Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Corn Flour Substitute (11 Great Alternatives To Choose From)

Corn Flour Substitute (11 Great Alternatives To Choose From)

Corn flour is a versatile ingredient in many dishes, from tortillas to baked goods. In this article, we will explore various corn flour substitutes that you can use in your cooking and baking adventures.

Whether you have dietary restrictions, prefer alternative ingredients, or simply want to try something different, we’ve got you covered. From pantry staples to gluten-free options, we’ll guide you through a selection of substitutes that can mimic the texture and flavor of corn flour in your favorite dishes.

Tabletop with bowl filled with yellow corn flour.

What Is Corn Flour?

Corn flour, or maize flour, is a type of flour that comes from finely ground dried corn kernels.

It uses the entire corn kernel, including the hull, germ, and endosperm, making corn flour a whole grain flour.

It comes in yellow, white, and blue varieties, depending on what type of corn people make it from.

Corn flour has a fine and smooth texture, similar to whole wheat flour.

In the kitchen, people often use corn flour to provide structure and shape to baked goods and other foods.

It has an earthy, sweet flavor that is not evident when you eat it raw. However, the lovely taste becomes more apparent once you use it in cooked recipes.

Corn flour is naturally gluten-free. That said, it makes an ideal option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It won’t produce the same rise as wheat flour in baked goods but will provide a good texture and delicious corn flavor.

Did you know?

Dried yellow dent corn is the most common type of corn manufacturers use to make corn flour. Using metal rollers, they grind the yellow dent corn kernels into a fine powder.

There is another variety, the stone-ground, whole-grain corn flour. It is a rarer kind that contains more nutrients and fiber but has a shorter shelf life.

While it may not be as popular as wheat flour, its unique properties and gluten-free nature make it worth trying in your cooking.

You can use corn flour in recipes such as pancakes, breads, waffles, muffins, and battered and fried foods. It is also a common thickening agent in soups and stews.

Best Corn Flour Substitute

Whether you have a corn allergy or intolerance or want to try something new, these alternatives will enable you to cook recipes that originally called for corn flour.

We will look at what makes each option a great substitute and provide tips on using them in your favorite recipes.

1. Cornstarch

Corn starch can be a good substitute for corn flour in certain situations.

While corn flour is made from finely ground whole corn kernels, corn starch is derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel and is more refined.

Use corn starch as a potent thickening agent. You’ll need to use less of it compared to corn flour. Typically, for every tablespoon of corn flour required in a recipe, you can use half a tablespoon of corn starch.

You can also use it when breading or making fried batter rather than in baked recipes.

Cornstarch is also gluten-free, so people with gluten sensitivity will find this suitable.


When substituting corn flour with cornstarch, use a 1:1 ratio.

Mix it with cold water first, as hot water will turn it into a clumpy mess. Note that it lacks a distinct corn flavor, so adding some seasonings can help to enhance the taste.

2. Rice Flour

White rice flour is another excellent corn flour substitute. This ingredient is known for its sweet taste, so it is great if your recipes need some additional sweetness.

This finely-ground rice does a good job of replacing corn flour as a thickener in soups and a flavor enhancer in most recipes.

Rice flour is easier to work with because you do not need hot water to dilute it. Cold water will do the job just fine.

It is also gluten-free, making it a safer ingredient for those with gluten intolerance.

Remember that rice flour makes a colorless replacement, so it will not give your dishes a yellow tinge. In recipes that specifically call for yellow corn flour, using rice flour will result in a totally different dish.


When using rice flour as a corn flour substitute, double the amount.

Use two tablespoons of rice flour for every tablespoon of corn flour in the recipe. For a more nutritious option, look for brown rice flour.

3. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a great alternative to corn flour because they’re basically the same thing.

It’s just that cornmeal is a coarser grind of corn flour. In fact, you’ll have DIY corn flour if you put cornmeal into a food processor and grind it enough.

Cornmeal is the best alternative if only the flavor is important, as it has the same sweet and nutty flavor as corn flour. However, this might only work for some recipes if you are after the texture.

It is a great option for fried foods and dishes that need a crunchy topping. One of the biggest benefits of using cornmeal as a corn flour substitute is that it has more health benefits.


Use a 1:1 substitution ratio when replacing corn flour with cornmeal.

Use fine-ground cornmeal, if available. This type of cornmeal will give you the closest texture to corn flour.

4. Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is another swap for corn flour that can use in a pinch. It makes a great substitute because it is widely available, and you most likely already have it at home.

Wheat flour is also full of health benefits, as it is a whole grain flour too. It is a good source of fiber and protein.

Note that your dish might have some texture changes, as wheat flour is not as fine as corn flour.

Still, you can replace it to thicken stews and soups. You can even use it to make tortillas.

The biggest consideration, however, is that, unlike the previous options, wheat flour contains gluten. That said, there are better substitutes for people with celiac disease.


Wheat flour clumps up easily, especially when you mix it with hot water. For this reason, always use cold water to dissolve it before using it in recipes.

Use a 2:1 substitution ratio of wheat flour to corn flour.

5. Potato Flour

Potato flour, or potato starch, is another great gluten-free substitute for corn flour. It is a very fine powder that comes from dehydrating mashed cooked potatoes.

This kind of flour will taste like potatoes, not corn, so there will be a noticeable shift in flavor in your dishes.

The good thing is that this distinct starchy flavor goes well with many other ingredients, making it a versatile choice. You can use it as a thickening agent or a breading like corn flour.

Needless to say, potato flour has a high carbohydrate content. People who watch their carb intake might not find this a great swap.


Potato flour tends to absorb a lot of water so that it can make your dish too thick. Add potato flour at the end of our cooking process for the best results. After all, potato flour loses its binding properties if you heat it too much.

Use a 1:1 ratio when using potato flour to substitute corn flour.

6. Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is an excellent substitute for corn flour in various recipes. It offers some unique benefits, especially for those with dietary restrictions.

This powder is a versatile starch; it is best used for thickening sauces and soups. It also works well as a coating for fried foods.

One important thing to note is that arrowroot powder lacks the color and flavor of corn. In some recipes, the neutral flavor of this option makes it a great addition.

Arrowroot powder is also gluten-free and grain-free, making it a great choice for those with gluten or grain allergies.


Like cornstarch, making a slurry before adding arrowroot powder to recipes is best. This step ensures even blending and prevents clumping.

Use the same amount of arrowroot powder as the corn flour your dish calls for.

7. Tapioca Flour

Tapioca flour comes from the starchy pulp of the cassava plant. It is a popular ingredient for making boba pearls, the round black things you’ll see at the bottom of your boba tea.

However, there are other things tapioca flour is good for. This versatile flour is also a great swap for corn flour.

You can use it in any recipe that calls for corn flour. Use tapioca flour to thicken gravies, sauces, soups, and stews. You may also opt to make baked goods or coat meat and veggies with it before frying.

Lastly, tapioca flour is a good pie-filling thickener due to its translucent finish and smooth texture once cooked.


Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing corn flour with tapioca flour. If you’re going to use it as a thickener, mixing it with water is still the best way to go. Adding your slurry toward the end of the cooking process is also a must.

If tapioca flour is unavailable, you can use cassava flour instead. Unlike tapioca flour, cassava flour uses the whole root, not just the pulp. Note that cassava flour has a more powerful thickening property, so it is best to start with a small amount.

8. Sorghum Flour

Sorghum flour is an excellent choice if you are looking for a healthy and similarly gluten-free corn flour swap.

People make this flour by grinding the whole grain kernels of sorghum. Sorghum is an ancient cereal plant that is among the most important cereal crop in the world.

The flour from this plant is a great source of protein, antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

Sorghum flour has a mild, sweet flavor on its own. It enhances the texture and taste of stews, soups, and sauces when used as a thickener.


Using sorghum flour alone in baking will give you a crumbly pastry. For this reason, it is best to use it with starchy flour like tapioca or arrowroot to get the best outcome in cakes, bread, and cookies.

You can substitute corn flour with sorghum flour with another starch in a 1:1 ratio, making it an easy and accessible option.

9. All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a pantry staple you probably already have, making it a great alternative to corn flour. This flour is a highly refined ingredient you can use to coat fried dishes or thicken sauces and soups.

It is also a common ingredient for baking, so you can use it in all recipes that call for corn flour. You’ll be missing the corn flavor, though.

The great thing about all-purpose flour is that there are regular and gluten-free types. You can choose which kind to use depending on your dietary needs.


Replace each tablespoon of corn flour with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. If you’ve run out of all-purpose flour, use self-rising flour instead. Self-rising flour is just all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt.

10. Guar Gum

Guar gum is an excellent alternative to corn flour, too. However, you must know that guar gum is only an additive that works as a stabilizer and a thickener.

You cannot use it as a corn flour swap in baking and coating. You may use it to improve the texture of your gravies, soups, and sauces, though.

