Can I use cornstarch instead of flour for frying?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

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Can I use cornstarch instead of flour for frying?

Many people wonder whether they can use cornstarch instead of flour for frying or not. Frying is a popular cooking technique used to prepare many types of foods. But can we use cornstarch as a substitute for flour?

The answer is an absolute Yes! You can use cornstarch instead of flour for frying. Cornstarch, also known as maize starch, can be used in flour for frying.

In fact, cornstarch brings some additional benefits. It helps the food cook better and has fewer calories. It’s a long list. This blog post will explore how cornstarch can be substituted for flour when frying different types of food. 

What is Cornstarch?

Let’s start by knowing what cornstarch is! In the United States, cornstarch is a powder made from grinding and washing maize (corn) kernels. Cornstarch has been around for over 4000 years since ancient civilizations first used it in China. Today, cornstarch is mainly used as a thickener or a substitute for fats in food preparation due to its ability to dissolve in cold or hot water.

What is Flour?

When wheat flour is dried, processed, and crushed to make a powdery substance, it is all-purpose white flour. All-purpose white flour contains the endosperm (the starchy part of the grain), germ (the reproductive part of the plant), and bran (the nutrient-rich shell). All-purpose white flour is used for baking, thickening sauces, and frying.

Flour is also known as wheat starch when made into a fine powder.

How can Cornstarch be Used in frying?

Before approaching our main question, let’s examine how cornstarch be used in frying. In frying, cornstarch can coat meat, seafood, and vegetables before cooking.

Cornstarch is often preferred because it protects the food from becoming too crispy or absorbing excess oil. While foods are being fried, a cornstarch slurry may also be added to foods at certain times to improve their texture or flavor.

You need to apply cornstarch on meat – either chicken or beef – and let it rest for an hour before frying. You can use a generous amount of corn starch because it will make your meat crunchy and delicious!

Why cornstarch is a better alternative to flour for frying?

There are many reasons. Let’s get started!

1. Less Calories

One of the main benefits is that it helps reduce calories when frying food. Cornstarch only absorbs less oil than flour, making it the best choice for frying. Although some recipes call for using both cornstarch and flour, you can go with only the cornstarch and be perfectly fine.

2. More nutrition

Keeping the nutritional value in mind, some people prefer cornstarch as a substitute for flour when frying food because there aren’t any additives used to make this magic powder. It’s made from maize which is often genetically modified (GM). Cornstarch doesn’t contain as

3. Quicker frying time

Cornstarch (maize starch) is popularly used to coat fried chicken. When chicken is coated with cornstarch, it takes less time to fry because it absorbs less oil. This means that you can save a lot of time when cooking fried food like chicken, fish, or pork chops.

4. Better color and texture

When meat is coated with cornstarch (maize starch), the naturally occurring proteins form a protective layer around it, leading to better color and texture. At the same time, this texture can’t be achieved by flour coating.

5. Higher heat tolerance

Cornstarch can be used instead of flour at high temperatures because its structure doesn’t break down when exposed to heat.

6. Lighter taste

Cornstarch doesn’t change the flavor of food like flour does because it’s odorless, tasteless, and colorless in its raw form. This means that whatever you’re cooking won’t have any strong flavors or even a slight taste of corn which is great if you like the essence of meat.

7. Crispier than flour

Believe it or not, cornstarch coating will give you a crispy result. When you fry your chicken or fish with the cornstarch coating, it’s going to be more crunchy on the outside and tender inside. The Maillard reaction, a browning effect on food from cooking, occurs when meat is coated in flour but not when it has been coated in cornstarch.

8. Prevents gluten development

Here’s good news for all cornstarch lovers: when meat is coated with cornstarch, it prevents gluten development in foods, making them tough. This is because cornstarch is gluten-free, whereas wheat flour contains gluten.

9. Better binder

When you coat your meat with cornstarch, it works as a binder in food because of its viscous properties.

There are several reasons why people use binders when making meatballs. One reason is that it prevents gluten formation, which would make your meat too tough. Another reason is it helps keep the meat from breaking when you cook it.

5 Most commonly asked questions about using cornstarch as a substitute for flour

How much cornstarch is equivalent to flour?

There’s no definite answer to this question. Many people suggest using a ratio of 1:2 for flour and white flour. But it is safe to start with a ratio of 1:1 because this will help you determine the amount to be used in your recipe.

Does cornstarch absorb more oil than flour?

No, cornstarch absorbs less oil than flour does. When you’re frying food with cornstarch, it absorbs less oil which means that your health will thank you.

How long can I store cornstarch?

You can keep maize starch/ cornstarch in your kitchen cabinet for about two years without issues.

How much cornstarch will it take to coat one pound of meat?

Around 1/2 or 1 cup of cornstarch will coat about 1 pound of meat.

Can I substitute flour with cornstarch/ maize starch in all kinds of dishes?

No, it’s not recommended to use maize starch to substitute all kinds of dishes. The substitution ratio varies depending on the recipe you’re following, so always follow that first.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, you can absolutely use cornstarch instead of flour for frying. Although cornstarch gives your fried food a less taste, different texture, and color, it is still the best substitute you have in your cabinet. Make sure to make the substitution ratio in your recipes and see if you like it or not.

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