Check the kitchen of most households (even my own kitchen) today, and I bet you will find corn flour. It’s often used for baking and cooking. I personally use cornflour to thicken certain types of soup while cooking.
But what happens when you suddenly run out of cornflour when you need it most? Well, you don’t have to worry as there are many fantastic corn flour substitutes out there in the market that will efficiently serve the same purpose.
Talk about cornstarch, rice flour, almond flour, wheat flour, potato flour, and arrowroot powder – these are some of the best substitutes for corn flour.
Now, let’s look at how these substitutes can serve as good alternatives to your regular corn flour when baking or cooking.
But first, you need to understand what corn is all about!
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What is Corn Flour
Made from dried whole corn kernels, corn flour is a finely-milled flour. It uses the whole corn kernel, including the endosperm, hull, and germ; hence, it is considered a whole grain flour.
Corn flour is gluten-free and is loaded with numerous nutrients, including protein, fiber, starch, vitamins, and minerals. Besides baking, cornflour is also an excellent thickener for stews and soups, even without adding lots of flavor.
But it’s also worth mentioning that corn flour isn’t only used for culinary purposes. It can also be found in different types of products like baby powder or medical and cleaning products. Depending on the type of corn used, cornflour may appear white, yellow, or blue.
Cornflour is very essential in many homes, but sometimes we may run out of cornflour and forget to restock when we’re out, which is why it’s vital to know some of the proper cornflour substitutions, so we don’t end up being stranded.
Best Corn Flour Substitutes
1. Wheat Flour
Wheat Flour is made from grounded wheat and contains lots of protein and fiber, making it very rich in nutrients. However, it also contains gluten and might not be the best alternative to corn flour if you have celiac disease.
It’s worth noting that wheat flour is a whole grain; hence, you’ll need to double the ratio to substitute it for cornflour. In other words, 2 tablespoons of wheat flour equal 1 tablespoon of cornflour when used to thicken stews and soups.
Make a paste using cold water so that lumps won’t be formed on your soups. For example, if you like making corn flour tortillas, you can substitute wheat flour when you run out of corn flour.
For this, we highly recommend King Arthur White Whole Wheat Multi-Purpose Flour. It’s a very reliable brand for high-quality flours or even seeds.
But aren’t cornflour and cornstarch the same thing? If not, what’s the difference between cornflour vs cornstarch?
Well, cornflour differs from cornstarch in a few ways. Cornflour is yellowish, denser, and has a slightly grainy texture, while Cornstarch is starchy, made from a corn kernel, resulting in a white powdery texture.
Pay attention to the label when trying to buy them in the grocery stores. If you see corn flour clearly written on the label, then it’s corn flour and not cornstarch.
And when trying to use any of them in place of the other, you must understand that both cannot be used for the same purpose in some cuisine. For example, cornflour is gluten-free, which makes some bread crumble, while cornstarch is commonly used as a thickener for dishes.
If you wish to stick with diets free of gluten, then cornstarch is the best alternative to cornflour as a breading for fried dishes. Use the same ratio of 1:1, but you need to use cold water to properly dilute cornstarch when mixing it.
Our recommended brand is Argo’s Cornstarch, as it’s a reliable brand, and I’ve used it many times.
3. Rice Flour
Another excellent substitute for corn flour is rice flour, which is gotten from well-grounded rice until a white starchy powder comes out.
Rice flour is a major ingredient for many soups, noodles, desserts and is widely used in Asian dishes.
Rice flour is also gluten-free, just like corn flour and a great alternative for anyone that want to avoid high-gluten foods.
While rice flour works very well as a thickening agent, it doesn’t offer the same level of crunch as a cornflour coating when used as breading.
You can use 2 tbsps of rice flour mixed with either cold or hot water to replace 1 tbsp of cornflour in a diet. Rice flour is an excellent choice for thickening clear soups. Note that it will turn colorless once mixed with water.
From experience, one of the best brands of rice flour is “Anthony’s Brown Rice Flour.” It’s gluten-free and has a mild, slightly nutty taste.
4. Potato Flour
Potato Flour is formulated from fresh crushed potatoes, which is usually dried to produce the white starch. It may interest you to know that potato is not a whole grain and is 100% gluten-free, unlike wheat flour.
This is a perfect corn flour alternative for people with celiac disease. However, calorie-conscious individuals need to use this potato flour in moderation as it has high carbs and fats content.
It’s also worth mentioning that potato tubers absorb lots of water, so whenever you want to use them as a thickener for stews and soups, water should be added last in the cooking process. This is because the soup might get too thick if you add it earlier.
