What You Can Substitute For Arrowroot

Are you cooking a sauce, but finding that it's too runny for your liking? Or maybe you simply want to have a thicker texture? This is when you want to reach for arrowroot, a white powder, that is made from dried tropical tubers (via Spruce Eats). Arrowroot is a type of starch, and when ground into powder form, it acts as a thickening agent. This flavorless powder works wonders for savory gravies, stews, soups, or any type of sauce, and it can also be used for custards, or for the filling of fruit pies, among other desserts (via Spruce Eats).

But what do you do when you're in the middle of a cooking or baking session and you realize you're completely out of arrowroot? Or maybe you know in advance, but don't feel like running to the grocery store or simply don't have the time to make a quick trip.

The good news is arrowroot can be substituted a couple of ways.

There are alternative thickening agents

You likely have an alternative thickener in the cupboard. Cornstarch can be used in place of arrowroot when making savory sauces. But if you want a shiny finish, cornstarch won't create that effect, instead it will leave a cloudy sheen (via Healthline). Plus, if you're preparing a dish that is acidic or you have intentions to freeze all or part of the meal, cornstarch isn't ideal, according to an article in Spruce Eats.

But don't worry, because if you're making a dish that you plan to freeze or expect to have lots of leftovers and the freezer is your friend, or you just want a shiny finish, there's another option: instant tapioca. Instant tapioca is also made from a tuber — cassava, also known as yuca. The only downside to instant tapioca is this powder doesn't typically dissolve entirely, even when mixed with water or cooked, so you may want to spend some extra time grinding it into a finer powder (via Spruce Eats).

But whatever you're making, now you know that there are several options to achieve the same or similar effect.