If you’ve been dabbling in the ketogenic lifestyle, you’ve probably been looking for substitutions for traditional high-carb foods and ingredients, including those that you cook with.
More specifically, there are plenty of no- and low-carb flour options available that you can bake with and substitute for conventional wheat flour and cornstarch.
Since wheat and cornstarch are chock full of carbs, substituting them with something like arrowroot that has far fewer carbs and sugars would be essential when following the ketogenic diet.
Arrowroot flour is often used as a substitute for cornstarch. But does arrowroot make a good keto-friendly substitute?
What is Arrowroot?
Arrowroot powder is a flavorless powder that’s made up of starches and extracted from the arrowroot plant. It’s used to thicken soups, sauces, gravies, and other types of foods. It can also make baked goods much fluffier and spongier.
Since arrowroot powder has twice the thickening power as wheat, less of it is used in baking recipes.
More specifically, one teaspoon of arrowroot powder can be substituted for every one tablespoon of flour, while two teaspoons of arrowroot powder can be substituted for every one tablespoon of cornstarch.
Nutritional Makeup of Arrowroot
One tablespoon of arrowroot flour contains the following nutritional values:
- Calories: 29
- Carbs: 7.1g
- Protein: 0g
- Fat: 0g
Arrowroot vs. Cornstarch
The macro makeup of arrowroot powder is very comparable to that of cornstarch in terms of calories and carbs. But what’s so different about the two is how the starch is extracted.
Unlike cornstarch, arrowroot powder is extracted using safer and simpler traditional methods, without the use of harmful chemicals or high heat.
Cornstarch is usually made of genetically-modified corn, and its extraction process involves chemically extracting the components to create the final product, making it a less healthy option.
Further, arrowroot powder has a more neutral taste than cornstarch, which leaves behind a more overpowering flavor that you might not want in your recipes.
Arrowroot powder is gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo-friendly. It can even be vegan because it can serve as a substitution for eggs in recipes for muffins or cookies, as long as all other ingredients are suitable.
Arrowroot powder is also a good substitute for cornstarch for those who suffer from corn allergies.
Since arrowroot is not a grain, it is often easier to digest. It also has more fiber than many other starches, keeping the digestive tract moving along and hunger at bay.
Is Arrowroot Keto-Friendly?
Clearly, arrowroot powder is a healthier choice compared to cornstarch. But is it keto-friendly?
Based on the fact that both arrowroot and cornstarch have relatively the same number of carbs per serving, it would seem as though arrowroot isn’t exactly a low-carb substitute compared to products like almond or coconut flour.
Two tablespoons of arrowroot flour contain about 14 grams of carbs. Considering the fact that the maximum carb level is around the 30-gram mark, that wouldn’t leave very many carbs left to play with throughout the remainder of the day.
Based on the macronutrient makeup of arrowroot powder, it would appear as though it may not be considered keto-friendly.
But when used in the right low-carb recipe, the amount needed is minimal, thereby lowering the overall carb count. As such, using arrowroot powder can be keto-friendly.
Not a lot of arrowroot powder is required in recipes to achieve the desired effect.
The key is to use a limited amount of arrowroot powder – and any other product with carbs in them – in order to ensure you stay within your daily carb limit to maintain a state of ketosis.
Arrowroot Recipes to Try on the Keto Diet
There are so many different low-carb recipes featuring arrowroot that you can enjoy while keeping your ketone levels up. Here are a few to try out.
1. Low-Carb Flatbread
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp almond flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 6 tsp of butter or ghee
- Pinch of salt
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.
Lightly spray a skillet with some olive oil spray and heat at medium-high heat.
Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter and cook until firm, about 3 minutes.
Flip the batter with a spatula and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Repeat for the remainder of the batter.
Top with your favorite keto-friendly ingredients.
2. Grain-Free Keto Brownies
- 6 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 3/4 cup erythritol
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 8 oz 100% dark baking chocolate
- 1/4 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8″ x 8″ deep pan with parchment paper.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil with the baking chocolate in the microwave for a couple of minutes until melted.
Add all other ingredients and mix.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Allow the brownies to cool before serving.
3. Keto and Vegan Chocolate Pudding
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
- 5 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 pinch sea salt
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk with the salt.
Add the arrowroot powder, then continuously whisk for 2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and agave and continue whisking.
Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then add the chocolate chips, stirring until melted.
Allow to cool before serving.
Fortunately, there are so many low-carb substitutes that can be used in place of traditionally high-carb foods and ingredients to help keep you in ketosis.
While arrowroot powder isn’t traditionally a low-carb product, only a small amount of it needs to be used to achieve the desired effect.
Also, considering the fact that it’s a healthy option compared to cornstarch or wheat flour, arrowroot can be a great alternative.