The ketogenic diet has taken the world by storm, and for a good reason! It offers a high-fat, low-carb alternative to traditional diets and is more effective at helping people achieve their fitness goals. While the benefits of going keto are numerous, it does come with some challenges. One of the main issues you may encounter is finding suitable substitutes for common ingredients such as cornstarch.
But don’t worry; you don’t need to miss out on delicious recipes just because you’re following a strict keto diet! In this article, we will explore various keto substitutes for corn starch that will make all your favorite dishes even more flavorful and nutrient-dense while still keeping your body in ketosis.
1. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is naturally gluten-free and abundant in nutritional fiber, making it a great low-carb keto substitute for cornstarch. It has a somewhat sweet flavor that goes well with muffins and cookies. Start with modest amounts and gradually increase them to obtain the right balance of dryness and moisture during baking.
Coconut flour works as a wonderful thickener in a variety of dishes, including sauces and stews. When creating a sauce or gravy, create a slurry by mixing coconut flour with water before adding it to your dishes. Since coconut flour naturally thickens liquids without the need for cooking, it may also be used to make thicker soups.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1-2 tbsp. coconut flour.
2. Almond Flour
Almond flour, made from ground almonds, is an excellent keto substitute for cornstarch, as it is low in carbohydrates and high in both essential nutrients and healthy fats. Almonds are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Plus, almond flour has a distinct nutty flavor that adds complexity to dishes — perfect for baking or making sauces.
You can use almond flour as a coating for fried foods instead of regular bread crumbs, as a thickener in sauces or stews, or when baking. The nutty flavor of almonds makes for a great addition to stews and curries. Although almond flour does not clump much, it’s always a good idea to add it in small batches for a smoother texture.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 3/4 tbsp. almond flour.
3. Arrowroot Powder
This gluten-free, low-carb alternative is an ideal replacement because it retains the same thickening power with none of the carbs. Arrowroot also has a few additional nutritional benefits, such as being high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in vitamins, potassium, and calcium.
When using arrowroot powder as a substitute for cornstarch, you can substitute it directly in equal amounts. Additionally, arrowroot powder does not require additional cooking time as it dissolves quickly into liquids. Arrowroot can be used for anything from thickening sauces and gravies to stews and baking pies.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder.
4. Ground Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, which provide anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Ground flaxseed also has a high amount of dietary fiber and is an excellent low-carb option compared to cornstarch.
Ground flaxseed can be used in baking and cooking recipes as a thickener, just as you would use cornstarch. To use it to replace cornstarch, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water to form a gel. This gel can then be added to soups and stews for thickness or used as an egg replacer in baking recipes.
Alternatively, you can use it in smoothies or sprinkle the seeds on top of cereal for added crunch. Just be sure to adjust the amount based on the level of thickness desired.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds.
5. Ground Chia Seeds
Ground chia seeds are high in healthy fats and protein. They also contain more than twice the fiber compared to cornstarch, allowing you to stay fuller longer while still reaping the benefits of a keto diet.
When replacing cornstarch with chia seeds, it is important to remember that chia seeds will thicken dishes differently. To achieve a similar texture, it’s recommended that you use double the amount of ground chia seeds. For baking purposes, consider adding one tablespoon of ground chia seeds per cup of flour to give your treats an extra boost in flavor and texture.
Additionally, if you want to use chia seed as a binder or egg replacement, mix it with water and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to help it reach its full potential.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 2 tbsps. ground chia seeds.
6. Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder is a great source of dietary fiber and other essential minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. This powder also acts as a natural laxative, helping to improve digestion and overall health.
You can use psyllium husk powder in place of cornstarch as a thickening agent to create sauces and gravies. For those looking to add some crunch to their dishes, use half the amount of cornstarch for breading and battering. Psyllium husk powder also works well when incorporated into smoothies or drinks for added thickness without the calories found in cornstarch.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1/2 tbsp. psyllium husk powder.
7. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide that doesn’t contain any calories or net carbs. This makes it an ideal thickening agent for those following a ketogenic diet because it keeps dishes low-carb while still providing the same creamy texture and slight sweetness that you’d expect from cornstarch.
Xanthan gum can be used as a thickener in soups, gravies, sauces, pies, custards, puddings, and more. The rule of thumb is half a teaspoon of xanthan gum mixed with two cups of liquid. Some recipes may require more depending on how thick you prefer your sauces and gravies.
Suggested ratio: 1 tbsp. cornstarch = 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum + 2 cups of water.