What do you use Arrowroot Flour for?

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Cooking with Arrowroot Flour

When we first started making our own arrowroot powder, I learned a few more ways to use this wonderful product. It took me a bit of trial and error to determine the best ways to use the flour, however, now that we were producing our own it was worth the journey.

Arrowroot Flour is used for thickening gravies, stews, sauces, and for creating a silky smooth texture when making pie fillings. 

It makes a great frozen fruit ice cream, as it helps prevent crystallization and gives your frozen dessert a much smoother consistency. 

It is an excellent replacement for corn flour or AP flour 

Arrowroot flour is Vegan-friendly, Grain-free, Gluten-free, and Paleo friendly

It is simply a white powdery starch extracted from the arrowroot rhizomes of the Canna Lilly.

How do you cook with Arrowroot flour?

With twice the thickening power of wheat flour, arrowroot starch can be a great alternative to all-purpose flour and can be replaced in many dishes that call for flour.

Cooking with Arrowroot just needs a little practice to get the consistency correct for whatever purpose you are using it for.

Plus, unlike other flours and starches, arrowroot powder does not break down when combined with acidic ingredients like fruit juice and tomatoes.

I like to add arrowroot flour to slow-cooked meals in the last few minutes, especially if the All Purpose flour that I had coated the food with didn’t thicken the meal enough during the long cooking time. A quick slurry made up and stirred through before serving is all it needs.

What’s the difference between Arrowroot and Flour?

There is no difference between Arrowroot Powder, Arrowroot Flour, or Arrowroot starch. They are all the same thing.

They are all marketed differently and, depending on the country from which it is purchased, will then determine their most commonly used name, be it powder, starch, or flour.

Arrowroot is more commonly known as the white, powdery starch that has the sometimes hidden bonus of it being naturally gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly.

Arrowroot is simply the extracted starch from the Rhizomes of the Canna Lily family. The most common variety is Maranta arundinacea. This variety produces the most significant source of starch harvested at present from mainly Asian countries.

In many years past, the Queensland Arrowroot production (Canna Edulis, a cultivar of M. arundinacea) was a massive industry in Australia.

The big farms have now dissolved to only a handful of minor pocket concerns and backyard growers. As it has such a high labor-intensive growing and harvesting process and was never mechanized, it is no longer very profitable for many.

We are one of those backyard growers who like to be more self-reliant in as many items as we can. Growing Queensland Arrowroot (Canna Edulis) allows us to do this.

If you are interested in reading more about how to make arrowroot powder, this post will show you how we go about it, as well as a video link of how we process our own Arrowroot Flour, Powder, or Starch.

crockpot cooking
Adding Arrowroot at end of slow cooking for thickening

Can arrowroot replace flour?

The substitution of arrowroot starch to flour is 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour = 1 tablespoon wheat flour; however, even though Arrowroot can be used in some baking, it’s best used in smaller amounts, typically being combined with another gluten-free flour like almond or coconut flour. It’s too starchy to use on its own for regular baking.

I generally like to use it mainly for most of my thickening purposes unless what I’m thickening needs to be boiled.

Can you substitute Arrowroot flour for All Purpose Flour?

The substitution of Arrowroot to AP flour is one tablespoon of Arrowroot flour to 2 tablespoons of All Purpose flour. However, be aware that while all-purpose flour can also act as a thickener in gravies and sauces, it won’t do as impressively as arrowroot flour can, as you won’t get that glossy sheen finish that only Arrowroot can achieve.

You will also need to be wary of where it is to be applied. If it can be cooked first to remove the taste of flour ( as in a roux ) and added early in the cooking, that would help for a better result.

If what you are thickening needs to be transparent and glossy, All purpose flour will not achieve this, and you will end up with a cloudy finish.

Is Arrowroot better than Corn flour?

If you are allergic to corn-based items and want or need a grain-free or gluten-free, free alternative, then Yes, Arrowroot is better than corn flour. Below are the pros and cons of Arrowroot and corn flour that are most common.

Arrowroot Flour vs Corn flour

  • Arrowroot has almost no flavor of its own
  • Corn flour leaves a distinct “starchy” flavor when used
  • Arrowroot thickens at a much lower temperature than cornstarch.
  • Cornstarch can be used if a meal needs to be cooked at a higher temperature.
  • Arrowroot does not hold up at high temperatures so best used to thicken sauces toward the very end of cooking.
  • Cornstarch does hold up well at high temperatures and can be used to thicken the meal from the beginning
  • Arrowroot starches work well with pie fillings and sauces, adding a crystal clear, shimmering sheen and a silkier mouth feel.
  • Using cornstarch with pie filling will produce a cloudy finish however is best in deserts that need to be sliced.
  • Arrowroot does freeze and thaw without change
  • However, cornstarch fails and can become “weepy.”
  • Arrowroot fails with dairy-based sauces—it turns them slimy.
  • Cornstarch holds up well with dairy-based deserts.
  • Choose Arrowroot if you’re thickening an acidic liquid.
  • Cornstarch breaks down quickly if expected to thicken an acidic-based meal.

Conclusion

Arrowroot is one of those pantry essentials that you never know what benefits you are missing in your cooking arsenal unless you begin to use it. If you would like some more information about how to use Arrowroot powder, I have written an article in more detail.

Having more information and understanding of how to use more of our shelf-stable items allows us to become more self-reliant and less likely to need what the stores may or may not have available at any given time.

Given the many other advantages of Arrowroot over Corn flour, we will continue to replace corn flour with Arrowroot at every opportunity.

This article was written by Tui Blanch. She is Co-owner of TheTropicalHomestead.com and has well over 20yrs experience in preserving and storing food.