Cornflour is an extremely versatile pantry staple. You can use it to achieve a smooth, sticky sauce when you stir fry, thicken up fruit pie filling, or even make a batch of oobleck.

Cornflour, also known as cornstarch, is a carbohydrate derived from the endosperm of corn kernels. When you use it in cooking, it undergoes the process of starch gelatinisation. To put it simply, the starch absorbs water, expands, and forms a thick gel in the presence of water and heat.

This chemical reaction is often deployed in recipes to improve the texture of the dish. It can thicken, crisp up, or add softness depending on how you use it.

But what do you do if you ran out of cornflour? Or what if you’re cooking for someone with a corn allergy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

There are plenty of substitutes for cornflour that can be easily swapped into any recipe. We have options that you probably already have at home and some that work with any dietary restriction you may have.

Potato Starch

Compared to every other cornflour substitute, potato flour/starch is the closest dupe to the real thing. You know the white, powdery residue left behind when you chop potatoes? That's the tuber's naturally occurring starch.

Just like cornflour, potato starch is neutral in flavour and has strong thickening power. In nearly every recipe, you can swap in this product in equal amounts.

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca starch is derived from the root of a cassava plant. It's the same ingredient used to make tapioca pudding and the chewy, bouncy balls of boba in your milk tea. It can be used as a powerful thickening agent in many recipes, but it works slightly differently than cornflour does.

Tapioca starch can't stand up as well to high temperatures and can leave your food with an odd stringy texture. So if you're planning on boiling your food for prolonged periods of time, save the tapioca starch addition for the end. It's also less potent, which means you'll want to use twice as much when swapping it in for cornflour.

Wheat Flour

Most households already have plain flour in their kitchens, which makes it an easy swap for cornflour in many recipes. The natural starches in wheat can be used to thicken soups and sauces. There's a reason every luxurious macaroni cheese sauce starts with flour.

But it's not the same as cornflour. Unlike the corn-based carbohydrate, wheat flour alters the appearance of what you're cooking and makes liquids opaque. It's also less effective at making fried foods crispy, light, and airy. And, most importantly, it's not safe for gluten-free eaters.

We recommend using wheat flour primarily in soups, stews, and sauces. You should add twice as much flour as you would cornflour.

Ground Arrowroot

Arrowroot powder is a common, gluten-free additive used to thicken batters and improve texture. This starch is made from a tropical tuber found in Southeast Asia and leaves foods thick, glossy, and translucent.

However, this substitute is much more finicky than cornflour. It can break down when exposed to high heat for prolonged periods of time. It also does not interact well with dairy products, leaving you with a slimy final product.

Arrowroot powder works best when frying or thickening sauces and fruit fillings. You can use equal amounts in recipes that call for cornflour.

Glutinous Rice Flour

Unlike other substitutes that extract the natural carbohydrates from a starchy source, glutinous rice flour is made by grinding whole grains of glutinous rice. Despite it also being known as sweet rice flour, it doesn't taste sweet. It's common used in rice noodles and mochi—but it's also a great thickener and substitute in gluten-free baking.

It's important to note that glutinous rice flour is different from plain rice flour, which is made from ground medium or long grain rice. Glutinous rice has a higher starch content and is much more similar to cornflour. We recommend using it 1:1 in baked goods, frying batters, and sauces.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a thickener made from fermented sugar and is commonly used in many packaged foods, like sweets and salad dressings. It's also an essential ingredient in gluten-free flours to replicate the binding power of wheat flour.

A little goes a long way with xanthan gum—think ¼ teaspoon to thicken an entire batch of sauce. Depending on the brand, it could be made with corn-based sugars, so it's not a great substitute if you're cooking for people with corn allergies.

2023-05-19T11:03:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd