What is Cornstarch?

What is Cornstarch?

What is corn starch?

The white endosperms found in the centre of corn kernels are used to make cornstarch. Cornstarch is a versatile thickener that can be found in a wide range of foods. Cornstarch, also known as cornflour, is a carbohydrate derived from the endosperm of the corn plant. This white powder is used in a variety of culinary, household, and industrial applications. It was invented in New Jersey in 1844 and is now produced in corn-growing countries including the United States, China, Brazil, and India. In the kitchen, cornstarch is frequently used to thicken marinades, sauces, gravies, glazes, soups, casseroles, pies, and other desserts. It is used in a variety of cuisines around the world, with North America and Asia dominating both production and consumption.

Cornstarch vs Flour

Flour is typically made from wheat. Cornstarch is gluten-free because it is derived from corn and contains only carbohydrates (no protein). Cornstarch is thus a great gluten-free alternative to flour thickeners in gravy and sauce recipes. Because the resulting gel is transparent rather than opaque, it is frequently used as a thickener instead of flour. It is also relatively flavourless and has roughly twice the thickening power. Flour and cornstarch can be used interchangeably in fried food batters. Both can be used in baked goods like cakes because the cornstarch softens the flour, resulting in the perfect texture and crumb. However, in recipes that call for a large amount of flour, you would not simply substitute cornstarch for flour. In gluten-free recipes, cornstarch is frequently combined with non-wheat flours. In the United Kingdom, cornstarch is commonly referred to as cornflour (most often one word). This is distinct from corn flour (often two words), a term used in the South to refer to finely ground cornmeal.

Cornstarch Uses

Cornstarch is well-known for its thickening properties. It is made up of long chains of starch molecules that unravel and swell in the presence of moisture when heated. This swelling action, known as gelatinization, is what causes the thickening. Cornstarch can also be used to coat the fruit in pies, tarts, and other desserts before baking. Cornstarch forms a thin layer on top of the fruit juices and thickens while baking. This prevents pies and other desserts from having a watery or runny texture. Cornstarch is a beneficial anti-caking agent. To keep shredded cheese from clumping together in the package, it is frequently dusted with cornstarch. Furthermore, the cornstarch will aid in the absorption of moisture from condensation, preventing the formation of a slimy texture. A small amount of cornstarch is frequently combined with powdered sugar for the same purpose.

How to Cook With Cornstarch

Cornstarch should not be added directly to a hot liquid because it will form lumps. Rather, make a slurry of cornstarch and a slightly cool liquid, then stir it into the hot liquid. This ensures that the cornstarch molecules are evenly distributed before they swell and gelatinize. Cornstarch-containing mixtures should be thoroughly boiled and then cooled. The mixture may appear thickened after a brief heating, but if the starch molecules are not completely gelatinized, they will release moisture and become thin. Sauces and other mixtures based on cornstarch should not be frozen. When frozen, the gelatinized starch matrix degrades, resulting in a thin mixture upon thawing.

Cornstarch Substitute

Cornstarch can be replaced with a variety of ingredients. Flour is a great all-purpose ingredient for sauces; simply double the amount. Both arrowroot and potato starch work well as substitutes, though the latter requires more whisking to avoid clumping. Tapioca starch (or flour) works well in place of cornstarch; use 2 tablespoons instead of 1 tablespoon. Another option is rice flour; 3 tablespoons rice flour is required for every tablespoon cornstarch.

Where to Buy Cornstarch

At least one type of cornstarch should be available in the baking aisle of any grocery store or supermarket. A 16-ounce container usually costs less than a couple of dollars. Bulk quantities are available, but since most recipes call for only a tablespoon or two, the majority of home cooks don’t need them. Cornstarch made from non-GMO corn can also be found; it will be clearly labelled; organic cornstarch is a non-GMO product by definition. If you’re following a gluten-free diet, make sure to carefully read the label. To avoid cross-contamination, ensure that your cornstarch was not produced in a facility that also processes wheat products.


Because cornstarch absorbs moisture, it must be stored in an airtight container that is not exposed to ambient humidity. It should be kept away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. A cool, dry place, such as a pantry, is ideal. Cornstarch has an indefinite shelf life if properly stored.

Is corn starch and corn flour the same?

Corn flour is made by finely grinding whole corn kernels, whereas cornstarch is made only from the starchy portion of corn. As a result, while cornstarch is primarily composed of carbohydrates, corn flour contains protein, fibre, starch, vitamins, and minerals.

How do I make cornstarch?

Fill the blender halfway with water, then add the corn. Blend until the texture is smooth. If you want to make a large amount of cornstarch, blend it in batches. Rep until you’ve used up all of the corn in the bowl.

Can I use cornflour instead of cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a gluten-free flour that is “starchy,” whereas corn flour is a gluten-free flour that is “protein.” As a result, they perform very different roles in gluten-free baking. This means that cornstarch cannot be used in place of corn flour, and vice versa.

Is maizena and cornstarch the same?

Cornstarch is a very fine starch powder made from corn (maize) that is used in cooking as a thickener, to prevent things from sticking, or as an anti-caking agent, whereas maizena is cornflour / cornstarch.

What is the difference between flour and cornstarch?

A gluten-free, all-starch powder made solely from the corn kernel’s endosperm, cornstarch is derived from corn. Although flour can be made from any grain (including corn), all-purpose flour is made from wheat (which contains gluten) and serves as the base for the majority of baked goods.

Can I use baking soda instead of cornstarch?

It is not recommended to use baking powder or baking soda in place of cornstarch. Baking soda has a distinct flavour, and both ingredients have distinct chemical properties that allow them to function as leavening agents. It is possible that using them in soups or sauces will not yield the desired results.

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