Tomato Sauce Pot

If you're looking for an easy way to thicken a sauce without changing the taste of your food, turn to arrowroot powder, a fine white powder made from dried tubers. When used in cooking, it has twice the thickening power of wheat flour and does not alter the flavor of the food.


Some recipes call for arrowroot flour or arrowroot starch, which are alternate names for arrowroot powder.

Mix 1 part arrowroot powder with one to two parts cold water to form a slurry. This step will prevent clumping when you add the arrowroot to your sauce.

Bring the sauce to a simmer, and then pour in the arrowroot slurry. Lower the heat and stir constantly just until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.

Use arrowroot to thicken sauces that should remain clear. It is a good alternative to cornstarch, which can leave foods tasting chalky if undercooked, and works well with acidic fruits. It freezes well, but does not reheat successfully and cannot be used at high temperatures or in recipes that involve long cook times.

Try arrowroot powder in these recipes, or use it as a substitute for cornstarch or flour in your favorite gravy or sauce:

  • Shiitake Pan Gravy served with prime rib. Add the arrowroot after reducing and concentrating the pan sauce.
  • Mixed Berry Spoon Pudding based on traditional German Rote Grütze. Arrowroot works well in this recipe, where other starches, such as flour, would cloud the sauce. Add it just before stirring in the berries.
  • Arrowroot Cookies are traditionally served at Chinese New Year, but you can enjoy these naturally gluten-free treats any time. In this recipe, arrowroot replaces flour as the primary starch.
  • Cardamom Milk Pudding is adapted from traditional Middle Eastern muhallebi. Arrowroot gives it a silky consistency.