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What Is Corn Flour?

Are you wondering what is corn flour as opposed to other kinds of flour? 

Corn flour is a baking and cooking ingredient, processed from dried corn kernels into a flour that’s finer than cornmeal.

You may think of wheat flour as a sole ingredient for baking, breading, and thickening liquid-based dishes, but there are several flour options in the market, each with different culinary uses and flavor profiles. 

Corn flour is one of these flour varieties—it has its own distinctive taste, plainly because it’s made from dried corn. 

But what is corn flour exactly, and how does it compare to cornmeal and cornstarch? 

Here’s everything you need to know!

Table Of Contents

What is corn flour?

Corn flour refers to a powder made from finely ground and dried kernels or maize. 

It has a smooth and fine texture with a sweet, earthy flavor with a similar taste to corn when cooked. 

As for its color, this flour variety can either come in yellow, white, and blue depending upon the corn from which it’s milled. 

According to masterclass.com, most corn flour is made from dried yellow or white dent corn. 

The tough outer hull of the whole corn kernel is removed before being ground into a fine powder using steel rollers, giving it a nice, uniform, and fine textural nuance. 

Unlike wheat flour, this ingredient is gluten-free, meaning it’s the perfect flour for those people who want to exclude foods that contain gluten from their diet. 

Also, people are fond of corn flour because of its versatility and the ingredient is mainly used for gluten-free baking, breading, and thickening agent.

🤔🤔 Looking for the best substitutes for corn flour? 🤔🤔

Cornmeal vs corn flour

Cornmeal and corn flour are both made from ground corn and added to various dishes ranging from baked goods to savory foods. 

And because they’re bursting with corn flavor, you might be wondering if they’re the same product—No! they aren’t. 

As you see, a lot of people have been using cornmeal and corn flour in their recipes, but some of them don’t know the difference between the two ingredients.

🌽 Unlock some possible alternatives for cornmeal in this guide. 🌽

The table below provides a more detailed breakdown of the distinction between cornmeal and corn flour, from its texture and taste to color and culinary uses. 

AppearanceFlavorCulinary uses
CornmealCornmeal is made from dried corn kernels that are being pulverized into a fine or medium texture. 

Generally, it has a vibrant yellow color but other cornmeal variety features white hue, especially those made from the kernels of white corn.
The flavor profile of cornmeal is sweet with a strong nuance of corn.Cornmeal is often used in baked goods such as cakes, polenta, cornbread, and cookies. It’s also great for crispy fish, chicken, and mozzarella sticks.
Corn flourUnlike cornmeal, the texture of corn flour is fine and smooth. Moreover, it can either come in yellow, white, and blue.As mentioned, corn flour has a sweet and earthy flavor with a similar taste to corn.Like any other type of flour, corn flour is used for gluten-free baking, breading, and thickening agent.

Cornstarch vs corn flour

Keep in mind that cornstarch and corn flour is different. 

Cornstarch is made from the starchy party of corn while the flour consists of finely ground corn kernels. 

From appearance and taste to its culinary uses, here are the differences between cornstarch and corn flour.

AppearanceFlavorCulinary uses
CornstarchCornstarch features a smooth, silky, and fine texture similar to corn flour and wheat flour. It’s also notable for its white color.Cornstarch doesn’t taste like corn, rather it’s more like flour.Use cornstarch to make vanilla custard, mochi, or as a thickening agent for taco bell sauce and oyster sauce
Corn flourJust like cornstarch, the texture of corn flour is fine and smooth with colors ranging from yellow, white, to blue.Corn flour has a sweet and earthy flavor with a similar taste to corn.Corn flour can be used as a breading for fried fish, as a thickening agent, for baking, or you can include it into your waffle, and pancake batter.

How is corn flour made?

Corn flour is made from dried yellow or white dent corn. 

The tough outer hull of the whole corn kernel is removed before being ground into a fine powder using steel rollers, resulting in a nice, uniform, and fine textural nuance.

Ways to use corn flour

Here are some creative ways on how to use your corn flour:

Tips on storing corn flour

Corn flour can be bought in bags or packets.

If you haven’t opened the package yet, I recommend leaving the flour as is because the original paper packaging is designed for long-term storage.

But once opened, expect that the shelf life of your corn flour decreases. 

You can also transfer the flour in an airtight container and store it in a cool and dry place, preferably in your kitchen cabinet. 

Corn flour stored this way can last for up to six months.

But in case you’re planning to keep the flour for a year or two, then your refrigerator and freezer will be your best friends!

Just be sure to seal the flour tightly in a plastic or glass container to avoid moisture that can harden the ingredient or worse, cause mold growth.

🙊 How to tell if your flour has gone bad. 🙊

The bottom line

Corn flour is more than just a great pantry staple; it’s underrated and its versatility is topnotch. It’s a multi-purpose ingredient that can be used in many recipes. 

It can be considered a derivative of cornmeal, but processed until it is made into a finer powder, in the same way that almond flour is finer than almond meal.

If you’re a fan of gluten-free baking, corn flour may become your best friend! 

Or whether you use it as a breading and thickening agent, this flour variety delivers!