How to Cook with Arrowroot Starch: A Beginner's Guide

By: Bob's Red Mill | April 28 2020

Arrowroot starch has quickly become a gluten free kitchen staple. You can use it to thicken sauces, stews, soups and even pudding! Arrowroot starts as a powder, and when combined with a liquid, it turns into a thick, flavorless mixture that can boost the structure of any recipe in just seconds. While there are a variety of arrowroot starches available in stores, it's essential to look for those with only one main ingredient: arrowroot. Doing so will ensure that you purchase a quality product free of additives and unnecessary processing. 

Now, if you've heard about arrowroot starch but don't know where to begin, don't stress. We understand that dabbling with new ingredients can be tricky. That's why we've put together this complete beginner's guide on how to cook with arrowroot flour. Use this guide as motivation to branch out and experiment with new soups and homemade sauces. Keep scrolling to find the answers to all of your arrowroot starch questions. We're sure that you'll be an expert in no time. 

What Is Arrowroot Starch?

So, what is arrowroot powder? Made by extracting the starches from the arrowroot plant, this powder is also commonly sold as arrowroot flour, arrowroot powder and arrowroot starch. When harvested, the arrowroot plant (Maranta Arundinacea) looks very similar to plants like cassava, yucca and kudzu. A starchy substance, arrowroot starch is a white, flavorless powder used in a variety of recipes. Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot powder is extracted in simpler, more traditional methods. These conservative methods skip the high heat and chemicals that some newer methods use. By processing the arrowroot naturally, the powder stays chemical-free. 

When shopping for arrowroot starch, it's crucial to read the labels. Occasionally, some arrowroot starches will contain potato starch. To ensure you are purchasing the most natural and pure arrowroot powder, read the labels on all packaging and make sure that arrowroot is the only ingredient listed. 

Is Arrowroot Powder Gluten Free?

Keen on gluten free baking? Now that you know a little bit more about arrowroot starch, you might be wondering if it's gluten free. Great news, it is! We understand that many people who suffer from gluten intolerance have other allergies as well. Sometimes searching for the ideal foods for your body can seem exhausting and overwhelming. This is why we love arrowroot powder so much. Because arrowroot powder is made with just one ingredient (arrowroot), it's free of all of the other irritants your body might not enjoy. This means, no nuts, no dairy and no soy. All of which can be harmful to those suffering from food allergies. Plus, because it's practically flavorless, it can be added to everything from savory dinner dishes to sweet baked goods without changing the taste! 

What Is Arrowroot Starch Used For?

How to Cook with Arrowroot Starch: A Beginner's Guide | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Now that we've discussed what arrowroot powder is and some of its benefits, it's time to talk about everything that it can be used to create. Arrowroot starch is exceptionally versatile and can be used as everything from a thickening agent to an ingredient in your favorite homemade soap recipe. It's a tasteless and odorless ingredient and the perfect way to take your favorite recipe to the next level. To give you a better understanding of how to use arrowroot powder, we've highlighted a few of our favorite uses below. 

As a Thickening Agent

Use arrowroot powder as a way to thicken your favorite entree! Add it to soups, stews, gravies and even sauces for a quick texture boost. When adding this starch to your favorite liquid meal, we suggest first making a "slurry." To do so, begin by mixing the arrowroot into a cold liquid such as water or plant-based milk and whisk until it's smooth. Once your slurry is thoroughly mixed, pour it into your prepared dish to thicken it. When adding arrowroot as a thickening agent, the trick is to add it in at the end of the cooking process right before serving. Doing so will guarantee that it's not exposed to heat for long periods. 

To Achieve a Crunchy Texture

Ever wonder how restaurants achieve the perfect crunchy tofu and tempeh dishes? Arrowroot powder, of course. When making tofu and tempeh crunchy, you must drain all of the moisture out beforehand. Pressing, freezing or drying tofu is an integral part of creating a crunch-like texture. Once the moisture is released, it's time to sprinkle on the arrowroot powder. Sprinkling arrowroot starch and seasonings on top of tempeh or tofu will help you achieve a crunchy texture and flavorful taste with minimal effort. It's that easy!

As a Binding Agent

If you've ever attempted to make a veggie burger or gluten free loaf, then you understand that getting all of the ingredients to bind together can be tricky. That's where arrowroot powder comes in. Adding arrowroot powder to a veggie or egg-free recipe will help thicken and unite the ingredients. Use it to make burgers that won't crumble at the first bite or a yummy vegan-style meatloaf. Arrowroot powder is a great addition to any vegan, gluten free and paleo recipe. 

