Looking for more information on how to use cornstarch in your baked goods? You're not alone. More and more bakers are swapping starches for flour in their recipes. If that sounds like you, then welcome to the starch club! While subbing in starches is on the rise, knowing which starch to use in your recipes can be the tricky part.
To help you on your journey into the use of starches, we've created this simple all-in-one guide on cornstarch. In this guide, you'll discover where cornstarch comes from and how to use it. We've even added in some recipes to get you started! Keep scrolling to learn all there is to know about baking with cornstarch.
What Is Cornstarch?
First things first: let's discuss what cornstarch is and where it comes from. Cornstarch is one of the most versatile starches there is. Extracted from the starchy endosperm of corn kernel, it's a white powdery substance that is virtually flavorless. Contrary to what some people think, corn starch and corn flour are not the same thing. It is a terrific ingredient for thickening sauces, puddings, soups and pie fillings, and is also used in many baked good recipes. It is often mixed with a small amount of cold liquid to create a slurry to thicken sauces. When added to cake, cookie, pie filling and shortbread recipes, cornstarch helps create a crumbly and tender dessert-like texture.
Commercially, cornstarch is often used as an anti-caking agent. When added to packaged goods like shredded cheese, cornstarch coats the cheese and helps to absorb moisture that would otherwise cause spoiling. This absorption process also helps prevent food from clumping over time. Additionally, it is used when making sugars, such as corn syrup.
How to Cook with Cornstarch
Peach Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream
When cooking with cornstarch, it's best to mix this ingredient into a recipe that is at room temperature. When cornstarch is added to too hot of a mixture, the heat can cause unwanted clumping. Before adding any starch to a recipe, it's recommended first to make a slurry. To make a slurry, simply mix cornstarch with a cold liquid such as water. This mixture will create a paste-like substance, that you can then add to the desired recipe. Using this slurry method will ensure that the cornstarch is evenly distributed throughout the recipe and not broken down by the heat. It is not recommended to freeze sauces and soups that include cornstarch. Freezing cornstarch can cause the molecules in the starch to break down, and once thawed, the liquid will not hold the same texture as before.
Use as a Thickening Agent
Cornstarch is often used as a thickening agent when added to soups, stews and gravies. Denser than flour, less cornstarch is needed to thicken a liquid to the desired consistency.
Here's how it works: when cornstarch is added to a recipe, the starch molecules work to absorb water and thicken the mixture. When heated, those molecules swell and consume even more of the liquid in the recipe. Upon thoroughly cooking, the starch in the mix will have expanded six to ten times its size. Once the mixture cools, these same molecules will set. The setting of these molecules can help further solidify the dough, which makes cornstarch a great thickening agent for gooey fillings like pies and puddings.
However, this molecule expansion is limited. While a cornstarch enriched recipe can be brought close to a boil, it should never be fully boiled. When cornstarch is exposed to too high of temperatures, the starch molecules will begin to deflate, and the mixture will return to its runny state.
Create Delicious Baked Goods
Cornstarch not only acts as a thickening agent, but it can also be used in baked goods like cookies, brownies and cakes. If you're searching for more structure in your favorite dessert recipe, then cornstarch might be just the ingredient you need! Combining a starch like cornstarch with other flours can help soften the rigid proteins of the flour, resulting in a light and chewy dessert. Similar to when adding cornstarch to a soup or pudding, if adding cornstarch to a dessert batter, it should first be turned into a slurry. This will ensure that all of the molecules remain intact and that the starch is evenly distributed. Upon adding cornstarch to your baked goods, evaluate it as you would a soup. Has your batter reached the desired consistency? If not, then a little more cornstarch may be needed. Once your dough looks perfect, bake your dessert like usual. The result? Light, fluffy and delicious desserts made to perfection!
