Isn’t it a bummer when you want to use your favorite ingredient to make that perfect recipe, but you’re all out of it? I have been in situations where I am all out of corn flour-my favorite. So, let me tell you about the best corn flour substitutes today.
I did mention it is a great thickening agent. But we all know that corn flour has many uses way beyond that. From breading to deep fry and even baking, corn flour is a versatile ingredient. So, don’t worry if you have run out! Just use a substitute from this list of best corn flour substitutes.
So, getting straight to the point, what can be used if you run out of corn flour? The best corn flour substitutes are corn starch, rice flour, all-purpose flour, wheat flour, potato flour, arrowroot powder, corn meal, and sorghum flour.
But, I think there may be some confusion revolving around what corn flour is, considering the fact that there are various other ingredients also derived from corn. So, to clear that, let me tell you a little bit about corn flour.
Quick Peek: Corn Flour
You will find all information about corn flour in this section. You will get to know what the ingredient is, what its flavor and texture are like, and what recipes it is used in. You will also get to know the nutritional values of corn flour.
What Is Corn Flour?
Corn flour is flour derived from whole dried corn kernels. Corn flour is considered a whole grain flour as it is made from the entire corn kernel, including the hull, germ, and endosperm of the corn.
Corn flour is often confused with cornstarch by many, however, they are two very different ingredients. In the United States, the difference between corn flour and cornstarch is quite simple. However, in the United Kingdom, cornstarch is often referred to as corn flour.
What Is The Difference Between Corn Flour And Cornstarch?
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people often confuse cornstarch with corn flour. However, let me tell you some basic differences between the two to make you understand it better.
Corn flour and cornstarch are both derived from corn, however, they both have different textures, tastes, and uses. Cornstarch is a white colored chalky powder which is made from the endosperm of the corn kernel, unlike corn flour which is made from the whole corn kernel.
To make cornstarch, the starches inside the endosperm are removed, rinsed, dried, and then milled into a fine powder. The rest of the parts of the corn, such as the kernel and the hull, are processed to make various other corn products, such as corn oil.
Describing Flavor And Texture: Corn Flour V/S Cornstarch
Both corn flour and cornstarch have some differences between them, even when it comes to their flavor and texture. Corn flour is a fine powder which is usually yellow in color. However, there are certain varieties that are also white or blue.
This depends solely on the type of corn used to make the flour. The texture of corn flour is smooth, similar to whole wheat flour. Cornstarch, on the other hand, is completely white in color and has a very chalky appearance, and has a clumpy and starchy texture.
When we talk about their flavors, corn flour has a slightly sweet and earthy flavor, which tastes very similar to that of corn kernels. This flavor intensifies a little bit when the corn flour is cooked. Cornstarch, on the other hand, is completely tasteless.
Uses Of Corn Flour
Now you know the difference between corn flour and cornstarch. So, you know that cornstarch, being flavorless, is mostly only used as a thickening agent. Corn flour is also used as a thickening agent but has many uses other than just that.
Corn flour, similar to any other flour, is used to add structure to most recipes it is used in. It can be used to bake various products such as bread, muffins, waffles, pancakes, and even cakes. Moreover, it can also be used as a thickening agent.
It will give a slightly sweet flavor when used as a thickening agent, as opposed to cornstarch which is flavorless and does not impart any flavor to food either. Corn flour can also be used for breading various types of food before frying them.
Corn Flour On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Corn flour, as it is made from the entire corn kernel, has a lot of nutritional value and health benefits attached to it. When we talk about nutritional values, one cup or 120 grams of corn flour has 422 calories.
Out of these calories, most of them are from carbohydrates and dietary fiber, making corn flour extremely healthy. Corn flour has no amount of cholesterol in it with a minimal amount of fats and saturated fats.
It has some amount of protein and is rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, and copper, along with vitamins A and B6. Corn flour has health benefits attached to it, like reducing cholesterol levels and also reducing the chances of constipation due to the high fiber content present in it.
