Abstract Carbon materials derived from starch with an added flame retardant, such as melamine polyphosphate, melamine sulfate, guanylurea phosphate, or guanidine phosphate, were synthesized for investigating the performance as the electrode of an electrochemical capacitor. The yield after the heat treatment of the carbonization reaction increased by the addition of these flame retardants up to 800 °C. Although both the specific surface area and electrical resistivity are almost independent of the addition of the flame retardants, the capacitance values are improved with the addition of the flame retardants. The nitrogen atoms derived from the flame retardants are introduced to some extent into the synthesized carbon material. Moreover, the phosphorous atoms or the sulfur atoms derived from the flame retardants are doped into the synthesized carbon material. The method applied in this study, that is, the addition of flame retardants before the carbonization process can be used for the doping of the hetero atom such as N, P and S into the carbon material.