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Thickening Sauces through Cornstarch vs. Flour

All starches, including cornstarch and flour, have actually thickening properties. They act like a sponge, taking in liquid and also expanding. They climate gelatinize, firming up once they cool down. Due to the fact that cornstarch is pure starch, it has twice the thickening power of flour, i m sorry is only component starch. Thus, double as much flour is necessary to attain the exact same thickening as cornstarch.

To thicken sauces, cornstarch is combined with cold water first, i m sorry is called a slurry. Flour, on the other hand, is cooked through fat and made into a roux. A roux is made at the start of a cooking recipes while a slurry is included toward the end. This is because the flour needs to be cooked longer to remove the floury taste; cornstarch requirements a shorter cooking time and also a greater heat to activate the thickening properties. Cornstarch have to not it is in cooked right into a roux.

Using flour together a thickener will certainly make the sauce opaque and cloudy when cornstarch leaves a shiny, much more translucent finish. This is a desirable feature because that fruit pie filling and details sauces, especially in Chinese stir-fries.

If a sauce is fairly acidic, cornstarch won't thicken it rather as well. This goes for sauces v tomatoes, citrus, or vinegar, or one made through eggs yolks or butter. If you use also much, a recipe consisting of cornstarch becomes spongy once refrigerated or frozen.

Frying with Cornstarch vs. Flour

Both flour and also cornstarch are provided to cloak chicken, fish, and also vegetables before deep-frying. Cornstarch commonly makes because that a crispier end up than flour.

Cornstarch absorbs humidity from the food and also expands, offering deep-fried foods items a crispy coating. Once the food is fried, the humidity cooks the end of the cornstarch, leaving a crackly, puffy coating top top the outside. (This is why most eastern fried recipes contact for using cornstarch instead of flour.) Flour will attain this to part extent, but since much more flour is needed to attain the exact same effect, the coating will be thicker and also chewier. Recipes touting the crispiest chicken will certainly often contact for a 50/50 mix the flour and also cornstarch to develop the perfect balance and also a beautiful brown exterior.

Baking v Cornstarch vs. Flour

Baking is where a finish swap won"t work. A cake recipe, for example, will certainly not rotate out if cornstarch is supplied in the location of flour. Baked items rely top top the protein in the flour (gluten) to help create that body and texture. There are many excellent gluten-free baking recipes; simply note that cornstarch isn"t the only flour or strength in many of them.

Adding cornstarch come a cookie or cake recipe, however, will aid to do the perfect product more tender. In fact, this homemade recipe for cake flour replaces 2 tablespoons that all-purpose flour through cornstarch.

other Cornstarch Substitutes

Flour is the most typical substitute for cornstarch. However, arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca starch, and rice flour have the right to work just as well, if not far better at times. Additionally, all of these cornstarch substitutes are gluten free.


This powdered white thickening certified dealer acts similarly to cornstarch v a few exceptions. That is not good to usage in dairy-based recipes together it will reason the dish to become slimy, however it is a great substitute because that cooked dishes that arrangement to be frozen. Take keep in mind that recipes making use of arrowroot may need to be cooked a little longer to reach the preferred thickness. Usage the exact same amount that arrowroot as cornstarch called for in the recipe.

Potato starch

A well-known ingredient in Passover recipes, potato starch is also wonderful replacement because that cornstarch. An equal amount, or maybe a small more, must be supplied in location of the cornstarch together a thickening agent. The is ideal to eat the finished food as quickly as feasible because this strength doesn"t organize together well through the rest of the ingredients.

Tapioca starch

If do a pie, tapioca starch is one ideal alternate as it create an also shiner appearance than cornstarch. For the ideal results, the tapioca must be mixed right into the ingredients and left to sit for about 10 minutes prior to cooking to allow the tapioca to absorb the liquids and thicken properly. Use an same amount of immediate tapioca but avoid adding to dairy-based sauces. The is a great choice because that recipes cooked at high temperatures and foods that will certainly be frozen.

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Rice Flour

White rice flour is the ideal an option for thickening sauces due to the fact that brown rice flour have the right to be gritty. Similar to flour, double the amount of rice flour must be used in place of cornstarch. This finely ground powder made indigenous rice is colorless when combined with water and thus a an excellent choice when thickening clear liquids. Rice flour is a popular ingredient in asian cooking and can be included directly to a cooking recipes without making a slurry. That can additionally be provided to make a roux using oil.