The Difference between Potato Flour and Potato Starch

The Difference between Potato Flour and Potato Starch

Photo courtesy of Hasbro.

If you’re baking gluten free (and I know you are, Honey Bunch!) knowing the difference between potato STARCH and potato FLOUR makes all the difference in the whole wide world.

For example, substituting potato flour for potato starch in a recipe will take you from light fluffy homemade treats to sad little gluten free hockey pucks. Nobody wants to eat a hockey puck!

Of course, with all the alternative flours we use in our gluten free baking, it can get confusing. I know many of you have asked about potato flour versus starch.

When lovely Gluten Free Gigi Family Member, Kay, sent in an email, I thought I would jump right to it and answer for Kay, and for all of you who have the very same question. Thanks a bundle, Kay! :)

The short answer is potato flour is made from the entire potato. Potato starch is made only from the starch of the potato.

Now, let’s get a few more details about the two so we are better able to understand their different properties in baking and cooking.

The Difference between Potato Flour and Potato Starch

Potato Flour

Potato flour is made from whole potatoes (most of the time even the peel is included). The potatoes can be raw or cooked. Either way they are first dried then ground into flour.

The result is a heavy, cream colored flour with a distinct potato flavor. The flour readily absorbs liquid (similar to coconut flour in this regard), so it works best when incorporated into gluten free flour blends in small amounts. Too much potato flour in a recipe will cause the finished product to be dense and gummy. For example, a muffin with too much potato flour would never fully cook through. (Yes, that’s personal experience talkin’!)

However, used in smaller quantities, the same properties of potato flour that lead to an overly dense and doughy finished product can actually mimic gums and help hold a recipe together. It also lends a hearty texture to baked goods. This, along with the potato flavor it imparts, makes potato flour a good choice in recipes for savory gluten free breads or rolls.

What you will see more often used in gluten free recipes is potato starch.

Potato Starch

Potato starch is a very fine white powder starch, similar in texture to cornstarch. If you’re not very careful when working with and measuring potato starch, you can create quite a cloud in the kitchen! (Yes, personal experience again!).

It is made from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes. It has no potato flavor so works well in most recipes, sweet or savory.

As part of the starch component of a gluten free flour blend, potato starch lends a light, fluffy texture to baked goods.

It is also a great thickener in gravies, sauces, and even in custards and puddings, which typically use cornstarch.

This is great news for individuals with a corn allergy or those on a grain free diet. Potato starch is also permitted for Passover (for this reason, some stores stock it in the Kosher section; if you are having trouble locating it in your supermarket, be sure to check there).

BUT, if you use potato starch as a thickener for a liquid (like gravy or a sauce), here’s a very useful tip: Unlike cornstarch, a liquid thickened with potato starch should never be boiled. The potato starch loses its ability to thicken once boiled.

Both potato starch and potato flour are available in most mainstream markets or specialty stores. If you have trouble locating them in stores, a great place to locate gluten free flours online quickly and easily is the Gluten Free Resource Directory.

Now, it’s time to bake, bake, bake! :)

If you haven’t cooked with potato starch yet, try this tasty experiment: My Gluten Free Grain Free “Pot” Brownies!

You can get even more practice with potato starch by making a batch of My Perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Either way – brownies or cookies – you win! (Of course, remember, Honey Bunch, will power is up to you! ;) )

Enjoy more information on living your best gluten-free life in my Knowledge section, and explore how tasty gluten-free can be in the Recipe Index!

Gigi ;)


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