There are times when you may need sweet potato flour for your next dish. For whatever reason, it may be unavailable, or you may want to use another flour instead. Wondering what healthy alternative can be used, you may ask, what can I use instead of sweet potato flour?
The following are sweet potato flour substitutes:
- Sweet potato flakes.
- Water chestnut flour.
- Rice flour.
- Tapioca flour.
- Potato flour.
- Sweet potato starch.
- Quinoa flour.
- Arrowroot starch.
This article will list and explain each substitute, including how they’re similar and different than sweet potato flour. In addition, I’ve prepared a comparison of their nutrients and discuss how each one is prepared.
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Sweet Potato Flour Substitutes
1. Sweet Potato Flakes
Sweet potato flakes are a great alternative to sweet potato flour. They’re most commonly used to make sweet potato hash browns or added to any sweet or savoury dish. They can be used for baking, pasta, snacks and chips 1.
In addition, they are easier to prepare than sweet potato flour and have the same sweet potato taste we all love.
Similarities between sweet potato flakes and sweet potato flour:
- Same flavor as sweet potato flour.
- Keep for a long time.
How sweet potato flakes are made:
Sweet potato flakes are made by first boiling the sweet potatoes and then grating them. Then dehydrate them using a dehydrator for 12 to 18 hours. Once they’re dehydrated, crunch them up in your hands and put them into jars.
Major differences between sweet potato flakes and sweet potato flour:
- They don’t have a fine powder like consistency.
- They are prepared slightly differently and take less time.
Because they’re coarser than sweet potato flour 2 you can choose to grind them up in a pestle and mortar. The flakes can be blended to give them a fine consistency and used like sweet potato flour.
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2. Water Chestnut Flour
Water chestnuts grow in marshes where the roots and the base of the plant are completely underwater. The water chestnuts themselves are harvested from the roots of the plant 3.
Water chestnut flour is typically used as a thickener. It’s popular in Asian recipes to make batter for deep frying.
Similarities between water chestnut flour and sweet potato flour:
- Similar color and texture.
- Similar flavor.
Water chestnut flour is white like the sweet potato flour made from sweet potatoes with the purple skin. It also has a mild sweet, nutty flavor, similar to sweet potato flour.
How water chestnut flour is made:
Water chestnuts are hard even after being cooked. They have a purple/black skin generally removed. To make water chestnut flour:
- First peel the skin using a sharp knife.
- Next boil them in water for about 10 minutes to cook them completely.
- Lastly, blend it in a blender until it turns into a fine powder.
Major differences between water chestnut flour and sweet potato flour:
- It has a slight tart flavor.
- The flour is harder and grainy because the water chestnuts don’t become soft after cooking.
You may have some trouble locating water chestnut flour in your local supermarket. Amazon has a wide variety of them at affordable prices. Check them out here, Water Chestnut Flour.
3. Rice Flour
Rice is one of those foods many people keep in their cabinet. It can be bought or made very easy. What is rice flour used for?
Rice flour is used as a thickener in sauce recipes refrigerated or frozen. It’s used for baking and as a breading for fried dishes.
Similarities between rice flour and sweet potato flour:
- White in color and has sweet potato flavor similar to purple sweet potatoes.
Rice is starchy and filling which is very similar to the mouthfeel of sweet potato flour. In addition, it’s white in color but generally far whiter than sweet potato flour 4.
How rice flour is made:
- Wash the rice until the water is clear.
- Then soak in warm water for about 10 minutes.
- After, drain the water and leave to sit somewhere warm for 2 hours.
- It will dry out and then it can be blended in a blender until it turns into a fine powder.
Major differences between rice flour and sweet potato flour:
- It doesn’t have a sweet or nutty flavor to it that sweet potato flour has.
- Generally has a bland rice flavor to it.
4. Tapioca Flour
A few of my clients have asked me, is sweet potato flour the same as tapioca flour?
Sweet potato flour is different than tapioca flour. Sweet potato flour is made from sweet potatoes while tapioca flour is made from the roots of the cassava plant.
Tapioca flour 5 can be used in many recipes and is a great substitute for sweet potato flour. Tapioca is a root vegetable that grows in a similar way to sweet potato. It’s also called cassava or yuca.
Similarities between tapioca flour and sweet potato flavor:
- It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor very similar to sweet potato.
- It has a similar color to sweet potato flour made from purple sweet potatoes.
The flavor of tapioca flour is probably the closest thing to sweet potato flour. Likely because it grows in a similar way to sweet potatoes, the root of the plant.
However, the plant grows much larger, to the size of a medium sized tree before it’s harvested.
How tapioca flour is made:
First peel the tapioca using a knife and then wash it. Next, cut it into thin slices about a half-inch thick and put it into the blender until it has the consistency of flour. It can also be grated to make tapioca flour.
Major differences between tapioca flour and sweet potato flour:
- It is far whiter in color to sweet potato flour which is generally slightly yellow, purple and orange.
- It’s not as sweet as sweet potato and has a slightly slimy consistency. Although not in an unpleasant way.
You may have some trouble locating tapioca flour in your local supermarket. Amazon has a wide variety of them at affordable prices. Check them out here, Tapioca Flour.
5. Potato Flour
Many people ask, what is a sweet potato flour substitute for frying?
A sweet potato substitute for frying is potato flour. It has a similar texture to sweet potato flour and can be used the same way for dishes requiring a flour for frying.
Potato flour is a likely candidate for a sweet potato flour alternative as both vegetables are very similar 6. It’s generally not sold in stores but is very easy to make yourself.