Blueberry-Peach Buckwheat Hand Pies
Use as Anti-Caking Agent
Ever wonder why your powder sugar ingredients included cornstarch? Cornstarch acts as a great anti-caking agent! By keeping moisture and condensation from reaching whatever it's mixed with it helps prevent lumps in finely ground foods like sugar. Still, cornstarch isn't just used to ward off moisture from sugar. The next time you're in the supermarket, take a look at how many products list cornstarch as an ingredient. From gravy granules to shredded cheese, you'll surely be surprised by the wide variety of foods cornstarch is added to.
Fry Foods with Cornstarch
Aside from an anti-caking ingredient, cornstarch can also be used as a coating for fried foods! While cornstarch shouldn't be used as a substitute for flour in baked goods, you can easily substitute it in for flours when coating fried chicken, fish or other dishes. Not only will cornstarch work in the same way that flours do, but it will hold up better against sauces and absorb less of the frying oil. Less oil means less fat in your meal!
When frying food with cornstarch, we recommend that you coat the dish lightly. Applying a light even coat to your food will ensure that it results in a crispy texture. When too much cornstarch is added, the coating often turns out gummy rather than crunchy. For the perfect, gluten free fried food, consider blending cornstarch with a gluten free flour like almond flour. This will help create a more breaded result, similar to wheat flour.
Is Cornstarch Gluten Free?
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you must be very careful about the ingredients you add to your recipes. Even if an ingredient is naturally gluten free, if it's processed in a facility that is not, it could be contaminated and irritate those with gluten intolerance. Now, you may be wondering, is cornstarch gluten free? The simple answer is yes! When pure, cornstarch is 100% gluten free. Remember, cornstarch is derived from corn, not from gluten grains like wheat and rye.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers produce cornstarch in a gluten containing facility. To avoid gluten consumption, it's important to purchase high-quality cornstarch that bears a gluten free label. Bob's Red Mill Cornstarch is manufactured in our dedicated gluten free facility. After processing, it is tested for gluten free integrity in our quality control lab. Aside from being gluten free, our cornstarch is also kosher and vegan. Committed to providing you with the most wholesome ingredients possible, we pride ourselves on the integrity and quality of each product we sell.
Peach Cupcakes with Peach Buttercream
Who doesn't love cupcakes? The perfect dessert for spring, this delicious treat is the ideal addition to your Mother's Day brunch. A yummy peach-filled treat, these cupcakes mix cornstarch with our Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Baking Flour to create a light and chewy cupcake texture that will have your tastes celebrating after just one bite. Topped off with a homemade peach buttercream, this is one dessert you won't want to miss out on.
Oatmeal Crisp Rhubarb Bars
A tasty treat, these Oatmeal Crisp Rhubarb Bars have found a way to pack the sunshine of summer and sweetness of spring into one delicious dessert. To create a filling of perfect consistency, cornstarch is added as a thickening agent. Because cornstarch is virtually flavorless, adding this ingredient improves the texture of the recipe without changing the taste. Sweet, tart and bursting with flavor, these bars are the perfect treat to serve at your next outdoor picnic!
Blueberry Peach Buckwheat Hand Pies
Summer couldn't come sooner. The warm weather and sunshine-filled days are just what we're craving! Instead of speeding up summer, we've decided to bundle it up into a delicious dessert. And these fruit-filled pastries are just what we had in mind. Sweet, light and summer-ready this Blueberry Peach Buckwheat Hand Pie recipe is just what you need to get ready for summertime. Made with buckwheat flour and Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, they have a slightly nutty taste. For the filling, if you're using frozen fruit, we recommend adding three tablespoons of cornstarch to achieve the desired consistency. A great treat to make in advance, both the dough and the filling can be refrigerated until ready to use.
Now that you're familiar with cornstarch and how to use it, it's time that you put it to the test with one of these delicious recipes! Use it as a thickening agent in your net soup, or use it to create one of the tasty desserts that we've listed above. Whichever way you decide to use cornstarch in baking, it's bound to become a staple in your kitchen in no time! We hope this guide has helped answer all of your cornstarch questions and encourages you to branch out when baking. Do you have a favorite way to use cornstarch? We'd love to know what it is. Let us know in the comments below. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, happy baking!
