Tempura Flour Substitutes

Tempura flour is a mix of different proportions of flours and starches. It’s typically used as a batter for coating meats, vegetables, fruits, fish, etc. And this flour mix is commonly found in Asian kitchens, specifically in Japanese and Korean cuisines. 

The ratio of each flour and starch is totally up to the manufacturer and their formula. Flour components include low-protein or gluten-free flour like cake flour, rice flour, wheat flour, etc. It is seasoned with different spices like pepper and garlic for a more flavorful batter mix. ‘

There’s also a bit of baking powder added for a light, fluffy texture. And sometimes MSG is included as a flavor enhancer. Other ingredients include egg powder, tapioca starch, emulsifier, and coloring matter.

The batter should form a light, crispy fried texture around the meat, fish, or vegetables when mixed. Tempura-coated foods are typically appetizers or side dishes and are always served hot. They could be eaten plain or with a dipping sauce.

Pre-packaged Tempura flour is not readily available, especially in countries where Tempura isn’t commonly made. So, here are 7 great substitutes for Tempura flour that will do a fantastic job in your recipe.

7 Great Substitutes For Tempura Flour

1. All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour, or plain flour, is an excellent substitute for Tempura flour. With both flours derived from wheat grain, plain flour can do the same job as Tempura flour. All-purpose flour is made from hard wheat and soft wheat at a ratio of 80:20.

And this flour is great for baking all forms of pastries, cakes, pizzas, bread, etc. It also has a light texture similar to Tempura flour.

When mixing all-purpose flour, it’s essential to use cold water instead of warm water. This will prevent the gluten from making the Tempura soft. How you mix the plain flour batter also plays a part. Vigorous mixing increases the temperature of the batter resulting in a chewy texture instead of crispy Tempura. 

When using all-purpose flour as a substitute, you may have to add other vital ingredients. These include egg and baking powder for a perfect Tempura batter.

2. Rice Flour

Rice flour is made from finely ground rice and is an excellent substitute for Tempura flour. It is a gluten-free flour and contains plenty of nutrients. Commonly used to make Asian delicacies like rice cakes, rice crepes, etc., rice flour is a good baking and cooking ingredient.

The absence of gluten in this flour makes it one of the best flours for making Tempura batter. Tempura made with gluten-free flour results in the perfect crispiness. Rice flour also doesn’t soak up oil like regular flour, leaving your Tempura crispy without the feel of it being greasy. This substitute is a healthier substitute for Tempura flour.

3. Okonomiyaki Flour

Okonomiyaki flour is made from soy and unbleached wheat. It is pre-packaged, so you don’t have to add extra ingredients before mixing. The flour is flavorful as it’s seasoned with different spices. It is made to rise easily with the leavening agents added to the flour. This delivers a fluffy texture, just like Tempura flour.

Another peculiarity of the okonomiyaki flour is its flavor. Sometimes this flour comes with bonito shavings, a key ingredient of dashi stock. This adds a seafood-like umami flavor to the flour and, therefore, the batter. The addition of other ingredients in the pre-packaged okonomiyaki flour may affect the texture. And it could create chewy, rather than crispy, Tempura.

4. Takoyaki Flour

Takoyaki flour is used to make the batter that coats Takoyaki, a Japanese street food. The flour is made from wheat flour and dashi stock, which is similar to Okonomiyaki flour. It is an excellent substitute for Tempura flour as they are both made from wheat flour. 

However, Takoyaki flour is sweeter than Tempura flour, bringing a dessert-like sweetness to the fore. Any ingredients added to Takoyaki flour may also leave you with chewy Tempura.

5. All-Purpose Flour and Potato Starch

Adding potato starch to all-purpose flour is an ingenious substitute for Tempura flour. All-purpose flour contains gluten, making the Tempura chewy instead of crisp. Mixing all-purpose flour with potato starch creates crispier Tempura, making it the perfect substitute. 

You should mix two cups of all-purpose flour with one cup of potato starch. The more potato starch you add, the crispier the Tempura. You could use the potato starch alone if you’re out of all-purpose flour. But the Tempura may come out hard instead of crisp.

6. Mayonnaise and All-Purpose Flour

This may seem like an unusual substitute, but it works. You could make your own Tempura flour by mixing some mayonnaise with all-purpose flour. Mayonnaise is a magical ingredient for all sorts of fried foods. Mayonnaise comprises egg, vinegar, and oil, all ingredients that make for airy and crisp fried foods.  

Adding mayonnaise to all-purpose flour as a Tempura flour substitute results in a crispy, golden-brown coat that would leave you satisfied. The tart taste of the mayonnaise goes undetected in the Tempura after frying. Add 40g of mayonnaise to every 100g of flour and 200g of water for the perfect mixture. 

7. Beer and All-Purpose Flour

If you’re looking for a more daring substitute for Tempura flour, you could use beer to make your batter. Yes, beer! Instead of using water to mix your batter, you could choose a liquid substitute. The alcohol in beer is quite volatile, causing the Tempura to be crisp and light. 


Tempura flour is a special batter used to make Tempura, a Japanese delicacy. Getting your hands on pre-packaged Tempura flour may prove almost impossible sometimes. But this article lists 7 great substitutes that work amazingly for your recipe. No matter which option you go for, you won’t be disappointed.