Does Arrowroot Powder Go Bad

Arrowroot powder is a popular gluten-free flour alternative that is extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant. It has a very long shelf life compared to other flours due to its low moisture content. But does arrowroot powder go bad eventually?

Does Arrowroot Powder Go Bad

Let's look into everything you need to know about the shelf life and proper storage of arrowroot powder.

What is Arrowroot Powder?

arrowroot plant

Arrowroot powder is a fine, white starch powder that comes from the roots of the arrowroot plant (Maranta arundinacea). This tropical tuber is native to Central America and the West Indies.

To make arrowroot powder, the arrowroot roots are first washed, peeled, and dried. The dried roots are then ground into a fine powder, which is the arrowroot powder you find in grocery stores.

Arrowroot has been used for thousands of years both as a food source and for medicinal purposes. Today, it is most commonly used as a gluten-free, paleo-friendly flour substitute in baking.

Some key characteristics of arrowroot powder:

  • Colorless and odorless
  • Very fine texture, even finer than cornstarch
  • Tasteless, so it won't affect flavors in cooking
  • Excellent thickening properties, great for sauces and soups
  • Can be used as a binder and adds lightness to gluten-free baked goods
  • Easily digested and gentle on sensitive stomachs

Compared to other gluten-free flours like tapioca and cassava, arrowroot is considered one of the most versatile options.

Key Takeaway: Arrowroot powder is a naturally gluten-free starch extracted from the arrowroot plant. It's commonly used as a thickener and binding agent in gluten-free cooking and baking.

Does Arrowroot Powder Expire?

Most commercially packaged arrowroot powder is labeled with a "best by" date by the manufacturer. However, this is simply a guideline for peak freshness, and arrowroot powder does not actually expire or go bad in the sense of becoming spoiled or unsafe to eat.

Properly stored arrowroot powder has an indefinite shelf life. That being said, it can eventually lose potency and become less effective as a thickener over time.

So while arrowroot powder lasts forever, it may not work as well in recipes after being stored for 2-3 years. The shelf life depends heavily on how it is stored.

How to Tell if Arrowroot Powder Has Gone Bad

Because arrowroot powder has an indefinite shelf life, you can't rely on an expiration date to know if it has gone bad. Here are some signs that your arrowroot powder is past its prime or no longer usable:

  • Appearance: Arrowroot powder should always be a bright, white powder. Discoloration to grey, yellow, or brown indicates moisture exposure and decreased freshness.
  • Texture: When fresh, arrowroot powder is very fine and smooth. Clumping, hard lumps, or a grainy texture means it's absorbed moisture and degraded over time.
  • Odor: Arrowroot powder has little to no scent when fresh. If it smells musty, stale, earthy, or rancid, it has likely gone bad.
  • Thickening ability: Test a small amount of water. If it fails to thicken properly, the arrowroot starch has broken down.
  • Presence of bugs: Tiny bug infestation can be a problem in old flours and starches. Discard the arrowroot if you spot any bugs inside the package.

When in doubt, it's always best to discard arrowroot powder past its prime so it doesn't ruin recipes. Thankfully, it's inexpensive and has a long shelf life if stored well!

How Long Does Arrowroot Powder Last When Stored Properly?

To get the most longevity out of your arrowroot powder, proper storage is key. Here are some guidelines for maximizing its shelf life:

Unopened Arrowroot Powder:

  • Pantry: 2-3 years past the "best by" date
  • Refrigerator: 3-4 years past the "best by" date
  • Freezer: Up to 4 years (keeps almost indefinitely)

Opened Arrowroot Powder:

  • Pantry: 6 months from opening date
  • Refrigerator: 1 year from opening date
  • Freezer: 2 years from opening date

The freezer provides the longest shelf life for arrowroot powder. Even though it technically lasts forever, its thickening ability will degrade faster when stored at room temperature compared to cold storage.

For the best quality and performance, try to use opened arrowroot powder within 1-2 years and unopened packages within 2-4 years.

