Types of Starch used in Baking

Let’s get back to those golden days when you used to sit by your grandma’s side and watch keenly how she used to play small tricks to make your food or dessert much better. Starches have always been used while baking or cooking in order to give any specific recipe a thick texture.

With the passing time, bakers or chefs started learning how to make sauces with the starch, how to give a crispy surface to your particular product and much more.

So to help you out with: what is starch and which one is the best choice for you. We have jotted down the list of commonly used starch in the kitchen. Have a look.

What is Starch?

The carbohydrate found in many plants and is consumed by humans in a large part is STARCH. The starch is consumed in the form of or you can say the sources are potato, wheat, corn, and tapioca. It can also be defined as a polysaccharide with an abundance of glucose molecules.

It can be used in the original form or as one of its derivatives. And not only in the food industry but starch is used in manufacturing as well.


Starch is used to give a crispy surface to any particular product.

Food starch is used to stabilize or thicken your products such as soups, puddings, pie fillings, salad dressings etc. some modified versions of starch are also used in foods but have low pH or they cannot be heated.


Starch can be used as a substitute for fat and when used in food, it aids with viscosity, texture, binding, adhesion, gel formation, and moisture retention. Well, the main use of starch in the food industry is to thicken the goods but can also work as an emulsifier, glazing agent, and stabilizer. Given below are two categories of starch used:

Naïve Starch:

This one is the original form of a starch powder which is extracted from the plants. You can identify a pure starch like this: it will be a white odorless powder which has no taste and is insoluble in cold water or alcohol. This starch is usually used to thicken and make your desserts, custard, instant foods, and sauces more stable.

Modified Starch:

This is the native starch that is simply modified chemically, physically, or enzymatically. The reason why the starch is modified is to improve or diminish certain qualities of starch for gelling, encapsulating or thickening.

Now, let’s check out what the types of starch are and how they are helpful in enhancing your baking experience.

Types of Starch


This translucent powder is an all-rounder thickener with a strong flavor. This type of flour makes glossy sauces but bit cloudy. While adding this starch makes sure that water should be boiling. Avoid long cooking after adding it otherwise, it will break it down like stirring does while reheating.

To make your glossy sauces a bit cloudy, use cornstarch.

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To avoid lumps, you can make a slurry by adding an equal amount of water before stirring. Cornstarch doesn’t work well with acidic foods and if you want to go with freezing.

The best way to use the starch is to take it off the heat before the acids are stirred in. Adding 1 teaspoon of the starch will thicken around ½ cup of sauce.

Tapioca Starch

In comparison to cornstarch, this one thickens well at low temperatures. And if you ever end up with a wrong thickness of the sauce, seek help from the tapioca starch and it’ll definitely work as a savior at the last minute. The starch freezes well.

You can add it to the hot liquids at the last moment since the starch breaks down at heat faster than potato starch and even a lot faster than the cornstarch. It won’t give any flavor and gives you a clear but rather glossy sauce.

Potato Starch

Here comes the powerful thickener with superb qualities. But not to forget that its thickening power is equally weakened by boiling. Make sure you add the starch at the end of cooking to avoid boiling.

Use potato starch to make the best thickener for your sauces.

Never ever think of using cornstarch as the substitute for Chinese recipes as there the coating is also the thickener for the sauce. That way you might end up with far too much sauce. Potato starch is mainly recommended for baking as it goes very well with higher temperatures.


The starch has a neutral flavor and is much better than cornstarch when it comes to thickening the acidic foods. Arrowroot freezes well and as compared to cornstarch, it is more resistant to breaking down from heat.

You can blindly use arrowroot for the fragile sauces as it thickens well below the boiling point. And you’ll end up with a clear and less glossy sauce.

Not to forget that arrowroot is quite expensive and not worthy of attention for the home use. One can use this starch in dairy-based sauces because it makes them slimy. Use it with cold water to turn into a slurry before you add it to hot liquids.


The interesting thing about the starch is that is made from the inner pulp of the palm. Well, you need to cook for quite long to create the thickening power of the starch but is somewhat heat stable.

Sago is considered one of the starches, which is heat stable.

For your information, there’s another sago starch made from the inner pulp of cycad which is hardly ever used in commerce.

Sweet Potato Starch

It is one of the starches which is hardly ever used for thickening as it is typically used as a coating to give a crisp surface to meats and vegetables.

Asian markets generally sell it in the form of powder and granules. The starch is even made into noodles.

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