Kudzu Powder Uses

Kudzu powder, also called kuzu or Japanese arrowroot, is a type of starch extracted from the roots of the kudzu plant. This versatile ingredient has been used in Asian cooking and medicine for thousands of years.

Kudzu Powder Uses

Kudzu powder acts as a thickener and adds texture and flavor to foods like sauces, gravies, stir fries, jellies, and gluten-free baked goods. It also has numerous health benefits, from reducing inflammation to promoting gut health.

What is Kudzu Powder?

Kudzu powder comes from the roots of the kudzu plant, a climbing vine native to China and Japan. It belongs to the pea family and can grow very rapidly.

While the vines themselves are very invasive, covering and choking out other plants, the starch from the large kudzu roots is highly valued.

Kudzu roots can weigh over 200 pounds! They are full of a very fine, white starch that has been used in cooking and medicine for centuries.

Key Takeaway: Kudzu powder is a versatile starch extracted from the exceptionally large roots of the invasive kudzu vine plant. It has a long history of culinary and medicinal use in China and Japan.

Health Benefits of Kudzu Powder

In addition to being a useful cooking ingredient, kudzu powder offers many science-backed health benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation: Contains antioxidant compounds like daidzin and puerarin that lower inflammation throughout the body. This can help conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer.
  • Supports heart health: Improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Slows aging: Rich in isoflavones that protect cells from damage and oxidative stress involved in aging.
  • Relieves allergies: Soothes allergy symptoms like hay fever and skin irritations thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Aids digestion: Contains fiber, helps regulate bowel movements, reduces bloating and stomach discomfort.
  • Fights colds and fevers: Used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost immunity and bring down high temperatures.

With science confirming many traditional medicinal uses, kudzu powder is considered one of the healthiest starches available. Consuming it regularly provides anti-aging, antioxidant and gut-friendly benefits.

Key Takeaway: Modern research shows kudzu powder lives up to its traditional medicinal fame by reducing inflammation, supporting heart and gut health, slowing aging, relieving allergies and colds and boosting immunity.

Using Kudzu Powder in Cooking

In the culinary world, kudzu powder is a versatile and superior thickening agent. It has been used for centuries in Asian cooking to add texture and enhance flavor.

Thanks to its neutral taste, creamy consistency when hydrated and lack of gluten, kudzu powder has also recently grown popular in gluten-free baking and cooking outside of Asia.

Here are some of the many ways to cook with this healthy starch:

Thickening Sauces, Gravies and Soups

Kudzu powder dissolves completely in liquids, creating a silky, velvety texture without sliminess or separation. This makes it perfect for:

  • Savory gravies and pan sauces
  • Cream soups and chowders
  • Fruit pie fillings and curds
  • Gluten-free roux

To use: Mix the powder with an equal amount of cold water first to create a slurry. Then stir the slurry into simmering liquids towards the end of cooking.

Gluten-Free Baking

The fine texture and binding abilities of kudzu powder work well in place of wheat flour for:

It helps recipes hold together while keeping them tender.

To use: Substitute kudzu for up to 1/4 of the flour called for in recipes. Or use it with other gluten-free flours to improve texture.

Asian-Inspired Dishes

No discussion of kudzu powder is complete without mentioning Asian cooking! It is a staple ingredient used to:

  • Thicken stir fries
  • Make sweets like mochi, manjū and kuzumochi
  • Craft vegan sweets and meat substitutes from compounds like sesame paste
  • Brew medicinal teas and drinks

To use: Follow Asian recipes or substitute for cornstarch in stir fries. Mix with nut butters to make vegan meat replacements.

Key Takeaway: Thanks to its thickening power, neutral taste, and gluten free nature, kudzu powder is used in savory dishes, gluten free baking, and extensively in traditional Asian cuisine.

Common Kudzu Powder Uses

ThickeningGravies, sauces, soups, pie fillings
BakingCakes, cookies, quick breads
Asian cookingStir fries, sweets like mochi, vegan meat substitutes

Buying and Storing Kudzu Powder

When shopping for kudzu powder, look for:

  • Organic: ensures no pesticides were used on the kudzu plants
  • Pure powder: should not contain additives or anti-caking agents
  • Reputable brand: with detailed sourcing information

For storage, keep kudzu powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like the pantry. It will keep for 1-2 years this way.

Making Homemade Kudzu Powder

You can also easily make kudzu powder at home from fresh kudzu roots, which gives you maximum control over quality.

To make:

  1. Wash fresh kudzu roots thoroughly. Peel off the outer skin using a vegetable peeler.
  2. Shred or finely grate the peeled roots using a food processor or grater.
  3. Place the shredded root pulp into a large bowl and cover with cold water at a 1:2 ratio.
  4. Let soak for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally to evenly hydrate. This allows the starch to release from the root fibers.
  5. Carefully drain off only the starchy water through cheesecloth, catching the fibers in the cloth.
  6. Allow the starchy liquid to fully settle. Gently pour off the clear water top and spread out the thick paste-like starch onto a drying rack or parchment paper.
  7. Allow the starch layer to completely air dry before using in cooking. Store in an airtight container.

Making your own kudzu powder takes more effort but allows you to control the freshness and quality. Homemade also tends to have better gelling power compared to store-bought versions.


What does kudzu powder taste like?

Kudzu powder itself is flavorless. When used in cooking, it takes on surrounding flavors while adding body and texture. Rehydrated, it has a jelly-like consistency.

Can I substitute kudzu for cornstarch?

Yes, kudzu powder makes an excellent healthier, gluten-free substitute for cornstarch as a thickener. Use the same volume measurement. Kudzu powder results in silkier liquids with better cling.

Is kudzu powder gluten-free?

Yes, kudzu powder is naturally gluten-free. It is perfect for gluten-free recipes and those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Does kudzu powder dissolve in hot or cold liquids?

For best results, always dissolve kudzu powder in cold water first to make a slurry before adding it to hot soups, gravies and sauces to thicken. Adding directly to hot liquids will result in clumping.

Is kudzu powder the same as arrowroot?

Kudzu is sometimes called Japanese arrowroot, but it is not the same as arrowroot starch. Kudzu creates clearer, more gelatinous liquids compared to arrowroot and withstands freezing better.


Kudzu powder is a lesser known but incredibly versatile cooking ingredient with established health benefits.

This nourishing starch extracted from kudzu roots enhances recipes with its thickening power and silky consistency while also reducing inflammation, improving heart health and digestion and boosting immunity.

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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