Cornmeal Vs Corn Flour: What Are The Differences?

cornmeal vs corn flour

Corn or you may call it maize, is the type of domesticated grain that had its roots back from southern Mexico approximately 10000 years ago.

Due to its delicious taste, healthy benefits, and easily-produced process, corn has become one of the top popular foods worldwide. Corn appears in meals in various ways: both main course and side dish. 

If you are a corn lover, surely you have once heard of or even tried cornmeal and cornflour. They are corn products widely used as ingredients. However, some don’t know the differences between cornmeal vs corn flour.

The content illustrated below will bring you the most basic knowledge about these two, supporting you in purchasing them. 

Quick Facts


  • Texture: coarse and gritty
  • Color: yellow
  • Size: larger

Corn flour:

  • Texture: finer 
  • Color: white 
  • Size: smaller 

What Is Corn Meal? 

Cornmeal is achieved through the process of drying and grounding the corn. It comes with various textures because it can vary from fine to coarse. Overall, it is well-known for its sandy texture. 

Farmers can use both white and yellow types of corn to produce it. Though, commercially produced corn is, obviously, not as good as those from nature. Therefore, they need to be degermed so that bran and oily germ, which are harmful substances, can be removed, leading to more nutritious cornmeal. What’s more, conducting this step also lengthens its lifespan. 

The size of cornmeal grains is considered medium but quite big when compared to corn flour. In reality, its size can range from 300 to 600 micrometers (only 200 micrometers for corn flour).

According to scientists and nutritionists, cornmeal is an excellent source of essential nutrients. Firstly, it is so rich in carbohydrates that just a cup can provide your body with approximately 95 grams of this beneficial substance. 

Secondly, you can also consume cornmeal when seeking fiber and iron. A cup of it contains about 4 mg of these minerals to meet your body’s needs. 

Another type of mineral it can bring to you would be phosphorus, which functions to stimulate the organization of bone and enhance cell membranes.

Types Of Corn Meal 

Although many offerings will come to you when you search for cornmeal on the Internet or supermarket, overall, just two main types exist. The difference between the two types comes from their origin, specifically, whether it is made from yellow or white corn kernels. 

Typically, before cornmeal products reach customers, they must go through the determining process to remove bran and corn germ existing in natural corn kernels. This step is quite essential to ensure it is safe for people to consume. 

However, many raise the concern that the nutritional value of cornmeal decreases remarkably when being handled like that. According to producers, it is not valid. Besides the primary purpose of eliminating any harmful bacteria from cornmeal, degerming can also extend its lifespan. 

If you are not convinced by producers’ assurance and still want stone-ground cornmeal, you can find it in small organic stores. 

Corn Meal Recipes And Dishes 

Although relatively unfamiliar to Asian nations, cornmeal is a staple food in European ones. When learning about European food, you will realize that cornmeal appears in various dishes such as porridge, polenta, whole grains, and so on. 

With the ability to create a grainy texture and yellowish color to bread, which is an important characteristic, cornmeal is prioritized to become the main component and texture improver in various recipes globally. 

What’s more, Southerners crave cornmeal so much that they use it in almost any baked goods they can think of, like muffins, cornbread, to name a few. 

What Is Corn Flour? 

When you grind cornmeal too much, corn flour is what you achieve. You may call it cornstarch if you are British, and maize starch in European nations is the type of corn product that is ground into powder. 

It can be produced from blue, white, and yellow types of corn kernels. While the white type is widely used in Africa, the yellow one is more common in the United States. 

Generally, because it is a type of powder, you can not use it to improve the texture of dishes. The flour can only thicken the consistency until some limited level while making it smooth when adding to meals. 

Hence, it is generally used for casseroles, sauces, and blancmanges. Other cases like soup or broth should avoid adding cornflour.

When it comes to the matter of nutrition, it is also considered a beneficial food. That is because, besides containing similar substances like cornmeal, this type of flour is rich in sodium. 

As you may know, sodium plays a vital role in supporting blood-related problems, especially blood pressure. What’s more, consuming a cup of yellow corn flour can bring to your body magnesium and potassium, which can help blood circulation. 

Click here to figure out 50 recipes for cornflour. 

Corn And Calories  

Corn is among the types of food that bring several health benefits to human beings. Due to this reason, corn and corn-related products have been paid much attention to by scientists and researchers. 

Many studies have been conducted and reveal significant numbers. For example, a study recently supervised in the United States has confirmed that the calorie content of cornmeal and corn flour differs, by very little. Except for calories, other substances in the two products are the same.

Can You Substitute Between These Two? 

Sometimes, you may mistake purchasing cornmeal while your recipe requires cornflour and vice versa. Especially with a new cook who can not distinguish cornmeal vs corn flour, it is very likely that you will commit the fault. 

In this circumstance, the first question that pops up in your mind is: Can I replace cornmeal with corn flour? Of course, the quick answer would be yes. There is nothing wrong with substituting it. 

Remember that these two corn products are different in various ways, as mentioned before. This fact requires you to adjust when you decide to substitute cornmeal for corn flour. Because the flour form is less dense than cornmeal, less time will be devoted to cooking and baking. 

Depending on the recipes you use, you can simply cut the cooking time in half. To make sure your meals don’t get ruined, check them with a toothpick. After baking time, if your food appears to be doughy, you can bake it for ten more minutes or until the toothpicks become clean. 

Some may state that you must reduce the amount of corn flour used. However, it is not necessary and doesn’t create any differences, much less negatively affect your dish. 

If you commit the opposite mistake, say, purchasing cornflour instead of cornmeal, you can use it anyway. The most significant difference would be that your finished meals won’t get the same texture. Besides, you can also use other ingredients such as wheat flour, plant starch, arrowroot, etc. 

Can I Use Corn Flour In Cornbread? 

Although you can use cornflour in almost all recipes that require cornmeal, you can not do it when your meal is cornbread.

Adding cornmeal when making cornbread allows you to have the correct texture and lightness that no replacing ingredients can do. Unfortunately, some chefs ignore this caution and try to prepare cornbread by using corn flour.

Yet, they all end up with dense and crumble cornbread. Only several professional chefs state they succeed in cooking this way. In conclusion, if you are not skillful enough and don’t want to waste your ingredients and efforts, forget the idea of using it in cornbread.

Click here to figure out how to make cornbread.

Is Corn Flour The Same As All-Purpose Flour? 

No, it is not the same as all-purpose flour. While it is made from corn, the all-purpose one comes from wheat grains after removing the brown coating. 

All-purpose flour is also familiar with chefs when preparing baking goods and pastries. Usually, cooks add all-purpose flour in deep frying and coat for fried meals. 

You can replace corn flour with all-purpose flour in many recipes. Remember to double the amount to achieve good results.

Tamara Pierce

Tamara Pierce is a food writer at Elapasony, passionate about exploring diverse cuisines and sharing recipes and food experiences. From trendy restaurants to local hotspots, she's always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors.

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