Masa Harina vs Corn Flour

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Masa Harina vs Corn Flour ” and will discuss how Masa Harina and Corn Flour are different.

Masa Harina vs Corn Flour

Masa harina and corn flour may have a similar appearance, but they are not the same thing. Corn flour is just crushed maize that has been milled into a fine powder. Ground maize treated with alkali is known as masa harina. While maize flour works well for breading and frying, it’s useless for creating tortillas since it’s high in starch.

Are Masa Harina and corn flour the same?

No. Whole dried maize kernels are processed to make corn flour, which is a kind of flour. It has a silky, smooth finish and is ultra-fine. Corn flour provides baked products structure and is often combined with a binder such as eggs. It doesn’t taste very nice when it’s raw, much like white or wheat flour. When baking, frying, or grilling, it’s a wonderful addition to the meal.

Corn flour may be used in a wide variety of dishes, including bread, muffins, battered and fried meals.  All-purpose white flour cannot be substituted with cornflour. Noodles and bread may often be made by combining them with whole wheat flour. However, unless you like the taste of maize, you should avoid using it to make cakes. Small quantities of corn flour experiments are the key to finding a taste you enjoy.

Mexican cuisine calls for the usage of masa harina, a common flour substitute. It means “dough flour” when translated literally. It is produced from dried entire maize kernels, much like cornflour. The most significant distinction is that masa harina is prepared using lime water rather than oil. Not the green citrus fruit, limewater is a calcium hydroxide solution.

Calcium and niacin are infused into the maize flour by the calcium hydroxide, totally altering its chemical composition. This aids digestion and imparts a unique taste to the food. Masa harina, by its very nature, is devoid of gluten. In reality, there is no gluten added to or present in any corn masa product in any form.

Is it possible to use cornflour in place of masa harina instead?

No. Traditionally, masa harina is used in Mexican cuisine like maize tortillas and tamales. It’s not the same as cornmeal or cornflour in terms of characteristics. Masa harina, on the other hand, is made by cooking cornmeal in an alkaline solution such as limewater.

Nixtamalization refers to the process of boiling maize in an alkaline solution. The taste and fragrance of the finished product are altered by the alkaline solution. The nutritional content is increased, and the hulls are removed from the kernels. The procedure also softens the corn, making it simpler to incorporate into the dough.

Masa harina must be used to make tortillas. Try using cornflour instead of the regular stuff and see what happens. The tortilla will either fall apart or be rubbery as a result of the cooking process.

Are cornmeal and corn flour the same thing?

No, even though they are both produced from dried and milled maize, their textures could not be more different. The texture of cornmeal is considerably rougher, like sandpaper in your hands. Any excellent cornbread recipe calls for it as a major component. It’s also known as polenta, and it’s a grain that’s quite similar to grits.

The smoothness and fineness of cornflour make it ideal for baking. The fine powder of cornmeal is used to make corn flour. Baked goods or fried food coatings often include it. The texture of cornmeal vs. corn flour is the most significant distinction.

While they may be used interchangeably in certain situations, such as breaded chicken, you will get distinct textures as a consequence. In general, follow the recipe’s instructions and only utilize ingredients listed there.

Cornmeal is often used in baked goods such as corn muffins and cornbread. They would be considerably heavier and have a different feel on your tongue if they were prepared using maize flour. Instead of cornmeal, picture a cake. Cornmeal is the primary ingredient in the production of cornflour. So, if you happen to have some cornmeal on hand, you can make flour out of it by grinding it up very fine.

To create masa harina, what ingredients are needed?

Masa harina cannot be made with maize flour or cornmeal, for obvious reasons. Before the corn is ground into meal or flour, the calcium hydroxide must be applied to the entire kernel.

It’s possible to make it from scratch, but it’ll take time and effort. Most of the time, it’s produced from yellow field corn, known as dent corn. These ears of corn will not be sweet and delectable like the kind served at summertime barbecues.

It’s possible to boil dent corn for hours on end without it softening. It’s also difficult to get your hands on.

The next best thing to dent corn is whole grain corn from Great River Organic Milling. The good news is that dried maize will keep for a year or more if it is stored at a warm temperature and kept dry. Just make sure it’s well sealed to keep away insects.

After treating the corn with calcium hydroxide, the masa harina will be ready to be processed. This is a critical stage. This is what distinguishes masa harina from other types of flour. Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime  is the best one to buy. It may be bought from Amazon. The outer skin of the corn kernels may be easily removed by boiling the corn in a solution of water and calcium hydroxide, then simmering the liquid until the outer skin has slipped off.

Allow the corn to rest overnight after removing it from the heat and covering it. Then, after many rounds of washing, you’ll pulse it in a food processor until it forms a thick dough. That’s all there is to it!


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Masa Harina vs Corn Flour” and discussed how Masa Harina and Corn Flour are different.


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.