The Science of Baking: Thickening Agents

Most starches perform valuable functions, including:

  • They create a fuller body in sauces, fillings, and puddings
  • They produce a glossy finish
  • They offset the actions of acids
  • Must be dissolved in liquid and heated/cooked
  • Maintain fruit flavor and color
  • Maintain thickness and consistency

Each starch has a specific method in which it should be used.


  • Cornstarch (fruit fillings, etc.)
  • Flour (roux based, souffl├ęs)
  • Arrowroot (same uses as cornstarch, but no sugars)
  • Potato starch
  • Tapioca
  • Modified food starch
  • Pre-gelatinized starches
  • Instant clear gel

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