Arrowroot vs. Cornstarch: Which Thickener Is Best?

Arrowroot and Cornstarch Thickener

You’ve probably used cornstarch when baking and cooking countless times, but how about arrowroot? Arrowroot works similarly to cornstarch. So which to use? We’re sharing the differences between the two thickeners and which is best.


Cornstarch is a starch obtained from the endosperm of a corn kernel. The powdery substance forms a slurry when mixed with water. It’s commonly used as a thickener or anti-caking agent.

The number one concern with using cornstarch is its link to genetically modified corn. This is a major reason I choose arrowroot over cornstarch. Although organic and non-GMO cornstarch exists, it still runs a risk. According to the Non-GMO Report, 25 percent of organic corn has been contaminated with GMOs due to cross pollination.


Arrowroot is a starch extracted from tubers within the Marantaceae family. Its use dates back more than 7,000 years. Like cornstarch, it can be used for thickening or to form a clear gel, which cornstarch can’t do. In addition to its thickening capabilities, it has also been widely used for its health benefits.

Arrowroot is extremely nutrient rich, boasting significant levels of copper, iron, calcium, and fiber.

Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot doesn’t carry the association with GMOs since it’s derived from a non-GMO plant. Most arrowroot starches on the market are certified non-GMO so look for the label if you’re still wary.

Given arrowroot can work just as well, if not better, than cornstarch, it’s a great choice for the organic and health-minded chef.

How To Use

Cornstarch and arrowroot can be substituted for one another at a 1:1 ratio. Simply swap with equal parts and the recipe will turn out as expected.

Arrowroot is particularly great in vegan recipes since it can help thicken up vegan gravy or dairy-free cheese. Try using it in this vegan mac and cheese recipe! Also, use it in sauces that need to be thickened or when making a baking recipe gluten-free.

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