Potatoes are among the most versatile vegetables there are. What can you not make from potatoes? Talk of pies, wedges, crisp fries, vegetable soups, etcetera. And amongst this long list, flour just so happens to be one of the byproducts.
Potato flour is simply whole flour made from potatoes, most commonly those of the Idaho variety. The root vegetable is cooked, dried before finally being ground into a fine powder. Other flours made from different types exist; however, these are by far the most popular selection.
When you have a recipe that calls for potato flour yet has none in your pantry, you will be relieved to know that other basic flour types and foods can step in its place. Unless you prefer to go the tedious way and make your own DIY flour, our list of substitutes should spare you a ton of time and energy.
The best part about these alternatives is that they come very close to potato flour’s original flavor, texture, and consistency. So you don’t need to worry about compromising on the taste or overall profile of your dishes.
Enough said, are you ready to find out? Great! But first, a brief session on potato flour uses.
What is Potato Flour used for?
Just like the key ingredient it is made of, potato flour serves several purposes. Let’s take a look at each one by one.
First, for all your gravy needs and thick soup recipes, potato flour is an excellent choice. Unlike other vegetables that lose moisture when cooked, potatoes hold water like a sponge. Therefore, they are cut out to build thick stews and sauces without drying the dish, even when in their powder form.
This water retention trait makes the flour equally superior for baking. Cakes, muffins, and other pastries come off moist when made with this kind of flour. When you sink your teeth in, it almost feels like biting into a cloud of yummy goodness. Fewer crumbs fall off because the baked goods are not overly dry.
As far as flavor goes, the flour is not too overpowering. While it has a natural potato taste, it is pretty reserved because of the commercial processing. Some people worry about ending up with a distinct potato flavor in their dishes, especially in oven-baked recipes. However, this should be the least of your concerns.
The only thing you should be keen on is introducing other flour types in making batter or dough. Whole wheat and bread flour are great ideas. This is important because potato flour by itself is likely to produce dense, gooey pastries because of too much water. You need something to thin the base so that the dough is easier to manipulate, and hence the quality of the end product improves.
Other uses of potato flour include coating foods before frying to give an excellent, crisp, golden brown cover. Foods like chicken, pork, and beef do well with an extra dusting in flour while the inside remains moist and tender.
Best Substitutes for Potato Flour
Finally, to the main agenda of the day, here is a comprehensive list of 8 alternatives for potato flour. Depending on the recipe, the substitutes may vary. As mentioned earlier, potatoes are versatile, and what you’re using the flour for should determine what you substitute it for.
Case example, whether you’re frying, baking, or thickening gravy, each category has a preferred alternative. And we will further explain why each choice works best per the various categories.
First on our list;
1. Best Overall: Potato Flakes
Potato flakes are no different from potato flour, except these have not been finely crushed. It is, therefore, only rougher in texture. Apart from this, everything else is identical, and the measurements required for a potato flour recipe are the same when using flakes.
Now, potato flakes and instant potatoes are close relatives, however, do not be so quick to reach for the latter. This is because of the extra flavors and preservatives that alter the taste. To maintain the integrity of your dish, stick to flakes with lesser additives. We recommend Bob’s Red Mill as it has only one listed ingredient-dehydrated potatoes.
If you have some meat lying around and want to experiment further with your flakes, toss them into the blender or food processer for a finer consistency. The powdery outcome is great for coatings before deep frying.
2. Best for Frying: Corn Starch
Unlike potato flakes, corn starch comes ready to use. And as far as frying goes, the two (potato flour and corn starch) have very similar characteristics. Remember, potatoes are essentially starch-rich foods, so corn comes in as a close second.
For a crunchier bite, dip your chicken into an egg concentrate or apply a light vegetable oil coat to act as a binding agent. This way, the particles stick firmly onto the surface. Some go ahead to repeat the coating twice, even thrice, for a KFC- level chicken crunch.
A reputable brand to consider is Argo’s corn starch. Thankfully, there’s a gluten-free version for vegans or those with particular dietary restrictions.
3. Perfect for Thickening Sauce: Tapioca Flour/Starch
When your stews require a density boost, Tapioca flour is the way to go. It is also very effective for pie fillings that are too thin.
You can never go wrong with the Erawan brand for many reasons. First, the flour has no taste of its own. Therefore, it does not add any odd flavors into the sauce, nor does it take away from its authenticity.
Another impressive trait is its pure white color. As you may know, white is neutral and will blend seamlessly into the existing colors of your food. Add Tapioca flour into homemade sauces for a nice creamy bowl of soup, and if the flour is unavailable, starch will work just as well.
Please note that for every 1 teaspoon of potato flour, you will need about 2 teaspoons of Tapioca for the same recipe.
