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Is Cornflour Gluten-Free?

Cornflour is a white, powdery starch that comes from corn. It is often used in cooking and baking recipes. If you’re looking to find out whether or not cornflour is gluten-free, keep reading!

Cornflour On A Spoon

Cornflour often gets mixed up with cornmeal (which sometimes gets called corn flour too) but it’s important to note that they are not the same thing! Cornflour is another name people in the UK use for cornstarch. It’s also known as maize starch. It is a thickening agent that can be used to thicken soups, stews, sauces and custard. It’s frequently used in gluten-free baking recipes, and as a vegan egg substitute.

Cornmeal on the other hand is a yellow flour made from dried corn. It is also known as maize flour. You can use it to make treats like bread, cakes and muffins. In some recipes, you can even switch wheat flour for cornmeal at a 1:1 ratio.

Is cornflour gluten-free?

As you’ve probably guessed by now, both cornflour (cornstarch) and cornmeal (maize flour) are gluten-free. Let’s take a look at where you can buy cornflour in the UK:

As you can see, most types of cornflour are free from gluten naturally. But whether or not they are suitable for those with a gluten-allergy will depend on the individual brand. There may be a risk of cross contamination so always be sure to check for the gluten-free certification on the box.

Brown & Polson was the only one that I could see is certified coeliac-friendly. It can be purchased from a few different UK supermarkets including Tesco, Asda and Iceland.

Is cornflour vegan?

Cornflour is vegan as it is not derived from animal sources. It can be enjoyed as part of a vegan and/or vegetarian lifestyle.

It is often used in vegan recipes as an egg replacement. The starch can act as a binder in recipes like frangipane, helping to prevent them from falling apart.

Other gluten-free thickeners

If you need to thicken your soups, sauces, or anything else and don’t have any cornflour to hand, there are alternatives you can try instead. All-purpose/wheat flour is a common replacement but obviously this contains gluten. Try one of the below alternatives if you’re sensitive to gluten. The below substitutes for cornflour are vegan and are particularly great for those with a corn allergy too!

  • Potato starch. Potato starch is the starch extracted from potatoes, as the name suggests! This is a great substitute for cornflour and is often used in a similar way. Potato starch is slightly healthier than cornflour too.
  • Arrowroot flour. Arrowroot flour is a starch extracted from the Maranta Arundinacea plant. This is a great alternative to cornflour if you need to use a lot to thicken a recipe, because it doesn’t have much of a flavour. Cornflour on the other hand can definitely taste overpowering if you use too much!
  • Tapioca starch. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava plant. I see this one a lot in gluten-free baking. Tapioca starch isn’t as powerful as cornflour so if you’re using it to make something thicker, you’ll need to double the quantity the recipe calls for.
  • Rice flour. Rice flour is a flour made from finely milled rice. Similar to tapioca, you’ll need to double the quantity for the same thickening power as cornflour.

Recipes to use cornflour in

  • Custard. Cornflour is a great way to thicken custard without using eggs. I do this often and use the custard to make tasty treats like trifle!
  • Caramel. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of creating caramel from scratch with a thermometer, or messing around with condensed milk, try this 5 minute caramel. It’s a *cheat’s* caramel because it’s made with cornflour to thicken it. Super easy and convenient if you’re in a hurry, and it tastes just as delicious!
  • Lemon curd. Another great recipe to use cornflour in. Lemon curd is traditionally made with eggs but you’ll never be able to tell the difference.
  • Shortbread. I don’t have a gluten-free shortbread recipe yet but you can substitute a tablespoon or two of the flour for cornflour in a shortbread recipe. This helps to give it an authentic, crumbly texture.


Is cornflour gluten-free? It sure is! It is a great thickening agent for those on a gluten-free diet. Cornflour is also vegan-friendly and can be used as an egg replacement in some vegan baking recipes.

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