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Maize Flour vs. Corn Flour: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 16, 2024
Maize flour is ground from whole corn kernels, used in various cuisines, while corn flour, especially in American English, often refers to finely ground cornmeal or cornstarch.

Key Differences

Maize flour is made by grinding dried whole corn kernels, resulting in a coarse or finely ground flour. It retains the hull and germ, providing nutrients and flavor. In contrast, American corn flour, often referred to as cornstarch, is a fine, white powder made from the starchy part of the corn kernel and used as a thickening agent.
In many parts of the world, especially in Latin America and Africa, maize flour is a staple ingredient used in traditional dishes like tortillas, tamales, and arepas. American corn flour (cornstarch), however, is primarily used in cooking and baking to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups, and is not typically used as the primary flour in bread or pastry recipes.
The nutritional content of maize flour includes fiber, vitamins, and minerals since it is made from the whole kernel. American corn flour (cornstarch), being mostly starch, is high in carbohydrates and lacks the nutritional variety found in whole corn products.
The texture of maize flour varies from fine to coarse, affecting the texture of the food it's used in. American corn flour (cornstarch), being extremely fine, imparts no graininess and is effective in creating smooth textures in sauces and fillings.

Comparison Chart


Ground whole corn kernels
Ground starchy part of corn kernel

Use in Cooking

Bread, tortillas, tamales
Thickening agent for sauces, soups

Nutritional Content

Contains fiber, vitamins, minerals
High in carbohydrates, low in other nutrients


Varies from fine to coarse
Very fine powder

Regional Preference

Staple in Latin America, Africa
Common in American cooking

Maize Flour and Corn Flour Definitions

Maize Flour

Coarse or finely ground, depending on the recipe.
Coarse maize flour is perfect for rustic cornbread.

Corn Flour

Made from the starchy part of corn.
Corn flour is mostly starch, making it an excellent thickener.

Maize Flour

Versatile in texture and application.
Maize flour can be used to thicken stews and soups.

Corn Flour

Lacks the nutritional variety of whole corn products.
Corn flour doesn't have the same nutrients as whole grain corn products.

Maize Flour

Ground from whole corn kernels, used in baking and cooking.
Maize flour is essential for making authentic Mexican tortillas.

Corn Flour

Common in American kitchens for cooking and baking.
Corn flour is a staple in American baking for thickening pie fillings.

Maize Flour

Retains nutrients from the hull and germ of the corn.
Maize flour adds a nutritious boost to bread.

Corn Flour

A fine, white powder used as a thickening agent.
Corn flour is ideal for thickening gravy.

Maize Flour

Staple ingredient in many traditional cuisines.
In Africa, maize flour is used in many staple dishes.

Corn Flour

Used to create smooth textures in sauces.
To avoid lumps in the sauce, use corn flour.


What dishes are maize flour used in?

It's used in tortillas, tamales, and arepas.

Is corn flour the same as cornmeal?

In American English, corn flour usually refers to cornstarch, not cornmeal.

What is corn flour in American English?

Often refers to cornstarch, used as a thickening agent.

Can maize flour be used for bread-making?

Yes, it's commonly used in breads like cornbread.

What is the main use of corn flour in cooking?

Primarily as a thickener for sauces, soups, and gravies.

What is maize flour?

A flour made from ground whole corn kernels.

Can corn flour be used in baking?

Yes, but primarily as a thickening agent, not as the main flour.

Does maize flour contain gluten?

No, maize flour is gluten-free.

Does corn flour make sauces grainy?

No, it creates a smooth texture in sauces.

Is maize flour commonly used in African cuisine?

Yes, it's a staple ingredient in many African dishes.

What is the texture of maize flour?

It varies from fine to coarse, depending on the grind.

How should corn flour be used in recipes?

It should be mixed with a cold liquid first to avoid lumps.

Is maize flour nutritious?

Yes, it contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Is corn flour high in carbohydrates?

Yes, being mostly starch, it's high in carbohydrates.

How does corn flour affect the texture of sauces?

It gives sauces a smooth, non-grainy texture.

Is maize flour suitable for gluten-free diets?

Yes, it's naturally gluten-free.

What's the shelf life of maize flour?

It can last up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place.

Does corn flour have any taste?

It has a very neutral taste and doesn't alter the flavor of dishes.

Can I substitute maize flour for wheat flour?

Yes, but it will change the texture and flavor of the dish.

Can corn flour be used to thicken pie fillings?

Absolutely, it's great for thickening pie fillings.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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