Pasta water has become a popular thickening agent in sauces, soups, and gravies. In addition to thickening and binding, pasta water can be used in pizza and dough recipes, as well as as a basic fertilizer for plants.
We have culled 9 substitutes for pasta water in your recipes. Some of these recipes produce the exact color and bland taste with pasta, while others are more flavorful and have distinct colors. However, these options are suitable as replacements.
The Best Pasta Water Substitutes
Below are substitutes you can use in place of pasta water when cooking.
1. Potato flour or potato starch
Potato flour can be used in place of pasta water in soups and pasta sauces. Instead of using bland pasta water, potato flour is a fantastic substitute because it adds a distinct potato flavor to your recipe. If used properly, it also has great binding and thickening properties.
Mix potato flour and water until it is thoroughly dissolved and no lumps remain. You can also make your potato flour. You only need potato peels and a dehydrator (to completely dry them if they are not). Place the peels in the dehydrator for at least 20 hours before blending. Blend until a smooth powder forms.
Potato starch is not the same as potato flour, although they both serve the same purpose in your recipe.
In recipes, cornflour or cornstarch can be used in place of pasta water. It can even be more effective than pasta water depending on how you utilize it, especially if you require it as a binding and thickening ingredient in your pasta sauce. Cornstarch is used in the preparation of creamy pasta sauces.
As a substitute for pasta water, whisk cornstarch and cold water until lumps are gone and the required consistency is reached. Note that mixing cornstarch with hot water causes it to solidify and become unsuitable for the intended usage. You should use cold water since corn starch dissolves easily in it.
3. Rice flour, rice starch, or rice water
Rice flour and rice starch can be used as substitutes for pasta water. They will produce cloudy water similar to pasta water. Also, they have a bland flavor and aroma that you may desire if you do not need anything to mask the flavor of your sauce.
Although rice flour has a little sandy texture, it will nevertheless serve as a binding and thickening agent in your recipes. Mix rice flour or rice starch with cold water until lumps are gone. When mixed with hot water, rice starch powder gels, whereas rice flour solidifies. You can also use rice water, which has properties comparable to pasta water.
4. Xanthan gum
Xanthum is a unique, addictive substance that is used for thickening sauces, making it an excellent substitute for pasta water. Xanthan gum easily dissolves in cold water or any liquid you are using for the sauce or soup. Whisk or stir the mixture properly so every lump disappears.
When done adequately, xanthan gum thickens instantly, so it is an excellent binding agent. Xanthan gum can improve the texture of your soups and pasta sauces by creating a creamy texture. The health benefits of xanthan gum include enhanced weight loss, and antioxidants, and may lower cholesterol levels in men.
5. Arrowroot powder
Because it has the same clear, odorless, and flavorless properties as pasta water, arrowroot powder works well as a pasta water alternative. If you are seeking a gluten-free diet, arrowroot powder should be considered. You can substitute arrowroot powder for pasta water by combining it with water, milk, or other cold liquids.
To dissolve any lumps, whisk or stir the mixture thoroughly. Unless you use it as a starter base, it is advisable to add the arrowroot powder mix near the end of your cooking because its thickening effect dissipates at high temperatures.
6. Potato water
You can substitute potato water for pasta water. Potato water, in addition to being an active binding and thickening agent, will add more nutrients to your recipe than some of the alternatives. It is most commonly used as a soup base, but it can be utilized in a variety of ways.
You can also add potato flour for a thicker texture. Potato water, like pasta water, can be used as a simple fertilizer for your plants. However, if you intend to fertilize your plants with potato water, avoid adding salt to it.
7. Tapioca starch
Tapioca starch is another option that you can use in place of pasta water. Tapioca starch has a taste and color similar to pasta water. Its mild flavor is perfect for thickening soups and sauces because it does not alter the recipe’s flavor.
Tapioca starch, like other flour replacements, should be mixed with cold water and whisked until smooth. Pour the mixture slowly over low heat to avoid lumps forming in the soup or sauce. If you are gluten-free or on a weight-loss plan, tapioca starch is a good choice.
8. All-purpose flour
Because it is readily available in most households, all-purpose flour is arguably the most widely utilized substitute for pasta water. Stir all-purpose flour and water together until no lumps are visible.
All-purpose flour is more likely to have clumps than other flour varieties; ensure you properly whisk them to avoid changing the texture of your sauce or soup. Pour the mixture gently into the sauce over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent clumps from forming and to attain the proper consistency.
9. Wheat flour
Wheat flour is often a last resort when other options have been exhausted. This is due to the distinct flavor, smell, and color of wheat flour, as opposed to pasta water, which has a milky or cloudy color and bland flavor. Ensure you can handle the flavor change before using wheat flour as a substitute.
Stir wheat flour and water together until all the lumps are gone. If you are on a gluten-free diet, you should avoid using wheat flour. You may need to use twice as much wheat flour as you would other types of flour.
These alternatives are excellent substitutes for pasta water, and some have more nutrients, which is beneficial to you.
It is best to follow the guidelines we provided for each pasta water replacement to get the most out of it.