substitute for flour in cheese sauce

Flour is commonly used as a thickening agent in cheese sauces, providing a smooth and creamy consistency. However, there are alternatives that can cater to dietary preferences or restrictions while still delivering a delectable cheesy experience.

Purpose of Flour in Cheese Sauce:

  • Thickening: Flour is traditionally used to thicken the cheese sauce, giving it a rich and velvety texture.
  • Consistency: It helps maintain the sauce’s stability and prevents separation of ingredients.
  • Binding Agent: Flour binds the fats and liquids in the sauce, resulting in a cohesive mixture.
  • Uniform Distribution: Flour ensures even distribution of cheese and prevents clumping.
  • Flavor Carrier: It helps carry and enhance the flavors of the cheese and other seasonings.

Why Replace Flour in Cheese Sauce:

  • Gluten-Free Diet: Individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease need gluten-free alternatives.
  • Low-Carb Lifestyle: Those following a low-carb diet may prefer options with fewer carbohydrates.
  • Keto Diet: The ketogenic diet requires minimal carbohydrate intake, making flour substitution beneficial.
  • Grain-Free Preferences: Some individuals avoid grains for various health reasons.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Certain diets like paleo or specific allergy-based diets necessitate non-flour options.

Substitute: Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a versatile gluten-free thickener that can be used in small amounts to achieve the desired consistency.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tsp
Calories 5
Total Fats 0g
Carbohydrates 1g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Use 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of liquid in your cheese sauce recipe.

Substitute: Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot starch is a gluten-free thickener that provides a glossy and clear texture to sauces.

Nutrient Amount per 1 tsp
Calories 5
Total Fats 0g
Carbohydrates 1g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch with an equal amount of water and add to the sauce for thickening.

Substitute: Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be blended to create a creamy base for cheese sauce.

Nutrient Amount per 1 cup
Calories 25
Total Fats 0.3g
Carbohydrates 5g
Proteins 2g

How to Make: Steam cauliflower and blend until smooth, then mix with cheese and seasonings.

Substitute: Cashews

Cashews can be soaked and blended to create a creamy texture and rich flavor.

Nutrient Amount per 1/4 cup
Calories 180
Total Fats 14g
Carbohydrates 8g
Proteins 5g

How to Make: Soak cashews, blend with water until smooth, and use as a base for the cheese sauce.

Substitute: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor while thickening the sauce.

Nutrient Amount per 2 tbsp
Calories 60
Total Fats 1g
Carbohydrates 5g
Proteins 8g

How to Make: Mix nutritional yeast with water or vegetable broth to create a cheesy sauce base.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table:

Nutrient Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Xanthan Gum 5 0g 1g 0g Plant-based Thickening sauces
Arrowroot Starch 5 0g 1g 0g Plant-based Creating glossy sauces
Cauliflower 25 0.3g 5g 2g Vegetable Low-calorie sauces
Cashews 180 14g 8g 5g Nuts Rich and creamy sauces
Nutritional Yeast 60 1g 5g 8g Yeast Adding cheesy flavor


  • Will arrowroot starch affect the taste of the cheese sauce? No, arrowroot starch is flavorless and won’t impact the taste.
  • Can I use cauliflower for a lower-calorie option? Yes, cauliflower is a nutritious alternative with fewer calories and carbohydrates.
  • Do cashews add a strong nutty flavor? When blended well, cashews contribute to a creamy texture without an overpowering nutty taste.
  • Is nutritional yeast similar to cheese in taste? Nutritional yeast offers a savory, cheesy flavor that complements the sauce.


While flour is commonly used to thicken cheese sauces, there are various substitutes that offer unique flavors and cater to different dietary needs. Whether you opt for xanthan gum, arrowroot starch, cauliflower, cashews, or nutritional yeast, these alternatives provide the perfect opportunity to create a creamy and satisfying cheese sauce.

Mei Lin Zhang

Written by Mei Lin Zhang

I love to writes about stories and cooking. I really enjoys creating new recipes and taking pictures of my food. When I am not writing, you can find me in the kitchen or snapping photos of my tasty creations.

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