What can I use instead of cornstarch

by (5) Updated June 09, 2014 at 5:36 AM Created March 12, 2012 at 3:13 AM


my name is Bina and I'm new to paleo.

I'm looking for recipes which I could cook and because I love to eat asian food, I'm wondering if it is safe to use ingredients like: soy sauce, thai fish sauce, oyster sauce or corn starch? It's not that big amount, mostly just 2-3 Tbsp.

Please help. Thanks. Bina

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12 Replies

1316 · March 12, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Arrowroot is pretty amazing for thickening. Looks just like cornstarch.

Wheat-free Tamari for soy sauce.

You could probably make up some fish sauce using the Tamari and various fish extract/concentrate/flavoring products.

2341 · March 12, 2012 at 7:12 AM

It sounds like you are confusing paleo with a very low carb diet. Unfortunately the two have become entwined due to the fact that paleo like low carb is lower in carbs than a SAD diet.

However Paleo is about food quality - NOT about low carb. It is carb agnostic. You eat the carbs you need for your body type, metabolic state and activity level.

Paleo cuts out certain crappy carbohydrates, however you still need carbs.

So instead of grain based flour - corn, wheat, etc, you can use tuber starch - arrowroot, tapioca starch (from casava). A few teaspoons in cooking is really not very much as all.

3043 · March 12, 2012 at 5:00 AM

You'd be surprised how well ground nuts (cocnut flour or almond flour) can thicken things as well! Be careful with commercial fish/ oyster sauces as there are often additives/ sugar, etc.

11648 · March 12, 2012 at 3:17 AM

For soy sauce you can use tamari sauce (make sure it doesn't include wheat, read labels), or coconut aminos.

For thai fish sauce and oyster sauce read ingredients. If they include wheat or plain soy sauce then you might need to make these from scratch by yourself.

For corn starch you can use tapioca flour, or nothing. It's not always needed, even if a recipe calls for it.

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60 · June 09, 2014 at 5:36 AM

A good replacement for Cornstarch can be coconut flour, tapioca starch or almond flour. For soy sauce raw coconut aminos and Tamarind sauce are quite good replacement.

0 · June 07, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Nobody has addressed the fact that soy sauce is not paleo. Soy is a legume! Furthermore, in the USA almost all soy production is GMO and sprayed with pesticides. GMOs are definitely not paleo. If you need a soy sauce substitute, use Coconut Secret's coconut aminos. It's available on Vitacost.com and some co-ops have it.

Medium avatar
10067 · January 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Protein is a good thickening agent. It causes stock/bone broth to solidify as it cools. This is the basis for all gelatin powder thickeners, though I don't know whether Knox passes all the Paleo tests.

0 · January 19, 2013 at 8:37 PM

The best fish sauce is Red Boat- no sugar added. They have two "strengths", and the 50 degree is more expensive but has more flavor and you can use less.


40730 · March 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Cornstarch is rather innocuous, I don't think going for an alternative over it is all that big of a deal. Health benefits from an alternative are minimal at best. You can use other starches, but they're still starches and you're only avoiding corn allergens. I have potato starch on hand for my thickening purposes, though I'm not really opposed to cornstarch if it's preferable for some reason.

Fish sauce, even if it contains sugar, is not a big deal either. The amount of added sugar is minimal, on the order of the sugars found in vegetables (i.e. not that freaking much).

5 · March 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM


how is it with potatoe starch? Potatoes are not grains, so would that be ok?


5 · March 12, 2012 at 5:43 AM

Thanks for all your answers.

Perhaps I just have to sort my mind a little bit. In the last days I read a lot about Paleo and LCHF. For me, this to diets sounds very similar, but they are not really, they just have both some similar points.

I have to find out, what diet form I would like to follow ...

5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Now I'm really confused.

Why cornstarch isn't paleo but arrowroot or tapioca flour, are paleo? They are all mostly starches with high amounts of carbs ...

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