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Tapioca Starch vs Flour: What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between tapioca starch and tapioca flour? Let’s find out.

Are you a gluten free consumer that always wondered about the question whether there is any difference in tapioca starch and tapioca flour? It’s okay, we’ve asked the same questions too when we started making tapioca pearls from scratch. Talk Boba is here to let you know the inside scoop about all the differences (or lack of) between tapioca flour and tapioca starch. 

Before we get started, many of you searching this topic might very well be gluten free consumers. Since that might (or might not) be the case, we want to let you know that we have a full in-depth article answering whether tapioca pearls are gluten free or not. Go ahead and read this article along with this if you’re interested in boba pearls! 

Alrighty now, should we get started on tapioca starch vs tapioca flour now? 

Tapioca Starch vs Flour: What's the Difference?

What is Tapioca Starch? 

Tapioca starch if you aren’t familiar, is a starch mainly used in gluten free and vegan friendly diets. They’re also very popularly used in Asian cuisine too! For some reason, Asian cuisines like to use tapioca starch more so than other types of starches like cornstarch, potato starch, and wheat starch. And of course, tapioca starch is used for making your delicious boba pearls. We all love those little black balls right? 

Tapioca starch stems from processing and the fine grinding of the cassava root. 

What is Cassava Root? 

Cassava root is a vegetable shrub that looks… a bit weird. These shrubs are obviously cylindrical or tube shaped and usually consumed after a good amount of processing. These roots are actually poisonous to an extent if you don’t process them and cook them correctly. So be sure to learn how to cook cassava root correctly here! 

The cassava root typically comes from tropical areas with the right climate and temperature conditions. Places like Southern Americas or even Asian are popular places where cassava root originates from. Take a trip to Brazil if you want some of the best cassava roots in the world. They grow many different types from sweet cassava roots to bitter cassava roots, each has their own uses for foods. 

Learn more about what a cassava root is and its history here.

Is Tapioca Flour the Same thing as Tapioca Starch? 

To put it simply, there really is no difference between tapioca starch and flour. Many people confuse themselves thinking they’re different. In reality, companies simply name this starch or flour interchangeably, talk about a marketing ploy if anything! 

So, if you’re wondering whether you should buy tapioca starch or tapioca flour for your next meal, don’t hesitate to buy either. Popular brands or companies that make custom tapioca starch or flour can be safely used interchangeably. If you want us to recommend you a brand to buy from to make your tapioca pearls at home, feel free to give this one a try. We use this brand of tapioca starch anytime we want to make our own boba pearls. 

Try our how to make boba pearls recipe by clicking here if you don’t know how to make tapioca pearls! 

3 Best Brands for Tapioca Starch and Flour

Anthony’s Goods

To be honest, we just really like the whole vibe behind this company. Anthony’s Goods sells many other starches and flours to encourage a healthier lifestyle. It was built to fruition as a brand and company to sell smaller quantities of flours and starches of what normally would be huge 1lb bags only from brick and mortar stores. That’s no way to shop nowadays right? People want convenience and that’s what Anthony’s Goods does! Plus, their founders are pretty awesome too, they encourage every work day to include contagious laughs, what’s better than that?

Bob’s Red Mill 

Probably one of the most genuine companies out there with the most authentic company values. Bob’s Red Mill was spawned by love by of course Bob, and Charlee! It’s known on their site that once Bob tasted and smelled the unforgettable loaf of bread that Charlee made back in the day and the rest was history. Providing the world with amazing natural products like this tapioca starch & flour or other products, rest assured you’re taken care of from Bob’s Red Mill.

Pure Organic Ingredients 

It doesn’t get any simpler than this company. Pure Organic Ingredients is here for 1 thing and 1 thing only, to provide you with the utmost quality in natural organic products, such as their tapioca starch. Even their branding is straight to the point, just look at how aesthetically pleasing that tapioca starch packaging is. It almost screams read me because it’s so simple! Customers love their brand but more importantly, they live healthier lives by consuming their amazing products, go ahead and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Tapioca Starch and Tapioca Flour are the Same Thing

We believe we’ve answered your question about whether there is a difference between tapioca starch and tapioca flour, now what other questions might you have? Maybe another one is whether tapioca pearls are gluten free? Go ahead and click that link to read more about that topic if you’re interested.

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4 thoughts on “Tapioca Starch vs Flour: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Hi, I keep trying to make tapioca pearls with the Bob’s Red Mill flour/starch and it will not work. I’ve tried three times. I’m beginning to think tapioca flour isn’t an option when it comes to making pearls. The dough won’t form. Every time, it stays in a putty form and just grows… as if it’s trying to rise. I’m so confused. Do you have any thoughts on this issue?

    1. Hey Jennifer! It seems that you might be placing too much water in your mixture, you should only need water to the point that the dough can begin to form correctly. The less water the better, continue to roll the dough but don’t jump too fast in thinking you need more water to form it. It should come together nicely.

      1. I’m having a similar problem in that the dough is just crumbly and doesn’t have an elasticity to it. I followed the measurements exactly in the recipes I found.

        I did some investigating and some people were saying that there are 2 different types of tapioca flour – one that is sticky and one that isn’t. If you go to the Chinese market, you can find that “tapioca flour/starch” is labeled with different Chinese characters even though the English name is the same.

        This leaves me to believe that there IS a difference in the flour. Some flours use more of the pulp (which is starchy/sticky) and some use the entire root which is less sticky.

        Is anyone able to confirm this?

  2. I think there is a big difference. Tapioca flour is the powdery particles obtained by crushing and drying the cassava after peeling it, while tapioca starch is obtained by peeling, crushing, screening, filtration, concentration, dehydration, drying and screening the cassava.

    Tapioca starch is finer than tapioca flour.

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