Cookbook:Corn Flour

Corn Flour

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Corn flours are a group of products made by very finely grinding corn. It should not be confused with cornstarch, which sometimes goes by the same name.



All corn flours are primarily characterized by their fine grind, which is what differentiates them from corn meals. While cornmeal is coarse and gritty, corn flour is a smooth powder.[1][2]



Corn flour


Basic corn flour is make by very finely grinding raw dried corn.[1] It is typically a whole grain product, containing bran, germ, and endosperm.[1][3] It is typically pale yellow in color and made from dent corn, but other specialty varieties can be made from different colors of corn.[1][3] The flavor is sweet and somewhat nutty.[1]



Unlike basic corn flour, masarepa is ground corn that has been cooked into a dough and subsequently dried and ground to a powder again.[4][5] The flavor is mild and starchy.[4]

Masa harina


Masa harina is made from hominy (i.e. nixtamalized) corn that is ground to a flour.[3][5] The nixtamalization process alters the flavor, making it tangier, and it produces a different texture when mixed with water.[1]

Selection and storage


Corn flour can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for a long time. However, if it's a whole-grain variety, it's best to store it in the freezer to prevent it from going rancid as quickly.[1]

Masa harina is usually used to make tortillas, empanadas, tamales, pupusas, and more.[2][4][6] Masarepa has some overlap with masa harina, being used to make arepas and tamales as well.[2][4] However, the two bind water slightly differently, which can give a different texture to a dough.[1] Basic corn flour doesn't have strong binding properties, which generally makes it better for coatings or as a flavor/texture additive to baked goods.[1]



Different kinds of corn flour can sometimes be substituted for each other in small quantities, if their inherent properties are not key to the dish. However, you probably don't want to use basic corn flour as a replacement for masa harina in tortillas, for example, since it will affect the texture and nutrient availability.




  1. a b c d e f g h i "What Is Corn Flour?". Food Network. Retrieved 2024-04-22.
  2. a b c Nast, Condé (2019-07-17). "What Is Cornmeal and Which Type Should You Buy?". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  3. a b c "What Is Corn Flour?". Allrecipes. Retrieved 2024-04-22.
  4. a b c d "Masarepa: Intro to the Precooked Corn Flour Used to Make Arepas". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  5. a b "Masa versus Masa Harina versus Masarepa | Cook's Illustrated". Retrieved 2024-04-23.
  6. Nast, Condé (2016-09-27). "Finally—How to Tell Cornmeal, Polenta, and Grits Apart". Epicurious. Retrieved 2024-04-22.