Close-up of tapioca starch or flour powder in wooden spoon with wooden background

Tapioca is a type of starch that is often used as thickening agent for food recipes or as a substitute for other thickening agents. There are a few types of tapioca options available, such as pearl tapioca, instant tapioca and fine starch tapioca. There are appropriate times to use each, though any tapioca can be used as a substitute for flour.

Read over the recipe and find out how much flour is used. When using tapioca as a thickener instead of flour, it is important to use the appropriate measurements, which means finding out the original measurement.

Complete all the steps of the recipe up until the thickening agent is called for. Typically, thickening agents like flour or tapioca are added at the end of the recipe rather than the beginning.

Add the tapioca when the recipe calls for the addition of flour as a thickening agent. For every ¼ cup of flour, add 3 tbsp. of tapioca. You can use any tapioca, though instant or fine starch powder will work best.

Mix in the tapioca until it thickens. Tapioca is a much more potent thickener than flour -- it thickens liquids faster than flour and requires smaller amounts.