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Is Corn Starch Gluten Free

Is Corn Starch Gluten Free ? 

If you have celiac disease or a reaction to gluten, you have to be very particular about the foods that you use while cooking. And if a product is not made from something that contains gluten, if it is manufactured on common equipment it may also be tainted. Unfortunately for cornstarch this is also the case. In general, cornstarch is not a gluten-containing food, because it is made of corn, a gluten-free crop. The concern is that some producers producing this ingredient often make goods containing wheat and other grain-based gluten. Continue reading to learn all about how cornstarch is made, used and some gluten-free alternatives.

What is Cornstarch and How does it work?

Cornstarch is manufactured entirely from corn baking substance. Manufacturers start with maize kernels and grind them, then wash them to remove the starch from the components of grain, protein and oil. The resultant material is very thin and powdery, often used to cook and bake. Cornstarch may also be used as a silverware cleaner, as a starch cloth or even as a finish on your vehicle.

The most common use in cooking of cornstarch is as a thickening agent, although it can also be used as a partial replacement for gluten-free baking flour. Cornstarch is also used in gravies, sauces , soups, and casseroles to thicken the filling for desserts. It is a popular thickener for many recipes because it produces a gel that is translucent rather than opaque when combined with water-making it ideal for desserts that add a fruit glaze.

It is important to know some basic tips when using Cornstarch. First and foremost, never apply the cornstarch straight to the hot oil, as it can create clumps that you can not whisk off. Mix it with a little liquid at room temperature by using cornstarch as a thickener to make a slurry and whisk it into the hot sauce. Before cooling, you can then get the liquid to a full boil to ensure that the corn starch gelatinizes completely.

Why is Gluten Free Not Pure Cornstarch?

Since cornstarch is made entirely from corn, which is a gluten-free grain, it actually contains no gluten. Unfortunately, it is also produced on equipment shared with other crops, including wheat, and grain goods. This indicates that there is a chance of cross-contamination, while many sufferers from celiac disease have no response to cornstarch. If you're concerned about the cornstarch that you're using, several national brands are branded gluten-free. Here's the short list:

  • Hodgson Mill (certified gluten free)*
  • Argo & Kingsford’s
  • Bob’s Red Mill
  • Clabber Girl

We suggest that you only go with gluten-free approved goods to ensure optimal protection. A person with celiac disease responds differently to such ingredients even if it is not declared gluten-free, you may or may not have a reaction to cornstarch. You may want to stop companies using shared equipment just to be healthy though. Water, Frontier Natural, and Rapunzel are among the brands that manufacture cornstarch that can be manufactured on shared equipment.

What are certain Options to Gluten Free?

If you're worried that the cornstarch you have in your pantry might not be fully gluten-free (or if you really don't want to take the risk), then there are some gluten-free options you may consider.Here are a few choices along with tips about how to use them:

Arrowroot- Usually marketed as arrowroot starch or arrowroot dirt, it is a starchy flour originating from the plant genus of Maranta. This starch provides more fiber than cornstarch so when combined with water it produces the same sort of transparent gel.

Potato Starch-This ingredient is rich in carbohydrates but has no flavor, created by grinding potatoes to extract the starch and then dry it into a powder. Can be replaced at a ratio of 1-to-1.

Tapioca – Removing this starch from the cassava plant, it is pounded into a pulp and then dried into a flour. Tapioca starch can be supplemented by two spoons per 1 spoon of cornstarch at a ratio.

Rice Flour- Rice flour is naturally gluten-free and colorless when combined with water, made from finely ground rice. It works well to thicken transparent liquids but to get the same result, you need twice as much rice flour as cornstarch. But it can be used hot or cold.

Ground Flaxseed- By removing the moisture, ground flaxseeds form a jelly when combined with water. However the soil seed composition is very coarse, but very rich in fiber.

Psyllium Husk – A plant-based soluble fiber, psyllium husk is very low in carbohydrates and similar to cornstarch, you only need a slight amount to thicken the recipes.

Xanthan Gum – This vegetable gum is formed by fermenting sugar with Xanthomonas campestris bacteria, and then drying and powdering the resulting gel. Xanthan gum can be used to thicken large amounts of liquid in small quantities, and can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement.

Guar Gum – Made from a legume known as guar bean, this vegetable gum is produced by scraping the bean 's outer husk and then the starchy endosperm is dried and grinded. Guar gum is low in calories, rich in fibre and cheaper than xanthan gum in general.

