5 Things You Need to Know About Arrowroot Powder


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Arrowroot powder is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking and it’s extremely versatile in the kitchen. But before you dive in, here are 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder.

Arrowroot powder is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking. Also known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, here are 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder.

Two years ago I wrote a blog post that became quite popular – 5 Things You Need To Know About Cassava Flour. At the time, cassava flour was just coming onto the radar of folks in the gluten-free and paleo cooking communities.

Arrowroot powder is another lesser known, alternative flour and I use it frequently in my recipes. Many of you have never cooked with arrowroot powder before and I receive emails weekly with questions about it.

So today I thought I’d follow suit with my cassava flour post and write 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder. I even stopped by my local Asian market to grab some arrowroot to show you what they look like. Would you have guessed what these are?

After this post, hopefully you’ll know a little bit more about arrowroot. Let’s dive in!

1. Arrowroot powder is gluten-free, grain-free and paleo-friendly

Arrowroot powder is a starchy substance that’s extracted from the root of a tropical plant known as Maranta arundinacea. When the arrowroot is harvested, it looks similar to other underground tubers such as cassava, yucca or kudzu, which are oblong in shape.

But important to note is how the starch is extracted, which is unlike cornstarch. Arrowroot powder is extracted in simpler, more traditional methods, without the use of high heat or harsh chemicals.

Sometimes arrowroot powder is known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch and they’re all the same thing. It’s simply a white, powdery starch that’s naturally gluten-free, grain-free, vegan and paleo-friendly.

Arrowroot powder is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking. Also known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, here are 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder.

2. Arrowroot powder can replace cornstarch as a thickener

Arrowroot powder is gaining in popularity (at least in the Western world) as people are looking for substitutes and alternatives to cornstarch, either due to corn allergies and sensitivities or to avoid anything GMO and pesticide-laden.

Cornstarch is the traditional thickener used in cooking for things such as gravies, stews and sauces. But good news – arrowroot powder is a great thickener and can easily replace cornstarch. Even better, arrowroot powder has no taste and leaves food glossy and clear, whereas cornstarch has a slight taste and leaves food cloudy and opaque.

3. Arrowroot powder can also be used in baking, roasting and frying

Arrowroot powder is enormously versatile, so you’d be remiss to only think of it as a thickener. In baking, I typically use arrowroot powder as a blend with other flours, such as almond flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour for bread and dessert recipes. But I find that it can definitely stand on it’s own as well, in small quantities.

If you’d like to make things crispy or crunchy, arrowroot powder is great for that. You could coat sweet potato fries in a dusting of arrowroot to make them crispier. You could also mix arrowroot powder with a blend of dried herbs to coat chicken before frying.

For a little recipe inspiration, I’ve used arrowroot powder in my Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Orange Glazed SalmonTriple Berry Compote, Citrus Ginger Sauce, Baked Lemon Donuts with Blackberry Glaze, Cranberry Almond Biscotti, Pear Pomegranate and Maple Crumble, Mini Chicken Pot Pies and many, many more recipes.

4. Arrowroot powder has some nuances when you use it

Like most gluten-free and paleo flours, arrowroot powder isn’t typically used on a 1:1 ratio of whatever it’s replacing. Therefore, if you’re using it as a cornstarch replacement, your best bet is to start with 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of cornstarch required.

I once added too much arrowroot to a sauce and it turned into a gloppy, jelly mess. So it’s best to add conservatively.

When using arrowroot powder as a thickener, remember two things:

  1. Always make a slurry first. Stir the arrowroot powder with a small amount of cold liquid first (like water) to create a slurry, before adding to your recipe.
  2. Always add the slurry at the very end of the recipe. You don’t really want to cook with arrowroot as it will break down at higher temperatures, so stir in right before serving. Bonus: arrowroot holds up beautifully when used with acidic ingredients or frozen (not so with cornstarch), so feel free to batch cook and freeze your recipes.

Arrowroot powder is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking. Also known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, here are 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder.

Arrowroot powder is frequently used in gluten-free, paleo cooking. Also known as arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, here are 5 things you need to know about arrowroot powder.

5. Arrowroot powder has multiple health benefits

Because arrowroot is not a grain, many people (especially those with digestive issues or sensitivities) find that arrowroot powder is more easily digestible. It also contains more fiber than potatoes and other starches, keeping things “moving” and helping to stave off hunger.

Arrowroot contains a good amount of potassium, iron and B vitamins, which is great for metabolism, circulation and heart health. Studies have even shown that arrowroot can stimulate immune cells and boost the immune system.

As always, ensure that whatever brand of arrowroot you purchase is high quality. This is the brand of arrowroot powder that I use and recommend.

