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What is Potato Starch?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Potato starch is made through an extensive process of washing, sometimes cooking, and then separating the starch present in potato cell walls so that it can be made into powdered or liquid form. In cooking, this starch is often considered a substitute thickener for cornstarch or white flour. It has a higher heat point than cornstarch, however, so it may be better for certain foods that require high temperatures.

Another benefit to potato starch, especially as compared to wheat flour as a thickener, is that it is gluten free. This means that people who want nice thick gravy, soups, or stews, but who haven’t been able to achieve this with flour due to gluten intolerance, can use the starch instead with excellent results. Like cornstarch, the cook generally has to dissolve the starch in a little bit of water before adding it as a thickener so it will blend easily with other ingredients. Many people especially prefer starch made from potatoes or corn when thickening sauces because it can help the sauces remain translucent, while flour creates a more muddied appearing sauce.

Shoppers will find many types of potato starch on the market, some in organic forms. It is occasionally sold as starch flour or potato flour instead, but usually all names refer to the same starch. Again, with the lack of gluten, such flour could be used as a substitute for wheat flour in a variety of recipes, greatly enhancing the number of gluten free products that a cook can make. Potato bread made with the starch or flour is often sweet and excellent, though consumers should check labels on commercial brands because they may contain some wheat flour.

There are some interesting new applications for this starch that have nothing to do with cooking. It’s been found to be a creative way to make environmentally friendly products that are durable. “Plastic” cutlery made from potato and cornstarch is completely biodegradable and recyclable.

Some denim manufacturers also make clothing that is eco friendly. These jeans are made with organic cotton and given their indigo finish with a special group of ingredients that include mimosa flower and potato starch. They do sell for considerably more than standard denim jeans, however. Whether in cooking, cutlery or clothing, though, this humble starch is making its mark as being environmentally friendly and easy to use in lots of recipes.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon312051 — On Jan 04, 2013

We have an investigatory project with making a plastic using this and it just worked very well.

By anon272063 — On May 29, 2012

Does anyone know if someone who is allergic to potatoes can eat products containing potato starch?

By anon229647 — On Nov 15, 2011

i used potato starch when I ran out of flour for a pumpkin bread recipe and damn! It worked wonderfully -- super light and fluffy muffins! I also went just a tad heavy on the baking soda and baking powder.

By anon183863 — On Jun 06, 2011

My ENT recommended potato starch for my bloody nose. It had been cauterized twice with no success. The potato starch worked. I have not had a bloody nose since. You mix a small amount of the starch with water, mix and apply to you nose with a cotton swab.

By anon143473 — On Jan 16, 2011

I'm doing a science fair project that includes making a plastic from potato starch. Cool stuff.

By anon139052 — On Jan 03, 2011

To Soup dragon. I can find potato starch in many Thai and Chinese supermarkets.

By anon119876 — On Oct 19, 2010

Where does the starch in a potato come from?

By anon116375 — On Oct 06, 2010

Can you use xanthan gum in the place of potato starch? If so, how much do you use? I have a potato allergy and wheat allergy and corn allergy so is there anything else out there that I can substitute that is more reasonable in cost than xanthan gum?

By anon106717 — On Aug 26, 2010

Is potato starch cholesterol free?

By anon85248 — On May 19, 2010

When replacing wheat flour for potato starch (not flour) in soup and sauce recipes you use it the same way as cornstarch. Cut the amount in half and dissolve into cold liquid first. My family has had great success with this. Even my in-laws make sauces with potato starch now to save me from having to go gravy-less.

By anon82904 — On May 08, 2010

Potato starch is very useful in making soups etc.

By anon82107 — On May 04, 2010

Do you use the same amount of potato starch as the recipe calls for flour? (For instance, when substituting cornstarch you only need half as much for the same thickening power).

By anon71662 — On Mar 19, 2010

You can get huge bag from Rice World.

By anon69085 — On Mar 06, 2010

Please tell me the origin of potato flour and potato starch. i mean where and how were they discovered?

By anon60035 — On Jan 11, 2010

Potato starch (different than potato flour) can be found in the Jewish section of any large supermarket.

By anon56094 — On Dec 11, 2009

Potato Ssarch can be found at the T@T store (an all Chinese store)in Vancouver B.C.

By anon43487 — On Aug 29, 2009

I found many years ago potato starch and tapioca starch in the Oriental food stores for dirt cheap-- as in 85 cents for 3 cups! check it out.

By soupdragon54 — On Jul 01, 2009

Does anybody know where I can buy Potato *strach* please? Mail order or internet would be great! I can buy potato *flour* in most supermarkets and health food shops but potato starch is causing me a huge problem! Thanks in advance!!

By anon30200 — On Apr 15, 2009

Potato Starch and potato Flour aren't the same, and interchangeable. It may be true that potato starch may be mislabeled as potato flour. In fact, they are different - see WiseGEEK "Potato Flour." As described there and other places elsewhere on the web they have different cooking properties and are not necessarily interchangeable, and care should be taken.

By anon25928 — On Feb 05, 2009

I have used a product called K-gel or Kleargel where I used to work. This product was great to work with. Is K-gel the same product as Potato starch or potato flour?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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