It also has other various health benefits attached to it. Some of these include preventing anemia and high blood pressure, improving bone health, aiding better digestive health, and also helps maintain lower body weight.
Why Use A Substitute For Corn Flour?
Now that I have given you so many reasons to use corn flour in recipes, you must be on your way to go buy it from a store. Hold on, though! There are many reasons to use corn flour, however, I can give you some reasons why you can use a substitute.
To start off, corn flour may not be as easily available as various other types of flour. By saying this, I don’t mean that you won’t find corn flour anywhere! Yes, it is available at various places. However, at certain places, it might not be as easily available as various other types of flours.
So, to get corn flour, you might need to visit a flour mill. But, there are various substitutes that you can use in place of corn flour that are very available everywhere and will work just as well. Other than that, not everyone is fond of the flavor of corn flour.
Unlike cornstarch which has a neutral flavor, corn flour actually does have a strong flavor of corn which only intensifies once you cook with it. Though the flavor is sweet, not everyone is extremely fond of the flavor of corn.
So, if you want to avoid your food to taste like corn and would prefer something neutral tasting with similar properties, there are a lot of substitutes that will work just as well as corn flour in various recipes.
Lastly, if you do not have any of these issues but just forgot to stock up on corn flour, why bother running to the store? There are a lot of substitutes for corn flour that might be stocked in your pantry, and you can easily use them in its place.
I think now that the whole debate about what the difference between corn flour and cornstarch is, is over, let me not waste any more of your time. In the next section, I have covered all the best substitutes you can use in place of corn flour.
8 Best Corn Flour Substitutes
In this section, I have covered all the best substitutes that you can use in place of corn flour. You will get to understand the property of each substitute that stands out and what recipes these substitutes work best in. Moreover, you will also get to know the ratios of substitution.
Cornstarch is derived from corn, similar to corn flour. Though they are both different ingredients, as mentioned above, cornstarch shares certain characteristics with corn flour and hence can be used as a substitute for the same.
Cornstarch is mostly used as a thickening agent, and even when used as a substitute for corn flour, that is its main purpose. Cornstarch will not work in place of corn flour in baking or cooking recipes, where you need a structure.
Moreover, even when using cornstarch as a thickening agent, it is best to add some sort of flavor to it as otherwise, cornstarch is completely tasteless. When using it as a substitute for corn flour for thickening purposes, you can do a direct swap between the two.
2. Rice Flour
Rice flour is derived from milled rice. It is extracted from rice until a starchy powder is produced. It works in certain similar ways as corn flour does and so can be used as a substitute for the same in various recipes.
Rice flour makes a great thickening agent when you need one in place of corn flour. It has the exact same thickening properties as corn flour does, so you can thicken your sauces, soups, or any other gravy-based recipes.
Moreover, you can use rice flour for breading as well, similar to corn flour. However, rice flour may not make your deep-fried food as crisp as corn flour does. For substitution, use double the quantity of rice flour.
3. Wheat Flour
Wheat flour has a number of properties that are similar to corn flour. It is rich in fiber and protein as well and very easily available everywhere. Wheat flour can be used as a substitute for corn flour in various recipes.
Wheat flour is one of the best options to use as a substitute for corn flour. Not only can it be used for thickening, but it also works well for breading and baking. Moreover, similar to how corn flour is used to make tortillas, you can also make wheat tortillas.
The one reason, however, people may avoid using wheat flour is that it contains gluten. So, it might not work out as a good substitute option for you in case you have gluten intolerance. Nevertheless, you can do a direct swap while using it as a substitute.
4. Potato Flour
Potato flour, as the name suggests, is obtained from potatoes. It is a white, starchy powder that works great for thickening and has various other purposes. Potato flour can work as a great substitute for corn flour.
Potato flour is completely gluten-free, similar to corn flour. So, for those who have an intolerance to gluten, potato flour is a good substitute option for thickening and baking too. It won’t give you a crispy exterior when used as a coating.
