Potatoes, the ever familiar starchy tuber, are incredibly, endlessly versatile. There are more ways to use potatoes than anyone has time to count. Bread makers are especially familiar with the moisture-holding properties of potato flour.
Not to be confused with potato starch, potato flour is made when potatoes are processed and ground into a powder. Potatoes are naturally gluten free, meaning it’s a favorite of those with dietary restrictions. But when you find that you’re out of it, what are some alternatives to potato flour?
There are a few great potato flour substitutes, including corn starch, rice flour, potato flakes, and mashed potatoes. If you’ve got the time, you can make your own potato flour. There are also unique replacements like quinoa flour and arrowroot powder.
Potato Flour Substitutes
As you choose your top replacement for potato flour, bear in mind that you may need to alter whatever recipe you’re working on. Some of these replacements have a lot less moisture, or a lot more. Others may change the taste of your final product.
Take care when subbing in or out ingredients, but don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen.
1. Potato Flakes
Potato flakes are exactly what they sound like: tiny flakes of dehydrated potato. They are usually the primary ingredient in instant mashed potatoes. The only difference between potato flour and potato flakes is that the latter has not been ground down.
Because they are essentially the same thing, potato flakes are one of the best potato flour substitutes. If you’re using the replacement in a dough or batter, you don’t even need to do anything to them. They will dissolve in the liquid components of the mixture.
For coating or breading applications, you can grind your potato flakes into a flour-like texture. All it will take is a brief spin through a blender or food processor.
Take note: it isn’t recommended that you use just any instant mashed potato mix. Before you use the first box you find in your pantry, make sure you check the ingredients. There may be components like seasonings or fillings that can impact your final recipe.
Potato flakes are best used as a substitute in anything you’d use potato flour in. It can be measured in a 1:1 ratio, and you will not need to adjust your recipe.
2. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are good for more than just a dinnertime side dish; you can also use them in place of potato flour.
The trick with mashed potatoes is to work carefully with your moisture levels when subbing it in. Because mashed potatoes are made with milk and butter (or at least with water), it is bringing a lot of moisture to the table. If you’re making bread, reduce the liquid in your mix by 50%.
If you are adding mashed potatoes to something, it is best to leave them unseasoned. Salty, herbaceous potatoes may be delicious, but they will carry those flavors into your bread or soup. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how salted the mixture already is.
The two best applications for mashed potatoes in place of potato flour are in bread and as a thickening agent in soup. In bread, substitute ¾ cup mashed potatoes for every ¼ cup of potato flour needed. You may need to add more of another flour if your dough is too sticky.
Be warned that because it is not as light, mashed potato may weigh down your loaf of bread. This could cause your loaf to collapse. If you are making a rustic, artisanal loaf of bread, this might not be as much of an issue.
Mashed potatoes will also work well in dinner rolls; their smaller stature means they can hold up to the extra weight better.
You can also add a spoonful of mashed potato to your soup to thicken it, the same way you would with potato flour. Do not worry about the excess moisture here, as soups and sauces are already liquid. Use more mashed potatoes here than you normally would with potato flour.
3. Corn Starch
Another alternative to potato flour is corn starch. It doesn’t bring any of the color or flavor of potato flour to the equation, but it is still light and moist. This makes it an excellent substitute.
Corn starch is also easy to find. On top of being found in the baking sections of even the smallest grocery stores, you may already have some in your cupboard.
Corn starch is usable in almost anything potato flour is. However, it shines when it comes to frying food. Corn starch will keep fried vegetables and meats crisp and juicy.
Corn starch is often used in frying foods because it is, as the name suggests, starch. Starch is made up of amylose, a polysaccharide that will absorb oil when frying. Specifically, corn starch contains 25-28% amylose, meaning it crisps up excellently.
You can also use corn starch in baking bread. It will keep your bread from drying out, and since it isn’t as heavy as mashed potato, it won’t collapse your loaves. You will want to substitute it in at a 1:1 ratio.
4. All-Purpose Flour
The average, everyday flour can of course be used as a replacement for potato flour. It is easy to find and can be used in many of the ways potato flour is. It is, of course, all-purpose.
Of course, as with many alternatives, you will miss out on the earthy flavor that you’d get from potato flour. You may also be missing some of the starch, if that is what you’re using potato flour for. In this case, you can add in a few spoonfuls of corn starch or potato starch.
As stated, you can use all-purpose flour anywhere that you’d use potato flour. It subs in especially well in baking bread and cakes.
One thing to note is that all-purpose flour doesn’t have the same moisture-absorption abilities potato flour does. You will need to add in any water, milk, or other wet ingredients with a discerning eye.
Made from rice that has been ground and milled into a powder form, rice flour is common in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. It is gluten-free, just like potato flour, and makes for a fitting substitute. It has a light sweetness to it, which makes it ideal for cakes or bread.
If you’re using rice four instead of potato flour, be sure you are buying the right type. Rice flour is not to be confused with glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour makes perfect rice cakes for tteokbokki, but it will drastically change the texture of your birthday cake.
Rice flour makes airy, delicate baked goods with ease. Cakes and pastries will take well to rice flour, as it will make them light and fluffy. Since baking is a science that needs careful adjustment, consider your recipe and what you may need to adjust.
5. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is a less common ingredient. Made from extracting the starches from the plant of the same name, it is a sturdy replacement for potato flour. It is easy to digest and hypoallergenic.
Arrowroot powder is nut, dairy, gluten, soy, and corn free, making it ideal for those looking for allergy-safe alternatives. It is flavorless, meaning you won’t detect an aftertaste if you use arrowroot powder in place of potato flour.
