The 5 Best Gumbo File Powder Substitutes

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Gumbo file powder is a prominent ingredient in Louisiana-style gumbo, contributing to the dish’s unique thickness and taste.

Unfortunately, outside of Louisiana, file powder may be difficult to locate, and it may not be accessible at your local grocery store.

If you’re searching for a file powder equivalent, you have a few possibilities.

Here are five gumbo file powder replacements that can give your meal the taste and texture you want.

What is Gumbo File Powder?

Gumbo file powder is a spice that is prepared from crushed sassafras leaves.

It’s a frequent ingredient in Louisiana Creole cooking, and it gives gumbo its distinctive thick, somewhat greasy texture.

File powder is usually used towards the end of the cooking process, but it may also be used as a finishing touch to enhance flavor and thickness.

Although most people identify file powder with gumbo, it may also be used in other kinds of soups and stews.

Outside of Louisiana, it may be difficult to locate, although many supermarket shops now have it in the spice department.

If you want to add a little something extra to your next pot of gumbo, consider file powder.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Gumbo File Powder

If you’re searching for a gumbo file powder alternative, you have a few possibilities.

These are the top five gumbo file powder substitutes:

1 – Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a fine, white powder manufactured from the starch of maize kernels.

It is often used to thicken soups and sauces.

Cornstarch, when combined with water, generates a gel-like material that may help thicken and smooth the texture of gumbo.

Also, since cornstarch has no flavor, it will not affect the flavor of the meal.

Although cornstarch is not a precise substitute for gumbo file powder, it is a decent substitute if you can’t locate the genuine stuff.

2 – Arrowroot powder

Arrowroot powder may be used in place of gumbo file powder.

Arrowroot is a starch derived from the arrowroot plant’s root.

It’s a white powder with a neutral flavor that’s often used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups.

Sassafras leaves are dried and powdered to make gumbo file powder.

It’s used in gumbo and other Creole cuisines as a thickening and flavor.

Although arrowroot powder and gumbo file powder have similar use, their tastes are distinct.

Arrowroot powder has a neutral taste, but gumbo file powder has a distinct sassafras flavor from the leaves.

If you’re seeking for a substitute for gumbo file powder, use arrowroot powder.

3 – Okra

When cooked, okra has the consistency of fine powder and is a frequent component in gumbo.

Just add a few pieces of okra to your boiling gumbo and remove them before serving.

Your gumbo will retain its thickness and taste without the addition of file powder.

Okra will provide additional nutrients such as fiber and vitamins A and C.

4 – Roux

Making gumbo without file powder may feel sacrilegious to someone who enjoys it.

Nevertheless, roux may be used in place of file powder and still produce a great meal.

Roux is created by combining flour and fat until a thick mixture develops.

It is then thickened in soups and stews.

Roux provides weight and richness to gumbo when added in the recipe.

It also adds a rich, nutty taste to the gumbo, which is absolutely amazing.

Thus, if you run out of file powder, don’t despair.

Roux is a great replacement, and your gumbo will still taste amazing.

5 – Nopal Leaves

Nopal leaves are cactus plant leaves that have a number of applications in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Nopal leaves are one of the most often used herbs in gumbo file powder.

Nopal leaves have a similar texture as gumbo file powder when processed into a powder.

They also have a somewhat bitter taste, which adds a unique flavor to gumbo.

Moreover, nopal leaves are high in fiber and vitamins C and K.

Nopal leaves are a suitable substitute for gumbo file powder for these reasons.


Gumbo file powder is an essential component of many Louisiana Creole cuisines.

It has a woodsy, somewhat sweet taste and is produced from pulverized sassafras leaves.

Gumbo file powder is used to thicken and season gumbo, imparting a particular taste to the meal.

Although gumbo file powder is difficult to locate outside of Louisiana, various replacements are available.

Each of these substitutions will provide a distinct taste to your gumbo, so choose one that complements the other components in the recipe.


What can I use instead of filé spice in gumbo?

If you can’t obtain file powder, you may use cornstarch, tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, or okra.

What is the equivalent of file gumbo powder?

Arrowroot powder may be used in place of gumbo file powder. What exactly is this? Arrowroot is a starch derived from the arrowroot plant’s root. It’s a white powder with a neutral flavor that’s often used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups.

Is file powder necessary for gumbo?

Additional information is available. Gumbo filé powder is a flavoring and thickening ingredient that may also be used to flavor sauces and gravies. Gumbo filé is often added after the dish has been taken from the pan but before it has had time to cool since it gets stringy when cooked.

How do you make homemade file powder?

Filé Powder Made at Home
In the autumn, before the leaves change color, cut tiny branches from a sassafras tree.
Clean the leaves.
Discard the stalks after removing the dried leaves from the stems.
Smash the leaves by hand, then crush them in a clean coffee grinder until they create a fine, green powder.
Sep 29, 2021

How do you thicken gumbo without filé?

One to two tablespoons cornstarch and two to three teaspoons water may be combined to produce a slurry. Mix it well before adding it to the gumbo to eliminate any lumps. Pour the slurry into the gumbo while stirring, and then let it boil to absorb the thickener. The sauce will thicken while the gumbo cooks.

What is the secret ingredient in gumbo?

Numerous friends claim that the secret ingredient in amazing gumbo is chicken stock. When it comes to cooking a superb chicken and sausage gumbo, numerous friends swear by chicken stock as a must-have ingredient.

How to make filé seasoning?

Filé Powder: How to Make It
Locate sassafras trees in your area. First, you must understand what a sassafras tree looks like.
Harvest your sassafras leaves in a sustainable manner.
Sassafras leaves should be dried.
Powder your sassafras leaves to make filé powder.
Filé powder should be stored in closed spice jars.
Oct 31, 2021

Is there gumbo seasoning?

Cayenne pepper and black pepper, dry mustard, paprika, sage, cumin, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley are all common gumbo seasonings. Most supermarket shops also sell pre-mixed Cajun spice mixtures.

What is in gumbo powder?

Filé powder, also known as gumbo filé, is a herbal powder produced from the dried and crushed leaves of the eastern North American sassafras tree (Sassafras albidum). The roots and bark of the same plant were the original root beer foundation.

What are the 2 rules of gumbo?

Gumbo’s Ten Commandments
1 – Thou Shalt Not Use Tomatoes.
II. Thou Shalt Not Use Non-Cajun Sausage.
IV – You Must Not Use Store-Bought Roux.
IV – You Must Always Use a Bowl.
V – Thou Shalt Use Only a Wooden Spoon.
VI – You Must Follow the ‘Gumbo-to-Rice’ Ratio.
VII – Always keep Filé in your cabinet.
Additional details…•December 19, 2022

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