However, it is important to remember that potato flour absorbs a lot of water. So, while using it as a thickening agent, make sure you add it towards the end as adding it in the beginning might also make it lose its thickening properties.
5. All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is a type of refined wheat flour very commonly used for baking, thickening and breading. It can positively be used as a substitute for corn flour in various recipes.
All-purpose flour is one of the most commonly used types of flour all over the world. It makes a good breading for deep frying, however, it will not make your food as crisp as corn flour does.
Other than that, for baking and thickening purposes, all-purpose flour is a great option to use. However, all-purpose flour, just like wheat flour, contains gluten. So, for those avoiding gluten, this might not be the best option. You can do a direct swap during substitution.
6. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is made from the tropical arrowroot plant and is a starchy powder. Arrowroot powder is a great thickening agent and is used quite often in baking, making it a good substitute for corn flour.
Arrowroot powder is extremely starchy, so it is high in carbohydrates and low in protein content. While using it as a substitute for corn flour, make sure you add it in the end, similar to potato flour as adding it in the beginning will make it lose its thickening properties.
Arrowroot powder is also quite often used in baking, especially gluten-free baking. Arrowroot powder will not work as it is in baking, but you can pair half the quantity of it with any other gluten-free flour and it will give you the desired result.
Cornmeal is made in a very similar way as corn flour, using the entire corn. It does have a gritty texture compared to corn flour, however the properties of the two are similar, making it a good substitute.
Cornmeal and corn flour are used very interchangeably in most recipes. You can use cornmeal for baking, breading and thickening. However, do remember that cornmeal will give a gritty texture to your food, especially when used to make batters for baking.
Cornmeal is again a great gluten-free option for those who are trying to avoid gluten in their food. As the properties of the two are similar, you can do an easy substitution following a standard 1:1 ratio.
8. Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is made from sorghum, a relatively healthy grain. It is gluten-free and has various properties that are similar to that of corn flour and hence can be used as a substitute for the same.
Sorghum flour is a good option for those looking for a gluten-free option. It is rich in vital nutrients and is easy to digest. Moreover, it also has thickening properties like corn flour does and can be used for baking and breading too.
However, while using sorghum flour for baking, especially, you will have to mix it with a small quantity of a thickening and setting agent like xanthan gum or arrowroot powder to get the best results.
Short Recap For Best Corn Flour Substitutes
I know that by now, most of you may have picked your substitute based on the property you were looking to substitute. However, to make it easier for everyone else, I have divided the substitute into further categories as per their purpose.
Best Corn Flour Substitutes For Thickening:
- Arrowroot Powder
- All-Purpose Flour
Best Corn Flour Substitutes For Baking:
- Wheat Flour
- All-Purpose Flour
- Sorghum Flour
Best Corn Flour Substitutes For Breading:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Rice Flour
How To Substitute Corn Flour In A Recipe
Corn Flour Substitutes
- Rice Flour
- Wheat Flour
- Potato Flour
- All Purpose Flour
- Arrowroot Powder
- Sorghum Flour
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Corn flour is an extremely healthy ingredient with a lot of uses. It is great when it comes to thickening, baking, or breading. However, as many places confuse corn flour with cornstarch, you may not find it as easily everywhere.
Moreover, corn flour does carry a sweet flavor of corn which only intensifies after cooking. So, in case you are not able to find it or simply do not like the flavor of corn, there are a lot of substitutes that you can use in its place.
This article has substitute options that contain gluten and also options that don’t. So, based on the purpose for which you are looking for a substitute, you can pick which one works best for your recipe. I am sure you will be equally satisfied with the results that you get from the substitutes!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is corn flour the same as cornstarch?
No, corn flour is made from the entire corn kernel and has different properties and textures as compared to cornstarch.
What is corn flour used for?
Corn flour can be used for three main purposes, baking, breading, and as a thickening agent.
Is corn flour the same as wheat flour?
No, corn flour is derived from corn kernels, whereas wheat flour is derived from wheat.
Is corn flour healthy?
Yes, corn flour is a healthy type of flour.