Baking with Cornstarch: Everything You Need to Know? ›
Here's how it works: when cornstarch is added to a recipe, the starch molecules work to absorb water and thicken the mixture. When heated, those molecules swell and consume even more of the liquid in the recipe. Upon thoroughly cooking, the starch in the mix will have expanded six to ten times its size.What do you have to remember when using cornstarch? ›
It's easy to use cornstarch as a thickening agent, but it's important to do it correctly. If you add it directly into the mixture you want to thicken, you're going to end up with a clumpy mess. Instead, you need to make a slurry (a mixture of a thickening agent and liquid).What is the rule for cornstarch? ›
Cornstarch and Water
It needs to be mixed completely with cold water before being added to boiling liquid, and once added, it needs to be cooked only until the liquid has thickened. If you cook it too long, it will break down and the liquid will lose its thickness.
Cornstarch is high in calories and carbs but low in essential nutrients. It may also increase blood sugar levels and harm heart health.What happens if you use too much cornstarch in baking? ›
You cannot fix this. If you leave it as it is it's an unpleasant tasting mess as cornstarch is not totally flavorless, and if you heat it you will get rid of the taste somewhat but the starch will thicken the sauce so much that it's practically solid.How to bake with cornstarch? ›
To make a slurry, simply mix cornstarch with a cold liquid such as water. This mixture will create a paste-like substance, that you can then add to the desired recipe. Using this slurry method will ensure that the cornstarch is evenly distributed throughout the recipe and not broken down by the heat.Can cornstarch replace flour in baking? ›
It's easy to substitute cornstarch for flour when your recipe calls for a thickener (as in gravy, sauce or pie) or a coating for fried foods. Whether you simply don't have flour on hand or you are looking for gluten-free alternatives, cornstarch has a very similar effect in these cooking applications.Which is healthier cornstarch or flour? ›
Share on Pinterest Wheat flour is more nutritious than cornstarch. Wheat flour is a nutritious alternative to cornstarch, with a higher protein content, fewer carbohydrates, and more dietary fiber than cornstarch. It also contains more vitamins and minerals.Is cornstarch better to use than flour? ›
Cornstarch typically makes for a crispier finish than flour. Cornstarch absorbs moisture from the food and expands, giving deep-fried foods a crispy coating. When the food is fried, the moisture cooks out of the cornstarch, leaving a crackly, puffy coating on the outside.What is the health hazard level of cornstarch? ›
Health Hazards: None anticipated under normal conditions. Flammability Hazards: This product may form combustible dust concentrations in the air. Reactivity Hazards: None.
What is the ratio of flour to cornstarch? ›
In general, it's recommended that you use twice as much white flour as cornstarch for thickening purposes. So if you need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, use 2 tablespoons of white flour.
Interestingly, cornstarch contains 25 to 28 percent amylose, which is higher than the amount in wheat or potato starch (which are 20 to 22 percent amylose), and this is why cornstarch works the best for making crispy coatings on fried foods.What happens when you add cornstarch to all-purpose flour? ›
Cornstarch not only thicken sauces and mixtures, but it can be used in baked goods such as cookies or cakes, too. It is said that cornstarch used in combination with flour can "soften" the harsh proteins of flour, making a more tender baked good.What does baked cornstarch taste like? ›
Although cornstarch is made from corn, it doesn't have much of a taste. Cornstarch tastes more like flour or other neutral starches. When the kernel is removed during processing, a lot of the flavor is removed. Cornstarch isn't sweet or bitter, it's pretty neutral.Does cornstarch make things crispy in oven? ›
Cornstarch also helps to dry the skin and crisp it more. The acidic part of baking powder is, if anything, a hindrance to crispness. The reason some recipes use baking powder instead is that it's much less concentrated.How much cornstarch to add to flour for baking? ›
Although cake flour is readily available at grocery stores, in a pinch, you can substitute three-quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour mixed with two tablespoons of cornstarch for each cup of cake flour called for in the recipe.What does cornstarch do to cookies? ›
Why This Works: Cornstarch binds with the liquids in your dough, so this makes your cookies spread less. It will also help them be soft and tender!What does cornstarch do to fried chicken? ›
Cornstarch will make your fried chicken better. A 50-50 split of all-purpose flour and cornstarch in your batter will leave you with an audibly crunchy, beautiful browned exterior. The corn adds a bit of golden color that all-purpose flour can't quite get to.Is it safe to use cornstarch instead of baking powder? ›
Cornstarch is a component of baking powder, but the difference between the two is significant. Cornstarch itself is simply a thickening agent that absorbs moisture, not a leavening agent. The presence of cornstarch in baking powder is solely to keep the baking powder inactive until it interacts with liquid.Why do people eat cornstarch? ›
Cornstarch has certain health benefits, such as aiding digestion. It is sometimes used to help with constipation. This flour is low in calories and fat. As mentioned, it's gluten-free, which makes it a popular choice for those with an intolerance to gluten or an allergy.
