Substitutes for Pasta Water

by Rick Goldman

Are you wondering what to do with the pasta water after boiling pasta? The pasta water contains high starch, and you can use it as gravy for baking bread and making sauces.  You need to start reusing the pasta water. The leftover water is a great liquid to use in different ways.

The starch content in the pasta water gives it a taste. It can also be considered a base because it contains salt. The pasta water can be used in making gravies such as steak gravy as it makes a better pesto coating.

However, if you have drained all the pasta water for making sauces and gravy, then use the below substitutes.

5 Pasta Water Substitute

Substitutes for Pasta Water
Substitutes for Pasta Water

1. Potato Starch mixed Water

You can use potato starch instead of pasta water for making gravies, thicken soups and sauces. Since it is gluten-free, it is essential for gluten-free cooking.  Depending on the kind of potato starch you are using, it can be grain-free, soy-free, or dairy free. It is a safe ingredient to add to food for allergic people.  It is essential to maintain the potato starch temperature since it breaks the starch molecules if it is too high.

It is also easy to find the potato starch in most of the stores because it is used in different recipes and can make a great substitute.

2. Cornstarch mixed with water

Cornstarch mixed with water
Cornstarch mixed with water

Cornstarch acts as an excellent substitute for pasta water; it has a silky and thin texture. You need to add a cup of water to the powder to look like pasta water before adding it to the food.  If you add it directly, it forms lumps in the gravy or sauce.

When a high amount of water is added, it becomes viscose. It is also vital to ensure you make the cornstarch with cold water and add it to the recipe when on heat.

3. Cornflour with Oil, Salt, and Oil

Cornflour is considered a great thickening agent because of its great texture and thickening nature. The cornflour forms a fine and silky solution that is non-viscous like pasta water and has no taste. You need to add salt and oil to make it a substitute for pasta water.

It is excellent if you are dealing with GI illness. Cornflour is a wonderful choice for people who suffer from celiac or are allergic to gluten. This is because it is made from flour. You can purchase the cornflour from any store.

How to make Pasta water

Substitutes For Pasta Water
Substitutes For Pasta Water

The first step is filling the pot with cold water and adding 2 teaspoons of salt.

Add uncooked pasta to the water. Let the water boil and stir the pasta frequently to ensure the noodles don’t stick together.

Lower the heat when the water boils to simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes until the pasta is tender to bite.

If you want to retain the pasta water, use a pasta fork or tongs so the water can be left in the bottom.  Although the pasta water may look dirty, it is a great recipe for adding sauce and gravies.


You can use the pasta water to add silky richness to your sauce, and the salt gives it a taste. The pasta water also acts as a thickening agent, bringing a difference from other average dishes. It is perfect for gravies and sauces. Don’t be stuck to pasta water, and you can use the substitutes above to give your sauce a great taste.

About Rick Goldman

Rick Goldman's grandpa was a captain of a California coast cruise. This afforded Rick the luxury of traveling to exciting places along the Pacific Coast as a young boy. He got to try different, exotic foods on these journeys - something he really enjoys blogging about from his grandpa's beautiful garden home today.

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