11 Potato Flakes Substitutes [For Frying, Thickening, & Baking]

If you are a novice or at-home chef like myself, versatility is key with ingredients. Look no further than the potato flake for versatility and ease.

Potato flakes can give you all the yumminess potatoes can provide without the hassle of cleaning/prepping/cooking an actual potato.

But what should you do if you are looking to make a recipe that calls for potato flakes, but doesn’t have any on hand?

Don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place.  From starches to flours, to actual potatoes and plant derivatives – you’ve got a lot of options for potato flake substitutes.  

The best potato flakes substitutes for frying recipes are panko breadcrumbs, potato starch, and cornstarch. For thickening agents in recipes: potato flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, arrowroot powder, mashed potatoes, and wheat flour.

Cornstarch and potato starch can also make for excellent thickening agents. For baking recipes: quinoa flour, and rice flour. Wheat flour can also be used for baking. For gluten-free recipes: rice flour and quinoa flour.

In this article, we will discuss 11 different potato flake substitutes that will have you second guessing the need for actual potato flakes. Can that even be a possibility!? Let’s find out!

Potato Flakes Substitutes

1. Panko Breadcrumbs

Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs that are much lighter than regular breadcrumbs.

They are made from bread but without the crust. Because of how light and airy they are, they make for excellent coatings for various cuts of meat or fish; or even veggies (a personal favorite)!

Frying these foods coated in Panko results in a crispy, crunchy, delightful party in your mouth.

Fried chicken is a popular dish that can be made with Panko breadcrumbs. Check out this awesome recipe for some delicious Panko fried chicken.

½ cup of Panko Bread Crumbs contains 100 calories, 0 g fat, 22g carbs, 0g fiber, and 3g protein.

2. Potato Starch

Potato starch is a gluten-free, and vegan ingredient with a lot of versatility. It is also kosher for Passover.

It is excellent to use in frying foods. Potato starch is a native starch (meaning it is naturally occurring without much processing) that is made by crushing potatoes.

When the potatoes are crushed, they release their starches in the form of a milky liquid.

The extracted starch is then washed out, collected, and then dried into the fine white powder that is what is on your grocery shelves.

This powder is odorless and tasteless. This differs from potato flour in that potato flour has a distinct potato flavor.

Potato starch is great to use in fried food recipes because it will provide a very nice crisp that will hold for a long time.

It is important to note that potato starch can also be used to thicken recipes. 1 tablespoon of potato starch + 1 tablespoon of butter/fat will thicken 1 cup of liquid.

Potato starch is great to use in fried food recipes

1 Tablespoon of potato starch contains 40 calories, 0 grams fat, 10 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

3. Cornstarch

More of a pantry staple than potato starch, cornstarch is an excellent and more common ingredient to use for frying foods.

Cornstarch is also gluten-free and vegan, but it is notably not kosher for Passover (unlike potato starch).

A lot of fried recipes call for a 2:1 ratio (flour: starch), while some may call for just cornstarch. Cornstarch, like potato starch, can also be great to use to thicken recipes.

In general, it is good to start with a 1:2 ratio (cornstarch: water; make sure you whisk well!) and then adjust as needed per recipe.

Cornstarch is slightly lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to potato starch.

cornstarch is the more common ingredient to use for frying foods

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch contains 30 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 0 g protein.

4. Potato Flour

Potato flour is great to use to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups. It is gluten-free,  vegan, and kosher.

Potato flour is ground from whole peeled and trimmed potatoes. It has an excellent shelf life.

You can thicken your recipes just like you can with potato flakes by using this simple method.

¼ cup of potato flour contains 160 calories, 0 g fat, 38 g carbs, 3 g fiber, and 3 g protein.

5. Tapioca Flour

Tapioca is a vegan and gluten-free starch that derives from the cassava root. This starch is extracted through a process of washing and pulping.

Once enough wet pulp has been gathered, it is then squeezed to extract the starchy liquid.

This liquid is then dried out to create tapioca flour, which is odorless and tasteless. It is a dietary staple in various countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.

A notable characteristic that tapioca flour possesses over other flours/starches is that it maintains its texture even after freezing.

It is commonly substituted by using a 1:1 ½ ratio to thicken recipes. Tapioca flour is notably lower in calories, carbs, fiber, and protein compared to its flour counterpart potato flour.

¼ cup of tapioca flour contains 110 calories, 0 g fat, 27 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 0 g protein.

Tapioca flour is a vegan and gluten free alternative for thickening

6. Xanthan Gum 

Despite its chemical-y sounding name, xanthan gum is actually a plant derivative; although it is made in a lab.

It is vegan and gluten-free. Xanthan gum is a food additive that is commonly used to thicken or stabilize food items such as salad dressings, syrups, soups, gravies, and sauces.

It is created when sugar is fermented by a type of bacteria. When sugar is fermented, it creates a gooey substance, which is made solid by adding alcohol. It is then dried and turned into a powder.

