Arrowroot Powder – Gluten-free and Grain-free Thickening Agent

What is Arrowroot Powder?

Arrowroot powder is an excellent, gluten-free thickening agent. It is a white, flavorless powder used to thicken sauces, pies, jams, soups, and other cooked dishes.

The powder is comprised of starches extracted from various tropical tubers, such as the arrowroot plant and cassava. Some lower quality arrowroot powder blends may also contain potato starch, so be sure to read ingredient lists carefully.

Uses of Arrowroot Powder

You can use it as a food thickener, much like cornstarch, but it has unique properties that make it well suited to certain cooking situations, where cornstarch and other thickeners may not excel.

When you add arrowroot to a recipe, it doesn’t change the color of the ingredients or make the finished product look cloudy.

Because of this, it works well in jellies and fruit fillings, where you’re trying to maintain that amazing color and shine. Another reason is that it doesn’t fall apart when subjected to acidic ingredients.

Arrowroot thickens at a low temperature, which can be handy in some applications. But it will lose its thickening power if it’s exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time. Adding it towards the end of the cooking time can be a fix for this.

Despite its sensitivity to high temperatures, arrowroot stands up beautifully to freezing temperatures. So, if you’re making something that you plan to freeze, arrowroot is an excellent thickener to use.

It is great for making smooth homemade ice cream. It interferes with the formation of large ice crystals and is not affected by freezing. Although it is good for ice cream, you should not use arrowroot powder with other non-frozen dairy products; as it can produce a slimy or undesirable texture.

You can use it in paleo baked goods to make them less dense and to “lighten” the heavy texture and mouthfeel of almond flour.

Substituting Corn Starch or Flour for Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder can substitute cornstarch in most recipes. The ratio of two teaspoons arrowroot powder for every one tablespoon of corn starch.

Arrowroot powder can substitute flour thickeners.  The ratio of one teaspoon of arrowroot powder for every one tablespoon of flour.

Health benefits of Arrowroot

Because arrowroot is not a grain, many people (especially those with digestive issues or sensitivities) find that arrowroot powder is more easily digestible. It also contains more fiber than potatoes and other starches, keeping things “moving” and helping to stave off hunger.

Arrowroot contains a good amount of potassium, iron and B vitamins, which is great for metabolism, circulation and heart health. Studies have even shown that arrowroot can stimulate immune cells and boost the immune system.

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