Corn flour is a versatile gluten-free flour substitute. It is made from finely ground corn, and it comes in yellow or white varieties. Corn flour can be used as an alternative for wheat or all-purpose flours in recipes where the texture of the end product isn’t important. If you are looking to make healthier dishes but don’t have any cornflour on hand, here are nine substitutes that will work just as well!
Corn flour can be used in everyday products from cosmetics and sauces to salt and even soap.
Corn flour can be used in homemade desserts. It is a good substitute for all-purpose flours if you are baking cakes, muffins, or cookies that require less dense textures and more crunchy surfaces. Cornflour also works well as one of the ingredients in pizza dough!
What if you can’t find corn flour though? The best substitutes for corn flour are all-purpose flour, wheat flour, cornstarch, rice flour, plant starch or arrowroot, coconut flour, tapioca flour, buckwheat flour, and potato flour.
1) All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is a great substitute for corn flour, especially in baking recipes. All-purpose flour is highly refined, which gives it the snow-white coloring that we know so well. It is an ideal substitute for corn flour when deep frying, although the texture may be noticeably chewier than the lighter and crisper cornflour coating.
All-purpose flour can also substitute cornflour when making soups, however, you will need to double the quantity of all-purpose flour for the same effect.
A great brand that I have purposefully used is White Lily’s All-Purpose flour.
It is made from 100% soft, winter wheat so your baked goods always turn out light and fluffy, hence the moniker “the light baking flour.”
2) Wheat Flour
Wheat flour is a nutrient-rich superfood, containing large amounts of protein and fiber. It is made from grinding wheat down into a fine powder and shares similar properties to corn flour. As it contains gluten this will not be a recommended substitute if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
If you want to substitute wheat flour in a recipe you will need 2 spoons of wheat flour for every 1 spoon of cornflour called for. This will result in a slightly different flavor, but depending on the dish this may not be an issue at all.
I would recommend using King Arthur White Whole Wheat Multi-Purpose Flour as it is an unbleached white whole wheat flour. Milled from hard white winter wheat using this in your baked goods will yield milder-tasting baked goods.
Yes, there is a difference between corn flour and cornstarch. Corn flour is finely ground yellow corn with the germ and hull removed. On the other hand, cornstarch comes from white corn that has had just the outermost layer of skin removed to expose its starchy interior.
Cornstarch can be used in place of cornflour in certain recipes. It is a great replacement for coating fried foods and also as a thickening agent for soups, stews, and sauces.
When substituting cornstarch into a recipe that calls for cornflour the ratio is one to one. Just remember to make a paste with cold water first before adding it in as a thickener in your soup, stew, or sauce.
Argo Cornstarch is a top recommendation of mine as it has one ingredient – cornstarch. Gluten-free with no additives, you get exactly what you need.
4) Rice Flour
Rice flour is one of the best corn flour substitutes. With similar textures and tastes and also being gluten-free, rice flour and cornflour are virtually interchangeable. Rice Flour is usually made from white or brown rice and can be used as the sole flour in a recipe. Rice flour is widely available and is a very affordable option when corn flour isn’t available.
You can make the substitution by using three tablespoons of rice flour for one tablespoon of cornstarch when using as a thickening agent in noodles, soups, or even desserts. Rice flour is gluten-free, so it will not affect your recipes if you are cooking without wheat products or avoiding foods with gluten in them.
When recommending gluten-free flours, an obvious go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill, as they take their products and the diverse offerings of gluten-free flours very seriously, overseeing everything from harvest to production. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free White Rice Flour is perfect for use in many recipes, and you know you are always getting a high-quality product.
Arrowroot is a good thickening agent and is commonly available so it makes a good substitute for corn flour. The downside to arrowroot is that it is rather more expensive than cornflour. Arrowroot comes from the South American plant known as Maranta arundinacea.
It’s a good thickening agent, but it also has other uses – like soothing irritated skin, killing bacteria on wounds, or helping to balance out pH levels in your body. So it might be worth the higher price tag for its myriad of uses.
The premium quality of Bob’ Red Mill Arrowroot Starch Flour shines through here once again and makes it a product I wholeheartedly recommend you use for your home cooking endeavors.
When substituting arrowroot for corn flour remember that for every tablespoon of cornflour, you only need 2 teaspoons of arrowroot.
6) Coconut Flour
This is another flour you can swap out corn flour for. It has a mild flavor and is high in fiber, so it will help keep your diet balanced if you use it as an alternative to other, less healthy ingredients such as white or wheat flour.
Coconut flour is good for baking recipes such as cornbread, where the texture is significant.
When it comes to truly healthy cooking and baking, Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour is a great brand to use and comes in environmentally friendly packaging.
7) Tapioca Flour
Some people don’t like to use white or wheat flour as a substitute for corn flour because it can change the recipe’s texture. Tapioca flour is an alternative that doesn’t have this effect and also adds protein, so you’re getting more nutritional value out of your substitutes.
Tapioca flour is made from cassava root. and has a much lower glycemic index than other flours.
Keeping in line with the health benefits, let’s lean into it with a recommendation of Iya’s Premium Tapioca Flour which is paleo-friendly, non-gmo, gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, and again, uses only one ingredient – cassava root.
8) Buckwheat flour
Buckwheat flour is a good substitute for corn flour in bread. It has more protein and calcium than other flours, so it will benefit you if you try to avoid white or wheat products that lack these important nutrients. The flavor of buckwheat flour can be strong and overpowering, but the right combination of ingredients should give you the same result as if you had been using cornflour.
Another great company that promises simple quality with no short-cuts is Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Flour. Once again, the best quality flours tend to have one ingredient, which this does, 100% organic buckwheat flour.
9) Potato Flour
In the same way that potato starch can be used as a substitute for cornstarch, you can use it in place of cornflour. It has a slightly different texture but is similarly flavorless, so it will not negatively impact most recipes.
Potato flour tends to absorb a lot of water, so when using it as a thickening agent, it is best to use it towards the cooking time. If you cook potato flour for too long, it will start to break down and lose its thickening ability, thus defeating the purpose of using it in the first place.
However, using this handy substitute in the right way will give you great results and minimal impact on the flavor of your dish.
One aspect of potato flour that is easy to navigate is the measurements, as it is 1:1 with cornflour. Corn flour is great when used as breading for meats and veggies and a thickening agent, which makes it a versatile addition to your pantry.
Finishing off the recommendations with my firm favorite, Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flour, this product is processed in a dedicated and accredited gluten-free facility and is of the very best quality, which is what your cooking deserves.
Of all the substitutes listed above, the easiest to work with, which give you the best results for soups, stews, and sauces, are cornstarch and potato flour. Use potato flour towards the end of the recipe when using it in a stew, as cooking it for too long will result in you losing the thickness you are trying to add.
If you are baking then either all-purpose flour or coconut flours are your safest bets for great results.
Regardless of what you decide to cook or bake, at least you can go forth with the knowledge that there are plenty of options available to you should corn flour be out of your reach when you need it.
There are plenty of substitutes for this ingredient that will work just as well, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to make your dish or even your dessert.