When a recipe includes cornstarch, there is usually a valid explanation for that. If you have gluten-free cornstarch on hand, you should be using it. However, if you don't, the alternatives mentioned above may be used as a substitution, although this could affect the final product.

Tips for Cornstarch Cooking

You can make sure the brand you are using is gluten-free before cooking with cornstarch. If it doesn't mention anything on the bottle, you may want to do a quick brand search to see if they still make gluten-containing baking goods. When you've made sure you use gluten-free cornstarch, here are some easy suggestions to help you do it properly:

  • Use less cornstarch than flour if you're using it as a thickener-it's a much better thickener than flour, just use it a little at a time before you get the desired result.
  • Cornstarch breaks down much quicker than flour, so you can add it at the end of the cooking – note, you must still mix it with any liquid at room temperature before applying it to hot liquid to prevent clumping.
  • Cornstarch thickened sauces and soups don't appear to reheat, as do recipes made with other thickeners – you can also avoid freezing recipes made with cornstarch.
  • Cornstarch should not be used in baking recipes as a 1-to-1 supplement for flour, since it does not contain the protein required to give baked goods their shape and lift.
  • It is necessary to prevent humidity when storing cornstarch, since it can absorb moisture – store it away from excessive heat in an airtight jar.
  • As long as it is preserved properly, cornstarch will last forever, since it contains only starch, no protein or fat that might break down or rancid.

While cornstarch is sometimes used in the cooking and baking process, it is not usually the star of the recipe. If you're interested to see what cornstarch does in various types of recipes, here are several that you can try:

1. Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding

Servings: 4


  • 1⁄2 cup grain sugar
  • 1⁄4 Cup Maize Starch
  • 3 Tablespoons of unsweetened raw cocoa
  • Pinching salt
  • 2 3⁄4 cups of almond unsweetened milk
  • 2 Cups of butter
  • 1 Vanilla Flavor Extract


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt over medium heat.
  2. Then apply the almond milk and bring to a boil.
  3. Heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and butter mixture.
  5. Let the mixture cool in dessert cups before serving warm or spoon, then chill before eating.
2. Easy Cornstarch Cookies

Servings: About 4 dozen


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • Colored sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F, and line a parchment baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing cup, add the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together until soft and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the salt and eggs when well mixed.
  4. Attach the cornstarch and beat until gathered in a dough.
  5. Gather the dough into a ball, adding a bit of cornstarch to prevent it from sticking if needed.
  6. Pinch and roll little bits of dough into cubes.
  7. Place the balls of dough on the baking sheet, and flatten with a cornstarch dipped fork.
  8. Sprinkle the cookies with colored sprinkles, then bake until firm for 11 to 12 minutes.
  9. Cool the cookies full until they are pulled from the tray.

3. Turkish Delight

Servings: About 3 dozen


  • 3 Tablespoons of gelatin powder
  • 3 1/3 cups of granulated sucrose
  • 3⁄4 Cup Maize Starch
  • 2 spoonfuls of soft corn syrup
  • 2 or 3 spoonfuls of rose water
  • Red food coloring 4 or 5 fall
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar concentrate


  1. Grease a baking pan measuring 8x8-inch length, then cover the bottom with a parchment.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatine in a small bowl over 1⁄4 cup of boiling water and stir until the gelatin has melted.
  3. In a shallow saucepan, mix the sugar with 3⁄4 cup warm water.
  4. Stir to dissolve the sugar over low heat, then bring to a boil and heat to 240 ° F.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes at 240 ° F-do not stir-detach from liquid.
  6. Whisk the cornstarch along with 1 1/3 cups of cold water, then put on medium heat and bring to a boil.
  7. Cook until the mixture thickens then stir along with the gelatin mixture and cornstarch in the sugar syrup until well mixed.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and add in the coloring of rosewater and fruit.
  9. Strain the paste and scrape the foam into the baking tray. 
  10. Wait for 15 minutes then gently cover with oiled parchment and cool overnight at room temperature.
  11. Switch the cake onto a powdered sugar cutting board and carve into squares with a powdered sugar knife.
  12. Dust the squares and put them in an airtight bag of powdered sugar. 

Bottom Line

Cornstarch is made from corn, a grain which is normally gluten free. It is usually gluten-free, since no other ingredients are needed to produce it. Any cornstarch, however, can harbor trace quantities if it was made in a facility that also produces gluten-containing goods. To decide if the cornstarch is gluten-free, make sure that the list of ingredients comprises nothing but maize or cornstarch.


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