their local supermarket.
But what if you don’t want to use or don’t have any potato flour and a recipe is calling for it. Are there any good alternatives to potato flour? Of course!
What are the best substitutes for potato flour? The best substitute for potato flour overall are potato flakes, but there are other good foods to substitute by use, including corn starch, tapioca starch or flour, arrowroot powder, mashed potatoes, all-purpose flour, rice flour, and quinoa flour.
Potato flour is very versatile and what you’re using it for should determine what you substitute it for.
Whether your frying, thickening, or baking bread or pastries, we have curated a list of the 7 best potato flour substitutes by use as well as identified our top overall substitute – potato flakes.
In this guide you’ll not only find our best suggestions for potato flour alternatives but we also carefully explain why each choice works.
What is a Potato Flour?
Potato flour is a type of flour made from whole potatoes. The potatoes are cooked, dried, and then ground into a fine powder.
Depending on the brand and make of potato flour, the potatoes may or may not have been peeled before drying.
Most commercially produced brands peel their potatoes first, which offers a more consistent texture and color, though more artisanal brands may keep the peeling for added nutritional value.
What does potato flour taste like? Since it’s made from whole potatoes, it retains a lot of natural potato flavor, but it’s not full-flavored or overpowering after it’s been cooked, dried, and processed into flour.
It does bring an earthy element to your baked goods and adds a creamy-beige color as well.
Potato Flour Vs Potato Starch
As mentioned, potato flour is made from whole potatoes. Those potatoes are usually peeled before cooking and drying, but the entire potato is used.
This allows potato flour to retain more fiber, protein, and flavor. It also is potato colored, resulting in an off-white or light beige flour.
The process of making potato starch is different. Potato starch is made by crushing potatoes to break down their natural starch grains and then washing the crushed potatoes to extract the broken starch.
The starch is all that is retained, and it is dried into a very fine, very white powder.
Potato starch has virtually no protein, fiber, or flavor. It’s primarily used as a binding agent, though it can also be added to baked goods to help retain moisture and create a soft texture
You can substitute potato flour with potato starch but potato flour is more than just starch, so they aren’t an exact match.
Potato flour is more than 80% starch. However without the fiber and protein, potato starch will act subtly different and the end result will have less flavor and color.
For this article, we’re going to assume you have neither potato flour nor potato starch.
What is Potato Flour Used For?
Potato flour is best known for holding water, which makes it particularly useful as a thickening agent as well as for producing moist yeast bread.
Many bread bakers choose to cut their all-purpose, whole wheat, or bread flour with potato flour to increase the moisture of the baked bread and also makes the dough easier to handle and shape.
It can also be used in general baking, such as making cakes or any item that needs to be gluten-free, which creates a more tender crumb.
Potato flour isn’t usually used as the only flour in baked goods’ recipes. It retains so much moisture that, alone, it will create gummy, dense baked goods. However, when combined with any other flour, it enhances the overall result.
Potato flour is also used to coat foods before frying them, helping create a crispy fried texture and protecting your food from sticking to a pan or each other.
7 Best Potato Flour Substitutes
Potato flour can be substituted for many different ingredients, many of which you may already have in your pantry. To know which is the best selection, you need to understand why potato flour is being used in each individual recipe.
In a pinch, you can use any of the following ingredients in any application, but some are better suited for particular tasks:
|Bob’s Red Mill Idaho Potato Flakes
|Argo Corn Starch
|Frying, Chinese food
|Erawan Tapioca Starch
|Thickening sauce, gravy, pie filling
|Homemade mashed potatoes
|Thickening stew and soup
|Landor Trading Company Arrowroot Starch
|Thickening freezer meals
|King Arthur All-Purpose GF Flour
|Erawan Rice Flour
|Cake and pastries
|Bonus: Quinoa Flour
|LiveKuna Quinoa Flour
What follows is our best suggestions in further detail for replacing potato flour in a recipe, determined by what the purpose of the flour is in each situation.
So read on to understand the best potato flour substitutes!
Best Overall Substitute: Potato Flakes
Potato flakes can be used as an exact substitute for potato flour, in the same measurements.
Potato flakes are essentially potato flour that hasn’t been ground fine enough to be considered flour, but otherwise, it’s the same ingredient, processed in the same manner.
You can’t simply use any instant potatoes you have in your pantry, however, as many have added ingredients and flavors that will dramatically alter your recipe.
If you want to substitute potato flakes for potato flour, we recommend trying Bob’s Red Mill Idaho Potato Flakes. They have a single ingredient listed: dehydrated potatoes.
However, if you’re dissolving or mixing the flakes into a batter or dough, you can use the flakes as they are.
If you want to use potato flakes for coating meat, vegetables, or meat substitutes before frying them, you can create a powder out of your flakes. Just blitz them in your blender or food processor for a few seconds.
For Frying: Corn Starch
We’ve actually already compared corn starch vs potato flour and found them to be a near-perfect substitute for each other. That’s especially true when you’re trying to get a crispy texture out of your fried foods.
Coating your food items with flour before you fry them helps retain a juicy moisture inside a crisp outer crust. Cornstarch will act much the same way as potato flour or potato starch for this type of application.
Argo’s corn starch is restaurant-quality. It comes in a 3.5-pound resealable tub that will keep your pantry prepared for all your frying needs.
As a Thickener: Tapioca Starch/Flour, Mashed Potatoes, or Arrowroot Powder
The most important criteria for thickening is flavor and texture. The ideal requirements for this, however, may vary depending on what exactly you are thickening.
Thickening Sauce, Gravy, or Pie Filling: Tapioca Starch/Flour
Tapioca starch or flour is a great substitute for potato flour if your goal is thickening a sauce, gravy, or even pie filling.
