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What is arrowroot?

Arrowroot starchArrowroot, or arrowroot starch, is a powdery product made from the arrowroot plant, a starchy tropical root. The plant is dried and ground up to make the powder, which is primarily used as a thickener in the kitchen, much like cornstarch. Much like cornstarch, it is an excellent thickening agent. It has about twice the thickening power of regular flour. Unlike cornstarch, however, arrowroot is completely flavorless and will not impart a starchy taste into puddings or other dishes that it is used to thicken.

Another reason that arrowroot is called for in recipes is that it is extremely digestible, moreso than regular wheat flour. It can be used in cookies and crackers as a substitute for part of the flour, and you can find “arrowroot biscuits” in stores that are often said to sooth the stomach. It is also a very popular ingredient in gluten-free baking. Still, it’s primary use is as a thickener. To use it, it must be mixed with some cold water before being added to a hot liquid to prevent clumping. Arrowroot can be found at some specialty grocers and can also be ordered online.

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9 Comments
  • sevenmarie
    June 25, 2009

    thanks for this! just last week my friend and i were wondering what arrowroot is (her toddlers favorite cookies are arrowroot biscuits).

  • Cookie
    June 25, 2009

    I love how you’re always so informative! I’ve seen Arrowroot at Whole Foods but didn’t even bother to see what it was! I guess I just figured it was some type of “healthy baking alternative” and passed right by it to the chips! hehe

  • Tracy
    June 26, 2009

    I shall have to give arrowroot powder a try. I like cornstarch for thickening things, but this products sounds superior. I wonder how it does in pie fillings?

  • Sarah
    May 30, 2011

    Thanks! This post was really helpful! I am going to be using it as a thickening agent to make my own brown sauce.

  • Judy Mastinick
    November 24, 2011

    Since arrowroot is not a wheat or flour product, I’m assuming someone with gluten intolerance could use it. Is that correct?

  • bill solinger
    December 27, 2011

    i have used arrowrout for years, but it does not work well with milk or dairy products.

  • Padmini Mathew
    February 7, 2013

    I am diabetic. Can I take arrowroott

  • Margaret d
    April 17, 2013

    Is arrowroot a carbohydrate ?

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