Can baking powder substitute cornstarch? One of my favorite aspects of baking is the ability to substitute ingredients in recipes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started baking something only to realize I’m missing a key ingredient!
Cornstarch is one of the most common ingredients that I run out of first, whether I’m baking or cooking. Baking powder was the first powdery substance that came to mind, so I decided to start my experiment.
Baking powder cannot be used in place of cornstarch. Baking powder lacks the chemical components needed to replace cornstarch in recipes because it acts as a thickening agent. The addition of baking powder creates air bubbles but does not thicken the mixture.
When I discovered that baking powder was not a suitable substitute, I put my thinking cap on. I went on to find the best cornstarch substitutes that actually worked! When I’m baking and realize I’m out of cornstarch, I don’t panic because I have so many other options.
What Is the Difference Between Baking Powder and Cornstarch?
When I’m baking in my kitchen, I feel like a mad scientist working in my laboratory to create all of these different concoctions. I should start wearing a lab coat in the kitchen because there are so many ingredients that undergo chemical reactions to create beautiful and delicious desserts!
*You might also be interested in knowing more about the difference between cornstarch and baking powder. Read Is Cornstarch the Same as Baking Powder.
Ingredients interact with one another to produce a specific result. Cornstarch is one of the ingredients that can be used to thicken liquids.
To use, first prepare a slurry by combining equal parts cornstarch and water. Because it requires heat, this will not thicken your liquid yet. When you add your cornstarch slurry to your mixture and slowly heat it, it will thicken to the consistency you desire.
Baking powder, on the other hand, lacks the properties of cornstarch. As a result, it is a very poor thickening agent and should not be substituted.
Can Baking Powder Substitute Cornstarch?
Can you use baking powder instead of cornstarch? Baking powder cannot be used as a substitute because it contains a leavening agent. Baking powder is used in desserts to give them height by releasing carbon dioxide (like I said, very science-y). The formation of air bubbles caused by the release of carbon dioxide is what makes desserts light and airy.
I quickly realized that using baking powder as a substitute for cornstarch is a bad idea after experimenting with it. Adding baking powder will not make your mixture thicker. Instead, it will create air bubbles in your liquid rather than thickening it.
*Side Note: You may also be interested in learning how to properly store cake batter. I wrote an article about it, which you can read here! How to Store Cake Batter Properly,
Substitutes for Cornstarch in the Kitchen
Cornstarch is a pure starch powder extracted from corn kernels by removing the outer bran and germ, leaving only the starch-rich endosperm.
Cornstarch has few health benefits unless you are underweight or a bodybuilder looking to bulk up. In such cases, cornstarch can significantly increase a person’s calorie intake.
Another advantage of cornstarch is that it is gluten-free. There are, however, risks. It can slow carbohydrate conversion and cause a spike in blood glucose levels if consumed in large amounts.
Consuming starches can also raise one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Cornstarch lacks the nutrients found in whole corn, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which slows the absorption of glucose.
Cornstarch is a common kitchen ingredient that is used for a variety of purposes. When heated, starch absorbs a lot of water, which is why cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in so many different sauces, fillings, and gravies.
We all know that thickening agents are an essential ingredient in making our favorite recipes more convenient, whether you’re making a delicious pie filling, frying for a crispy crust, or trying to perfect a gravy recipe.
If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you might be wondering what a suitable cornstarch substitute is.
So you don’t have to panic the next time you run out of cornstarch, we’ve compiled a list of 9 suitable substitutes to try.
Check out our favorite cornstarch substitutes below to save yourself a trip to the store!
When in a pinch, wheat flour can easily be substituted for cornstarch. Wheat flour is the most commonly used flour in baking, so you’re more than likely to have this alternative on hand in your pantry or cupboard!
There are various types of wheat flour, and they are distinguished by the amount of gluten they contain.
When substituting wheat flour for cornstarch, keep in mind that while cornstarch will give the thickened recipe a glossy shine, flour will not have the same effect, resulting in a more matte final product.
You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of flour for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to cook the recipe you’re thickening for a few minutes longer to ensure that the raw flavor of the flour isn’t present.
Rice flour is an excellent substitute for cornstarch! Rice flour is a highly versatile flour made from finely milled rice. It is a common ingredient used to thicken both sweet and savory sauces and is commonly found in Asian dishes.
Rice flour differs from rice starch, which is typically produced by soaking rice in lye. Rice flour, in general, is colorless when mixed with water, making it an especially useful ingredient to have on hand when thickening clear liquids and recipes.
Rice flour is gluten-free, readily available, and inexpensive! Unlike many gluten-free products, rice flour is reasonably priced, making it an excellent addition to your kitchen cupboard or pantry. It won’t break the bank as a cornstarch substitute, so you won’t feel bad about using it instead!
Rice flour, a common substitute for wheat flour, acts as a good thickener in the same way that wheat flour does, so use the same proportion as our previous suggestion: 3 tablespoons per 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Potato starch is an excellent substitute for cornstarch! Potato starch is the starch found in potatoes. It is a refined starch, which means it is high in carbs but low in fat and protein. Potato starch is well-known as a thickening agent due to its neutral taste, good clarity, and high binding strength.
Potato starch, like other tuber and root starches, has little to no flavor, which means it won’t add any unwanted flavor to your recipes.
It is important to note for anyone trying to avoid gluten that one of the health benefits of potato starch is that it is naturally gluten-free, unlike many flours that typically contain gluten. Check out these Naturally Gluten Free Flours you might be interested in.
When incorporating potato starch into a recipe, use the same amount as you would corn starch. This means that if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, simply replace it with 1 tablespoon of potato starch.
You should always whisk the potato starch thoroughly because it clumps up more than cornstarch and you don’t want it lumpy in your recipe.
Tapioca flour is an excellent substitute for cornstarch. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the storage roots of cassava, a plant species native to northern and central-western Brazil but widely found throughout South America.
Tapioca flour is made by grinding cassava roots to a pulp and then filtering out the starch-rich liquid, which can then be dried to make tapioca flour!
Although cassava is an edible tuberous root, it frequently contains cyanogenic glycosides that can cause fatal cyanide poisoning. As a result, before it is safe to consume, the cassava plant must be properly detoxified by soaking, drying, and scraping.
Tapioca gives a beautiful, shiny finish to any dish, as opposed to regular flour, which is more matte. Tapioca flour can also save a lot of energy because it can gel with your dish at lower temperatures.
Unlike cornstarch, which tends to coagulate when refrigerated, this cornstarch substitute is an excellent choice for dishes that require chilling. It’s also worth noting that tapioca flour doesn’t benefit from long cooking times and can easily be overcooked if you’re not careful.
There are numerous thickening agents available that work just as well as cornstarch in thickening stews, sauces, pie fillings, and other recipes. You don’t have to use just one ingredient to get the same or similar results.
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough cornstarch in your pantry the next time you go to cook a recipe, don’t be alarmed. As a cornstarch substitute, you can also use corn flour, cake flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, pastry flour, guar gum, arrowroot flour, potato flour, or baking soda.
Experiment with and enjoy some of our suggestions!