Corn Flour Substitute – Best Alternatives to Corn Flour and How to Use Them

Published Categorized as Journal, Ingredients Tagged

Corn flour is one of the best flours out there that does not include gluten and is a great ingredient to use in many recipes. Corn flour can be used in many savory dishes, especially when coating meats and fish to make a batter and fry. Finding good corn flour substitutes can be tricky but can be done!

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When finding the perfect substitutes for corn flour there are many things you have to consider. You have to consider if you still want to make the recipes gluten-free. When substituting corn flour you also have to look for an ingredient that has the same thickness and power form to be able to replace corn flour.

In this article, we look at some common corn flour substitutes and how you can use those corn flour substitutes.

Table of Contents

1. Can I Substitute All-Purpose Flour For Corn Flour?

All-purpose flour is a great substitute for corn flour in many ways. It can be used in a lot of recipes and provides the same qualities as corn flour.

All-purpose flour has the same texture and thickness as corn flour and therefore can slot into corn flour recipes nicely. The biggest downfall when using all-purpose flour instead of corn flour is that APF will make your cakes and bakes rise. Corn flour will not affect your recipe in that way. Corn flour is also one of the best flour options that contain no gluten. It’s safe for people who have gluten intolerances and allergies.

If you are going to replace corn flour with all-purpose flour, the tricky part is getting the proportions right. Both flour measure to different weights. Therefore you will need more all-purpose flour than you would need corn flour. For every cup of corn flour that is needed in your recipe, you should add 2 cups of all-purpose flour to match the amount. This is because corn flour needs less flour to create the thickness it can create in recipes. But all-purpose flour will need more to match this thickness.

white powder on black bowl

2. Can I Use Plain Flour Instead Of Cornflour For Frying?

The main difference between plain flour and corn flour is what ingredients they are made from. Plain flour is made from grains of wheat. Corn flour comes from corn and does not contain any gluten.

Plain flour is a great substitute for corn flour for any type of frying recipe. Plain flour can add a great taste to the food if it is coated while frying.

If you decide to use plain flour, this may be your best bet when looking for a good substitute. Regular flour has a very similar consistency and texture when compared to corn flour. Plain flour can also be used as a thickening agent. It will make whatever type of food it is coating have quite a crunchy outer layer once it has been fried.

3. Is Corn Flour A Substitute For Cornstarch?

Many people believe that corn flour and cornstarch are the same ingredients, which is false. Although, you are not far off if you think this.

Corn flour and cornstarch are very similar and come from the same plant, which is corn. Just because corn flour and cornstarch are very similar does not mean that corn flour is a good substitute for a recipe that requires cornstarch.

In fact, cornstarch can actually work as a better substitute for corn flour recipes than corn flour can work as a substitute for cornstarch. This is because cornstarch has the same consistency and can work better in baked goods.

4. Can I Use Baking Powder Instead Of Cornflour?

If you replace corn flour with baking powder when baking you may not have the best results. Therefore it is best not to replace corn flour with baking powder in cakes or biscuits.

Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent which is a mixture of acid and bicarbonate. It does not provide a powerful taste to food but allows the food to rise quickly.

The way baking powder makes your food rise is by a chemical reaction. This happens when the baking powder is mixed with a liquid. Even though baking powder does not provide a powerful flavor to your food, it will still change the overall taste if you use it to replace corn flour.

5. Can You Use Plain Flour Instead Of Cornflour To Coat Chicken?

The quick answer to this question is yes. It’s possible to use plain flour instead of corn flour to coat chicken for frying.

If you would like to replace your corn flour and find a flour substitute to coat your chicken in, it is best to choose all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour can add more flavor to the food you are frying. It also adds a nice golden brown color to your coated chicken.

Plain flour still works very well for replacing corn flour when you want to turn the ingredients in your dish into fried foods. Regular flour can provide the same thickness as corn flour. This thickness will leave a bulky and crispy outer layer.

If you do want to substitute corn flour for plain flour when frying food it is best to match the amounts equally. Therefore, if the original corn flour recipe states that you will need 1 cup of corn flour, replace this 1 cup of corn flour with 1 cup of plain flour. If you follow this method the results should be pretty good.