To Give Structure to Desserts

Give structure and body to your desserts with arrowroot powder. When making custards, puddings and pie, add a few tablespoons of arrowroot powder to the recipe before baking. Doing so will help the ingredients in the dessert bind together and thicken to the desired consistency.

Arrowroot powder is extremely versatile, and you'd be missing out if you were only to use it as a thickening agent. Blend it with other flours, or add it in small quantities to your favorite recipes. Whether you're craving a thick creamy soup or a crunchy tofu dinner, arrowroot powder is bound to do the trick. 

Arrowroot Powder Substitutions

When subbing with arrowroot starch, it's essential to look up the specific substitution ratio for each starch. If it's your first time subbing in arrowroot powder, it may help to play around with the recipe at first. When adding arrowroot starch to a meal, we recommend using it conservatively. If you're using it as a cornstarch replacement, it's best to start with half of the amount of cornstarch required. From there, you'll be able to determine if that's sufficient, or if you'll need to add more. 

Due to the increased number of corn and grain allergies, more and more people are turning to arrowroot starch as a corn-free, grain free, thickening alternative. Luckily, it's a great option! Arrowroot starch works wonders when used to thicken gravies and soups and can easily replace cornstarch. Plus, what makes it even better is that it's tasteless. With no taste, arrowroot starch can be added to any meal without changing the flavor of it. 

Our Favorite Arrowroot Starch Recipes

Homemade Marshmallows

How to Cook with Arrowroot Starch: A Beginner's Guide | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Love sweets, but don't love the amount of processed sugar that comes with them? Then it's time to make your own! If you've ever dreamt of making candy, then this recipe is a dream come true. A classic treat, that embodies that traditional sweet taste of marshmallows, this recipe is entirely free from corn syrup, cornstarch and powdered sugar. But wait, that's not all. These marshmallows are also naturally gluten free, dairy free and grain free. Whether you're a fan of the classic vanilla flavor or want to switch it up with a strawberry or chocolate variation, these marshmallows are sure to be your new favorite treat. Simple to make, they're made with arrowroot starch, water and unflavored gelatin. So whether you're looking to fill up the candy dish or use them to create delicious s'mores, these marshmallows are sure to satisfy. 

Berry Bars

If you're a fan of apple cobbler, then you'll love this Berry Bar recipe. These easy, soul-warming bars are the perfect treat for spring. Made with our Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, they're free of gluten and wheat, which means that they accommodate many dietary restrictions! Arrowroot starch is used in this recipe as a thickening agent to bring the ingredients of the sauce together. When topped with fresh fruit, a delicious nutmeg sauce, and crumbled hazelnut, it's the perfect choice for a date night dessert.

Now that you're familiar with arrowroot starch and how to use it, it's time that you put it to the test with one of these delicious recipes! Add it to your next soup or make a decadent dessert like our berry bars. No matter what you use it in, we know that you'll love the outcome. We hope this guide helps you find new ways to incorporate arrowroot starch into your weekly meals. Have a recipe that uses arrowroot starch? We'd love to know what it is. Let us know in the comments below. 



  1. Julia Williamson
    With flour, I like to dust stewing meat with flour and salt and pepper and brown the meat before adding liquids. Can I do that with arrowroot starch? On reading your instructions, it sounds as if it should never be cooked long. Is that correct? I also like to dip my hamburgers in flour before I fry them so it forms a crust. Can I do this with arrowroot starch/flour?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Julia! Arrowroot Starch will work for both these applications. It can withstand moderate heat and will help with browning and thickening in stew as well as crisping a burger.
  2. Jenni
    Can I use arrowroot to thicken up milk for an egg-less home-made eggnog?
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Jenni - we haven't tried that, but yes - it would thicken a liquid. Incorporate a small amount into a slurry, then whisk that into the bigger batch and heat to thicken.
  3. Marie
    Nice post. Can leftover arrowroot slurry be stored, say in the fridge or frozen in cubes, for future use? Accidentally made too much for my soup. Also, when reheating leftover soup, can more slurry be added to thicken this second time? Ty!
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi there! Please email customer service at [email protected].
  4. Franz Banman
    To make a slurry do I blend with water?
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Yes, that's perfect!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *