Corn flour and cornmeal are two distinctive corn products. Although they are made from corn, cornmeal, and corn flour have different culinary uses.
So, what’s the difference between corn flour vs. cornmeal? The main difference between corn flour and cornmeal is the texture. Cornmeal is made from ground-dried corn and has a rough, gritty texture. Corn flour is made from ground-dried corn, but it has a much finer texture than cornmeal. These two ingredients can be used interchangeably in some recipes.
Cornmeal and corn flour are commonly used ingredients in gluten-free baking. Whether you’re making corn muffins or your favorite gluten-free pancakes you might be wondering if you can use corn flour and cornmeal interchangeably.
This article discusses the differences between cornmeal and corn flour. Keep reading to learn more about these two corn products so you know which to use in recipes.
What Is Corn Flour?
Corn flour, also known as maize flour, is a type of whole-grain flour made from dried corn. It’s obtained by grinding the entire dried corn kernel, including the endosperm, germ, and hull.
Corn flour is a staple food in many places and is ground to a fine, medium, or coarse consistency. Regardless of its consistency, corn flour has a much finer texture than cornmeal.
There are two types of corn flour. Yellow corn flour is more common and is made from ground yellow corn kernels. White corn flour is made from white corn and can be substituted for yellow corn flour in recipes.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding corn flour. Some people refer to corn flour as finely ground cornmeal. Furthermore, in the UK the term cornflour is synonymous with corn starch.
However, in the USA the term corn starch is used for a completely different corn product, which is essentially pure starch extracted from corn kernels. Corn starch is a thickener and has a fine powdery consistency.
What Is Cornmeal?
Cornmeal is made by grinding dried corn kernels and is essentially coarsely ground corn flour. Commercial cornmeal is usually made from dent corn and milled with steel rollers.
Cornmeal is ground to a fine, medium, or coarse consistency, but isn’t as fine as all-purpose wheat flour. There are several different types of cornmeal, including:
- Blue cornmeal: Is made from ground blue corn and is light blue in color and has a sweet flavor.
- White cornmeal: Is made from dried white corn and has a delicate sweet flavor.
- Yellow cornmeal: Also referred to as steel-ground yellow cornmeal, yellow cornmeal has the husk and the germ of the corn kernel almost completely removed. It’s yellow in color and has a stronger, sweeter, cornier flavor than white cornmeal.
- Stone-ground cornmeal: This is a type of yellow cornmeal that retains some of the hull and germ. It has a coarser texture and a rich, corny flavor.
These types of cornmeal differ slightly in taste and texture, and some recipes will specify which type of cornmeal to use. For example, grits are usually made with white cornmeal, while polenta is made from yellow cornmeal.
Difference between Corn Flour vs Cornmeal
Many people wonder if there is any difference between corn flour and cornmeal and whether they can be used interchangeably in recipes.
Corn flour and cornmeal are made by grinding dried corn. The main difference between corn flour and cornmeal is in its texture.
Cornmeal is more coarsely ground and has a rough, gritty texture. Corn flour is finely ground and has a fine, soft texture.
Because corn flour and cornmeal are made from the same ingredient, they can sometimes be used interchangeably in recipes. However, it’s important to remember that these two ingredients have different textures and that using one instead of the other will change the consistency of your recipe.
Can You Substitute Corn Flour and Cornmeal?
It’s possible to substitute corn flour with corn meal in recipes. Using cornmeal and corn flour interchangeably won’t affect the flavor of the dish significantly, but it will result in a completely different texture.
For example, using cornmeal when making pancakes or muffins will result in a grittier and crumblier texture than when using corn flour. On the other hand, using corn flour instead of cornmeal will give some baked goods, like cornbread a softer, less crumbly texture.
Is Corn Flour Better than Cornmeal?
Corn flour and cornmeal are basically the same things. Which of these two ingredients is better will depend on how you intend to use them.
Corn flour is a commonly used ingredient worldwide, and is a popular choice when making gluten-free baked goods. In addition to being used to make gluten-free bread and waffles, corn flour is great for coating fried food such as fish or shrimp. It gives fried foods a crispy and crunchy texture and a sweet corn flavor.
Cornmeal is also a staple food, and a must-have ingredient if you intend to make grits or polenta. This gluten-free ingredient is also used to make tortillas, muffins, cornbread, and flatbread.
Cornmeal is a better choice than corn flour for making chess pie filling. This popular Southern dessert features a pie shell filled with a custard made of cornmeal, wheat flour, butter, and sugar.
Corn flour and cornmeal are essential ingredients in gluten-free baking. Both of these ingredients are made from ground corn.
The main difference between corn flour and cornmeal is its texture. Corn flour is more finely ground and has a soft, floury texture. Cornmeal is more coarsely ground and has a gritty and rough texture.
It may seem insignificant, but this tiny distinction can make a big difference in recipes. Although it is possible to use cornmeal and corn flour interchangeably in some recipes, doing so will change the texture of your dish.