Are Cornmeal And Corn Flour The Same? 3 Easy And Unique Ways To Tell the Difference

Last Updated on April 11, 2022 by Guillermina

It is normal to wonder are cornmeal and corn flour the same when making a new recipe that calls for either one of these ingredients. It is common to see cornmeal and corn flour in Mexican cuisine, but are these two powders interchangeable?

If you aren’t sure the differences or use of cornmeal and corn flour, lets look into it! Through this blog, you will learn about what cornmeal is and are cornmeal and corn flour the same! By the end, you will know how to use both cornmeal and corn flour while in a pinch!

What Is Cornmeal?

So, what exactly is cornmeal? It is more common to use cornmeal then it is to use corn flour. From what we know, this has been around for thousands of years, actually, historians believe the origin of this gritty powder was somewhere between 9,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Corn is still a huge staple in Mexico as it grows in abundance. Actually, corn first originated in Latin America, before eventually also growing and thriving in North America. Cornmeal feels gritty, but it is a powder used in the baking process.

This type of flour is gritty and textured because it is mainly made out of corn kernels that are dried. There is usually no other ingredients listed in cornmeal. There are two types of cornmeal, which depend on the corn used; white cornmeal and yellow cornmeal.

 are cornmeal and corn flour the same

What Is Cornmeal Used For?

Now that we have some basic information about cornmeal, we can also understand how to use it. There are many dishes and Mexican staples that use cornmeal. Even a lot of southern food in the U.S uses cornmeal since corn grows in abundance in North America.

Cornmeal is used for making tortillas, which are then used for many other dishes and meals! This leads to the big question though, are cornmeal and corn flour the same?

What Is Corn Flour?

Since we can’t answer the question are cornmeal and corn flour the same before looking into what is corn flour, lets define corn flour. This corn flour goes through a very similar process compared to cornmeal. However, instead of grinding whole kernels, it is dried kernels to make a processed and smooth powder.

It is usually easier to work with corn flour because the texture is soft and easy to mold and mix. the ingredients break apart better and don’t clump up like cornmeal does. You can use corn flour to bake goods that do not require gluten. This includes different breads and desserts.

 Can I use cornmeal instead of cornflour?

The Uses Of Corn Flour

The uses of corn flour completely depends on where you are in the world. In Mexico, corn flour is not used as often as cornmeal because the smoothness leaves out the taste of corn. However, in Southern U.S, this type of flour is used to make corn bread in combination with cornmeal.

Are Cornmeal And Corn Flour The Same?

The short answer to are cornmeal and corn flour the same is no! However, they are nearly the same as they use the same ingredients and a grinding process to make them into their own unique flours. The biggest difference, which we will discuss further in the following section, is the texture!

3 Ways To Distinguish Between Cornmeal And Corn Flour

Are cornmeal and corn flour the same? Not exactly, the three ways to distinguish if something was made with cornmeal vs corn flour are listed below!

 How do you make corn flour from cornmeal?

1. Flavor

Personally, I am a huge fan of cornmeal vs corn flour. Why you may ask? This is because cornmeal has a more intense flavor that reminds me of corn! The corn flour on the other hand is more mellow, which can dilute the flavor.

Cornmeal was made with the purpose of using corn-based flour with nitty and gritty pieces or corn kernel left behind to intensify and exaggerate the flavor more.

2. Texture

As stated previously, the biggest difference between cornmeal and corn flour is texture! If you are eating a pastry that is corn-based and aren’t sure if it is cornmeal or corn flour, you can usually tell by the texture of this pastry or dish.

The texture of a dish made primarily with cornmeal is thick and almost nutty. This means that you can taste and feel the grains on the tip of your tongue. It also has more of a ‘corn’ flavor compared to corn flour. When corn flour is used, there is a yellow tinge to the pastry or dish, but it does not have the same flavor or texture.

 What can be used instead of corn flour?

3. Dishes

What about dishes? Can we tell are cornmeal and corn flour the same through the dishes that use them? I would say yes! Have you ever bitten into a warm and delicious jalapeno and cheese cornbread? This is a Tex-Mex dish often served in the bordering states between Mexico and the U.S, like Texas, Arizona, and California.

It is delicious and flavorful and mainly uses cornmeal! You can tell because the cake or bread almost falls apart in your mouth. Interestingly enough, a lot of dishes that use corn flour can be substituted for cornmeal, with just a few small adjustments!

Do you have a lot of cornmeal that you are trying to use up? Why not make it into a corn flour by adding less cornmeal and more liquid? Keep in mind though that the texture will still be gritty as this is simply how corn meal is. If you want to try and blend cornmeal to make it more fine, you can try this too!


Now you should know the answer to are cornmeal and corn flour the same. These delicious flours are great to use in baked goods as well as Tex-Mex and many other Mexican dishes! Usually though, cornmeal is more popular because of its texture and more intense flavor. It is also less expensive.

Did you learn anything new about are cornmeal and corn flour the same? Let us know in the comments below! And feel free to share this blog about are cornmeal and corn flour the same with interested friends!


Can I use cornmeal instead of cornflour?

Yes! You can substitute both cornmeal and corn flour interchangeably. However, that being said, cornmeal will change the overall texture since it is gritty.

What can you substitute for cornmeal?

You can substitute corn flour for cornmeal easily! If you want to get creative, you can also use regular white flour, and corn based break and cake blended together for a touch of sweetness!

How do you make corn flour from cornmeal?

Usually, it is not possible to make corn flour from cornmeal unless you have a blender or grinder that is good for fine powders. You will need to grind the cornmeal a lot to make it fine enough for corn flour.

What can be used instead of corn flour?

Instead of corn flour, you can use cornmeal or regular white flour!