Arrowroot Flour Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Arrowroot flour

Michelle Lee Photography / Getty Images

For baking and cooking, gone are the days of having only one flour to choose from. These days, with the rise in gluten-free lifestyles, multiple alternative flours can be building blocks for baked goods, sauces, gravies, and more. One such alternative is arrowroot flour.

As its name suggests, arrowroot flour is made from the arrowroot plant, a tuber native to Indonesia. Rather than deriving from the tuber itself, however, arrowroot flour is made by powdering the rhizome of this plant or its root and stem.

For this reason, arrowroot flour does not pack all the same nutritional benefits as the arrowroot vegetable—but it does have some advantages for health. People who are following a gluten-free, Paleo, or low-FODMAP eating plan will all find a friend in this unique powder.

Arrowroot Flour Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information for 1/4 cup (32 grams) of arrowroot flour comes from the USDA.

  • Calories: 114
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g


Carbs 

Essentially, all of the calories in arrowroot flour come from carbohydrates. A 1/4-cup serving supplies 28 grams. For comparison, wheat flour has 24 grams of carbohydrate per 1/4 cup. One gram of these carbs comes from fiber, while the rest are from starches that naturally occur in the arrowroot rhizome.

Fats

Arrowroot flour contains only a trace amount of fat.

Protein

Protein is not present in appreciable amounts in arrowroot flour.

Vitamins and Minerals

Although the arrowroot vegetable contains plenty of folate, plus smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and iron, these nutrients barely make it into the tuber’s flour. Only small traces of vitamins and minerals can be found in each serving.

Calories

In terms of calories, arrowroot flour is on par with wheat flour, offering 114 calories per 1/4 cup. Again, these come almost entirely from carbohydrates.

Health Benefits

As a plant-based flour, arrowroot flour does provide a few benefits. Here is an overview of how incorporating arrowroot flour into your eating plan may benefit you.

Serves as a Gluten-Free Alternative

If celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy has taken wheat flour off your menu, arrowroot flour offers a gluten-free substitute in cooking and baking. Although it is not always a one-to-one replacement for wheat flour in baking, plenty of recipes will walk you through exactly how to use it. 

Provides a Low FODMAP Option

Many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) find symptom relief by adhering to a diet low in short-chain carbohydrates known as FODMAPs. If you follow a low-FODMAP eating plan, you are in luck with arrowroot flour. It is extremely low in these types of carbs.

May Support Immune Function

Switching to arrowroot flour in your cooking will not necessarily help you ward off every illness—but it may have a small impact on the immune system. One animal study found that supplementing the diet of mice with the powder led to increased blood antibodies against harmful pathogens. More research is needed to determine its effects on humans, though.

Serves as a Cornstarch Substitute

Some cornstarches are made with less-than-ideal ingredients, including fillers, additives, and highly processed corn. If you would prefer a more natural product to create thickness in gravies and sauces, consider arrowroot flour. It can be used in equal amounts to cornstarch in cooking.

May Relieve Diarrhea

Arrowroot flour has promise as a home remedy for treating diarrhea. In a small older study from 2000, people who had IBS-D (irritable bowel syndrome that presents primarily with diarrhea) ingested 10 milliliters of arrowroot flour three times a day. After 1 month of this treatment, they had less diarrhea and experienced less abdominal pain.

Allergies

Arrowroot flour is not known for being an allergenic food. In fact, many people choose this powder as a non-allergenic alternative to wheat flour. That said, allergies are possible with any food.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to arrowroot flour may include upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea, wheezing or coughing, or a skin rash after eating. Talk to a healthcare provider if you suspect arrowroot flour is the source of any allergic symptoms.

Adverse Effects

Because arrowroot flour is free of the top eight food allergens and is low in most nutrients, it is not a common cause of adverse effects. The primary unfortunate outcome you experience may simply be some trial and error in cooking and baking as you experiment with it.

However, it is worth noting that this powder is high in carbohydrates (even somewhat higher than white flour)—so if low-carb eating is your goal, a lower-carb flour like almond or coconut may be a better choice.

Varieties

You are not likely to find many variations of arrowroot flour, but be aware that some products may be called “arrowroot starch” or “arrowroot powder.” These are simply different names for the same food. There may also be some differences in how finely each manufacturer powders their product.

When purchasing arrowroot flour, be a diligent label reader. A high-quality product will list only one ingredient—arrowroot flour. Extra fillers and additives are a sign of a more highly processed food.

Storage and Food Safety

Properly storing arrowroot flour is quite simple. Keep the flour in a sealed container in a cool, dry, dark place such as a cabinet or pantry. When kept away from light and heat, this flour has a surprisingly extensive shelf life of 3 to 4 years.

How to Prepare

Once you have purchased arrowroot flour, the question, of course, is how to use it. When substituting this powder for cornstarch, you can use a one-to-one conversion. Try dusting it on the outside of meat or tofu for added crisp and crunch, or use it as a thickener in sauce, pudding, or gravy. 

Some chefs advise adding arrowroot flour toward the end of cooking, when possible, as it can cause recipes to become too gelatinous if heated for too long. On the other hand, this jelly-like quality can be an advantage for binding. Try adding arrowroot powder to meats or veggie patties to help them hold together.

In baking, using arrowroot flour is a bit more tricky. Substituting it for wheat flour in baked goods will not usually yield an appetizing finished product, so most recipes call for a blend of arrowroot flour with other flours.

Recipes

Healthy Arrowroot Flour Recipes to Try

Try arrowroot powder as an alternative to cornstarch in the following recipes.

·     Low-Carb Cauliflower Cheese Soup

·     Gluten-Free Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

·     Sticky Baked Tofu Noodle Bowl

·     Low-FODMAP Maple Coconut Pie

Was this page helpful?
3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA, FoodData Central. Arrowroot flour. Updated April 1, 2019.

  2. Kumalasari ID, Harmayani E, Lestari LA, et al. Evaluation of immunostimulatory effect of the arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea. L) in vitro and in vivoCytotechnology. 2012;64(2):131-137. doi:10.1007/s10616-011-9403-4

  3. Cooke C, Carr I, Abrams K, Mayberry J. Arrowroot as a treatment for diarrhoea in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a pilot study. Arq Gastroentero 2000 Jan-Mar;37(1):20-4. doi:10.1590/s0004-28032000000100005