Have you ever wondered what people use when it comes to thickening soups and stews or when breading their meats? People always wonder how my soups end up so thick and perfect without adding too much flavor. My secret? Corn flour!
But there are times people run out of this essential ingredient, making it difficult to thicken their soups or bread their meat and vegetables properly. But luckily, you can find an excellent substitute for corn flour that will have you be able to enjoy thick soups and crunchy breading.
Wondering what you can substitute for corn flour? Read on as I show you the ingredients you can use and what else you'll need to know about these substitutes for corn flour!
What is Corn Flour?
You're probably wondering: Isn't corn flour similar to cornmeal?
Well, that will depend. While corn flour is another name for cornmeal in various areas, there is still the main difference, and that's through its consistency. Corn flour is another term for corn starch, which is a type of starch from corn maize grain or wheat.
Corn starch is made out of grinding whole corn kernels until it becomes a very fine powder, used with other flours to make bread or to fry. It has less gluten as compared to wheat flour, making it have a heavier result when making bread.
It's made out of an endosperm of corn kernels, with its primary use to thicken sauces, soups, or stews. It also helps create syrups and sugars because of its thickening agents. Many people prefer using cornstarch as it has a translucent mixture.
But corn flour isn't only used for culinary use! You can find it in other types of products, such as baby powder or cleaning and medical products. It's a staple in many homes, but I know that there are times we forget to restock when we're out, which is why it's important to know proper substitutions just in case that happens.
The Best Substitute for Corn Flour
If you're out of corn flour while cooking, then here are the best alternatives you can use:
Here are some quick changes you can make since all these ingredients can be found in your home (if you just happen to run out of corn flour):
One tablespoon of cornstarch is equal to:
- 2/3 tablespoons of arrowroot. This type of starch is an ideal substitution, though expect it to have a slightly slimy consistency, which may alter the texture. BUT, it will be beautifully shiny and perfect for sauces, though it has a longer cooking time.
- Two tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Because flour isn't mainly used as a thickening agent but a binder, more is required to achieve your desired consistency. But take note that this may alter the flavor, especially if you use flour made from certain ingredients, such as almond potato flour. Using grain flours like wheat and oat can also change its consistency as well. It also won't have a shiny texture as compared to using arrowroot and will require longer cooking time.
- Two tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca flour. This is a good substitute when in a pinch and you want to quicken the thickening process. Tapioca will be able to thicken your dishes nicely without compromising on the taste.
I mentioned that you could use flour as an excellent thickener, though this will depend on what type of dish you're cooking. If you will be using it for thickening your sauce, add more for a thick consistency, but avoid adding too much as it will end up having a gummy and floury taste.
Flour is more ideal for deep-frying, but again, you need to add twice as much to achieve the crispiness when frying. Instead of using regular all-purpose flour, rice flour is better for its taste and its less heavy results. When using rice flour, just like other types of flours, use about two tablespoons. You can increase it to three tablespoons if needed.
You can't go wrong with replacing a starch ingredient with another one made out of starch. I recommend you to use either rice or potato starch, which have the same properties and will give you the same texture and consistency you're looking for, may it be for cooking, boiling, or baking.
But when using potato starch, it may have a slightly different flavor. Potato starch also clumps quickly, so be sure to whisk it well until everything is well-incorporated. But with that being said, it won't destroy the dish! Only use the equal amount of starch needed in the recipe, and you're ready to continue.
If you don't have anything at home but potatoes, then it's still possible to continue with your recipe and create potato starch. corn flour can't be made at home because of its process and ingredients needed, so this is the next best alternative. Simply grate the potatoes into a bowl and add warm water.
Strain the starchy liquid and let it chill in the fridge for four hours. Remove the top layer of water and use the starchy liquid at the bottom, using it either in liquid or dried, powder form.
Tips When Using Substitutes for Corn Flour
To have even better dishes when using any of these substitutes, here are some tips you should follow when using and storing them:
- Always make sure that you measure the right amount of your corn flour substitute. While it will entail a bit of trial and error, it's best to start off with less or equal measurements of what was asked for in the recipe to avoid messing it up. Only add a little more as you go until it reaches your desired consistency.
- When storing corn flour substitutes, follow the way you would typically store corn flour. Put it in an airtight container or leave it in its original packaging, placing it in a cool and dark area. You may want to consider putting it in the fridge, depending on the type of ingredient it is. Usually, corn flour substitutions would last for about three months or more.
- Wondering about what you can do with corn flour and its substitutions? The perfect use for them would be for any soups, specifically mushroom and creamy soups. I also use it for thick sauces like gravy or breading for my fried chicken. Baked goods also require corn flour! Only add a bit of corn flour substitute to the recipe, and you'll have full or crispier results.
- To use any of these corn flour substitutes for thickening, make sure to mix it in with warm liquid and let it cook for a few minutes. Avoid bringing it to a boil and constantly stir it to prevent the liquid from sticking to the pan or having the corn flour substitutes clump together. Turn off the heat once the liquid begins to slightly bubble and thicken. It will thicken even after the that is off.
- For coating, use egg as a binder for the corn flour substitute. That way, you have more flavor, and the breading will stick.
Corn flour is a wonder ingredient that I ALWAYS have in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget or run out of it without knowing. If you're in the same situation as me, then don't fret. There are awesome ingredients you can still use as a substitute and still get the thick and creamy soups you want.
I hope that this list helped you find the best substitute for corn flour suitable for your needs. So don't wait any longer or hassle yourself going to the grocery and leave your recipe behind! Try any of these substitutions today.
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences when using a replacement for corn flour, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.