Corn flour is a finely ground powder made from dried yellow or white corn kernels, or maize.
The flour is gluten-free, meaning it’s ideal for those people who want to exclude foods that contain wheat and wheat by-products.
What’s more, corn flour is versatile and can be used for gluten-free baking, breading, and thickening agents.
While corn flour is handy, you might be wondering what is a substitute for corn flour that you can keep in your pantry that will perform in the same ways.
Luckily, there are some good corn flour alternatives:
- Potato flour
- Rice flour
- Wheat flour
- All-purpose flour
- Arrowroot starch/powder, or
So whether you run out of corn flour, you’re trying to avoid ingredients, or simply the grocery store is out of stock, consider using our best replacements for corn flour.
What is corn flour used for?
Corn flour is notable for its pleasant corn flavor, earthy and sweet undertones, and versatility.
Here are some creative and fun ways you can use corn flour in your recipes:
- Use corn flour and combine it with milk, salt, and pepper to create this easy gluten-free white sauce.
- Use the ingredient to make this no-knead corn flour bread.
- Combine it with sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and baking powder to whip up these fluffy corn flour pancakes.
- Use corn flour as a coating for your favorite fish!
- Whip up some decadent cupcakes and top them with buttercream frosting.
Subtitutes and how to use them
Some of these alternatives might differ from the actual corn flour, specifically when it comes to gluten-free cooking, but a few of these replacements may be used interchangeably with any of your favorite flour-based recipes as a one-to-one substitute.
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 1 T of cornstarch.
Perhaps the easiest swap among this list, cornstarch is sometimes confused with corn flour by many due to its similar powdery texture.
Because it’s made from the starch portion of the corn, the ingredient is considered gluten-free, which makes it a great substitute for corn flour, especially as a thickening agent.
You should substitute cornstarch for corn flour in a 1:1 ratio. This means if your recipe needs one tablespoon of corn flour, swap that out for one tablespoon of cornstarch.
To thicken your recipes with cornstarch, mix it with a little cold water to form a paste and to keep the mixture from sticking together.
2. Potato flour
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 1 T of potato flour.
Potato flour is made from whole peeled potatoes, cooked, dried, and ground into fine, bright-white powder.
Like cornstarch, potato flour isn’t a gran so it contains no gluten.
The ingredient can be used in baking, to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies, and as a coating for vegetables, fish, and meat-based dishes.
Keep in mind that potato flour should be added later in the cooking process as it absorbs water and thickens quicker than other grain-based flour.
If you heat them for too long, the flour loses its thickening properties.
To substitute, use one tablespoon of potato flour for every tablespoon of corn flour your recipe calls for.
3. Rice flour
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 2 T of rice flour.
Rice flour is often used as one of the primary ingredients in making desserts, rice noodles, and soups. It’s popular in Asian cuisine, too!
As the name suggests, the flour is made from finely ground rice, meaning it’s gluten-free just like other replacements mentioned above.
You can use rice flour to thicken soups and broths, but other cooks use the ingredient as breading for fried-based recipes.
To use as a corn flour alternative, replace one tablespoon of corn flour with two tablespoons of rice flour.
4. Wheat flour
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 2 T of wheat flour.
The versatility of wheat flour is topnotch—it can be used as a thickening agent, for baking, and even for frying.
But if you’re using wheat flour as a corn flour substitute, keep in mind that it’s not gluten-free so it’s not suitable for people who are following a gluten-free diet.
To use as a replacement, it’s recommended that you use two tablespoons of wheat flour for every tablespoon of corn flour called for in your recipe.
5. All-purpose flour
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 2 T of all-purpose flour.
Considered a kitchen staple in many homes, all-purpose flour is made from wheat grains that undergo milling, refining, and bleaching processes.
All-purpose flour is inexpensive, usually easy to find, and versatile—it’s often used in baking desserts and bread, to thicken sauces and soups, and to coat fried foods like fried chicken and fish fillets.
To use it as a replacement for corn flour, replace one tablespoon of corn flour with two tablespoons of all-purpose flour in your recipe.
6. Arrowroot Powder/Starch
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 2 t of arrowroot starch/powder.
The next time you’ve run short of corn flour, open your cupboard and check if you have arrowroot powder on hand.
This powder is produced from the tubers of arrowroot plants and it’s used mainly for gluten-free cooking.
Cooks all over the world are fond of the ingredient and commonly use it as a thickening agent in soups, puddings, and sauces.
As a substitute, use two teaspoons of arrowroot starch for every one tablespoon of corn flour.
Replace 1 T of corn flour with 1 T of cornmeal.
Cornmeal is another great replacement for corn flour even though the texture of the ingredient isn’t similar to the flour.
But flavorwise, cornmeal does work great with corn flour-based recipes. It’s gluten-free too!
The only downside of using the ingredient though is that you can expect a grittier texture in your recipes. A combination of cornmeal and another of our substitutes might work well also.
Cornmeal is often used in baked goods such as cakes, cornbread, and cookies. It’s also great for crispy fish, chicken, and mozzarella sticks.
To use, replace one tablespoon of corn flour for every tablespoon of cornmeal.
The bottom line
There are many reasons you might choose to skip corn flour in your recipes and use these seven substitutes instead.
But one thing is for sure, these replacements can work great with your favorite dishes.
Furthermore, the best pick substitutes for baking among this list are all-purpose flour and wheat flour.
For breading and frying, feel free to use cornstarch and potato flour.
If you’re looking for the best thickening agents for your soups and gravies, we’d recommend cornstarch and potato flour!
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Substitute cornstarch for corn flour 1:1.