Tips for Storing Arrowroot Powder

Follow these tips for maximizing freshness and avoiding moisture exposure:

  • Always store arrowroot powder in an airtight container - this prevents humidity and pantry pests from getting in. Glass jars or resealable plastic bags work great.
  • Keep arrowroot powder somewhere cool, dry, and dark - avoid kitchen counters or shelves near the oven, where heat and moisture can accelerate degradation.
  • Don't refrigerate or freeze unopened arrowroot - the cold won't help an unopened package and could lead to condensation when you take it out.
  • Write the date opened on packages - this allows you to keep track of freshness and use opened arrowroot powder within 6 months to a year.
  • Smell arrowroot powder periodically - if you ever detect off odors, it's gone bad and needs to be discarded.

Following proper storage methods allows arrowroot powder to retain its freshness and thickening power for years past any "best by" date on the package.

The Best Substitutes for Arrowroot Powder

If your arrowroot powder has gotten old, or clumpy, or you used up the last bit in a recipe, there are a few good substitutes:

  • Cornstarch - The most direct 1:1 swap for arrowroot. Use the same amount called for in recipes.
  • Tapioca flour - Another starchy flour that works well in gluten-free baking. Substitute 1:1.
  • All-purpose flour - For thickening sauces, use about 2x the amount of all-purpose flour to replace arrowroot.
  • Potato starch - Similar properties to arrowroot. Use a 1:1 ratio.
  • Rice flour - Won't thicken as well, but works in a pinch. Use 1:1.

Be sure to consider the flavor profile and thickness you want when choosing an arrowroot substitute. Tested recipes may not turn out the same.


Does arrowroot powder need to be refrigerated?

It's optional to refrigerate unopened arrowroot powder, but not required. Refrigeration can extend the shelf life of opened packages that you aren't using frequently.

Can old or expired arrowroot powder make you sick?

Arrowroot powder does not spoil in a way that causes food poisoning or illness. However, arrowroot powder that is past its prime and no longer thickens properly can ruin recipes.

Can you freeze arrowroot powder?

Yes, arrowroot powder freezes very well in airtight containers or freezer bags. It will keep almost indefinitely in the freezer.

What happens if arrowroot powder gets wet or absorbs moisture?

Moisture causes arrowroot powder to solidify and clump up. It can also lead to faster degradation of the starch molecules. Discard any arrowroot powder that has gotten wet.

Can you use arrowroot powder after the expiration date?

The "best by" date on arrowroot powder is simply a guideline, not an expiration date. Arrowroot powder that is properly stored can often be good for many years past this date.

The Bottom Line

Arrowroot powder has an indefinite shelf life but can lose potency over time. With proper storage in an airtight container, away from light and moisture, it can stay fresh for over 3 years past any "best by" date.

To maximize arrowroot powder's shelf life:

  • Store opened packages in the fridge or freezer
  • Keep unopened arrowroot in a cool, dry pantry
  • Transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags
  • Watch for clumping, odor changes, and other signs it's degraded

With the right storage methods, you can keep arrowroot powder on hand for whenever you need its magical thickening powers or binding abilities in gluten-free recipes!

Key Takeaway: When stored properly in a cool, dry place, arrowroot powder lasts indefinitely but may start losing potency after 2-3 years. Keep it in the fridge or freezer to maximize freshness.

Common Storage Times for Arrowroot Powder

Storage MethodUnopened Shelf LifeOpened Shelf Life
Pantry2-3 years6 months
Refrigerator3-4 years1 year
Freezer4+ years2 years

Key Takeaway: Arrowroot powder lasts much longer when stored in the refrigerator or freezer compared to the pantry. For best quality, try to use opened packages within 1 year.


Arrowroot powder is a handy gluten-free and paleo-approved flour alternative with excellent thickening abilities and a very long shelf life. Thanks to its low moisture content, arrowroot powder lasts indefinitely when properly stored but may start losing potency after a couple of years.

Keep arrowroot powder in a cool, dark place in an airtight container to maximize its freshness. Refrigerate or freeze opened packages once you start using them. Over time, look for changes in appearance, texture, smell, and performance to determine if your arrowroot powder has gone bad. With the right storage methods, this versatile starch can keep your sauces thick and your baked goods light and fluffy for years to come.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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