What is Potato Starch & How to Use It? A Beginner’s Guide
Potato starch is starch extracted from potatoes. The cells of the root tubers of the potato plant contain starch grains (leucoplasts).
To extract the starch, the potatoes are crushed; the starch grains are released from the destroyed cells. The starch is then washed out and dried to powder.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about potato starch, including its uses, benefits, and side effects.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Everything You Need to Know About Potato Starch
- 2 Thickening with Potato Starch: A Gluten-Free Substitute for Cornstarch
- 3 Using Potato Starch in Baking: A Delightful Alternative
- 4 Get Your Fry On: Using Potato Starch for Frying
- 5 Is Potato Starch Good for You?
- 6 Is Potato Starch the Same as Potato Flour?
- 7 Conclusion
Everything You Need to Know About Potato Starch
Potato starch is a type of starch that is extracted from potatoes. It is a fine white powder that is commonly used as a thickener in cooking and baking. Potato starch is similar to cornstarch and rice starch in terms of its function, but it has a slightly different molecular structure.
How is Potato Starch Used in Cooking?
Potato starch is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways in cooking and baking. Here are some common uses for potato starch:
- Thickening sauces and gravies: Potato starch has a high starch content and can thicken sauces and gravies quickly and effectively.
- Baking: Potato starch can be used as a substitute for flour in gluten-free baking recipes.
- Frying: Potato starch can be used as a coating for fried foods to achieve a crispy texture.
- Pie dishes: Potato starch can be used in pie fillings to thicken the mixture and achieve a smooth texture.
Is Potato Starch Healthy?
Potato starch is a neutral, starchy ingredient that does not contain any protein or fat. It is a good choice for those who are looking to lower their intake of these nutrients. Potato starch is also gluten-free, making it a good option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
How Does Potato Starch Compare to Other Starches?
Potato starch has a higher amylose content than cornstarch, which gives it a higher thickening power. It also has a more neutral flavor profile than cornstarch, which can be slightly sweet. Rice starch is similar to potato starch in terms of its molecular structure and function.
Where Can You Buy Potato Starch?
Potato starch is widely available in grocery stores and online. It is an affordable and essential ingredient for everyday cooking and baking.
Thickening with Potato Starch: A Gluten-Free Substitute for Cornstarch
Potato starch is a great substitute for cornstarch, especially for those who are gluten intolerant or have a corn allergy. It provides a silkier mouthfeel and a thicker consistency to sauces and soups without clumping or breaking at high temperatures. Potato starch can also withstand long cooking times, making it ideal for slow-cooked dishes.
Other Uses for Potato Starch
Potato starch can also be used for:
- Baked goods: Potato starch provides binding properties to gluten-free flours and helps create a crispier crust. It can also be used to bind shredded potatoes for latkes or as a coating for fried foods.
- Swapping for regular flour: Potato starch can be used as a substitute for regular flour in recipes to make them gluten-free.
- Providing a gluten-free alternative: Potato starch is a trusted ingredient for those who need to avoid gluten in their diet.
Using Potato Starch in Baking: A Delightful Alternative
When it comes to baking, finding the right ingredient can make all the difference. While regular flour is commonly used, there are other starches that can be used as a substitute. One such alternative is potato starch. This affordable and natural choice can help improve the texture and moisture of baked goods, making it a great addition to any recipe.
Recipes Using Potato Starch
Potato starch can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Here are some popular ones:
- Baked goods: Use potato starch in place of regular flour to make gluten-free cakes, cookies, and pies.
- Soups and sauces: Use potato starch to thicken soups and sauces without adding extra fat.
- Coatings: Use potato starch as a coating for fried foods to make them crispy.
- Japanese cuisine: Potato starch is commonly used in Japanese cooking to make tempura and other dishes.
Get Your Fry On: Using Potato Starch for Frying
While potato starch is an excellent option for frying, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Dry food: Make sure that the food you are frying is dry before coating it in potato starch. Excess water can cause the starch to clump and create a tough coating.
- Double coating: For extra crispiness, double coat your food by dipping it in egg or milk before coating it in potato starch.
- Long cooking time: Potato starch takes longer to cook than regular flour, so be prepared to fry your food for a bit longer than usual.
- Temperature: Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the food to the pan. If the oil is not hot enough, the coating will not crisp up properly.
Using potato starch for frying is a popular and affordable way to create crispy and delicious foods. Give it a try and see how it can elevate your frying game!
Is Potato Starch Good for You?
Potato starch is extracted from potatoes and is a popular ingredient in many dishes. Here are some things to keep in mind when using potato starch:
- Vitamins and minerals: Potato starch contains vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium, which can provide health benefits.
- Versatile: Potato starch can be used in a variety of dishes, including baked goods, stews, and fried foods.
- Acts as a binding agent: When used in baking, potato starch acts as a binding agent, resulting in moist and chewy baked goods.
- Texture booster: When used as a thickening agent, potato starch can help boost the texture of dishes.
- Gluten-free: Potato starch is a great alternative for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Is Potato Starch the Same as Potato Flour?
Potato starch and potato flour are not the same thing, although they are both derived from potatoes. Here are some differences between the two:
- Potato starch is made by extracting the starch from the potato, while potato flour is made by grinding the entire potato, including the skin and flesh.
- Potato starch is pure starch, while potato flour contains protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
- Potato starch is flavorless and helps absorb moisture, while potato flour has a distinct potato flavor and can add texture to baked goods.
- Potato starch is a super fine powder, while potato flour can be more coarse and flaky.
Can You Substitute Potato Starch for Potato Flour?
Unfortunately, potato starch and potato flour are not interchangeable in recipes. Here’s why:
- Potato starch is a great thickener for sauces and gravies, while potato flour is better for adding flavor and texture to baked goods.
- Potato starch is gluten-free, while potato flour may contain gluten depending on the brand.
- Potato starch is a good substitute for cornstarch in recipes, while potato flour is not.
- Potato starch is a light and fluffy powder, while potato flour can be more dense and heavy.
If you want to use potato starch as a substitute for potato flour, here are some tips:
- Use a mix of potato starch and another gluten-free flour, such as rice flour or tapioca flour, to mimic the texture of potato flour.
- Add xanthan gum to the mixture to help with binding and texture.
- Adjust the moisture level in the recipe, as potato starch can cause baked goods to become gummy if too much is used.
Which One Should You Choose?
It depends on what you’re making! Here are some general guidelines:
- If you’re making a basic sauce or gravy, use potato starch.
- If you’re making bread or other baked goods, use potato flour.
- If you’re gluten-free, make sure to choose a brand of potato flour that is labeled gluten-free.
- If you want a super fine powder, go for potato starch.
- If you want a more coarse texture, go for potato flour.
Where to Buy Potato Starch and Potato Flour
Both potato starch and potato flour are readily available at most grocery stores. Here are some tips for getting the best quality:
- Look for organic and non-GMO options if possible.
- Read the labels carefully to make sure you’re getting pure potato starch or flour, without any added ingredients.
- If you’re having trouble finding them in the store, check the baking or gluten-free section.
- Prices may vary depending on the brand and the store, so shop around to get the best deal.
So, that’s potato starch. It’s a starch extracted from potatoes and used in cooking and baking.
It’s a great alternative to cornstarch and rice starch, and it’s a healthy ingredient for a gluten-free diet. So, don’t be afraid to use it in your cooking and baking.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.