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How to Substitute Corn Starch for Flour

Using Corn Starch Instead of Flour to Thicken Soups, Sauces, and Pies

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Updated July 01, 2014

If you're on a gluten-free diet, you can easily substitute corn starch for flour when your recipe calls for a thickener. (Gluten-free flours don't work well as thickeners.)

The two most important things to remember:

  • Use half as much corn starch as you would flour. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of flour, use 1 tablespoon of corn starch. If the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of flour, use 1/8 cup of corn starch. (The same is true for other starches, such as arrowroot starch, potato starch and tapioca.)

  • Don't add the corn starch directly. First mix the corn starch in a little bit of cold water until it's dissolved, and then pour the water/starch mixture (known as a "slurry") into what you're cooking, being sure to stir gently and continuously as the mixture thickens.

There are other considerations to cooking with corn starch, including:

  • Cook over medium-low to medium heat, because high heat can cause lumping.

  • Foods thickened with corn starch don't freeze well.

You can learn more about corn starch and its properties on the Argo & Kingsford's Corn Starch site.

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