Arrowroot Flour: Why & How To Use It

by Prachee last updated -

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Arrowroot flour is a versatile and humble ingredient known by many names. You might know it as arrowroot starch or powder but rest assured that all those names offer the same functions and benefits. The flour is especially useful to those looking for a gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and a moderately keto-friendly option to thickeners such as corn starch. If that is enough reason to experiment with a new starch for you, go right ahead and check out how to use it. If you need to know the what, why, and how of arrowroot flour, let us fill you in.

What is Arrowroot Flour?

The arrowroot plant, a perennial herb scientifically known as Maranta arundinacea, is native to the West Indies, and South and Central America. Since it can grow well in warm, rainforest habitats, it is now also naturalized in the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, regions of China, and Indonesia. It is also grown in the state of Florida.

Arrowroot flour, ideally, is the powder of the root or the rhizome of the arrowroot plant. It is starchy in nature, making it an apt thickening agent, or a substitute for ingredients such as corn starch.

It was traditionally used as a poultice for arrow wounds, which is where the name ‘arrowroot’ comes from. Another one of its uses was also to treat diarrhea. Since then, it has found a place in cooking, especially in the cooking traditions of the regions where it originates. With its versatility and benefits, it is quickly gaining popularity in various cuisines.

Arrowroot flour with heart shaped tray on a granite backdrop

Arrowroot Photo Credit: Shutterstock

While the ideal arrowroot flour is sourced from the arrowroot plant alone, commercially available arrowroot powder could really be a combination of flours from various sources, especially tropical tubers such as cassava. Occasionally, arrowroot flour could also be combined with other starches such as potato starch. The best way to know what you are using is to read the ingredient list, or buy local, to make sure you are getting the right thing.

According to the FDA, if arrowroot is used to indicate starches obtained from other sources, it should be qualified by some term indicating the sources.

Why Should You Use Arrowroot Flour?

The versatility of arrowroot flour is understated. It can serve as an original ingredient as well as a substitute for cooking a variety of dishes. Furthermore, its traditional use for healing says a lot about how it is good for your health.

Arrowroot flour is rich in starch, which means it is mainly composed of carbohydrates. It is also rich in fiber and calcium. It is also gluten-free. It can be used to alleviate diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain.

The starch is also useful for people who are looking for paleo-friendly and keto-friendly option.

Nutrition Facts

Arrowroot flour
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]11.37
Energy [kcal]357
Energy [kJ]1494
Protein [g]0.3
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.1
Ash [g]0.08
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]88.15
Fiber, total dietary [g]3.4
Calcium, Ca [mg]40
Iron, Fe [mg]0.33
Magnesium, Mg [mg]3
Phosphorus, P [mg]5
Potassium, K [mg]11
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.07
Copper, Cu [mg]0.04
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.47
Thiamin [mg]0
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.13
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.01
Folate, total [µg]7
Folate, food [µg]7
Folate, DFE [µg]7
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.02
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0
18:1 [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.05
18:2 [g]0.04
18:3 [g]0.01
Tryptophan [g]0
Threonine [g]0.01
Isoleucine [g]0.01
Leucine [g]0.02
Lysine [g]0.01
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.01
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.01
Arginine [g]0.01
Histidine [g]0
Alanine [g]0.01
Aspartic acid [g]0.05
Glutamic acid [g]0.05
Glycine [g]0.01
Proline [g]0.01
Serine [g]0.01
Sources include : USDA

How to Use Arrowroot Flour?

While using it as a corn starch substitute is one of the most popular uses of arrowroot flour, here are some other ways in which you can use it.

  • As a thickener: As with corn starch and other starches, make sure to use it as a slurry rather than adding the powder directly to hot liquid. It can be used to thicken soups, stews, gravies, and whatever else you can imagine. However, it is best not to cook with it and add it at the end, as heating it too much might make the starch lose its ability to thicken.
  • For baking: It is a great alternative to bake with and can be used in place of baking powder. Mix it with a little baking soda, and you are ready to go.
  • As an egg substitute: While baking or cooking, if you are looking for a vegan egg substitute, mix arrowroot flour with equal amounts of vegetable oil and 1/4th One spoon of powder can substitute one egg in the recipe.
  • As a dry shampoo: Since its starchy nature comes close enough to corn starch, it works well as a dry shampoo. Take a spoonful of arrowroot flour and lightly massage it into the roots. Mix with a little cocoa powder for brown or black hair.
  • As an absorbent powder: If you run out of talcum powder or corn starch, arrowroot powder can be used instead. It can also be used as a talcum powder or as an ingredient in DIY or homemade makeup items
  • For frying: You can try deep-frying potatoes or other vegetables by dry coating them in this flour. This gives them a nice crunch. For an added zing, add salt & pepper to the starch before coating. You can also add onion powder or garlic powder to this.

Arrowroot flour is a versatile and accessible ingredient that can find many uses if you add it to your pantry. It is especially recommended for it is gluten-free, grain-free, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, and non-GMO.  It could also help with diarrhea and stomach pain.

Word of caution: In places where it grows, arrowroot flour has been used for centuries. However, packaged flour could have other ingredients that don’t serve your purpose. Watch out for such ingredients. Moreover, if you experience an allergic reaction, consult your healthcare practitioner immediately.

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About the Author

Prachee is a content writer for Organic Facts and is responsible for writing on the latest wellness trends. A former Journalism & Media teacher, she prides herself on being able to seamlessly dabble between health, science, and technology. She has completed her Masters in Communication Studies from the University of Pune, India as well as an online course on “Introduction to Food and Health” from Stanford University, US. Prachee fancies herself to be a poet and a cook when the rare lightning of inspiration strikes.

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