If you want to thicken your soup, you might start thinking about corn flour. Of course, this should not be a problem, as it is a common kitchen ingredient. But what if you don’t have it? Are there any alternatives?
Fortunately, there are particular ingredients that can act as corn flour substitutes. If you usually spend a lot of in the kitchen, you know that it is your responsibility to know these alternative thickeners. Otherwise, you won't be able to make your favorite stew and gravy. Apart from being a thickener, corn flour can also serve as an anti-caking element and will prevent your food from becoming messy and clumpy.
At this point, I have to say that corn flour is different to cornstarch. The same is true of cornmeal. Just navigate your way to the separate articles that I have written about each of these differentiations. It is pretty crucial that you know the respective nuances between the ingredients or you might confuse one with the other, which could be disastrous.
Having been a house chef since time immemorial, I have always taken the time to know my ingredients. In fact, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen studying the various flavors of the different kinds of food. I’m even curious about my spices and condiments. Trust me, experimenting and knowing about your ingredients is a lot of fun.
Now, let us head back to our main topic. Let me introduce you to the main substitutes that you can use if corn flour is missing from your pantry. Don't worry. These alternatives are not rare and expensive. All of them are pretty accessible, even in your local market.
Corn Flour Substitutes
It is pretty obvious that the first alternative to corn flour is wheat flour. Wheat flour or the common flour is an excellent substitute for corn flour. The reason for this is they share almost the same properties. Their flavors are indistinguishable as well. The only difference is that wheat flour can affect the flavor and color of the food.
Typically, you will need two tablespoons of all-purpose flour to match one tablespoon of corn flour. Therefore, if a particular recipe requires you to add three tablespoons of corn flour, you need to replace it with six tablespoons of wheat flour. This is assuming that you don't have stock of corn flour in your pantry.
Another optional substitute for corn flour is starch from plants. Now, let me clarify that not all plants are an ideal source of starch. Of course, we have to take into consideration the edibility of the plant. For me, the best option is the starch that comes from arrowroot. Fortunately, this plant is perennial. Many manufacturers are utilizing it for commercial starch. Therefore, it is not that difficult to find.
Arrowroot operates in the same way as corn flour. It is a thickening agent that works in various recipes. But I have to remind you that it increases the chances of overcooking. If you do not like to overcook your stew and gravy, then you might want to avoid arrowroot. But if it is fine with you, then use it freely. I also need to emphasize that arrowroot starch is more expensive than corn flour. This is why always have this substitute as my last option.
If a certain recipe tells you that you need one tablespoon of corn flour, you need to replace it with two teaspoons of arrowroot starch. In short, it has a 1:2 ratio. Take note that you should use a teaspoon, not a tablespoon. If you err on this, you will certainly over-thicken your food, which is very undesirable.
It is undeniable that rice flour is one of the most popular alternatives to corn flour. It works well as a thickening element. Moreover, it is a great baking agent. Therefore, if you are a fan of baking cakes and cookies, you could resort to using rice flour. Just as its name suggests, rice flour is a byproduct of finely milled rice. It is rich in calories and carbohydrates. It also contains a decent amount of protein and a little bit of fat.
Rice flour has the same texture and appearance as corn flour. It is a white powder with a fine and smooth texture. It does a pretty good job as a thickening agent. It can quickly thicken your soup without any prior preparations. I love rice flour because it is inexpensive. Moreover, you can easily find it in the market. When I visited Japan Town in New York last fall, I made sure that I brought home several bags of rice flour with me. This is a great ingredient to store in your kitchen.
If a particular recipe that requires you to use one tablespoon of corn flour, you can replace it with one tablespoon of rice flour. They have the same ratio, so it should not cause any confusion at all. Fortunately, rice flour doesn't affect either the flavor or texture of the food. Therefore, it is a good alternative.
A few of my colleagues are quite daunted whenever I use tuber starches in my recipes. Well, I couldn't blame them, as this recipe is still quite foreign, even to seasoned chefs and gourmets. The starch that comes from manioc or cassava is the main source of tuber starch. In layman's term, we call this starch Tapioca. It is pretty popular in many Asian countries, although you can still find this plant in some Western and European countries.
Tapioca is still a thickening agent, considering that it has similar properties to corn flour. Primarily, I use tapioca to cuisines and dishes that involve refrigeration process. The main reason for this is the consistency of the said ingredient. Unlike other starches and flour, this one doesn't cause the food to congeal and clump together. If you are familiar with tapioca pudding, you’ve probably seen the smoothness it has.
You need to use four teaspoons of tapioca as a substitute for one tablespoon of corn flour. Always remember this ratio so that you won't get lost in the cooking process.
As you can see, there are different options that you can use whenever you are running out of corn flour. Fortunately, these substitutes are easy to find and accessible. Moreover, they don't alter the flavor of your food that much. Honestly, I have already tried all of these alternatives. Trust me, each of them works as great as corn flour (as a thickening agent).
Of course, you should always follow the appropriate usages of these corn flour substitutes. Otherwise, you won't get the desired results that you want. If you err gravely, you might end up ruining the entire dish, which would be a waste. Therefore, you need to practice precision in cooking, so that your dishes will always be delicious.
If you have any questions, comments, and suggestions, feel free to ask me. I will be waiting!