Thickening with cornstarch vs flour

Thickening with cornstarch vs flour

In the cooking and baking world, flour and cornstarch are two of the most vital ingredients in cookery.

thickening with cornstarch vs flour

Both flour and cornstarch are starches, and both are used similarly as thickening agents in many types of sauces in various cuisines. Cornstarch, as it name implies, is a starch made from corn.

The starch is a fine, white powder flour that comes from the white heart of the corn, also known as endosperm. Another name for cornstarch is corn flour. On the other hand, flour is made from wheat, and it is the traditional thickening agent.

thickening with cornstarch vs flour

Cornstarch is a pure starch compared to flour. The reason for this is because flour contains gluten. The lack of gluten in cornstarch makes it more efficient in thickening. In fact, cornstarch has twice the thickening power of starch.

The presence of gluten in flour makes it less effective. Since the cornstarch has twice the thickening power compared to flour, the amount of cornstarch used is usually half of that of flour in a given recipe.

As a mixture, the cornstarch mix blends more easily compared to the flour combination. Cornstarch as a thickening agent produces a clear and light shine or gloss to the sauce, while the flour mixture will add a white, opaque, and cloudy appearance. The cornstarch mixture is used for dairy-based sauces like custards and gravies, while the flour mixture is used in white or cream soups. The flour mixture can also be used as a roux wherein the flour and fat are combined. Another notable difference between the cornstarch mixture and the flour mixture is the temperature of the water.

Cornstarch is mixed with cold water because the starch will get lumpy if hot water is added. In contrast, flour is blended with hot water. Both mixtures can be added to the sauce base or soup after combining the dry and wet ingredients. Both cornstarch and flour mixtures can be subject to thinning. When this happens, a couple of factors come into play. The mixture might have unequal amounts of liquid and the dry ingredient whether it is cornstarch or flour.

Usually, the amount of the liquid is smaller compared to that of dry starch. This can be remedied be adding more hot or cold water, depending on the type of thickening agent. Another factor might be an excess of other ingredients like sugar, fat, and acid. Excessive stirring and freezing the mixture can also contribute to its thinning. Another issue is the formation of lumps.Learn how to easily thicken gravy using cornstarch or flour—plus, get bonus tips on other thickening agents you can use including gluten-free options!

How much cornstarch is needed to thicken gravy? The ratio is an easy one to remember: use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per 1 cup of liquid for a perfect gluten-free gravy thickener every time. If you want extra-thick gravy, use 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of liquid vegetable, chicken, or meat stock, ideally; a combination of pan drippings and stock; or water and bouillon. A good rule of thumb is to start with a single tablespoon—you can always add more. To thicken gravy with cornstarch with smooth results, mix the cornstarch with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to make a liquid-like paste, or slurry.

Another method is to strain the dry cornstarch through a fine mesh sieve, although using this method to thicken gravy may result in a more lumpy gravy. Once you add the cornstarch to your hot liquid, use a whisk or wooden spoon to incorporate it, whisking or stirring constantly until it is well-incorporated and the gravy starts to thicken. Bonus: In addition to being a gluten-free gravy thickener, you need less cornstarch than other gravy thickeners to get the job done.

Similar to cornstarch, the technique to thicken gravy with flour works best if you add a little water to your flour to create a liquid-like paste, or slurry you may also use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the dry flour into the hot liquid.

However, when using flour as a gravy thickener, you must double the amount—use 2 tablespoons of flour per 1 cup of liquid. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to incorporate, stirring constantly until you thicken the gravy to the desired consistency.

How to INSTANTLY Thicken Up Any Shake or Smoothie

What can you use to thicken gravy besides cornstarch or flour? There are lots of options many are gluten-free gravy thickeners, tooyou just need to get a little creative with your substitutions. One easy way to thicken gravy is to simply reduce the liquid. Add any pan drippings you have to a small or medium-sized sauce pan, measure out one cup of liquid, and simmer on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by at least a third and the flavors are more concentrated.

By Amy Zavatto Updated October 13, Save FB Tweet ellipsis More. Image zoom. Close Share options. All rights reserved. Close View image.Flour and cornstarch are two different things, but that doesn't mean there aren't times they can't be substituted for each other. Depending on the recipe, it is sometimes possible to swap out flour for cornstarch, or vice versa. In general, you can substitute flour for cornstarch, but you'll have to use twice as much, which will make the resulting dish heavier and thicker than the recipe intends.

Ordinary flour is made from wheat, and it contains protein, starch, and fiber. The protein, known as glutenis what causes the dough to become elastic when you knead it, and it gives baked goods their structure.

Cornstarch, on the other hand, is made from cornmeal which is processed to separate the protein and fiber, leaving just the starch. Since it's pure starch, you can't bake with it because it does not have any protein or fiber in it. It lacks some of the vitamins in flour, but both are heavily processed carbohydrates, which when consumed in moderation, can be part of a balanced diet.

Cornstarch is good for thickening foods like saucespuddings, and pie fillings. That's because when it's cooked, a starch acts like a sponge, absorbing liquid and expanding as it does so.

thickening with cornstarch vs flour

It also gelatinizes, which means it sets up firm when it cools, which is what you might want a cream pie filling to do.

All starches have this property, which is why flour is also used for thickening sauces usually as part of a roux. But because it's pure starch, cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour. So you would have to use twice as much flour to achieve the same thickening as cornstarch.

However, too much flour will cause your sauce or filling to turn thick and gummy. It will also have a floury taste, which probably isn't what you want. Additionally, cornstarch imparts a shiny, translucent appearance, which is a desirable feature for fruit pie fillings and certain sauces especially in Chinese cuisine. Flour won't do this. If you're attempting to keep to a gluten-free diet, then you'll want to stick to cornstarch over flour for a thickening agent.

Cornstarch is made from corn which lacks gluten. Cornstarch can also give deep-fried foods a crispy coating.The culinary world has produced so many duos of ingredients: heavy cream and half-and-half, butter and shortening, breadcrumbs and crackers.

But today, we are breaking down the differences and ways to use flour starch made from wheat and cornstarch starch made from corn. Both are commonly used in thickening sauces, frying foods, and in baking, but what are the differences between them? Both flour and cornstarch are bomb ingredients for thickening sauces. Cornstarch lacks a taste and, when added to a sauce, it'll create a glossy appearance while thickening.

You also need less of the ingredient; when using cornstarch, use half of the amount you would use for flour. For example, for 2 tablespoons of flour, you'd use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

If, by chance, your sauce has an acidic or vinegar taste, it's best to use flour to tone down the acid. Flour also works best if your sauce is based with a fat; if your recipe calls for butter to start with, use flour to thicken. Flour will do just fine as a breading, but it won't get as golden and it doesn't quite achieve that coveted crispiness.

Many recipes—e. Using cornstarch to fry foods, however, will get you the golden color and extreme crunchiness. This is because cornstarch is almost completely starch whereas flour has a lower starch content because it also has gluten. Some recipes might even use only cornstarch to ensure the food gets ultimate crisp status.

Flour and cornstarch are both common ingredients in baking. Both can thicken pie fillings, but they can also be used to adjust the texture of baked goods. Primarily, cornstarch is often used along with flour to "soften" the flour, resulting in nice crumbs without the goods totally falling apart.

Cornstarch Vs. Flour Thickener

Another differences in their uses—flour tends to be the go-to dry ingredient in most baking. Cornstarch, however, can be substituted to make a baked good gluten-free! Just be sure to use less, as the two ingredients absorb liquid in different amounts. Flour and cornstarch are the brother and sister in thickening, frying, and baking, but they each have their little differences and tricks.

They are super easy to substitute when need be, or if you want the dish to be more crispy or tender. Depending on how you want the dish to turn out, try using one or the other.

Don't be afraid to experiment! Coffee Tea Perfect for when you'reForums New posts Search forums. Search titles only. Search Advanced search…. What's new. Log in. JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding.

Flour vs. I am curious as to when to use flour vs. For example, when I make cream gravy e. What is the practical difference? There are a few basic differences: Appearance: flour makes a gravy opaque and can dull or lighten the color, while cornstarch when used properly yields a clear, shiny sauce. Flavor: flour needs to be cooked enough to lose its raw flavor; cornstarch doesn't have much flavor on its own.

And if you use a cooked flour such as a long-cooked Cajun-style roux, or roasted flouryou ADD a roasty-toasty flavor you can't get with cornstarch. Cooking time: Flour needs relative long cooking, both to lose its raw flavor and to unleash its thickening powers; cornstarch needs only a short cooking time to thicken.

In fact, if you cook cornstarch too long, it lets go and the sauce thins out again. This is just a start. I'm sure others will chime in with more!

I second that suzanne, Alton Brown did too! I don't know, but potato starch works similar to corn starch- as does arrowroot. I also find that cornstarch tends to deaden flavors more than flour does, so you need to make sure your liquid is well seasoned before adding your cornstarch slurry.

I think the biggest thing a roux has to offer is richness. I use roux to emulsify or suspend fat into soups or sauces. One downside to roux is the skin that forms on top of the sauce or soup. It has to be strained constantly. Someone scientific, please continue with explanations.

thickening with cornstarch vs flour

Thanks All I appreciate your comments. I use fat with flour Asian food has more cornstarch. Cornstarch however, and arrowroot for that matter are more efficient thickeners than flour. But of course, all the aforementioned variables must be taken into account when making a final decision of which thickener is best for your specific dish. I think these questions would be great for our visit by Harold McGee!

May I suggest that those of us who have the update of On Food and Cooking check out pages to -- a wealth of information on "Sauces Thickened with Flour and Starch. Hi Mitch, For a breakfast sausage gravy I like to use flour. But, as others have said Mixing it with a fat.In my family, we make a delicious broccoli barley soup each year and my mom always makes my favorite split pea soup. Making soup from scratch is a fun project for the whole family. Many people now are turning to a gluten-free lifestyle, and so are avoiding flour, a common ingredient used to thicken many soups.

Flour and cornstarch have very similar calorie counts. Using flour vs. Flour, particularly whole wheat flour, actually contains some valuable vitamins and minerals that can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, you can always purchase enriched flour, which has gone through the process of having the positive vitamins and minerals added back in, plus some additional.

In fact, the nutritional contents are next to zero. No, not a Slurpee, though those are also great. A slurry is the semi-liquid kind of paste you get when you mix the liquid with small solid things.

In some cases, like in construction, it means mixing cement with water to make it easier to pour. In soup making, it means mixing liquid into the cornstarch before adding it directly to the soup. Some people use water, some use stock, some even use wine. That is about the right amount of slurry to thicken your soup, but of course, this depends largely on personal taste and how much thickener you need for this recipe.

Try experimenting with how much thickener you use. Then bring the soup to a boil and allow it to cook and simmer. Try tasting it to see if you can still taste the starch. That taste will cook out. If you can still taste it, just let it simmer for a few more minutes.

Go ahead and experiment with different slurry recipes and amounts. Also, check out arrowroot and tapioca as other thickener options. Happy soup making! Search for:.Learn how to thicken a sauce with two simple ingredients—flour or cornstarch. We have guidelines for using these two ingredients as thickening agents for sauces, plus information on how to make a roux and thicken soups.

Have you ever tried to twirl a bite of pasta that, by the time it reaches your mouth, seems to have no sauce?

Have you ever poured turkey gravy over meat and potatoes just to watch it spread over the entire plate? Then you've experienced the importance of learning how to thicken sauces.

You want to serve up sauces that have the right viscosity to cling to the intended food, not run everywhere. Here are some tips on how to thicken sauce with items already in your pantry. Be sure to thoroughly mix the water with the flour to prevent lumps. After stirring the combined flour and water into the sauce, cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Heat one minute more to completely cook the flour. Thickening a sauce with cornstarch is very similar to using flour, you just need different quantities.

Be sure to thoroughly mix the cornstarch and water together, then pour into your sauce. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Heat two minutes more in order to completely cook the cornstarch.

Flour and cornstarch aren't your only options as a food thickener. You can make a roux—a mixture of flour and fat—as a soup thickener, gravy thickener, or sauce thickener. Learn how to make roux. When it comes to thickening soup recipesyou have more options than just a flour or cornstarch thickener. Depending on the recipe you're making, you can use eggs, a roux, or a puree of some of your ingredients for a liquid thickener.

The kind of soup thickener you use mainly depends on the recipe, because some thickening agents can affect the flavor of the soup. Thickening Sauces with Cornstarch or Flour. Save Pin FB ellipsis More. Image zoom. Comments 1 Add Comment. View Comments.

September 29, My favorite thicker is making a roux with bouillon. It makes the gravy more tastier, driping from the pan.

Whether it's chickenpot roast or pork.

Thickening Sauces with Cornstarch or Flour

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