Is Corn Meal the Same as Corn Starch? Know the Difference

difference between cornmeal and cornstarch

Cornmeal and corn starch are both made from corn. Both cornmeal and cornstarch are gluten-free elements. But they contain different flavors, tastes, usage, and nutrition components.

Cornmeal vs Cornstarch: How They Are Produced

Cornstarch is a kind of starch that is usually produced from dried corn. It is generally used in the sauce. We can use gelatin agar-agar powder instead of cornstarch. It can also be used to make liquid batter sticky so that the shape of the food won’t be destroyed while frying in deep oil. We can also use cornstarch to reduce the clumping of powdered sugar. 

On the other hand, cornmeal is made from grinding corn. The flavor of cornmeal is comparatively richer than corn starch.

Cornmeal is used to make polenta and cornbread-like dishes.Cornstarch is a white powder used in sauces, gravies, and stews to make them thicker.
Difference between Cornmeal and Cornstarch at a glance

Corn Flour vs Cornstarch

Corn FlourCorn Starch
Corn flour is also fine white powder and contains fat, fiber, and a little fat.Cornstarch is 100% starch with no fiber content. It originated from corn grain. It does not contain any fat, calcium, or other components. It is often used to make the cream, sauces, and custard. 
Main Difference between Corn Flour & Corn Starch

There are 2 types of Corn Flour:

  • Yellow corn flour
  • White corn flour

What Is Corn Flour in the US

Corn flour with a space in the US is the same as maize flour in the UK. But cornflour without space refers to cornstarch in the US. Maize is the same thing as corn. But corn is mostly used and a well-known word to people. In the UK, maize is mainly used, and in North America, corn is mostly used. 

In simple words, in America, finely ground white powder from corn kennels is known as a corn flour. On the other hand, corn starch is also a type of finely ground powder made from starchy corn.

corn flour spilled in the kitchen
Image credit: Kostrez, Shutterstock

A Common Question:

Can I Use Cornstarch Instead of Flour for Frying?

You can use cornstarch instead of flour in fried chicken, fried fish, fried rolls, and other recipes. Cornstarch will create a nice coating, and your fried food will absorb less oil and become crispy. Moreover, the shape won’t destroy while flipping or frying it in oil. 

Can Dogs Have Cornstarch

Yes, dogs can have corn starch because it is less allergic to pet animals than flour. Also, cats and dogs naturally contain corn starch as a carbohydrate source. 

Bonus Read!

Cornmeal Substitutes

  • Corn Grits

You can choose fine corn grits for better results. Both white and yellow corn grits can be used as a cornmeal substitute. But yellow corn grits are better because they are made in the same process as cornmeal, but the difference is that they are not refined.

  • Polenta 

There will be some difference in texture, but you can substitute polenta instead of cornmeal. 

  • Corn Flour 

Yes, you can also substitute corn flour instead of cornmeal. It will give the same corn flavor. So your dish will not spoil. If you want to use cornmeal for thickness in soup, stews, or sauces, you can easily replace it with corn flour. 

If you are allergic to cornmeal and corn-based products, use some non- corn substitutes instead of cornmeal.  

  • Coarse Wheat Flour

The coarse wheat meal can be used as an alternative to cornmeal. It will provide the same texture, and the cooking purpose will also be achieved. 

  •  Semolina

Semolina is another non- corn alternative for cornmeal. It contains high mineral components, and the cooking purpose is served with it. 

  • Rice Flour

Rice flour can also replace cornmeal, which mostly remains available in our house. Its starchy texture can substitute for cornmeal in soup, sauce, and other dishes. 

rice-flour kept in a bowl
Image credit: RHJPhtotos, Shutterstock

You may also like: Does Apple Pie Need to Be Refrigerated


Can I substitute cornmeal for cornstarch?

You can’t substitute cornmeal for cornstarch because they are used for different purposes. 

Is Maizena the same as cornstarch?

Yes, Maizena is a well-known cornstarch brand. In many European countries, cornstarch is also known as Maizena.       

What can I use if I don’t have cornstarch?

Instead of cornstarch, you can use alternatives like flour, potato starch, and others. Which substitute you should use is dependent on the recipes made by you. 

What happens if I use baking powder instead of cornstarch?

Baking powder is not a suitable substitute for cornstarch. Because it does not fulfill the purpose. Baking powder is usually used in baked dishes to make the rice. On the contrary, cornstarch is a sticky component used to make fried dishes crispy. 

Is cornstarch bad for you? 

Cornstarch contains high calories and carbohydrates and no fiber, protein, and other essential elements. It is harmful to heart patients and can increase blood pressure and blood sugar level. 

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