Some Other Alternatives Worth Trying

Though these are the main substitutes that work best when trying to replicate the signature style of corn flour, there are certainly plenty more to choose from including:

  • Tapioca Flour
  • Masa Harina
  • Rice, Kuzu, Tapioca, or Potato Starch
  • Rice Flour
  • Potato Flour
  • Guar Gum
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Arrowroot Powder

How to Choose the Best Alternative for You

Of course, all of this is great in the abstract but how do you choose the best corn flour alternative for you?

  1. Considering your dietary needs are a must – cornflour’s popularity is at least in part due to its gluten-free qualities, so if this is something you are looking for in an alternative try cornstarch, rice flour, or sorghum flour.
  2. Paying attention to the flavor is equally important – many people are inclined toward corn flour because it bears the taste of corn. If this is something that you don’t want to do without, then try using cornmeal. If, though, your recipe could do with a different flavor, then try using potato flour or arrowroot powder.
  3. Honoring the recipe – do you need something to bake and coat food for frying? Try all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, and/or potato flour. Need a thickener? Try guar gum.
fried chicken with flour coating

What are the Best Corn Flour Alternatives by Method?

All this info is all well and good, but why can’t we skip to the real questions? Which substitute is best for frying? Which is best for baking?

Cooking ProcessBakingFryingDeep FryingSoupsSauces
Best Corn Flour SubAll-Purpose Flour and/or Potato StarchAll-Purpose FlourPotato StarchCornstarchCornstarch

Corn Flour Substitute FAQs

Is Corn Flour Similar To Plain Flour?

Corn flour is very different from plain flour. It does not have any gluten in it, making it a suitable option as a substitute for plain flour for people who suffer from gluten intolerances or allergies. Corn flour will also not rise like plain flour. Your bakes will not rise and aesthetically look the same compared to if you have used plain flour.

What Is The Difference Between Corn Flour And Cornstarch?

Corn flour and cornstarch are very similar ingredients. They both come from the same source, which is corn. Both powders have been finely grounded. Both corn flour and cornstarch are used to thicken sauces.
The main difference is that corn flour is made from the whole kernel of corn. On the other hand, cornstarch is made from only the ground endosperm.
If you need to replace corn flour with cornstarch in a recipe, you may not know the difference when looking at the end result.

Which Is Better Corn Flour Or Wheat Flour?

Knowing which flour is out of corn flour and wheat flour is a tricky one. Comparing the two really depends on what you are aiming to use them for.
For baking, we would recommend using wheat flour. It will work better with your recipes. However, corn flour is the better option when cooking. It contains higher amounts of fats when compared to wheat flour. If you are considering the health benefits of each flour, wheat flour is better than corn flour. Wheat flour has a larger protein content. It also has a higher fiber and vitamin content compared to corn flour.
Wheat flour is the superior flour to use between the two flours for health reasons.

Is Corn Flour Good For Frying?

If you’d like to use corn flour to coat your meat or veggies to fry them, your results should be pretty good! However, using just corn flour can leave your fried chicken or veggies a little dry.
It may be best to mix half of your corn flour with half of your all-purpose flour to make your batter. This mixture is perfect for deep frying as it will leave the exterior crunchy. Using corn flour when frying will help add a golden brown color to the food. 

Finding The Perfect Substitute For Corn Flour Can Be Tricky!

It is not as easy as it looks to try and replace corn flour with any other type of flour in a recipe. There are a lot of different things to consider when you are substituting corn flour.

If you would like to make your recipe gluten-free then cornstarch may be the best substitute for corn flour. If you do not mind including gluten in your recipe and want to make sure that the thickness of your flour matches corn flour as closely as possible, then all-purpose flour will be the best bet. Plain flour can also be a great substitute for corn flour if you want to fry your dish; plain flour can provide a nice golden but thicker layer to the food.

What do you use to substitute corn flour? What do you consider to be the best corn flour substitute?

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By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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