Guar gum has a neutral flavor, so it won’t affect the taste of your dish. Note that guar gum has laxative properties. So, you should watch the amount you use in your recipes.


For the best results, start with 1/8th the amount of corn flour your recipe calls for. Add more as necessary.

11. Ground Flaxseed

If you want a nutrition boost in your recipes, use ground flaxseed to replace corn flour. This healthy substitute boasts fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans, all with many health benefits.

You should also know that flax seed is also high in fat. While these are good fats that will be beneficial for you, they might affect the texture of your dish. You may need to adjust the amount of oil in your original recipe to compensate.

Flaxseeds have a nutty flavor with a hint of bitterness, though. It does not taste like corn, but its neutral taste makes it versatile.


Replace each tablespoon of corn flour with a mixture of ½ tablespoon ground flaxseeds and 2 tablespoons of water.

To improve the taste of flaxseeds, add more seasonings to your dish.

How To Choose The Best Corn Flour Substitute

You must look at some factors to pick the right ingredient to replace corn flour.

Here’s a quick guide to help you decide.

1. Consider Your Dietary Needs

Corn flour is a gluten-free ingredient. Wheat flour is a no-no if you have certain dietary restrictions that require similar gluten-free alternatives. Your top options are cornstarch, rice flour, and sorghum flour.

2. Pay Attention To The Flavor

Sometimes, you use corn flour because it tastes like corn. If you need to maintain that flavor, your best bet is cornmeal. However, if your recipe can take a flavor shift, you may go for potato flour or arrowroot powder.

3. Look At Your Recipe Needs

If you need something that you can use to bake and coat food for frying, then you may opt for all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, and potato flour. On the other hand, if you need something solely as a thickener, guar gum is a great option.

How to use Corn flour

Here are some common methods of using corn flour.

Thickening Agent

Corn flour is commonly used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. Mix it with a small amount of water to create a slurry before adding it to the hot liquid. Stir continuously until the desired consistency is reached.


Corn flour can be used in baking to add texture and flavor. It is often used in recipes for cornbread, muffins, pancakes, and tortillas. It can also be combined with other flour, such as wheat flour or rice flour, to create gluten-free baked goods.

Coating and Frying

Corn flour can be used as a coating for fried foods, such as chicken, fish, or vegetables. Dip the food in beaten egg or buttermilk, then coat it in seasoned corn flour before frying or baking.

Gluten-Free Alternative

Corn flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable alternative for individuals with gluten sensitivities or those following a gluten-free diet. It can be used in place of wheat flour in many recipes, but adjustments may be necessary due to differences in texture and binding properties.

Thickening Agent for Desserts

Corn flour can be used to thicken sweet desserts like custards, puddings, and fruit fillings. It helps to create a smooth and creamy texture in these types of recipes.

What Is The Purpose Of Corn Flour?

Corn flour can be a main ingredient for baking bread and tortillas. Most recipes use corn flour as a thickening agent for soups and sauces. People also use corn flour to make a batter or breading in fried foods.

What Is A Healthy Substitute For Corn Flour?

Ground flaxseeds, masa harina, and guar gum are the healthiest corn flour substitutes. Ground flaxseed has phytochemicals, fiber, and good fatty acids. Masa harina is a superfood, while guar gum offers digestive benefits, making it a healthy alternative as well.

Can I Use Baking Powder Instead Of Corn Flour?

No. Baking powder is not a good substitute for corn flour because these ingredients have different functions. Baking powder is a leavening agent, while corn flour is a thickener. You use baking powder to make baked goods rise, while corn flour improves the texture and flavor of most dishes.

Corn meal Vs. corn flour?

Cornmeal and corn flour are both derived from corn but have distinct differences in terms of texture, processing, and culinary applications. Cornmeal is commonly used in recipes such as cornbread, corn muffins, polenta, and as a coating for fried foods like fish or chicken. Its coarser texture provides a distinct crunch and texture to these dishes. Corn flour, on the other hand, is often used as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, and custards. It can also be used in baking, particularly in gluten-free recipes, as a substitute for wheat flour.


Corn flour is a popular ingredient in cooking and baking, but some may need alternatives. Cornstarch, rice flour, ground flaxseeds, and wheat flour are great options for a corn flour substitute. Each swap has its unique texture, flavor, and nutritional value, so it is essential to consider these factors when picking a replacement.

Following the correct substitution ratio is crucial to ensure the best results. Whether you are looking for a gluten-free option or a new ingredient to experiment with, the ingredients above can allow you to enjoy your favorite recipes without compromising your dietary restrictions or preferences.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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