Arrowroot powder is best used as a potato flour substitute when thickening sauces or soups. You can use it just as you would with corn starch.
It is particularly effective in use as a thickener in freezer meals. If you’re into meal prep, freezer meals are an easy way to fix up dinner on a time crunch. Arrowroot powder, when used in place of potato flour, remains stable when frozen.
6. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca, known for puddings, snacks, and boba pearls, can also be milled into flour. When used as a substitute for potato flour, it is a dream thickening agent in sauces or gravies. Because it is pure white, you won’t come across any discoloration when you sub it in.
Tapioca comes in both flour and starch forms. Since potato flour has the best of both a standard flour and a starch, you can use either one.
Tapioca flour is an ideal thickener if you find yourself needing a potato flour substitute. You can use it in gravies and soups, or in sweet recipes like pudding, ice cream, or pie filling.
Like arrowroot powder, tapioca flour holds a sturdy structure when frozen. That means that anything you’re looking to freeze will not collapse, or get chalky and dull.
To substitute tapioca flour in place of potato flour, use 1.5 – 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour for every 1 teaspoon of potato flour.
7. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is crafted from dried and ground coconut, giving it a comparable process to the way potato flour is made. Coconut flour is also gluten-free and rich in fiber, and will have a filling quality to it. This makes coconut flour a wonderful potato flour substitute in baking.
Coconut flour has a distinctive flavor that is about what you’d expect; tropical and sweet. This means that it may not be great in savory dishes like soup or sauce. However, it thrives as an addition to sweet recipes.
This unique, tropical flour adds a sense of rich indulgence to your baked goods. Of course, it doesn’t have an earthy flavor like potato, but the sweetness could be just as delicious in cakes or pie crusts.
That said, a little goes a long way. It may be best to combine it with all-purpose flour, corn starch, or rice flour. Too much could cause the coconutty flavor to overwhelm anything else you’re trying to incorporate.
8. Quinoa Flour
Trendy and versatile, quinoa has a lot going for it; it can replace milk, rice, and of course, flour. If you like potato flour because it is gluten-free and nutritious, quinoa flour is a perfect substitute.
It is not the easiest to find, but if you can get your hands on it, you may find that it also has a high protein content. Quinoa flour can have between 4g and 16g of protein. It is also high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Quinoa flour can make scones, cakes, cookies, and just about any other baked good you can think of. When used as a replacement for potato flour, however, remember that it will not absorb moisture the same way. You will likely need to either combine it with all-purpose flour, or up the liquids in your recipe.
Can You Make Your Own Potato Flour?
If you have the time to spare, you can absolutely make your own potato flour from scratch. If you know that you’re going to need potato flour soon, but don’t have the opportunity to buy a bag, making your own is not hard to do.
How To Make Your Own Potato Flour
The easiest way to make potato flour is with a dehydrator. You can still make potato flour without a dehydrator, it will just be a bit more difficult.
With A Dehydrator
- Wash, peel, and cook your potatoes. Do not season them; you want your potato flour to be as neutral as possible.
- Drain and mash your potatoes. Take care to mash out all of the lumps.
- Spread your mash over your dehydrator’s tray.
- Let the potato dehydrate for 12-20 hours, until they’re dry.
- Transfer all of your dried potato into a blender, crushing it until it has turned to powder.
Without A Dehydrator
- Preheat your oven on the lowest setting it can go. The end goal here is to dry your potatoes out, but not bake them.
- Slice your potato into thin discs. You can leave the skins on if you’d like; it will add more fiber to your flour, but it will also change the color. If you have a mandolin, now it the time to use it.
- Crinkle up sheets of tin foil. This is a unique trick for using your oven as a dehydrator. The peaks and valleys left from unfolding the foil after crinkling it let air travel all around the potato.
- Lay your potato out on the crinkled foil in a single layer. You may need more than one sheet of foil for this.
- Pat your potato dry with a paper towel. You want to get out as much moisture as possible.
- Bake the potato for 5-8 hours. The thinner your potato slices are, the faster it will dry out. Check your potato every two hours, giving them a flip to ensure even drying.
- Grind your dried potato in a blender or food processor. Be steady on the blitzing until it has become a fine powder.
During the baking process, you will know your slices are done when they are crispy and curled at the edges. When the slices are dried, they will have no squish or give when you squeeze them.
Potato flour can sometimes be considered a specialty product, and can be difficult to find in rural areas. A bit of DIY can save you if you can’t get your hands on potato flour easily.
Can You Use Sweet Potato Flour In Place Of Potato Flour?
Sweet potato flour is somewhat similar to potato flour. Except, of course, it is much sweeter. It is made the same way, by dehydrating sweet potatoes and grinding them into flour. Just as sweet potatoes can be eaten sweet or savory, sweet potato flour works much the same way, flavor-wise.
However, it isn’t recommended to use sweet potato flour as a potato flour substitute. Sweet potato flour is like potato flour in overdrive: it has a higher starch content, and retains more moisture. There is the phrase “too much of a good thing;” sweet potato flour will render breads and cakes gummy and stodgy.
Potato flour is a fantastic baking ingredient. Between a rich, earthy flavor, starchiness, and gluten free quality, it is hard to go wrong with it. However, you may run out, or simply not be able to get your hands on this somewhat elusive product.
There are a number of potato flour substitutes at hand. Mashed potato, potato flakes, all purpose flour, and even things like rice flour or quinoa flour will fit the bill. You can achieve the desired starchiness with corn starch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder.
If need be, you can also make your own potato flour, with or without a dehydrator. The key to both is to dry out your potato as much as possible.