Corn Flour Vs Cornstarch: An Evaluation Of Their Differences

When it comes to raw materials that are used for different culinary applications, such as in cooking and baking, corn flour and cornstarch are two of the most popular. For many novices, it is easy to assume that the two are just the same. After all, they both have flour in their name and they also both exist in the form of powder.

Allow me to start this corn flour vs cornstarch post by saying one thing – the two are different in more ways than one. While they share the same characteristic that they are in powdered form, you have to look beyond such. With this, keep on reading the rest of this guide and I will share with you more about their key differences.​

Where It Is Made From

One of the best ways to tell the differences between the two is to determine their sources. In the case of corn flour, it is made from the endosperm of corn, which is mixed with corn gluten. It comes from the whole kernel of a corn. The color is usually yellow or white, which will depend on the corn that is used for the production of the flour.

Meanwhile, with cornstarch, it is made directly from the endosperm of the corn. It undergoes a process that is known as wet-milling. The latter is primarily the one that is responsible for breaking down the kernels into endosperm. The extraction and drying are completed through a complex process that uses state-of-the-art equipment.

Uses And Applications​

In most instances, both corn flour and cornstarch will function as a thickener, such as in soups, bread, and sauces, among others. Nonetheless, take note that you cannot use both in a single recipe. If you use the two, you might end up with an outcome that is thin.

If you need a thickener, cornstarch is the more common option. It is a popular ingredient in sauces, gravies, soups, fruit pies, and fillings. Cornstarch is also used for the prevention of curdling when cooking egg. It becomes thick quickly. Once it is cooked, it becomes a clear sauce. It is also glossy. This is as against corn flour that is cloudy or opaque.

While you can also use corn flour for thickening, it is not as effective. In fact, as recommended by experts, you need to use two parts of corn flour as a substitute for one part of cornstarch if you want to achieve the same thickened results.

Corn flour is more commonly used in bread. It is a popular baking ingredient, which allows the dough to expand, especially after baking. It is also usually combined with other types of flour.​

There are also differences on how the two should be used. You can add corn flour directly in hot liquid. Mix it continuously and you can expect that the output will end up being consistent. On the other hand, with corn starch, you need to mix it with cold water to prevent clumping. Mix it with cold water first before heating it up.


You do not eat corn flour and cornstarch on their own, which is why health concerns are not often discussed. However, if there is one thing that needs to be emphasized, it is the fact that cornstarch is gluten-free. This makes it the perfect choice for people who are staying away from gluten as a commitment to their chosen diet regimen.

The gluten that you can find in corn flour is also one of the reasons why it does not deliver thick results, unlike in the case of cornstarch.

Is There Any Similarity?​

In the United States, most people are used to calling it corn starch. In the United Kingdom, however, more people are using corn flour. However, as shown from the discussions above, it should be pointed out that the two are never the same thing.

Also, they are the same in the sense that they are two ingredients that are popular as thickening alternatives. Nonetheless, the outcomes and effectiveness will vary depending on which one is used. At the end of the day, it is best to confirm with your recipe so that you will know which one is indeed required.


With the corn flour vs cornstarch discussion in this post, I hope that you are already aware of the fact that the two are indeed different in several ways. In a nutshell, here is a quick rundown of some of the things that we have discussed above:

  • Cornstarch is made from the endosperm of corn. This is in contrast to corn flour, which is made from the endosperm, but combined with corn gluten. The latter is derived from the bran of the corn.
  • If you need a thickening agent, cornstarch should be on the top of your choices, such as for gravies and sauces. Corn flour can also be effective for thickening, but the problem is that you have to use more of it compared to corn starch.
  • The more popular use of corn flour is for baking. It is usually combined with other types of flour used for bread-making.
  • When you mix corn flour with water, the outcome is cloudy or opaque. This is as against cornstarch, which results into a clear and shiny sauce.
  • Also, you can add corn flour directly to hot water. Cornstarch, on the other hand, needs to be with cold water first to avoid the appearance of clumps.
  • When it comes to health concerns, on the other hand, cornstarch is the choice for people who are staying away from gluten. This is because corn flour is mixed with gluten.

Did you learn anything from this article? Is there anything else that you would like to add?

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