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Cornflour vs. Cornstarch: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 18, 2023
Cornflour is a finely ground maize product used as a thickener or in baking, while cornstarch is a refined starch extracted from corn, used primarily as a thickening agent.

Key Differences

Cornflour is derived from the whole kernel of corn, ground into a fine powder, and includes the endosperm, germ, and bran. Cornstarch, on the other hand, is obtained by removing the protein and fiber of the corn kernel, leaving only the starchy endosperm which is then processed into a fine, white powder.
In cooking, cornflour is often used as a flour substitute for baking and for making cornbread, muffins, and other baked goods. Cornstarch is primarily used as a thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and soups, and does not function well as a flour substitute due to its lack of gluten.
Cornflour contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals due to the presence of the whole corn kernel. Cornstarch is mostly carbohydrate, with very little protein, fiber, or nutrients, as it is purely the starch component of corn.
Cornflour adds a distinct corn flavor and a heavier texture to recipes. Cornstarch is flavorless and is prized for its ability to thicken without altering the taste or texture of a dish significantly.
In some regions, particularly in the United Kingdom, "cornflour" often refers to what Americans call "cornstarch." This regional difference can lead to confusion in recipes and culinary communication.

Comparison Chart


Whole corn kernel, ground into fine powder
Refined starch extracted from corn

Primary Use

Baking, as flour substitute
Thickening sauces, gravies, soups

Nutritional Content

Contains fiber, vitamins, minerals
Primarily carbohydrates, low in nutrients

Flavor and Texture

Corn flavor, heavier texture
Flavorless, does not alter dish's texture

Regional Naming

Known as cornstarch in the UK
Consistently called cornstarch worldwide

Cornflour and Cornstarch Definitions


Cornflour is a fine powder made from ground whole corn kernels.
I used cornflour to make a batch of gluten-free cookies.


Cornstarch is a white, powdery starch extracted from corn.
I thickened the gravy with a tablespoon of cornstarch.


It's often used as a wheat flour substitute in baking.
Cornflour can replace all-purpose flour for a lighter texture in cakes.


It's primarily used as a thickening agent in cooking.
Cornstarch is essential for achieving the right consistency in pie fillings.


Cornflour is a source of fiber and nutrients.
Cornflour adds nutritional value to gluten-free diets.


Cornstarch is flavorless and doesn't affect the taste of dishes.
I prefer cornstarch for thickening soups because it doesn’t alter the flavor.


It's also utilized in coatings for fried foods.
I coated the chicken in cornflour for a crispy exterior.


It's a common ingredient in corn syrup and bioplastics.
Cornstarch is versatile, even used in eco-friendly packaging materials.


Cornflour adds a corn-like flavor to recipes.
Adding cornflour to the batter gave the bread a subtle corn taste.


Cornstarch is gluten-free and suitable for those with gluten intolerances.
Cornstarch is a safe thickening option for my gluten-free diet.


(British) A very fine starch powder derived from maize (US corn) used in cooking as a thickener, to keep things from sticking, or as an anti-caking agent.


Starch prepared from corn grains, used industrially and as a thickener in cooking.


A flour or starch prepared from the grains of corn; it is used in cooking as a thickener.


A very fine starch powder derived from corn (maize) used in cooking as a thickener, to keep things from sticking, or as an anti-caking agent.


Starch prepared from the grains of corn; used in cooking as a thickener


Starch made from Indian corn, esp. a fine white flour used for puddings, etc.


Starch prepared from the grains of corn; used in cooking as a thickener


Is cornflour gluten-free?

Yes, cornflour is naturally gluten-free.

Can I use cornstarch as a substitute for flour in baking?

No, cornstarch is not suitable as a direct substitute for flour in baking.

Can cornflour be used to thicken sauces?

While possible, it's less effective than cornstarch and can alter the flavor.

Is cornstarch healthier than cornflour?

Not necessarily, as cornstarch lacks the nutrients found in cornflour.

Can I use cornflour in gluten-free baking?

Yes, it's a popular gluten-free flour option.

How do I substitute cornstarch for flour as a thickener?

Use half the amount of cornstarch as you would flour.

Does cornflour have a taste?

Yes, it imparts a mild corn flavor to dishes.

Is cornstarch suitable for thickening acidic dishes?

Yes, cornstarch works well in acidic environments.

Is cornflour the same as maize flour?

Yes, in some regions, cornflour is referred to as maize flour.

Is there a difference in shelf life between cornflour and cornstarch?

Both have a long shelf life when stored properly, but there's no significant difference.

Does cornflour affect the color of my dish?

It can give a slight yellowish tint, unlike the colorless cornstarch.

Is cornstarch good for frying?

It can be used, but cornflour is generally preferred for a better texture.

Can cornflour and cornstarch be used interchangeably?

Not always, as they serve different purposes in cooking.

Is cornflour a good source of dietary fiber?

Yes, it contains fiber from the whole corn kernel.

Does cornstarch have any nutritional value?

It's low in nutrients, primarily providing carbohydrates.

Can cornstarch be used in cold dishes?

Yes, it can be used to thicken cold sauces and dressings.

Can cornstarch be used in making custards and puddings?

Yes, it's excellent for creating a smooth, thick texture.

Can I fry with cornflour?

Yes, it's often used for a crispy coating in frying.

Is cornstarch safe for people with corn allergies?

It may not be suitable for those with severe corn allergies.

How does cornflour affect the texture of baked goods?

It tends to produce a denser and heavier texture.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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