To use xanthan gum in place of potato flakes in a recipe, use about 1/8 teaspoon per cup of liquid and combine these in a blender, not by hand.

1 Tablespoon of xanthan gum contains 30 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 1 gram of protein.

Xanthan gum is commonly used to thicken or stabilize food items such as salad dressings

7. Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is another plant derivative that can be used as a potato flakes substitute to thicken recipes.

Arrowroot is a plant therefore it is vegan and gluten-free. It is extracted from the arrowroot plant which is a starchy root vegetable native to Indonesia.

Arrowroot is higher in protein and nutrients compared to the other aforementioned thickeners and is noted to be easily digestible.

To use in place of potato flakes to thicken recipes: Mix 1 part arrowroot powder with one to two parts cold water (based on desired consistency) to form a slurry.

1 Tablespoon of arrowroot powder contains 35 calories, 0 g fat, 8 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

8. Potatoes (Mashed)

Without much further ado – I present to you the good ole mashed potato! This one may be a no-brainer, but mashed potatoes can be great to use in place of potato flakes to thicken your recipes.

They are vegan (unless you are using leftovers and have previously prepared them with butter/cream/cheese/etc.) and gluten free.

To use: dilute your mashed potatoes in some broth or water, mix in a food processor until smooth and then add to your recipe as needed to give it a nice and thick consistency. Great way to use up leftovers!

mashed potatoes can be great to use in place of potato flakes to thicken your recipes

1 medium potato contains about 160 calories, 0 g fat, 37 g carbs, 4 g fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

9. Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is a classic ingredient used to make a roux – a mixture of equal parts flour and fat that are cooked together over low to medium heat to create a thickening agent in recipes.

While wheat flour is vegan, it does contain gluten. Wheat flour can add a subtle nutty flavor to your recipe while also thickening it.

Wheat flour is generally higher in fiber and protein compared to any of the other substitutes.

¼ cup of wheat flour contains 140 calories, 0.5 g fat, 27 g carbs, 5 g fiber, and 6 grams of protein.

10. Rice Flour

Rice flour is a great potato flake substitute for baking recipes. Rice flour can come from either brown rice or white rice, so it is important to note the differences. N

otably, white rice flour has a less subtle flavor than brown rice flour.

Check out this gluten-free Madeira cake recipe to try your hand at baking with rice flour.

¼ cup of white rice flour contains 150 calories, 0 g fat, 33 g carbs, 0 g fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

11. Quinoa Flour

Another gluten-free fave, quinoa flour is a great potato flakes substitute that can be used in baking, although it is less common than the aforementioned rice flour.

It is very nutritious and differs from other grains in that it is a complete protein – meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids the human body requires.

This is a special fact, considering most complete proteins are animal sources. Quinoa is the lowest in calories of all the mentioned flours.

¼ cup of quinoa flour contains just 100 calories, 1 g fat, 19 g carbs, 3 g fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

quinoa flour is a great substitute that can be used in baking

Check out some other popular gluten-free baking options here.

What Are Potato Flakes?

To put it simply – potato flakes are dehydrated potatoes. That’s the short answer. The long answer, if you are (for some reason) itching to study dehydrated potatoes, can be found here in the USDA’s Commercial Item Description (CID). Go crazy!

Potato flakes have been providing American families with instant potatoes since 1957.

Not only are they a breeze to use, but they have a long and stable shelf-life and have evolved to be used in a variety of ways in various recipes. Not to mention they taste pretty dang good!

⅓ cup of dry potato flakes contains 80 calories, 0 g fat, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

The Best Potato Flakes Substitutes

On to the good stuff. Potato flakes can help thicken soups, stews, and sauces, coat fish and meat cuts such as chicken and pork, and add a nice layer and texture to dishes such as meatballs, meatloaves, and even baked goods.

And of course, let’s not forget perhaps their most delicious and basic purpose – instant potatoes. YUM. Potato flakes are a very basic, cheap, and easy-to-get ingredient.

But we all know that sometimes it is the most basic ingredient that we are somehow missing from our kitchens in the time of need. How frustrating!

If your pantry is missing potato flakes, check for any of these ingredients to replace ‘em in your recipe.

You can use these potato flakes substitutes in the dough, fried foods, and more. Dinner can still be saved without a trip to the grocery store!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Potato Flakes Healthy?

Yes, potato flakes can definitely be worked into a healthy diet! They are a good source of complex carbs, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. 

What Is The Shelf Life Of Potato Flakes?

Potato flakes can be shelf-stable for up to 10-15 years! If they are unopened and stored in a cool and dry place, that is. Once opened, the shelf life of potato flakes is 6-12 months.

Are Potato Flakes The Same As Instant Potatoes?

Yes, they are – they are both dehydrated potatoes.

Final Considerations

There are tons of potato flake substitutes out there! From frying to thickening to baking – who knew the potato flake could be so versatile?

Try any of these substitutes out to achieve the ultimate crunch, consistency, and/or deliciousness in any recipe that calls for the potato flake. Happy cooking!

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