Potato Flakes Substitutes: The 17 Best Alternatives

Potato flakes are useful in many different cooking methods. Some of my health coaching clients have used them and ask me about a healthier alternative for various reasons. Therefore, let’s take a look at the best potato flakes substitutes.

The following is potato flakes substitutes:

  1. Potato starch
  2. Potatoes
  3. Potato flour
  4. Sweet potato flakes
  5. Arrowroot flour
  6. Water chestnut flour
  7. Oat flour
  8. Quinoa flour
  9. Flax meal
  10. Rice flour
  11. Wheat flour
  12. Cornstarch
  13. Cauliflower
  14. Crumbled crackers
  15. Xanthan gum
  16. Tapioca flour
  17. Coconut flour

In this article I’ll examine the substitutes including their tastes, textures and cooking methods.

In addition to coaching clients about them, I’ve purchased, researched and used the alternatives in this article prior to, during and sometimes after writing this article.

Potato Flakes Substitutes

1. Potato Starch

Potato starch is also made of potatoes. It has a neutral flavor and a white color. For these reasons, it will not change the flavor of the recipe. When I used potato starch as an alternative, I was surprised how the taste remained similar.

It can be used as a thickening agent in the following:

  • Stews
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Gravies
  • As a coating

Use one tablespoon of potato starch for one tablespoon of flakes potato.

  • Potato starch is gluten free.
  • Potato starch has a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.
potato starch
Potato Starch

2. Potatoes

If you’re using potato flakes to make mashed potatoes, why not use the potatoes you may already have at home. Regular potatoes can also be used in baking or as a thickener.

Using potatoes won’t change the flavor of recipes. If anything, it may even improve the taste.

Use 1/2 cup of regular mashed potatoes for 1/3 cup of potato flakes.

  • Potatoes are gluten free.
  • Potatoes have fewer calories and carbohydrates.

I often use potatoes at home. They are considered healthy if prepared the proper way. They are healthier than flakes, so why not use them too.

3. Potato Flour

Potato flour is made from pre-cooked potatoes dried and then finely ground. Flour potato can be used as a thickener for the following:

  • Sauces
  • Stews
  • Soups
  • Gravies
  • Baked goods

For baked goods, potato flour is used in combination with other flours because it absorbs more liquid if it used on its own. This would result in a dense and gummy finished product.

Typically one tablespoon of potato flour is used for two tablespoons of potato flakes.

  • Potato flour is gluten free.
  • Potato flour has a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.

I always have potato flour stored in the flour section of my cabinets in case I need to use it for a recipe.

potato flour
Potato Flour

4. Sweet Potato Flakes: Instant

Sweet potato flakes will change the flavor of the dish by making it sweeter. Some have regular flakes mixed in by the manufacturer.

Try picking the unsweetened variety. Some of them have butter or brown sugar added for taste.

Other than changing the flavor, they are perfect to use because they are potato flakes themselves. When I first tried using them myself, it may have been the easiest substitute potato flakes to use in the whole list.

They can be used for the following:

  • Mashed
  • Baking
  • Chips
  • Snacks
  • As a coating

Substitute an equal number.

  • They are gluten free.
  • They have a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.

5. Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot flour is an excellent thickener that can be used in the following:

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Sauces

Arrowroot has no real flavor of its own. This may be an advantage when it’s being used as a thickener.

It can easily be used as a thickening agent by replacing the flakes using a 1:1 ratio. 

  • Arrowroot flour is naturally gluten free.
  • It contains more calories and carbs.

6. Water Chestnut Flour

Water chestnuts are aquatic tubers boiled, then ground up to make water chestnut flour.

The flour has a sweet, nutty taste, so it can be added to heavily flavorful sauces and soups quite easily as a thickener. However, if the dish is mildly flavored, then you’ll want to be conscious of the inherent flavor of the water chestnut flour as well. 

They’ve got a high amount of fiber, antioxidants and nutrients, making them a healthy substitute. 

Water chestnut flour is gluten free. 

