White flour or powder in a glass jar

Arrowroot & Tapioca – Why They’re Not The Same

Can I substitute arrowroot flour/starch for tapioca flour/starch?  That’s a VERY frequently asked question.  Unfortunately it’s really not a yes or no answer .. It’s largely dependent upon what you’re cooking or baking, the accompanying ingredients and the quantity the recipe calls for.

The first thing I suggest you consider is my post on Substitutions in AIP Cooking and Baking, this will help explain why it’s rarely a good idea.

Then you can read up on the differences between arrowroot and tapioca in the resources below.

Arrowroot vs. Tapioca Starch: SPICEography Showdown

Arrowroot vs. Tapioca: What’s the Difference?

Tapioca & Cassava & Gari – Why They’re Not The Same

Then there’s the BIG question about whether tapioca flour/starch is the same as cassava flour and can we not just swap these out? And what about the lesser known Gari Flour? The short answer whether they’re interchangeable is a FIRM NO!

Tapioca flour/starch is more processed than cassava flour and the fiber has been removed, so you can NOT use them interchangeably.

Gari on the other hand is the left-over fiber from making tapioca flour/starch and it therefore is all fiber and contains very very little starch. Noteworthy too, Gari is a fermented product, so the flavor is sour.

When it comes to Cassava flour, it’s typically used for baking and you’ve got the Goldie locks scenario going on here – it has to be JUST RIGHT! That means you need to use Cassava flour when it’s called for in baking if you want your baked goods to turn out right! If you try using tapioca flour/starch instead, it’s likely to come out too gooey or very dense. Gari would change things again – the baked goods would be sour and very likely not hold together properly. This too is why you need to ensure you’re buying quality Cassava flour, and if a recipe creator recommends one brand over another – TRUST THEM – they’ve likely dabbled with more than one Cassava Flour brand and want to ensure your cooking or baking produces results when it comes to taste and texture.

You can read more cassava vs. tapioca and debunk some myths about cassava flour at the same time (no it’s not poisonous folks!) – check out the articles below.

Is Cassava Flour Tapioca Flour?

Five Things You Should Know About Cassava Flour