Tapioca starch is essentially flavorless. It won’t bring the earthy potato flavors to your dish, but it also won’t add any odd tastes to it.
It’s also pure white, so it won’t change the color of your sauce or gravy and it dissolves very well. It will create a nice smooth, yet thick consistency.
You will need about 1.5–2 teaspoons of tapioca flour for every 1 teaspoon of potato flour called for in the recipe.
Thickening Stew, Soup, or Simmer Sauces: Mashed Potatoes
If you want to thicken a stew or soup and you’ve run out of potato flour, try using simple mashed potatoes.
You’ll get the potato flavor love. However, you’ll have to use more mashed potatoes than you would use potato flour, since flour is a concentrated form.
Mashed potatoes have naturally more moisture than potato flour since they haven’t been dried. But this isn’t a problem in most stews or simmer sauces, which tend to have plenty of moisture.
The mashed potatoes will thicken without drying out your dish.
Thickening Make-Ahead Freezer Meals: Arrowroot Powder
If you’re going to be freezing your foods, the best substitute for potato flour as a thickening agent is arrowroot powder.
Arrowroot powder acts much like any other starch in terms of thickening power. However, it’s much more stable through the freezing process and it actively prevents ice crystals from forming.
Even if you have potato flour, if you’re planning on freezing your dish, arrowroot is your best solution. We really like this arrowroot powder from Landor Trading Company.
For Baking Bread: All-Purpose Flour
Many people love to add potato flour to their bread or use it exclusively as their bread flour of choice because it bakes a moist loaf with a crisp crust and a long shelf life.
If you don’t have any potato flour on hand you can easily substitute all-purpose flour for your bread baking, but you’ll want to add your water carefully as all-purpose flour doesn’t absorb as much moisture as potato flour.
If you want to keep your recipe gluten-free, we recommend trying King Arthur’s gluten-free all-purpose flour.
The loaf will have less color and flavor without the potato flour, but it will rise nicely and have a similar quality, though it will go stale more quickly.
If you have the opportunity, you can substitute the water in your bread recipe for cooled potato water – the water used to boil potatoes.
Potato water contains a lot of the starch that boiled potatoes lose, so it can help bring back some of the benefits of using potato flour in your baking.
For Cake: Rice Flour
Rice flour creates light and airy baked goods and has a natural, subtle sweetness to it which makes it the best potato flour substitute if you’re baking cake or muffins.
Rice is naturally gluten-free and is called for in many different gluten-free recipes.
If you want to substitute your potato flour for rice flour, we recommend finding an otherwise similar recipe and deciding whether any other small alterations need to be made.
One very important factor to keep in mind when you’re reaching for rice flour if you want to use it as an alternative to potato flour or starch is to make sure you don’t have glutinous rice flour, which is an entirely different product.
To be safe, our favorite rice flour for substituting for potato flour is from Erawan, the same brand that makes the tapioca starch we recommend most highly.
For Gluten-Free Baking: Quinoa Flour
If your primary purpose for using potato flour in your baking is to make safe, healthy, and delicious gluten-free baked goods, your most reliable alternative for nearly all types of baking is quinoa flour.
The reason we recommend quinoa flour for gluten-free baking is that it has high protein content, making it a more comparable substitution for regular wheat flour in baking.
It does not, however, retain moisture like potato flour, and both options work best if they’re used in combination with another all-purpose flour, such as the previously suggested gluten-free flour from King Arthur.
Quinoa flour is not the easiest flour to find, but the organic quinoa flour from LiveKuna works beautifully in nearly any baked good.
Related Questions About Potato Flour
Is Potato Flour Gluten-Free?
Yes, potato flour is naturally gluten-free, which makes it a popular alternative to conventional wheat flour for those with celiac or gluten sensitivities.
It is always important to check each individual manufacturer, however, to be sure that the facility processing the potato flour is also certified to be gluten-free so there is no risk of cross-contamination.
Is Sweet Potato Flour the Same as Potato Flour?
Sweet potato flour is very similar to potato flour, but it is made from sweet potatoes rather than the conventional white starchy varieties, like Idaho potatoes.
It is used in much the same way as potato flour, as a thickening agent primarily but also for baked goods. Just like whole sweet potatoes, this sweetness is complementary to both sweet and savory dishes, making it quite versatile in terms of flavor.
Sweet potatoes are naturally much sweeter than conventional potatoes, so the flavor is distinctively different. Sweet potatoes actually have even more starch than standard potatoes and it retains even more moisture.
It’s not ideal to use either potato flour or sweet potato flour as the sole flour ingredient in baking, but this is especially true for sweet potato flour, which will turn your baked goods gummy and overly dense if you don’t combine it with another type of flour.
Is Potato Starch Healthy?
Potato starch is far from being considered a superfood, but it also isn’t thought to be unhealthy. As with most edible items, it has a combination of benefits and downfalls.
The starch in potatoes is resistant starch, which means it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut.
It can also aid in digestion and have minor benefits for improving metabolic processes when compared to other types of food, especially refined starches.
Is potato starch healthier than flour? Compared to conventional all-purpose flour, potato starch can absolutely be healthier if you have any type of sensitivity to gluten.
Potato flour may retain more nutritional value than a highly processed all-purpose flour, but potato starch is relatively neutral when it comes to nutritional content.
It has very little inherent value, whereas many types of flour have a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like protein and fiber.
What about cornstarch, is potato starch healthier than, than cornstarch? Cornstarch and potato starch are often substituted for each other.
Neither are particularly useful at delivering vitamins or minerals, but potato starch is lower in carbohydrates and calories than cornstarch, and it may be digested better.
So most people do consider it the healthier choice, yes.