Similarities between potato flour and sweet potato flour:
- Similar flavor.
- Similar texture – depending on the variety of potatoes used.
The texture of potato flour when used in cooking is very similar to sweet potato. Potatoes with a waxy skin tend to have a slightly different texture compared to sweet potato flour.
Although those having a dry texture and fluffiness when cooked have a flour virtually identical to sweet potatoes.
How potato flour is made:
Potato flour is made by first peeling the potatoes and then washing them. Next, cut the potatoes into thin slices about half an inch thick. Then blend them in a high-speed blender. Lastly, let it dry in a warm place.
Once all the water has evaporated, scoop it out using a spoon and mix it to remove any clumps.
Major differences between potato flour and sweet potato flour:
- The flavor – the flour retains the same flavor as potato which isn’t as sweet.
- The color is generally a lot whiter than sweet potato flour.
6. Sweet Potato Starch
Sweet potato starch is very similar to sweet potato flour except it’s made in a different way 7. Rather than using the potato, water is used to suspend micro particles of the sweet potato. Then the water is removed to leave the starch behind.
Sweet potato starch can be used as a replacement for sweet potato flour and cornstarch. It’s used to make sweet potato noodles, Asian noodles, sweeteners and beverages.
Similarities between sweet potato starch and sweet potato flour:
- Has a very similar flavor to sweet potato flour, but is less flavorful.
- It has a similar texture to sweet potato flour.
How sweet potato starch is made:
- Start by peeling the sweet potato, and then chop it into small pieces about half an inch thick.
- Then add it to a blender and add water until it covers the pieces of sweet potato.
- Next, remove as much water as possible by putting the blended mixture through cheesecloth or a sieve, keeping the remaining liquid.
- The water extracted is used to make the sweet potato starch.
- Next, add the water to the mixture and sieve it again.
- Let the water sit for about two hours, then pour the water out.
- The residue at the bottom is the sweet potato starch.
- Scrape it out and let it dry in the sun or bake it on low heat for about an hour.
- Lastly, you’ll be left with a fine powder which is the sweet potato starch.
Major differences between sweet potato starch and sweet potato flour:
- It’s much whiter than sweet potato flour.
- It doesn’t have as much fiber because the flesh of the sweet potato is removed.
7. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour is a great substitute for sweet potato flour, and like sweet potato flour, it is very versatile 8. In addition, it’s incredibly easy to make and is packed full of nutrients.
Quinoa flour can be used for baking bread, muffins, pizza and pancakes. Quinoa flour can be used as a thickener for soups and sauces.
Similarities between quinoa flour and sweet potato flour:
- It has a light orange color similar to sweet potato flour.
- Has a similar texture to sweet potato flour.
- Has a nutty, earthy taste similar to sweet potato flour.
The quinoa is lightly toasted before being made into flour. Therefore, it develops a light brown color similar to sweet potato flour. It also has a similar texture and taste.
How quinoa flour is made:
Add quinoa to a dry frying pan and toss it until it’s lightly toasted. Then blend it in a blender until it turns into a fine powder,and sieve the flour. Wait for it to cool completely at which time it’s ready to be stored.
Major differences between quinoa flour and sweet potato flour:
- It doesn’t have the earthy potato-like taste and tastes more similar to rice.
- Doesn’t have any sweetness to it.
8. Arrowroot Starch
Arrowroot starch works like other starches and is used for thickening stews, soups and sauces. It’s very stable for freezing and helps prevent ice crystals from forming. Arrowroot starch adds texture and structure in cooking and baking 9.
The arrowroot plant is a tropical tuber similar to cassava, yucca and kudzu. Arrowroot starch is white and flavorless.
How arrowroot starch is made:
- Clean loose pieces off the outer skin.
- Rinse well under running water.
- Trim off the edges and cut the arrowroot into slices.
- Add water and grind up the slices until it’s mushy.
- Pour the arrowroot into a strainer and keep mixing it allowing the water the drain out.
- Squeeze it with your hands to drain more water out.
- Let the extracted liquid sit for 15 minutes.
- Pour the top layer of the liquid into another large bowl and stir with a spoon.
- Add one cup of water and mix it again.
- Let the liquid sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour the top layer out into another bowl.
- Add one cup of water and mix it again.
- Keep repeating this process until the liquid is clear.
- It may take 10-12 times until the liquid clears.
- After repeated filtering the substance will become thick.
- Scrape it and let it dry in the sunlight for at least one day.
- Once dried, the arrowroot starch will be powder.
Making arrowroot starch is a lot of work and it may be hard to find in your local supermarket. Take a look at the ones listed on Amazon here, Arrowroot Starch.
Major differences between arrowroot starch and sweet potato flour:
- It doesn’t taste sweet like sweet potato flour.
- The color is white instead of orange.
- It odorless so it doesn’t have the same smell.
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What is sweet potato flour used for? Sweet potato flour is used as a thickener for sauces and gravies. It can be used for baking muffins and quick breads. Sweet potato flour is good for batters like pancakes and coatings.
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- Idaho-Frank Associates: Sweet Potato Flakes
- Carrington Farms: Sweet Potato Flour
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Wheat-water chestnut flour blends: effect of baking on antioxidant properties of cookies
- Wikipedia: Rice Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill: What Is Tapioca Flour & Where Does It Come From?
- USDA: Recipes for potato starch and potato flour
- ScienceDirect: Sweet Potato Starch
- Bob’s Red Mill: Organic Quinoa Flour
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Cornstarch, Arrowroot, & Starches: What’s The Difference?