10 Differences Between cornstarch and corn flour

Difference Between Cornstarch and Corn Flour


Cornstarch and corn flour are two common ingredients used in cooking and baking. While they may look similar, there are several key differences between the two. This article will explore what cornstarch and corn flour are, their uses, and provide a comprehensive table comparing their differences.

What is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch, also known as cornflour in some countries, is a fine, white powder made from the endosperm of corn kernels. It is commonly used as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, puddings, and other dishes. Cornstarch is mainly composed of carbohydrates and is gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten intolerances or celiac disease.

Examples of Cornstarch

– Classic cream pudding
– Lemon bars
– Chicken stir-fry sauce

What is Corn Flour?

Corn flour, also referred to as maize flour, is a fine, yellow powder made by grinding whole corn kernels. Unlike cornstarch, corn flour is not used as a thickener but rather as a main ingredient in various recipes, including bread, tortillas, and pancakes. It contains the entire kernel, including the germ and bran, making it more nutritious than cornstarch.

Examples of Corn Flour

– Cornbread
– Tortillas
– Corn muffins

Uses of Cornstarch

– Thicken sauces: Cornstarch’s thickening properties make it ideal for enhancing the consistency of sauces and gravies.
– Baking: It helps to lighten and tenderize baked goods like cakes and cookies.
– Coating for frying: Cornstarch creates a crisp coating when used to bread meats or vegetables before frying.
– Creamy desserts: It is used in custards, puddings, and other creamy desserts to achieve a smooth texture.

Uses of Corn Flour

– Baking: Corn flour is used as a main ingredient in various baked goods such as bread, muffins, and pancakes.
– Tortillas: It is the main component of traditional Mexican tortillas.
– Thickening agent: Corn flour can be used as a thickener in soups, stews, and sauces.
– Gluten-free alternative: It is often used as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in recipes.

Differences Table

Difference Area Cornstarch Corn Flour
Origin Made from corn kernels’ endosperm Made from grinding whole corn kernels
Color White Yellow
Usage Thickening agent in sauces and gravies Main ingredient in baked goods and tortillas
Texture Smooth and powdery Fine and grainy
Nutritional Value Low in nutrients Contains germ and bran, more nutritious
Gluten Content Gluten-free Gluten-free
Primary Use Thickening agent Main ingredient in recipes
Appearance Smooth and silky Coarse and grainy
Typical Dishes Cream puddings, sauces Bread, tortillas
Shelf Life Long shelf life Shorter shelf life


In summary, while cornstarch and corn flour may appear similar, they have distinct differences. Cornstarch is primarily used as a thickening agent, while corn flour is a main ingredient in various recipes. Corn flour contains more nutrients due to including the germ and bran, whereas cornstarch lacks significant nutritional value. Both are gluten-free and can be used as alternatives for individuals with gluten intolerances.

People Also Ask

1. Can cornstarch be used as a substitute for corn flour?
No, cornstarch and corn flour have different properties, and their use as substitutes can alter the texture and outcome of the dish.

2. Are cornstarch and corn flour the same?
While they are both derived from corn, cornstarch and corn flour differ in their composition, texture, and intended uses.

3. Can you use cornstarch instead of flour for frying?
Yes, cornstarch can be used to coat meats or vegetables before frying, as it creates a crisper coating compared to regular flour.

4. Is cornstarch healthier than corn flour?
Neither cornstarch nor corn flour are considered to be highly nutritious. However, corn flour contains more nutrients due to retaining the germ and bran.

5. Can cornstarch and corn flour be used interchangeably in recipes?
Cornstarch and corn flour have different properties, so they cannot be used interchangeably in recipes. Substituting one for the other may result in different textures and outcomes.

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