Can I eat cornstarch? ›
Yes, it is safe to eat cornstarch in small amounts. Cornstarch should never be consumed raw, though. Most recipes that use cornstarch call for 1 to 2 tablespoons that are heated either on the stovetop or in the oven. To thicken a sauce, soup or stew, mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry.Which is better for diabetics flour or cornstarch? ›
Diabetes can avoid the use of cornflour as it is high in carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index. Diabetics should choose flours that are low in carbohydrates, and high in fibre such as oats, chickpea, and ragi flour.Does cornstarch taste different than flour? ›
Flour can be made from any kind of grain (including corn) but all-purpose flour is made of wheat (which contains gluten) and is used as the base for most baked goods. Flavors: Cornstarch is a mostly flavorless powder that is used mostly to add texture to a dish rather than taste.Is corn flour inflammatory? ›
There are a variety of corn derivatives like high-fructose corn syrup, corn flour, and corn oil. Eating corn in these refined forms spikes blood sugar and as we have seen above, spiked blood sugar leads to an increased insulin response, which creates a major inflammatory response.
In some cases, cornstarch can cause digestive distress such as bloating, abdominal pain, and reflux. Additionally, if large amounts of cornstarch are consumed, it can cause a blockage in the digestive tract, resulting in a medical emergency.Is cornstarch OK for kids? ›
Pediatricians encourage parents to consider alternatives to baby powder, like oil-based lotions or creams. Parents can also opt for cornstarch-based powders, which is comprised of larger particles than talcum powder, making it less of a threat to the airway.How much cornstarch for 2 cups of flour? ›
For example, instead of 2 cups of all-purpose flour use 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch. If you are looking for a good recipe, we highly recommend this one.How much corn starch for 2 cups of flour? ›
A basic tip to remember is that 1 tablespoon of ARGO Corn Starch = 2 tablespoons of flour. When a recipe calls for thickening with flour, substitute with half as much corn starch.How much corn starch equals 1 4 cup flour? ›
If you need to substitute cornstarch in a gravy recipe that calls for ¼ cup (four tablespoons) flour, you would only need to use two tablespoons cornstarch.Why do you put cornstarch on chicken wings? ›
A toss in cornstarch (or a cornstarch substitute) helps the wings achieve maximum crispiness while still keeping them gluten-free. Spread the wings in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, being careful not to crowd the pan. (Pro tip: You can also achieve extra-crispy skin-on chicken wings in an air fryer.)
Can you fry chicken with cornstarch instead of flour? ›
Cornstarch is often used in Asian fried chicken recipes. The combination of the flour with cornstarch produces the crispiest result. You can replace all of the flour with cornstarch, or you can try using a similar non-gluten based flour or flour blend in place of traditional all-purpose flour.What makes chicken crispy cornstarch or baking powder? ›
In my opinion, cornstarch works best for chicken wings - especially when making them on a grill or baking in the oven. Baking powder almost has a gritty taste that's off-putting and lacks the "crunch."How much cornstarch per cup of all-purpose flour? ›
Use: All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch
To get the right ratio, measure out 1 cup of flour, then remove 2 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift together several times to ensure it's well mixed.