Have you cooked with arrowroot powder before? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like a peek inside my pantry, to see all the products and ingredients I use, make sure to watch my Pantry Organization video.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. Sally Fallon of “best cookbook ever” fame Nourishing Traditions uses Arrowroot a bunch, and I have been cooking with it for years. Great in a lot of her ,low sugar, low gluten recipes. Which includes this 
    “arrowroot was once widely used in baby formulas as a superior carbohydrate, experience having shown it agreed with babies better than any starch or sugar. We now find the reason. It is the only starch wit a calcium ash. In this regard, the calcium chloride, in the form of calcium found in Arrowroot starch, is very important for the maintenance of proper acid and Alkali balances in the human body.”      Sally Fallon

  2. I am trying to make a keto soft pretzel recipe but it requires almond flour and I am allergic to almonds. I have coconut flour and arrowroot starch/flour can I use a mixture of the 2 as a substitute. The recipe calls for 2 cups super fine almond flour. Can you help me?

  3. Thank you for your info.  I’m new at This where
      Is the lowest price I can purchase organic arrowroot Flour?

  4. Hello. Can you replace potatoe starch with arrowroot instead? I am trying to bake a cake and the recipe call for almond flour, tapioca flour and potatoe starch but I can not eat potatoes. Please let me know. Thanks

    1. Hi Nicole – Arrowroot powder isn’t completely Keto, but is a much better flour option compared to others when it comes to carbs.

      1. Hi Rania – I believe you should be able to, but definitely try it and let me know how it turns out!

  5. Re: arrowroot as thickener for homemade yogurt. 1. Milk is heated to 180 degrees, then cooled in cold water to 110degrees. Yogurt starter is added (a small commercial container of room temperature yogurt added to 1/2 gallon of the milk) Mixture is put in a picnic jug and sits for 24 hours becoming yogurt. Rather than straining to make Greek yogurt, would like to add arrowroot. When should I add the Arrowroot slurry, and how much arrowroot might it take for 1/2 gallon of the milk.

  6. Arrowroot is a ‘root’ vegetable, and as such has a high glycemic index. Therefore, diabetics and Atkins-lovers should be wary of this and act accordingly.

  7. Leftover egg whites x4
    Half cup of sugar 
    Whip up
    Add in arrowroot powder 
    (Not sure how much I used maybe a cup)
    Continue whipping it in
    Place on tray make them a little flatter
    Oven at 150 about 20 minutes leave in oven to cool and dry further (as with pavlova)

    They are seriously good
    Not to sweet, but taste the arrowroot 
    Could also be eaten with a cheese on occasion and if made on a smaller scale ?

    I’d be interested in knowing calorie content

    Also nuts etc and added fibre could be placed in if required, I’m sure 

  8. The tuber shown here is not arrowroot (Marantha). The true arrowroot pictures can be seen in the Wikipedia site.

  9. I have not used this yet, but I bought some as some keto recipes call for it but then I’ve no idea which recipes I bought it for. I grew up with cornstarch and never knew I’ve made a slurry until reading this. I had no idea that had a name.

    At least now I have more of an idea on what I bought it in the first place.


    1. You don’t cook meat stews with arrowroot. It’s an additive used at the end of cooking. 

      1. I am following a recipe for a whole 30 shepherds pie that uses arrowroot powder for part of the gravy. It will be baked in the oven for 16 minutes. I have read multiple comments saying not to use it at high temps. Is this something I should avoid doing?

  10. do you know whether waitrose arrowroot is good quality and pure? i have been suffering from IBS on and off, plus more recently with arthritis – so I’m looking for natural healthy alternatives.

  11. I’ve wondered why natural deodorant recipes call for arrow root.  I wonder why cornstarch and/or baking soda wouldn’t suffice. 

    1. Greetings!
      Just made my dusting powder but incorporated AR for the first time.
      I found AR to be super fine & very silky.
      Gave it an awesome “slip”. Will now always use it.
      Best Regards!

    2. Debi Beck, Baking soda can cause a nasty rash on some people(I am one of them). I made a deodorant recently with arrowroot and cornstarch and it is much gentler on the “pits”!

  12. Hi, I found your post by mistake when i was searching bing for this issue, I have to say your post is really helpful I also love the theme, its amazing!. I dont have that much time to read all your post at the moment but I have saved it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thank you for a huge article.

  13. Hi, I’m about to make my first almond yogurt and will be using arrowroot as a thickner. I was reading about arrowroot and read your article. thanks. I was going to add it BEFORE heating my almond milk but thanks to you, will add it only after I heat my homemade almond beverage. Thanks, wish me luck. 

    1. Hey Mary, how did the Arrowroot worked with the yogurt? I’m planning on making yogurt and am looking for alternatives for agar agar . I’ll appreciate your help.