7. Oat Flour

Oat flour, made from whole oats, is a nutritious and fiber-rich flour that can be used for the following:

  • Thickener
  • Baking substitute
  • Breading
  • Pies
  • Casseroles

For two parts of potato flakes, only one part of oat flour needs to be used for thickening sauces and baking.

Oats can hold a good amount of water and have much fiber. This means it tends to get gummy and dry out the dish if used in the same proportion. It’s best used in smaller quantities. 

You can also use oat flour topping on casseroles or pies by using the same amount in the recipe. 

Pure oat flour is naturally gluten free.

8. Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is a great gluten-free addition to most diets since it’s rich in dietary fiber, proteins and minerals. It’s a seed eaten like a grain and ground up into flour. 

Quinoa flour can be used as a thickener and in baking. The high protein content of quinoa flour makes it filling and healthy.

It’s also good for baking since it can provide the necessary binding. 

However, quinoa flour retains far less moisture than potato flakes, so remember to adjust the amounts in your recipe.

Quinoa flour can be mixed with whole-wheat flour in the recipe. 

  • Quinoa flour is gluten free.
  • It has a similar number of calories and a little less carbohydrates.

Quinoa flour is another type of flour I keep at home in the flour section of my cabinet.

The video below provides some potato alternatives that are also good for diabetics.

9. Flax Meal

Finely ground flax meal makes for a great thickener. Therefore, it can be easily added in dishes where it’s being used as a thickening agent. 

To use flax meal as a thickener, simply mix a tablespoon with two or three tablespoons of water and mix into soups or sauces. Flax meal adds a nutty, sweet flavor to any dish. 

Flax meal can also be used as breading over meats or other fried dishes in about the same ratio.

Flaxseeds are an important addition to most diets since they contain necessary omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans and protein. Flax meal comprises flax seeds ground up to a powder which makes them easier to digest. 

Pure flax is gluten free.

10. Rice Flour

Rice flour is made from finely milled brown rice. Typically rice flour is used as an alternative to wheat flour, but it can be used as a replacement for potato flakes as well.

Rice flour can be used for the following:

  • Baked goods
  • Thickening agent in stews, soups, sauces and gravy.

Brown flour rice is another option. It’s made from brown rice instead of white rice and will change the flavor of the recipe somewhat.

Use twice the amount of rice flour.

  • Pure rice flour is gluten free.
  • It contains a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.
Rice flour.
Rice flour

11. Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is a fine powder made from the grinding of wheat. This makes it usable for consumption. Different types of wheat flour include:

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Bread flour
  • Cake flour
  • Pastry flour

Wheat flour can be used as a thickener in baked goods or as a coating for meat or fish. The baked goods will be less moist and lack the potato flavor.

Use two tablespoons of wheat flour for one tablespoon of flakes.

  • Wheat flour is not gluten free.
  • Wheat flour has a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.
wheat flour
Wheat Flour

12. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is the starch made from corn grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Corn starch is versatile and is typically used for flakes to thicken sauces or soups. This past Thanksgiving, I used cornstarch to thicken the creamed onions.

It’s also used for the following:

  • Glazes
  • Pies
  • Desserts
  • Marinades

Although it will lack the potato flavor, use cornstarch with a 1:1 ratio.

  • Pure cornstarch is gluten free.
  • It contains a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.
Corn starch in Kevin Garce's kitchen cabinet at home.
Corn starch in my kitchen cabinet at home

13. Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be mashed and substituted when making mashed potatoes.

Wherever you use flakes as breading, you can use riced cauliflower. Cauliflower can be blended up to a crumble-like texture and used as breading without any major changes. 

Cauliflower tends to absorb any flavor added to it easily. Therefore, you won’t need to account for any major flavor changes. It’s slightly less sweet, but this won’t matter if your breading is heavily seasoned. 

Cauliflower can also be used as a thickener in soups and sauces. Cook the cauliflower by steaming it, then blending it into a fine puree. You won’t need to add any water to blend since cauliflower has enough water on its own.

It can be added using a 1:1 ratio. 