4. Great for Baking Bread: All-Purpose Flour
Potato flour is an excellent choice for bread because it enhances the rise, giving it a nice spongy feel. Not to mention just how moist your loaf’s going to turn out and the added advantage of having a longer shelf life.
The gluten-free element in potatoes preserves freshness longer than if you were using whole wheat flour. But when you’re out of it, the King Arthur multipurpose flour is a close match.
It is a near-perfect choice, especially in developing a nice crust that’s soft on the inside with a decent rise. The only thing you should be careful about is how much water you add during the preparation of the dough.
Unlike potatoes, the flour is not apt to absorb moisture, so a little too much is all it takes to mess up the bread. Further, expect the bread to turn stale quicker.
If you’d like to compensate for some of these shortcomings, utilize cooled potato water rather than ordinary tap water for the batter. It tends to contain a healthy amount of starch, which introduces the benefits of potato flour into your recipe.
5. Best for Cake and Pastries: Rice Flour
The secret to good cakes and muffins lies in the ingredients and how well you mix them. Flour is a crucial determinant, and honestly, there is a whole pool of baking flours out there. But amidst all the varieties, rice flour is an advanced choice.
Rice flour has a mild sweetness, so it introduces a pleasant syrupy taste perfect for pastries. On top of this, it is naturally gluten-free, which is healthier and lasting in terms of freshness.
When picking out rice flour, bear in mind that the label should read gluten-free. Glutinous rice flours exist, and these will drastically alter the outcome of your cakes. It is an entirely different product that you want to avoid.
Once again, we endorse the Erawan brand for the best quality.
6. Best Gluten-Free: Quinoa Flour
If your core focus is making healthy gluten-free baked goods, no matter what kind, Quinoa flour is versatile enough for the job. It surpasses other gluten-free brands and is double certified for bakes of all varieties. Part of the reason is its high protein content which is best suited for chewy crusts and yeast-risen products.
But, because the flour does not retain moisture as potatoes do, it is advised that you mix it with another all-purpose flour. The combination will square up close to the kind of results achievable with potato flour.
Organic Quinoa flour from Livekuna is a fine choice. It is also readily available at your local market and grocery store.
7. Great for Thickening Freezer Meals: Arrowroot Starch
If many of your meals are prepared beforehand and stashed into the freezer for safe storage, we recommend arrowroot powder in place of potato flour.
Arrow roots are starchy vegetables, and it is this starch component that works well when thickening meals. What makes it superior in this case is that it remains stable throughout the freezing process, actively preventing the formation of ice crystals. It might even have the upper hand to potato flour exclusively in this arena.
The next time you intend to refrigerate for future use, the arrowroot powder from Landor trading company is a worthy pick.
8. Perfect for Thickening Soup
Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Now, when your pantry lacks flour substitutes altogether, and you have no time to make a quick trip to the mall, fear not. You could fix your soups with homemade mashed potatoes.
Simply grab a couple, peel, and give a good wash before pounding them. Alternatively, toss them into your food processor for a quick blitz. You could choose to add milk or butter for a smoother texture; it all depends on how you like your mashed potatoes.
Because soups have a high water content, and potatoes are excellent at holding water, it won’t matter how many you use because they will not dehydrate your meal. Plus, your soup will have a natural taste to it, free of overly processed ingredients.
You Might Ask (FAQS)
a) Is potato flour gluten-free?
Yes, it is. Especially brands without the extra additives tend to have this quality. It explains why vegans and those with dietary restrictions find it a popular alternative to plain white flour. Nevertheless, just to be safe, read the company label to confirm and reduce the risks of purchasing contaminated flour.
b) Is potato starch the same as potato flour?
Although close relatives, they are not the same. Potato starch is slightly different in that rather than using whole potatoes, the potatoes are crushed and the broken down starch extracted. Everything else is tossed away, and this extract proceeds to be ground into fine powder. Even in color, flour has a beige color similar to raw potatoes, whereas starch is bright white.
Because of the many deductions, potato starch essentially has no fiber, protein, or flavor. All these nutrients are present in flour, and in greater quantities, especially in brands that keep the potato’s skin on during processing.
c) Are sweet potato flour and potato flour the same thing?
Sweet potatoes belong to the large root vegetable family; however, these flours are unique and different. Most potato flour companies use Idaho potatoes as their raw material.
The two can be interchanged from time to time on many recipes; however, expect a subtle sweet taste in sweet potato flour. Otherwise, the manufacturing steps for both are quite similar.
d) Is potato starch healthy?
Potato starch falls under the bracket of resistant starch, which is healthy for the bacteria in your gut. It improves the body’s metabolism and overall digestion. Too much of it can be counterproductive, just as with any food, so be careful to strike a balance.
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