What Are The Best Cornmeal Substitutes?

Who has never had cornmeal in their kitchen? Surely this ingredient is bringing more than one memory to your mind. It is an essential part of many recipes made from corn. 

Corn is a cereal of American origin which is characterized by being a basic food in many regions of the world since its flour is used in many recipes and culinary preparations. 

It has an energy value similar to wheat but provides a greater amount of fat and less protein.

Sometimes we can make the mistake of thinking that cornmeal and cornflour are the same ingredients because the two of them are made from corn.

The only thing you need to know to differentiate them is that cornmeal has bigger grains than cornflour.

Because it is derived from corn as we have already told you, cornmeal is full of nutrients. It has high levels of carbohydrates and is a powerful source of fiber, iron, and phosphorus.

If you want to substitute it in your recipe, you have to take into account its two main purposes: to give texture and to give flavor.

There are several options to choose from depending on whether you want to replace its flavor or texture. Take a look at our list here and you will find the best substitutes.

#1. Corn Grits

This option can be confused with cornmeal itself due to its appearance, only that, corn grifts are usually coarser. Additionally, corn grits are made from hominy instead of plain dried corn.

It is an extremely attractive substitute if you want to give texture and flavor.

Since corn grits are thicker grains, if you are going to use it as a substitute, reduce the amount indicated in the recipe.

If you find the corn grifts too thick for your recipe you can always grind them.

#2. Polenta

This option is basically like the first one above.

What is the difference with corn grifts then? The grains that are ground are from flint corn, a very abundant variety in Italy, and has a very hard starch compared to the soft starch of corn grits.

This should not be a problem because it will provide you the corn flavor that you are looking for in your recipe, but a creamier texture.

In addition, polenta has an advantage as you can find it in different varieties of grain size making it an ideal substitute.

#3. Breadcrumbs

You may have never thought about it, and it is not the first option that may come to mind in terms of replacing cornmeal. The truth is, they have a remarkably similar texture.

If what you are considering is to avoid the taste of corn or you are allergic to this ingredient, this substitute may be perfect for you.

It’s best to mix the breadcrumbs with flour (you can select the one you want) and utilize it in the same measurement as the cornmeal.

See more: Substitute for Breadcrumbs

#4. Corn Flour

Corn flour is the easiest and most similar substitute you can find.

It is a very fine ground cornmeal where you can enjoy the exceptional advantage of replicating the flavor perfectly. The disadvantage is it does not have the same texture.

As a result, it may not be the perfect substitute if what you desire to produce is cornbread, but it can properly serve you in many other recipes.

#5. Semolina

This is another recommended option if you are allergic to corn.

Semolina is the thick flour that comes from wheat and other cereals with which various pasta products are made.

It will provide the desired texture you are looking for, but it will not give you the unique flavor of corn.

It is a highly recommended substitute for homemade bread. The only thing you have to keep in mind is it has gluten, and this can be a problem for some people.

#6. Flour

Depending on the recipe you are preparing, substituting any type of flour in the same proportion for corn flour, like a cup for a cup, will work well. 

Using wheat, tapioca, rice or any other type of flour instead of corn will subtly alter the flavor and texture of the product, but will not ruin it.


Finding an excellent substitute for your recipe can be difficult, but it is not impossible.

Nothing is certain regarding substitutes as you always need to experiment to find out if something will work in a particular recipe.

Of all the alternatives we have offered you, flour is probably the least recommended, but it can always save you from a rush. You may even end up genuinely loving the new way of preparing your recipe.

Do you have a star dish with cornmeal? Tell us.

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