What is the difference between corn flour and cornmeal?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What is the difference between corn flour and cornmeal?”, and share some recipes to cook with cornmeal.

What is the difference between corn flour and cornmeal?

Flocked cornflour: for its production, cornflour is hydrated, crushed, and then roasted. The result is thick flakes.

Cornmeal: product composed of medium grains, in which the determined corn grain is ground. It is a type of flour that absorbs more water, as it has thinner flakes.

In other words, the technical difference between cornmeal and corn flour is in the process that the grains go through before reaching the consumer. However, in the day to day kitchen, this detail makes all the difference.

Unlike goods formed by grinding the grains, flocking corn flour is the result of the lamination of distinct sections of these grains, which are subsequently pre-cooked. 

Another critical element is that the corn grains must have gone through a step of determination during the manufacturing process, which is a process to remove the white portion, known as the germ, which is responsible for cereal germination. 

Because the germ contains oils that are rapidly destroyed, flours made from corn with the germ have a lower shelf life and deteriorate faster. As a result, the germ is usually removed from the grains used to make cornmeal and corn flour.

Cornmeal and cornflour have varied purposes in the kitchen due to their varying textures, for example:

Cornmeal is used in the following recipes: cakes, soups, porridge, bread, biscuits, polenta, creams, muffins, tortillas, and flatbreads.

Cakes, bread, Mexican tacos, and other pastry goods can be made with corn flour.  Corn flour may also be used to make cakes, bread, Mexican tacos, and other pastries. It is also an excellent choice for coating fried meals like shrimp. It gives a lovely maize taste as well as a crunchy texture without the grittiness of cornmeal.

Because each of these items has been manufactured differently, it is not always feasible to swap one for the other in your recipes, as they differ in terms of their capacity to absorb liquids, cooking time, and the degree of gelatinization supplied to the meals. 

Whole grain flours such as cornmeal and corn flour provide nutrients such as protein, fiber, carbs, potassium, and starch. Cornstarch, on the other hand, is derived from the endosperm, therefore the majority of the nutrients have been removed; it is mostly carbohydrates and has a high starch content.

What are some recipes with cornmeal?

Italian polenta

  • 1 cup polenta (or medium-ground cornmeal)
  • 1 teaspoon. kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons. butter or olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat.

In a continuous stream, add the polenta to the boiling water, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue whisking until the polenta no longer sinks to the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes.

Cook, stirring periodically with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is creamy, about 30 minutes.

Finish with butter and parmesan cheese for a delicious polenta. Add a drizzle of olive oil for vegan polenta.


  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ¼ cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch circular cake pan.

In a 1-quart saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.

In a large mixing basin, combine the melted butter, milk, and egg with a fork or wire whisk until thoroughly combined. 

All at once, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix just until the flour is wet (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into pan; scrape batter from the bowl with a rubber spatula. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and smooth the top.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Other FAQs about Cornflour that you may be interested in.

Does corn flour go bad?


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What is the difference between corn flour and cornmeal?”, and shared some recipes to cook with cornmeal.


MasterClass. “Cornmeal vs. Corn Flour vs. Cornstarch: What’s the Difference? – 2022.” Accessed January 20, 2022. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/cornmeal-vs-corn-starch.

Bom, Caldo. “Qual a diferença entre fubá e farinha de milho?” Caldo Bom, December 21, 2018. https://caldobom.com.br/blog/diferenca-entre-fuba-e-farinha-de-milho.html.

MasterClass. “Basic Polenta Recipe: How to Make Classic Italian Polenta – 2022.” Accessed January 20, 2022. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-classic-italian-polenta.

BettyCrocker.com. “Cornbread.” Accessed January 20, 2022. https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cornbread/8990e15c-fc1d-4a8d-b8b3-4b37f45eca49.

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