6 Pasta Water Substitutes That Changes Everything

pasta water substitute, substitute for pasta water, forgot to save pasta water

Pasta Water Substitutes

pasta water substitute, substitute for pasta water, forgot to save pasta water

Over the years, pasta water has become one of the widely accepted thickener for cooking, it is usually introduced to thicken things up especially when they are a bit too watery. This has led cooks to become very dependent on the thickening ability of pasta water in their dishes, but what happens when you either don’t want to use pasta water or do not have the resources to make one for your use, at such times, you would need some pasta water substitutes. These pasta water substitutes could also come in handy when you forgot to save pasta water and need something else to substitute it. 

In this article we would discuss all the best substitutes for pasta water that would produce very desirable results just as with pasta water itself.

In case you don’t already know, pasta water is not the only thickener you can add to your meal when cooking. There are several ways to make other food thickeners that can substitute for pasta water in your dish. Some of these substitutes are also the ones that you can easily make in your kitchen.

Without any further ado, let’s dive into the list of pasta water substitute that would help you replace pasta water without any issues at all.

Substitute For Pasta Water

Mixture Of Corn Starch And Water

Pasta water can easily be replaced with a mixture of cornstarch and water. It accomplishes a similar thickening goal and gives your food a moreish, starchy flavor. You can use an equal amount of the cornstarch and water combination in place of the pasta water in your recipe.

This is very similar to the mixture of potato starch and water, you could make some corn starch at home if you do have the time for it or you could easily get one at the grocery store nearby.

For the most part, corn starch is flavorless and mixing it with water to substitute for pasta water could be the best choice you make when you run out of pasta water or forgot to save pasta water, because it would not influence the taste of your dish, whatever you make with it, would always come out the way you expect it.

Mixture Of Xanthan Gum And Oil

Xanthan gum is a popular food additive that has many use cases in the kitchen, one of these use case is to be used as thickening agent and that makes it the perfect substitute for pasta water when cooking. It is made from sugar fermented with the bacteria known as Xanthomonas campestris.

When using Xanthan gum as a substitute for pasta water, it is recommended that you use it with a little bit of cooking oil. This is because Xanthan gum as the name suggests, is a very strong thickening agent, when not applied correctly would produce the desired result.

As I stated earlier, Xanthan gum is a very versatile and popular thickening agent, you do not have to be shy with where you want to introduce it as it goes well with stews, soups and sauces

Mixture of Cornflour, Salt And Oil

One excellent substitution for pasta water that results in a smooth solution is to combine corn flour, oil, and salt. Salt should be added for flavor because corn flour alone has no flavor. A little oil will be used to provide a smooth appearance and texture.

Instead of using pasta water or when you forgot to save pasta water, you could substitute this mixture for it to thicken and add richness to your sauce. It would work perfectly well without altering the taste or flavor of your dish. The mixture of cornflour, salt and oil is actually one of the most recommended substitutes for pasta water due to its lack of very conspicuous taste. You do not fear it would greatly change the way your food tastes. 

Mixture of Potato Starch and Water

Potato starch when mixed with water has been proven to be an excellent substitute for pasta water in various different recipes. In fact, due to the sweet nature of potato, it is recommended for cooks especially when you want your dish to taste sweeter than usual. Instead of using pasta water, you could use this mixture to not just thicken your dish but also add a little bit of sweetness to it.

There are easy tutorials on how to make potato starch at home. But if you are not able to do so, potato starch can be easily found in most supermarket stores.

Mixture Of Flour And Water

The mixture of flour and water as a replacement for past water in recipes, has been in practise for quite sometime by cooks who discovered that this mixture actually turns out to make an excellent substitution for past water in most recipes.

Flour is something that many of us cooks have in abundance and many times do not remember it until we have need for it, as a result we don’t typically don’t consider it when we are in search for an alternative to pasta water in our recipes. Interestingly, it is one of the best substitutes for pasta water you should try for many reasons; it’s the least expensive and most straightforward replacement for pasta water readily available in most kitchens.

If you want to use this mixture of flour and water as a substitute for pasta water, there is a technique you must employ to ensure you achieve the desired results.

To use this mixture, you start by gradually adding the flour into water and mix it with a spatula or any other utensil that could do the job. After mixing the two, you can easily introduce this mixture into your dish but ensure it is well boiled so that the taste of raw flour is no more.

Mixture of Arrowroot Powder And Water

Arrowroot powder is another excellent substitute for pasta water you could employ in your cooking to thicken your dish when you forgot to save pasta water. This powder is made from the arrowroot tuber plant that is native to Indonesia. This tuber is dried and blended into powdered form and has been sued by many as a great thickening agent. In usage, it is quite similar to Xanthan gum up above, but it’s thickening ability isn’t as swift as xanthan gum and not as strong as a result it is easy to use as a replacement for pasta water in your recipes without any worrying you would mess your dish up.

This is not exactly the same but a bit similar to substituting heavy cream in pasta.


That’s all the best substitutes for pasta water I know of and have been using, there are many other cooks have been experimenting with, you could mention them in the comments. In the following section, I would be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about substitution for pasta water.

FAQs About Pasta Water Substitutes

  • What can i substitute for pasta water?

You can substitute any of these replacements for pasta water in your recipe:

  1. Arrowroot powder and water.
  2. Corn starch and water.
  3. Corn flour and water.
  4. flour and water.
  5. Potato starch and water.
  6. Xanthan gum and oil.
  7. Cornflour, salt and water.
  • Can I use flour instead of pasta water?

Yes, you can use flour instead of pasta water when cooking, but you have to gently mix the flour with some water using a spatula, this is to ensure there is an even consistency and viscosity.

  • Can you substitute milk for pasta water?

Yes you can substitute milk for pasta water, depending on what you are cooking. Milk adds some richness and flavour to meals but it isn’t as thick as pasta water.

  • Can you use milk instead of pasta water?

Yes you can substitute milk for pasta water, depending on what you are cooking. Milk adds some richness and flavour to meals but it isn’t as thick as pasta water.

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