How long does it take for cornstarch to thicken?

In this brief article we will answer the questions how long does it take for cornstarch to thicken, how to use it as a thickener and five substitutes of cornstarch.

How long does it take for cornstarch to thicken?

Normally it takes 1 to 2 minutes to thicken a cornstarch mixture. The conditions provided the power is maximum with continuous boiling and stirring. Continue to cook the slurry and stir until it boils to attain maximum thickness.

What is cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a corn product obtained from milling of corn kernel’s endosperm. It is a common food ingredient which is used to thicken sauces or soups. It is also used in making corn syrup and other sugars from corn.

How to use cornstarch:

When using cornstarch as a thickener for your liquid or semi liquid foods, it is better to follow the tips written on the label. Cornstarch is a good thickener and doesn’t take much time to thicken the product.

For each cup of liquid food, the corn required to thicken it is 1 tablespoon. Put the corn in a bowl and add an equal amount of liquid to stir it. Stir it until a smooth paste is formed. Boil this slurry and add it in your food product. Stir continuously to obtain maximum thickness due to cornstarch.

Why use cornstarch?

Cornstarch has many health benefits as it is made of corn kernel it is rich in carbs and starch. It is also a good thickener and doesn’t ruin the flavor of food. It smoothes the texture of food and makes it thick.

Cornstarch is usually white in color but it is translucent when made into a slurry. Unlike flour it does not interfere with the color of liquid food. Flour is opaque while cornstarch mixture is translucent. That is why using cornstarch slurry is preferred when using it as a thickener.

Other FAQs about Cornstarch which you may be interested in.

Are potato starch and cornstarch interchangeable?

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How much cornstarch is in powdered sugar?

Substitutes to cornstarch:

Even though cornstarch is a magical ingredient when added as a thickener, some people may not prefer using it. The reasons are various depending on taste, allergies and availability. Some of the substitutes of cornstarch are as follows:

Wheat flour:

Just like cornstarch wheat flour is also made of grinding a grain in a milling process. But wheat flour is rich in fibers, proteins and starch. It is possible to swap cornstarch and wheat flour but we need more flour than cornstarch.

When using wheat flour as a thickener it is better to make a slurry beforehand. This avoids clumping of flour when added to a liquid mixture of food.


It is a starchy flour obtained from the roots of Maranta plants. To make the roots are dried yup and then ground into fine powders. The powder obtained is used as a thickener in cooking. It is rich in fiber and preferred over cornstarch because of that,

When using arrowroot as a thickener it is also mixed with water. It does not impart any color so it is preferred when thickening liquid foods. It is recommended to use double amount of arrowroot flour than cornstarch

Potato starch:

Potato is a very starchy vegetable and is used because of its starch rich properties in many recipes. It is a common practice to use potato starch instead of cornstarch. It is also free of gluten so it is better to use for people with celiac disease.

It is substituted in 1:1 ratio and is used in the same amount as cornstarch is used. It also thickens more quickly than cornstarch or other grain starches.

Rice flour:

Just like wheat flour it is made by rice grain milling and is often used in Asia. It is also gluten free and rich in starch as well so it is preferred. The slurry of rice flour is also colorless and is used to thicken transparent mixtures

When using rice flour, it is added in double amounts of cornstarch. The paste can be made in both hot and cold water, or in a mixture of fat and water.


Ground flaxseeds are absorbent in water and make a jelly-like appearance when mixed with water. Unlike cornstarch they don’t have a smooth texture and are gritty in nature. They are a good source of soluble fiber and used when going for fiber boost in recipes.

When using flaxseed as a thickener, one tablespoon of flaxseeds is added in four tablespoons of water. One tablespoon of flaxseed is equal to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

These are some of the substitutes used when thickening a liquid mixture. One thing to keep in mind is not to use gluten based products like wheat flour when making a dish for celiac patients. Using cornstarch is preferred in recipes due to absence of gluten.

Other FAQs about Cornstarch that you may be interested in.

What can be used instead of cornstarch?

Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?

Can I use cornstarch instead of flour?


In this brief article we have answered the questions how long does it take for cornstarch to thicken, how to use it as a thickener and five substitutes of cornstarch.