  14. Hello I was wondering if arrow root would be good to use in my CBD creams as a thick net thank you 

    1. Hi Lesa – I’m not sure as I’ve never made a CBD cream, but you could try it.

  15. My Dad was a Navy cook.  He cooked a lot at home. He always used arrow root for thickener. Made the best vegetable beef soup. Added kraut juice at the end. Really adds flavor to soup .

    1. Wow, that’s awesome David. Then you’ve definitely grown up with the arrowroot powder’s versatility! :)

    1. I would think olive oil or or coconut oils. Even some locally grown honey would be good, but just a sticky.

  16. I used this on my chicken and it turned into a sticky nasty mess. It didn’t brown in the frying pan and it was like a sticky starch coating that was just weird. I could eat it but my family thought it disgusting. Is there a way to prevent that? I took chicken tenders coated with that, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Fried in Avocado oil in skillet. not good at all

  17. I use arrowroot in my traditional red Chile for enchiladas it’s a great ingredient to thicken sauces 

  18. Good information. Thank you. I just purchased arrow root for my gf cooking and baking. Sandra gillmer

  19. We used it last night for our fried chicken. We added it to crushed pork rinds. It turned out amazing. 
    Can you tell me if it’s a keto approved food please ? 
    I can’t find that answer anywhere. 

      1. Hi Lisa, good Saturday morning

        I have just seen Dr. Berg and his wife making KETO bread and they have used this ingredient in it. Apparently due very low GI it should be ok.
        Except that they used almond flour and coconut flour. All mixed together. Active dry yeast, maple sirup. Psyllium and chia seeds as binding agent
        It was looking good after baking

  20. Just used arrowroot to “bread” pork chops instead of flour. The finished product was great! Family loved them. Called them “the best ever”!

    1. Awesome! Yes, arrowroot powder is great for breading meats. It’s what I frequently use as well. :)

  21. Thanks for sharing. I have never used this before and I am now going to try it. I’m glad there are other alternatives for cornstarch and flour.

  22. Hi I am from Trinidad we all grown up on arrowroot porridge when we small and when I had my children they to it was one of the best porridge it helps keep the baby full and healthy

  23. Thank you for the info. I make pancake like bites with almond flour, tapioca flour and coconut milk, cup for cup. Can I replace the tapioca with arrowroot flour instead

  24. What do you use the actual root for in your recipes? Do you have any “root” recipes to share? Can you really “eat” that big root, say, boiled and eaten in chunks like rutabaga or potatoes?

  25. My mother, her mother, and her mother, and her mother all used arrowroot. They then I grew up in Apalachia, and have used almost all available roots herbs and spices. We have mostly used it as a thickener is sauces and and stews.

    1. That’s wonderful! It really is quite versatile and I’m happy more people are starting to learn about it.

  26. I wondered why the ‘arrowroot powder’ you recommended was so expensive. There are much cheaper versions, why this one. What’s so special?

    1. I opt for an organic arrowroot powder, but you could certainly choose one that fits within your budget. :)

      1. I’d prefer organic too, but the one you suggested and linked to is not organic.

  27. can you dust grated cheese with arrowroot to take the place of cellulose in pregrated cheese and can it be baked such as in a quiche recipe?

  28. I’m so glad I found your sight! You seem very knowledgeable about arrowroot and that makes me more apt to use it due to its many health factors. I started this search after looking for a sugar free refrigerator jam. They all seem to want to use chia seeds as a thickener. Nothing against chia seeds but some of my family can’t eat seeds. Think I’ll try the arrowroot and see if it works in a small batch.

  29. PLEASE Help!
    Im trying to make Lemon Pudding.
    first I put 2-3 Tbsp in WATER slowly heat n stir till very THICK..off the heat.
    I then add at room temp.( thick raw blended) 1/2 a lemon with peel …..2 Tbsp raw coconut butter…..1 egg or 2 egg whites. 3 dates and 6 drops stevia. When I stir it all together it goes to very THIN….i MUST drink it. HOW DO I KEEP MY PUDDING THICK???

    PS. Love the pics!!!
    well make the MEN eat that ROOT!!!

  30. I’ve been researching about arrowroot. We have a 2 month old with reflux and are needing to thicken his formula.  We tried gelmix (carob bean gum and maltodextrin) but he got horrible gas pains. Would arrowroot be a safe alternative to try? 

    1. I can’t give advice on the safety for an infant, but I’d definitely ask your doctor. :)

    2. Please look into chiropractic regarding acid reflux in infants. Sometimes a simple, gentle correction of the thoracic spine will stop the nerve root irritation that can trigger these digestive disturbances in infants. 

  31. I am totally interested in how you use arrowroot. I hoping that it will give the almond flour concoctions a more cohesive texture and a better crumb.

  32. I’m wondering if I can use arrowroot to thicken plain coconut milk without heating it. The goal is to make a kind of “yogurt” but without probiotics. 
    If you have any info or advice I’d appreciate it! Thank you.