Cornmeal Vs Cornstarch: Can You Name The Differences?

corn meal vs corn starch

When it comes to differentiating cornmeal and cornstarch, you might pop up with many concerns because they both originate from corn.

Don’t worry! These corn powders have distinct processing, nutrition, taste, and uses to recognize below. 

Aside from the concise and practical information above, the article will tell you other essential things related to cornmeal vs corn starch. So, let’s check it out now! 

Quick Facts


  • Processing: Made from whole corn
  • Nutrient profiles: More highly nutritious elements
  • Taste: Sweet and earthy   
  • Typical uses: Add corn-like taste 


  • Processing: Made from the endosperm of the corn 
  • Nutrient profiles: Fewer nutritious elements 
  • Taste: Starchy 
  • Typical uses: Dense the texture 

Cornmeal Vs Cornstarch: Detailed Explanation  

Don’t miss out on this part if you desire to distinguish these kinds of corn powder without more research! 


It’s no secret that cornmeal and cornstarch are made from corn, but it turns out to be the main reason to differentiate them. 

First of all, cornmeal is the outcome of grinding the whole corn into fine powder. Hence, you may find it in yellow colors. Meanwhile, cornstarch is only extracted from the endosperm of the corn kernels, often referred to as the starchy center. 

Furthermore, the different way of processing comes along with the distinct nutrient profiles between cornmeal and cornstarch. In this case, cornmeal contains more highly nutritious elements compared with cornstarch. 

 Cornmeal provides all essential nutrients in corn, such as vitamins B3, fiber, protein, minerals, and so forth, by making entire kennels. In contrast, cornstarch has fewer nutrients and especially lacks vitamin B3. 


Regarding flavor between these two powders, cornmeal is more favorable due to the ability to possess most of the corn taste. On the other hand, it delivers a sweet and soft flavor like corn. However, cornstarch has a starchy taste without much corn flavor. 


Due to the unmistakable taste, this corn flour has a different culinary approach. Cornstarch is preferable to add texture instead of taste. Indeed, it is a tasteless powder supporting to thicken your dishes effectively. 

Besides, cornmeal has versatile uses. Cooks generally take advantage of this powder to deliver corn taste in bread or cookies. In some cases, cornmeal is referred to as white flour if needed. Moreover, this corn powder is a great ingredient to prevent sticky baking by dusting a surface on the bread or pizza. Plus, like cornstarch, cornmeal is utilized to thicken the soup as well. 

When To Use Cornmeal? 

Thanks to the wonderful sweet corn taste, you can make use of this ingredient for numerous purposes. Following are 4 suggestions to use cornmeal for your reference.

Add corn taste to the dishes

If you love the corn taste, then this corn powder is the ideal ingredient to consider. Generally, when baking cookies or pieces of bread, the baker often adds cornmeal to have the sweet and earthy taste of the corn. 

Besides, you can flexibly add this corn-like ingredient to different recipes to enjoy the desirable corn taste for your dishes.

Create perfect coat 

Another common usage of cornmeal is making a coat for some fried foods, such as tomatoes, fish, or chicken. Again, the cornmeal surface helps to avoid sticky problems and delivers the perfect texture. 

Thicken the soup 

Sometimes, to make the soup or dishes thickened, cornmeal is also a choice. But, admittedly, the result might not be as good as other bland powder like cornstarch.

Make peeling mask 

Apart from cooking, cornmeal is one of the significant elements to make the peeling mask. The simple mixture of egg, cornstarch, and salt provides the natural face mask. 

Depending on your purpose, flexibly optimize the suitable ratio. Generally, 1 egg with 5 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon salt is the standard ratio to follow accordingly. Then, applying this texture on your face within 5 minutes, rinse and enjoy your upgraded facial look with more smooth and bright skin. 

When To Use Cornstarch? 

Below are some common causes of using cornstarch. Keep reading to acquire further information, especially when you are seeking the proper way to use cornstarch. 

Thicken a liquid 

Despite the starchy taste, cornstarch has a significant function to thicken some dishes like soups, gravies, and so on. Thanks to the endosperm element, the cornstarch is denser when absorbing the water, resulting in the desired consistency.

Besides, be mindful of customizing the proper temperature when adding it to the recipe. Indeed, its expansion is limited to closed boil dishes. Otherwise, thoroughly boiled might lead to a liquid state.  

Avoid caking 

Anti-caking is another excellent point of cornstarch. Indeed, it can keep moisture in powder sugar included in the mixture. Hence, you might find many foods containing cornstarch ingredients. 

Create light and tasty desserts 

Another impressive benefit of using cornstarch you might miss is softening the protein element in the flour. Once adding this starchy corn as an ingredient in baked goods, you allow the starch evenly in the mixture. Finally, the texture turns to be lighter and provides the unmistakable dessert.  

Make a coat for fried food. 

Aside from general flour, you can utilize cornstarch to create a perfect coat for fried foods. Moreover, it plays an essential role in reducing the ability to absorb the oil while frying. As a result, your fried foods have better taste due to less fat. 

Besides, its coat provides the crunchy outside texture of the food. However, overuse of this corn powder probably turns out to be an unsatisfactory result with a crummy surface. 

Can I Substitute Cornstarch For Cornmeal? 

No, it is not advisable to use cornstarch as an alternative option to cornmeal and versus. The primary reason is these corn powders have different textures and flavors, which will react distinctly in each recipe. 

For instance, cornstarch provides a denser texture while cornmeal delivers a sweet and great corn-like taste. Therefore, substituting cornstarch for cornmeal might cause a weird final result. Instead, corn grits, corn flour, or polenta are suitable substitutes for cornmeal.

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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