  • Cauliflower is much lower in calories and carbohydrates. This is important if you’re counting carbs or calories.
  • Cauliflower is gluten free.
Kevin Garce checking organic cauliflower at his local supermarket.
Checking organic cauliflower at my local supermarket

14. Crumbled Crackers

If you’re making a topping, like for casseroles or pies, crumbled crackers make a good choice. The following crackers are possible to use:

  • Whole-wheat crackers
  • Wheat thins
  • Whole-wheat wafers
  • Multi-grain crackers
  • Cauliflower crackers
  • Almond flour crackers

Try avoiding crackers high in sodium, lacking fiber or containing added sugar. Typically crumbled crackers are used with a 1:1 ratio.

Cauliflower and almond flour crackers are gluten free. The remaining wheat crackers are not.

The following video is about potato flakes and what you should know before substituting for them.

15. Xanthan Gum

A versatile thickener, xanthan gum is used in several industries, not just the food industry. It mixes easily with water to create a stable, thick solution having a good flow. It doesn’t require any heat to thicken, unlike the other grain flour alternatives. 

More importantly, xanthan gum is a soluble fiber meaning it introduces practically no calories or glucose to a dish. It simply makes the dish thicker. 

To use xanthan gum, make sure to mix it with water before adding it to the soup, sauce or stew. Use it sparingly, mixing it in with small quantities till you reach the desired thickness.

You’ll need far less Xanthan gum to thicken up a sauce. Typically the ratio is 4:1.

  • Xanthan gum is naturally gluten free.
  • It contains fewer calories.

Find out if russet potato substitutes are any different than the ones listed here in my article, Russet Potato Substitutes: 13 Healthy Alternatives.

16. Tapioca Flour

Tapioca flour is made from the crushed pulp of the cassava root. Cassava is a nutty flavored, starchy root vegetable native to South America. Tapioca flour is used as a thickening agent for the following:

  • Sauces
  • Gravies
  • Puddings
  • Baked goods

Tapioca flour provides a crispy crust and a chewy texture in baked goods. When using it the potato flavor will be absent and the texture will be lighter. Use a 1:1 ratio.

Although cassava flour and tapioca flour are both made from cassava, they are different.

Tapioca flour is gluten free.

Tapioca flour.
Tapioca flour

Rutabaga is one of 13 low-carb potato substitutes. Find out the other 12 in my article, Low Carb Potato Substitutes: The 13 Best Alternatives.

17. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made from dried coconut flesh which is ground. It’s often used to replace wheat flour but also makes a good option.

When choosing coconut flour the dish will sweeten up, but the flavor will remain mild. The flour works well in baked goods and desserts.

It’s absorbent, so the amount used will be less. Use half the amount of coconut flour per potato flakes.

Coconut flour absorbs more water than grain flours because it is made from dried fruit.

  • Coconut flour is gluten free.
  • It contains a similar number of calories and carbohydrates.
Coconut flour.
Coconut flour

Many options for sweet potatoes are different due to flavor. Check those out in my article, Keto Substitute for Sweet Potatoes: 8 Healthy Substitutes.

To conduct some original research and get the opinions of real people, I polled my readers, clients and members of some food groups. I asked them what was the best potato flakes Substitute?

  • 45% said the best one was potato starch which was the winner of the poll.

Additional Resources 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

Read Next – More Food Substitute Articles!

Yukon Gold Potatoes Substitute: The 13 Best Alternatives

Mashed Potato Substitutes: 15 Healthy Alternatives

8 Healthy Sweet Potato Flour Substitutes

Alternatives To Sweet Potatoes: 16 Unbeatable Substitutes

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Wikipedia: Wheat flour[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Rice Flour: A promising Food Material For Nutrition and Global Health[]
  3. University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Cauliflower[]
  4. University Of Florida Health: Healthy food trends — flaxseeds[]
  5. Bob’s Red Mill: Organic Quinoa Flour[]
  6. University of Rochester Medical Center: Nutrition facts Arrowroot flour, 1 cup[]
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Wheat-water chestnut flour blends: effect of baking on antioxidant properties of cookies[]
  8. USDA: Oat Flour[]
  9. Wikipedia: Xanthan gum[]
  10. Wikipedia: Corn starch[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of Coconut and Chestnut Flour Supplementations on Texture, Nutritional and Sensory Properties of Baked Wheat Based Bread[]

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