Arrowroot powder is a starch that comes from the arrowroot plant, which is native to the West Indies and has been cultivated by indigenous Caribbean people for thousands of years. Arrowroot powder is sometimes referred to simply as arrowroot, or you may see it labeled as arrowroot flour; before using, check to make sure that the arrowroot has not been mixed with tapioca or potato starch, as these may change its properties. How do you use it? Take a look at these five simple arrowroot powder uses for ideas.
Table of Contents
- As a thickener
- For breading
- For making other alternative flours lighter
- As a binding agent
- As a vegan egg substitute
As a thickener
You can use arrowroot powder to give body to savory preparations like soups and stews, as well as to sweet ones like fruit pie fillings and puddings. Arrowroot powder’s flavor profile is neutral, so it thickens without changing the dish’s taste, and it handles being frozen and thawed well, which makes it different from cornstarch. Another difference from cornstarch is that arrowroot powder works fine with acidic fruit juices — they won’t hinder its ability to thicken. The fact that arrowroot powder thickens dishes so that they are glossy is another benefit if you are using it to make puddings and fruit pie fillings.
Arrowroot powder doesn’t give dishes a chalky taste the way cornstarch sometimes can and when you use it to thicken a clear liquid, the liquid stays clear; in comparison, flour, and cornstarch tend to turn clear liquids cloudy.
To thicken with arrowroot powder, mix it with cold water to make a slurry; the slurry method keeps the fine powder from forming clumps. Arrowroot powder cooks at a relatively low temperature, which means that it is perfect for some of the more delicate sauces. For best results, add your arrowroot powder slurry at the end of your dish’s cooking time, as it doesn’t handle extended heating well — it will thin out again if you cook it for too long. Avoid mixing arrowroot powder with milk or another dairy product since this will give your dish a slimy texture.
Arrowroot powder is great for coating fried and baked items. Adding arrowroot powder to other breading ingredients or using it on its own can make the final result crisper. Blend it with tapioca flour, potato starch or almond flour. Use it in the breading for fried meats, including chicken and pork chops, as well as to coat tofu. It works well as a cornstarch alternative in the coating for deep-fried American Chinese specialties like General Tso’s chicken. You can also dust your French fries with arrowroot powder before deep-frying or air-frying to make them super crispy.
For making other alternative flours lighter
One of the big downsides of gluten-free, grain-free alternative flours is how they perform in some baked goods. Almond and coconut flours are notorious for producing a dense final product. Blending them with arrowroot powder can make the textures fluffier. Like those flours, arrowroot powder contains no gluten, so it is fine for people with celiac disease to consume.
As a binding agent
Arrowroot powder is a useful and versatile binding agent for vegan and vegetarian recipes that contain no eggs. Arrowroot powder helps to keep ingredients together in the same way that eggs would. Use it in meatloaf, meatballs and their vegan alternatives.
As a vegan egg substitute
The same properties that make arrowroot powder a great binding agent also make it a great egg substitute. Use it as your main ingredient in vegan omelets.