Food starches help thicken products such as gravies, puddings and sauces. Like cornstarch, white potato starch and sweet potato starch serve as thickening agents. However, they are typically used in different applications.
Starch is one of three basic types of carbohydrates found in food. Other carbohydrates include sugars and dietary fiber.
White Potato Starch
White potato starch is derived from white potatoes. It is a gluten-free thickening agent used for gravies, soups and baked goods. It is not grain-based and is allowed for Passover.
Sweet Potato Starch
Sweet potato starch, derived from sweet potatoes, is most common in Asian cuisines. It is used to make noodles and to dredge meat in prior to frying.
White potato starch is an important source of starch for making adhesives and alcohol. Sweet potato starch is used in making textiles, paper and adhesives.
Cornstarch, arrowroot and tapioca starch are all common substitutes for potato starch.
China is the world’s largest producer of both white potatoes and sweet potatoes.
References and ResourcesInternational Starch Institute: Potato
International Starch Institute: Sweet Potato
The Cook's Thesaurus: Starch Thickeners