The effects of gas velocity (0.32 to 0.67 m/s), inlet gas temperature (25 to 100 °C) and the mass ratio of starch to inert particles (0.1 to 0.4) on the drying rate of starch in a 0.083 m-ID × 0.80 m-high inert medium fluidized bed were investigated. The drying mechanism in an inert medium fluidized bed can be classified into adhesion-dispersion, evaporation and disintegration steps. The drying rate increases with the increasing inlet gas temperature and velocity; the rates being about 10 times those reported for an agitated pan dryer. However, the drying rate decreases slightly as the mass ratio of starch to inert particles increases. Also, the drying rate exhibits a maximum at an optimum bed porosity. The drying rate data obtained in an inert medium fluidized bed have been correlated with the relevant dimensionless groups, i.e. Stefan and particle Reynolds numbers based on the theory of isotropic turbulence.