Although it won't produce the same glossy shine as cornstarch, it'll get the job done in a pinch. All-purpose flour contains about half the thickening power of cornstarch, so for every tablespoon of cornstarch required, you'll need to substitute two tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
Thickening a sauce with cornstarch is very similar to using flour, but you need different quantities: Use one tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon cold water (aka a cornstarch slurry) for each cup of medium-thick sauce. thoroughly mix the cornstarch and water together, then pour into your sauce.How does cornstarch experiment work? ›
Add water slowly, mixing the cornstarch and water with your fingers until all the powder is wet. Keep adding water until the Ooze feels like a liquid when you're mixing it slowly. Then try tapping on the surface with your finger or a spoon. When Ooze is just right, it won't splash--it will feel solid.Is it OK to eat straight cornstarch? ›
Yes, it is safe to eat cornstarch in small amounts. Cornstarch should never be consumed raw, though. Most recipes that use cornstarch call for 1 to 2 tablespoons that are heated either on the stovetop or in the oven. To thicken a sauce, soup or stew, mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry.How much cornstarch to thicken 2 cups of sauce? ›
You will need about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of gravy. Don't add powdered cornstarch directly to a hot liquid; it will clump.Why didn't my sauce thicken with cornstarch? ›
Cornstarch needs heat (in the ballpark of 203°F) in order for “starch gelatinization”—that is, the scientific process in which starch granules swell and absorb water—to occur. In other words, if you don't heat your cornstarch to a high enough temperature, your mixture will never thicken.What happens if you mix flour and cornstarch? ›
When paired with all-purpose flour, cornstarch helps prevent gluten development, which makes the flour coating crispier, and absorb moisture (from the frying and the chicken), which also means a crispier coating.
What is a mix of cornstarch and water called? ›
Making oobleck is a great science and sensory project combined into one. After combining cornstarch and water, dip your hands into this non-Newtonian fluid, fluid that acts like a solid and a liquid at the same time.What happens when you mix cornstarch and vinegar? ›
Facts About Corn Starch
If you put a few drops of vinegar on corn starch there will be no visible reaction. If you put a few drops of iodine on to corn starch it will turn a dark purple.
And, cornstarch and baking soda can make air dry clay! So simple to make at home and the kids love making it as well. Here is a recipe for you to make air clay that you can shape, paint and use for whatever your heart desires- make them into magnets, wall hangings, ornaments…Can bacteria grow in cornstarch? ›
"However, cornstarch is a food source with no preservatives, so when exposed to moisture it can breed fungal or bacterial substances.What temperature does cornstarch activate? ›
Cornstarch is one of the most commonly used thickeners, but it has some unique traits. So thanks for the good question! Cornstarch must be cooked to 95°C (203°F) before thickening begins. At that point, it usually thickens fairly quickly and the sauce turns from opaque to transparent.Why do people crave cornstarch? ›
Answer: Cravings for plain cornstarch or other “non-nutritive substances'' such as uncooked rice or clay are termed “pica. '' This often is a consequence of iron deficiency (Expert Review of Hematology, November 2016). Ask your doctor to test you for anemia.Why do people eat bricks of cornstarch? ›
The key reason people might be consuming lots of raw cornstarch is due to Pica, a disorder that people face where they have cravings for non-nutritive ingredients. This issue sometimes affects pregnant women or people who have low levels of iron.What is healthier cornstarch or flour? ›
Share on Pinterest Wheat flour is more nutritious than cornstarch. Wheat flour is a nutritious alternative to cornstarch, with a higher protein content, fewer carbohydrates, and more dietary fiber than cornstarch. It also contains more vitamins and minerals.