Aside from that, you also don’t want to heat it for too long, as that may lead to it breaking down and losing its thickening capabilities.
When thickening your soups, you can use 1 tablespoon of potato flour to replace 1 tablespoon of corn flour. You can also use potato flour for breading veggies and meats as it adds flavor to the food.
We recommend Bob’s Red Mill for all your flour needs.
5. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is derived from the tropical arrowroot plant and is an ideal substitute for cornflour when cooking.
You can use arrowroot starch to thicken liquids just as you would with cornflour, especially jellies and clear broths, and it can also be used in baking.
It is high in carbs, low in protein, and very easily digested. While arrowroot powder may not be the best corn flour alternative for breadmaking, it does add a great flavor to the dish.
Note that arrowroot powder thickens gravies much faster than cornflour, so you will want to use 2 tbsps of the starch in place of 1 tbsp of cornflour.
When trying to thicken sauces and gravies with arrowroot, mix it in cool water first before adding it to the hot mixture. This helps ensure lumps do not form and allow the starch to mix easily and adequately with the food.
Mind you that if you allow it to overheat for too long, its thickening capabilities will be lost, and it will make the mixture thin again, just like potato flour. So, you want to remove it from heat once your desired consistency is achieved.
For a thickening agent, we recommend Anthony’s Organic Arrowroot Flour, which you can use in baking, sauces, and gravies. The product is gluten-free, batch tested, non-GMO, and vegan.
6. All-Purpose Flour
Used for baking needs such as bread and pastries, all-purpose flour is very common in every kitchen – and it’s hard to not have this in your kitchen.
All-purpose flour is made from wheat grains after removing the brown coating. It’s highly refined and is white in color.
You can use this cornflour substitute as a thickening agent for soups and deep-frying. You will get varying textures and tastes when using it as a coat for fried cuisines. The food will taste thicker and chewier compared to the light and crisp effect that cornflour will give you.
In terms of the quantity to use when thickening soups, use 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour in place of 1 tablespoon of corn flour.
White Lily All-Purpose Flour is a perfect choice here. Apart from being incredibly affordable, this all-purpose flour is also a very reliable brand for cooking and baking.
7. Almond Flour
Almond is a very nutritious food loaded with different vitamins and minerals, including zinc, calcium, magnesium, fiber, copper, etc.
Its flours have a very distinguishing nutty flavor, adding extra delicacy in different cuisines. But its oil must be fully extracted to use as a corn flour substitute. In terms of the measurement, 1 tbsp of almond flour is equivalent to 1 tbsp of corn flour.
Almond flour is generally not your regular milled flour but is derived from blanched almonds that the skins have been removed and grounded slightly finer.
You can find almond grocery stores, and we recommend Blue Diamond Almond Flour, which is blanched and gluten-free.
8. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca offers the perfect solution as a cornflour substitute when you don’t have any other option, especially if you want to prepare a meal that requires chilling since tapioca doesn’t congeal in the refrigerator.
Tapioca is produced from cassava, a root vegetable, and is commonly found in the South American and West African regions.
Commonly used for baking, you can buy tapioca as flakes, pearls, or flour. Tapioca is also almost gluten-free – but you don’t want to overcook it, as it will result in stringiness.
It’s worth stating that 2 tbsps of granulated tapioca or 4 teaspoons of quick-cooking tapioca will be needed to substitute 1 tbsps of corn flour.
Remember to buy Tapioca from only trusted sources so that safety is always guaranteed. We highly recommend Anthony’s Organic Tapioca Flour Starch, which is non-GMO and gluten-free.
Best Corn Flour Alternatives | Our Picks
I’ll personally choose Potato Flour and Cornstarch as my favorite substitutes for corn flour.
I prefer cornstarch or potato flour when frying meats and veggies. This is because they’re both lights, making them perfect for frying and breading.
- For soups and stews: Cornstarch and potato starch works well. Although, cornstarch is pretty much easier to fix since it can be added whenever you want – and you can dilute it with cold water. On the contrary, potato flour is best used as a thickening agent due to its capability to absorb water.
- For baking: Go for wheat flour or all-purpose when baking as potato flour and cornstarch won’t do an excellent job in baking.
Cornflour is an incredible ingredient that shouldn’t be found missing in your kitchen. But if, for any reason, you ran out of it and need something to do its job, I hope that you find this list of the best corn flour substitutes suitable for your needs.
So, there will be no need to stress yourself rushing to the grocery store and leaving your recipe behind! Try any of these cornflour alternatives today and see what difference it will make in your dishes.