Whether you are grilling, frying, or baking, corn flour is one of the most common ingredients you will need. It is popular amongst people who love gluten-free treats. You can also use it as a coating for fried food, including fish and chicken.
While it is a handy ingredient in the kitchen, corn flour may not always be available. If it is nowhere to be found, then you should consider your options for a corn flour substitute. Read on as we talk about some of the top choices.
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What is Corn Flour?
As the name implies, corn flour is flour from corn. It is a result of milling dried corn kernels, producing whole grain flour that contains the corn’s endosperm, germ, and hull. The most common color is yellow, but it can also be blue or white depending on the corn variety.
The main purpose of using corn flour is to give structure to whatever you are baking. It usually combines with a binder like egg. When used properly, corn flour yields a sweet and earthy flavor.
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The Best Cornflour Substitute – 7 Ideal Options
If corn flour is unavailable in your kitchen or in the grocery, consider other substitutes. Below are some of the best ingredients that can yield similar results.
Since it is also made from corn, cornstarch will make a great substitute if you cannot get your hands on corn flour. Besides, they are both gluten-free, so they are great for people who have specific dietary requirements.
While it can be a substitute, take note of the differences between cornstarch and corn flour. Corn flour uses dried kernels. On the other hand, cornstarch uses only corn’s starchy parts. Cornstarch is chalkier, which makes it great for making thicker sauces and stews.
Another difference between the two is the flavor. Cornstarch is flavorless, whereas corn flour has a savory taste. You might want to consider such during substitution, especially if your goal is to replicate the natural flavors that you will find in corn flour.
However, it is also important to consider your location. If you are in the United States, cornstarch is different from corn flour. Meanwhile, if you are in the United Kingdom, they mean the same thing.
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Cornmeal is an easy choice when substituting for corn flour because they are both derived from corn. They are both made from milled and dried corn. This will let you achieve the same flavor profile.
Nonetheless, while they have the same taste, a significant difference between the two is their texture. Cornmeal is coarser, so watch out on where you will use it. An easy solution is to grind cornmeal so that you can achieve the same texture, consistency, and size as corn flour.
Once cornmeal is finely ground, you can use the same measurement as corn flour. If the recipe calls for one cup of corn flour, then it is safe to use one cup of cornmeal.
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#3. Rice Flour
A popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, rice flour is a staple for noodles and soups, even desserts. It is a result of extracting finely-ground rice until it produces fine white starch. The consistency is almost similar to corn flour.
Another good thing about using rice flour as a substitute for corn flour is that they are both gluten-free. If you are following a special diet, rice flour is a great ingredient.
One of the differences between the two, however, is the color. Rice flour is colorless, so you can add it to clear soups and broths. This is unlike some types of corn flour that can leave a distinct color to your dish.
If your goal is to have similar consistency during the ingredient substitution, then you should use two tablespoons of rice flour for every tablespoon of corn flour.
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#4. Masa Harina
Another ingredient that will make a great substitute to corn flour is masa harina. It is derived from cooked organic corn, which is then soaked in a mixture of lime juice and water and hulled and ground.
However, the difference between the two ingredients lies on a process known as nixtamalization. It is the soaking of corn in alkaline water, which aids in the removal of the tough outer shell. Using limewater also changes the flavor of masa harina.
In terms of ratio, you can use one serving of masa harina for every serving of corn flour that the recipe requires. Mix it with water to create a slurry, which will prevent slumping and improve the texture of your dish.
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#5. Tapioca Flour
Also called tapioca starch, tapioca flour is also gluten-free, making it another great substitution when corn flour is unavailable. It is mainly used for improving the texture and structure of baked treats.
While it can make cakes, bread, and pastries fluffy and spongy, take note that it is odorless and tasteless. Hence, you cannot achieve the same flavor that you can expect from corn flour.
When using tapioca flour, you can follow the same ratio as corn flour. Limit its use as a thickening agent. It is not good for frying.
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#6. Potato Flour
As you would have realized by now, different types of flours can achieve the same purpose as corn flour. Add potato flour to the list. The process of making potato flour includes cooking, drying, and grinding potatoes until it becomes starchy.
For people with celiac disease, potato flour is a great option because it is gluten-free like corn flour. However, take note that it is high in fats and carbs, which might not make it ideal for people who are trying to lose weight.
It should also be noted that potatoes are known for absorbing water, so as this flour. Do not add it too early when making soups and sauces. Otherwise, it will end up being thin and not achieving the consistency that you desire.
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7. Arrowroot Powder
White and flavorless, arrowroot is another great pick if you do not have corn flour. It is commonly used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces. It can also add a glossy finish to your dish.
Like corn flour, arrowroot powder is also gluten-free. Plus, it is paleo and vegan-friendly, making it a common ingredient when cooking diet foods. It is also well-loved for its long shelf life.
Before adding arrowroot powder, turn it into a slurry. Otherwise, simply putting it on the top of a soup, stew, or sauce will result in clumps.
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