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Cornstarch is a popular thickening agent. Used in soups, sauces, and in deep-fried and baked goods, this tasteless powder is a pantry staple for most cooking enthusiasts.

Substitute for Cornstarch

What is cornstarch?

Cornstarch is what it sounds like: starch from corn. It’s made by grounding corn’s nutritive tissue called the endosperm into a fine white powder. The endosperm is in the center of a corn kernel.

Cornstarch was originally developed in 1840 to starch laundry. A New Jersey factory worker named Thomas Kingsford is credited with the invention.

Later, people found cornstarch helpful for other purposes, in and out of the kitchen:

  • Cooks use cornstarch as an ingredient in gravies, marinades, sauces, casseroles, pies, or desserts. It’s also used as a coating prior to deep-frying.
  • Cornstarch is used in the manufacture of baby powders, paper adhesive, airbags, and gloves.
  • Cornstarch helps people with glycogen storage disorder by supplying glucose to their body to maintain their blood sugar levels.

Cornstarch has very little taste, similar to flour. It mixes with liquids easier than flour and produces a smooth and silky texture. When heated in liquids, cornstarch acts as a thickening agent.

Cornstarch nutrition

Cornstarch is primarily carbohydrate. Per 100 grams, cornstarch contains 91 grams of carbohydrates, only 0.3 grams of protein, and 9 grams of sodium. That equates to nearly 400 calories.

There is a bit of iron in cornstarch, but otherwise it has minimal nutritional value.

Cornstarch frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is there a difference between cornstarch and cornflour?

Cornstarch is made by grounding the endosperm (inner starchy part) of the corn. Corn flour is made by grounding the whole corn kernel. This makes cornflour more nutritious because it houses more nutrients than cornstarch.

Is it unhealthy to consume cornstarch?

Cornstarch isn’t unhealthy especially when it is consumed in smaller amounts. Many processed foods unfortunately contain a higher amount of cornstarch.

You should avoid cornstarch if you are on a low-carb or keto diet since cornstarch is primarily carbohydrate.

Does cornstarch lose its potency over time?

Cornstarch can lose its thickening power if it’s not stored properly. Keep your cornstarch sealed in an airtight container at room temperature — that way, it will last for a long time.

Cornstarch posts by Blog Chef