Cornflour vs maize flour - it comes in various forms and they are called different things different countries. Is maize flour the same as cornflour?... you are wondering. Here is a guide to help you get your head around the tricky gluten free ingredient that is cornflour.

Through gluten free baking and mixing flour blends you will come into contact with various starches and flours. Sometimes you need both in one recipe. We are researching the differences between starches and flours for our starch vs flour segment, potato was first up now it is cornflour (the starch) vs maize flour.

The first thing to clarify here is that the naming conventions for corn starches and flours differ markedly between the UK, US and Australia. Cornflour in Australia and the UK is the same as cornstarch in the US. Also in Australia we have cornflour made from wheat so make sure youa are buying the corn version. What we in Australia call maize flour is the same as the US’s cornflour or more commonly used, cornmeal. Deglutenous is in Australia so we will refer directly to the Australianisms.

gluten free cornflour vs corn starch, cornflour vs maize flour


Cornflour is a fine white powder separated from the protein and other components of maize flour, what is left is purely starch. It has no taste and it most commonly used as a thickener by first combining with a little cold water to make a paste.

good for:
thickening sauces, soups, stews and gravies - cornflour doesn’t make the dish cloudy as it would if using flour to thicken.

Beware: In Australia we also have wheaten cornflour, which uses the same process to remove the protein from wheat to leave starch (just to confuse things) so be sure when you buy cornflour that it is made from corn.

gluten free cornflour, gluten free maize flour

Maize flour

Maize flour is the entire corn kernel milled into flour. It contains protein and fat as well. The grind can vary from fine to coarse (at it’s most coarse you would know maize flour as polenta) and it is better for certain things depending on its grind.

Fine maize flour

good for:
making breads - such as mexican tortillas or cornbread (more dense than normal bread)

Coarse maize flour

At it’s most coarse you would know maize flour as polenta

good for:
polenta makes a great alternative to couscous as a side dish
coating meats, fish and seafood before frying
dense, moist cakes

Found this interesting? deglutenous also have an article on the difference between potato starch and potato flour.