I used to add cornflour in my chicken sweetcorn soup or chicken and noodle soup for a thicker consistency. But then I stopped using it completely after watching some show on TV that recommended not using it (I didn't research this much, but all it comes up with is that cornflour can make you gain weight). The soups still taste equally good but I do sometimes miss the thicker consistency. I did try to replace it with plain flour with it just adds an uncooked flour taste to the soup, which isn't very nice. Can someone suggest any replacements to cornflour to give the soup a thicker consistency?

  • Please post references for cornflour not being good? Someone here may know more about that?
    – TFD
    Feb 17, 2013 at 2:44
  • cornflour = cornstarch? or finely milled actual corn flour? Feb 17, 2013 at 3:22
  • 1
    i've never heard of corn flour being bad for you. I would like to see that evidence.
    – Brendan
    Feb 18, 2013 at 1:49
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    Cornflour is cornstarch, it's just a different name for the same product.
    – GdD
    Feb 18, 2013 at 11:23
  • 1
    @GdD That is not true everywhere.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Feb 18, 2013 at 22:08

5 Answers 5


Cook the flour with some butter or oil before adding to the soup. You are making what is called a roux which is a traditional French method for thickening sauces and soups

Measure roughly two parts of general purpose flour and one part of fat (or equal parts by weight), and cook until bubbling and the raw flour taste has gone, or it is lightly brown

Approximately one teaspoon of flour per litre of soup

The other option is to use arrowroot, which is an alternative starch to cornflour

  • Arrowroot is a starch with rather different properties; it is a waxy starch and does not give the same creamy consistency ans cornstarch. If you are going to substitute starch, starches from other kernels (such as wheat starch) are probably better suited than tuber starches.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 17, 2013 at 13:37
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    @rumtscho Arrowroot is an "alternative", it is used in some Asian soups that are made fresh to order (stock, stuff and noodles, and thickener). It is not suitable for long cooking or re-heating. It leaves that characteristic arrowroot "shine"
    – TFD
    Feb 18, 2013 at 3:07
  • @SunishthaSingh what has that got to do with soup? Have you tried it?
    – TFD
    Feb 18, 2013 at 20:17
  • @TFD yes i have experience using arrowroot. your comment is absolutely right regarding re-heating while using arrowroot. Feb 18, 2013 at 20:47
  • @SunishthaSingh your comment and link do not make sense in relation to question
    – TFD
    Feb 18, 2013 at 21:54

If you don't want to use Corn flour, then substitute it with Potato starch. Potato starch will give you very similar result and you won't need to change your existing recipe.


well for the issue of thickening soup or making it creamy the best it always a cornflour. which you don't want to use. it provides taste & thickness both to the soup,it is also used it palak saag recipe. as an alternative in soup you can use either as per your taste and requirements:-

1-make a thick paste made of flour and oil. Slowly beat it in the soup using a wisk, and bring to a slow boil, and it should stir to thicken.

2-Try adding some good quality instant mashed flakes(potatoes/radish/carrot) to the soup.

3-just take some of the beans out of the soup and mash them up (or throw them in the food processor) and slowly add some of the broth back into the beans and just mashed and pour it back in the pot. If your bean soup is not as thck as you like, this will do the trick. It works better than cornstarch and is healthier.

4-egg white to the soup.

5-mashed boiled rice or soaked oats will work well for heath n thickness.


Corn Flour also has an element of making rougher/crispier although it might not be much issue for you. So I would recommend few other alternatives like adding some puree (it could be potato as the above answer. Or stale bread puree).

or by making Beurre Manié - which is like reverse-roux. It will thicken your soup in a similar way. Knead equal parts butter and flour into a thick paste, and then whisk it into your soup until it has completely dissolved.


Unclear if the question is for a replacement, which have already been given, or if it is for a replacement that give less weight gain than corn flour/starch. I guessed that corn starch would be better than flour but was not sure so I did some research.

  • Wheat flour, 100g, 364 calories, ref
  • Corn flour, 100g, 361 calories, ref
  • Corn starch, 100g , 381 calories,ref
  • Xanthan gum, 100g, 292 calories, ref

So not much difference, Xanthan gum is a bit 'better'.

But how much do I need to thicken? this link say that corn starch have twice the thickening power of wheat flour, i.e. for a weight gain point of view corn starch should be better.

I cannot find any good reference for how much Xanthan gum thickens, but I'm pretty sure it thickens more than corn starch/flour. (I use it all the time and you need very little)

So from a weight gain point of view, use Xanthan gum to thicken then soup! Xanthan gum is used for gluten free diets and can be found in most health shops.

Also, when doing roux, I have read that the darker the roux the less thickening power it has and of course the more butter/oil you add the more calories you add. Therefore from a calories perspective corn flour is better than wheat flour.

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