Abstract Starch from water chestnuts (Trapa natans) was isolated and modified by dry heating and hydrocolloids [carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC) and sodium alginate]. Native and modified starches were evaluated for their physicochemical, pasting, thermal and morphological properties. Pasting and thermal properties were studied using Rapid Visco Analyzer (RVA) and Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC) respectively. Morphological properties were studied by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Modification of the starch by dry heating with and without gums reduced paste clarity and increased the water and oil binding capacity; solubility and swelling power decreased. Dry heating of native starch increased peak viscosity; however, with addition of CMC, peak viscosity decreased. Starch modified with CMC and 4 h heating exhibited lowest gelatinization temperature (T0). Pasting characteristics of native water chestnut starch were largely affected by the addition of gums and/or heat treatment. Overall onset gelatinization temperature reduced with heat treatment and addition of gums. Morphological studies revealed no significant variation in starch granule size. Starch granules were seen agglomerated because of leaching of amylose and granule interspacing decreased with addition of gums.