Flour & starch


If you walking in supermarket aisle, on flour shelves offering many different type of flour here is some tips to clearing the confusion.

Tapioca starch, tapioca flour, cassava flour, yucca starch, almidon de yuca, potato starch. They are the same thing just in different name; As you know Tapioca is a good choice for thickening pie fillings, since it thickens at a lower temperature than cornstarch, remains stable when frozen, and imparts a glossy sheen.  Many pie recipes call for instant tapioca instead of tapioca starch, but instant tapioca doesn’t dissolve completely and leaves small gelatinous blobs suspended in the liquid.  This isn’t a problem in a two-crust pies, but the blobs are more noticeable in single-crust pies.  Tapioca starch is finely ground so that it dissolves completely, eliminating the gelatinous blob problem.  The starch is also sometimes used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces, but the glossy finish looks a bit unnatural in these kinds of dishes.  It works quickly, though, so it’s a good choice if you want to correct a sauce just before serving it.  Some recipes for baked goods also call for tapioca flour because it imparts a chewier texture.

Tapioca flour and potato starch are the same thing. Both are made from the cassava root that has been processed, dehydrated and finely ground to create a very fine powder. It is mainly used as a thickener in this form.


  • Instant tapioca (also good for thickening pie fillings.  If you like, pulverize the beads in a blender before using.)
  • Sweet rice flour (also remains stable when frozen)
  • Cornstarch (doesn’t dissolve as easily, separates if frozen)
  • Arrowroot (separates if frozen)
  • potato starch (separates if frozen)
  • rice starch (separates if frozen)
  • instant flour (use twice as much; sauce will be opaque, not clear; separates if frozen)

potato starch, potato flour, potato starch flour, katakuriko are similar to each other; This gluten-free starch  is used to thicken soups and gravies.  Its main advantage over other starch thickeners is that it’s a permitted ingredient for Passover, unlike cornstarch and other grain-based foods. Liquids thickened with potato starch should never be boiled.  Supermarkets often stock it among the Kosher products.

Potato starch is different than potato flour in the way of processing. Potato flour is the potato been cooked, dehydrated and finely ground. It is slightly yellow or off white in colour. Potato starch is just the starch of the potato that is processed from the potato. it is very fine, white, powdery and dissolves easily. Both can be used for thickening but the result will be different, it is the difference between using flour as a thickener.

Think of the difference between potato flour and potato starch as the same as corn flour and cornstarch. To complicate things a bit, if you come across something called “potato starch flour” on the package, don’t panic! It is the same as potato starch.


  • cornstarch (This is very similar, but not permitted for Passover.)
  • Arrowroot
  • Tapioca starch
  • Ground Passover matzo (This is also permitted for Passover.)

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