Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?

 In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?” and will discuss what is the difference between cornmeal and cornstarch and when to use them.

Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?

No, you cannot substitute cornmeal for cornstarch. Cornstarch should not be substituted for cornmeal. The production method is substantially different, even though they are both manufactured from the same basic material. Cornstarch is a finer powder than cornmeal, and when mixed in a recipe, it behaves significantly differently.

What is Cornmeal?

Polenta, Grits, and cornbread all use cornmeal as a significant component. Tortillas and other South American classics are made using it as well. It’s usually mixed with wheat flour to help the meat rise to the top of the bread. Cornbread is the most well-known example of this. Cornmeal is responsible for the brittle texture and yellowish hue of cornbread.

Self-rising cornmeal, which is used in a lot of southern cookeries, especially cornbread and cornmeal biscuits, is available in the southern states.

What is cornstarch?

Cornstarch is extracted from the endosperm. It is gluten-free and devoid of protein, consisting solely of carbohydrates. Because of its high starch content, it works well as a flour alternative in recipes that call for a thickening agent, such as sauces, soups, and gravies.

Corn starch allows you to thicken a liquid after it has been warmed up. In any event, you should never put it in a hot liquid. This would cause the cornstarch to become uneven. You should dissolve it first in cold water and then add it to the hot water. Cornstarch slurry is the name for this cold liquid.

If you can’t get your hands on it, you may use arrowroot, tapioca, or potato starch as a cornstarch replacement. It’s quite simple if you’re in the United States. Cornmeal/corn flour accurately describes what they are. Cornstarch may simply be thought of as a starch derived from corn, which is still quite simple.

If you’re in the UK anyhow, you should know that corn flour is the same as cornstarch, and mixing the two when a recipe calls for the US definition of cornflour might result in a poor cake or bread.

When cornmeal is used?

It is a common dish in several European nations, as well as a few places in the United States. This item is commonly used in dishes such as morning porridge. Polenta and grits are two common examples of popular meals that use this item.

Cornmeal is a staple of Southern cuisine, and it may be found in a variety of recipes. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Southerners enjoy cornmeal just as much as they enjoy a barbeque. It’s used in a variety of baked goods, such as cornbread and biscuits.

Cornmeal provides a gritty surface and a yellowish hue to bread that isn’t cornbread in certain recipes. In many cuisines across the world, cornmeal is an essential component and a surface enhancer.

When is cornstarch used?

Cornstarch is a fantastic thickening agent for pie fillings, puddings, and soups and it’s also utilized in a variety of baked goods. Cornstarch creates a brittle and delicate pastry-like surface when used in cake, cookie, and shortbread recipes. It’s also used to keep things from sticking together.

When cornstarch is sprinkled over shredded cheese, it coats it and absorbs moisture that would otherwise ruin it. This absorbing mechanism aids in the clumping of food over time. It’s also utilized in the production of sugars like corn syrup.

Alternatives for cornstarch

Wheat flour

Wheat flour is created by finely crushing wheat grains. Wheat flour, unlike cornstarch, includes protein and fiber in addition to carbohydrates. This implies you may use flour instead of cornstarch, but you’ll need more of it to achieve the same result.

For thickening reasons, it is advised that you use twice as much white flour as cornstarch. Use 2 tablespoons of wheat flour in place of 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Because brown and whole-grain flours have more fiber than white flour, you’ll need a lot more of them to get the same thickening effect.

To thicken recipes with wheat flour, sfirst, make a paste with a little cold water. When you add it to recipes, this will prevent it from sticking together and clumping. If you’re using wheat flour as a cornstarch substitute, keep in mind that it’s not gluten-free, so it won’t work for celiac.


Arrowroot is a starchy flour produced from the roots of plants belonging to the Maranta genus, which grows in the tropics. The roots of the plants are dried and crushed into a fine powder that may be used as a thickening in cooking to produce arrowroot.

Because arrowroot has more fiber than cornstarch, some individuals prefer it over cornstarch. When combined with water, it creates a transparent gel, making it ideal for thickening clear liquids. To get identical effects, use double the amount of arrowroot as cornstarch. Arrowroot is also gluten-free, making it ideal for gluten-free diets.

To learn more about cornstarch alternatives, click here 

Other FAQs about Cornstarch that you may be interested in.

Can I use cornstarch instead of flour?

Can you eat cornstarch?

Benefits of eating cornstarch


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?” and discussed what is the difference between cornmeal and cornstarch and when to use them.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.