Corn starch

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Corn starch
Food energy
(per 100  g serving)
381  kcal  (1595 kJ)
Nutritional value
(per 100  g serving)
Protein 0.3  g
Fat 0.1  g
Carbohydrate 91  g
Corn starch powder Cornstarch mixed with water.jpg
Corn starch powder
Corn starch mixed in water Corn Starch mixture.jpg
Corn starch mixed in water

Corn starch, maize starch, or cornflour (British English) is the starch derived from corn (maize) grain. [1] The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. Corn starch is a common food ingredient, often used to thicken sauces or soups, and to make corn syrup and other sugars. [2] Corn starch is versatile, easily modified, and finds many uses in industry such as adhesives, in paper products, as an anti-sticking agent, and textile manufacturing. [3] It has medical uses as well, such as to supply glucose for people with glycogen storage disease. [4]


Like many products in dust form, it can be hazardous in large quantities due to its flammability—see dust explosion. When mixed with a fluid, corn starch can rearrange itself into a non-Newtonian fluid. For example, adding water transforms corn starch into a material commonly known as oobleck while adding oil transforms corn starch into an electrorheological (ER) fluid. The concept can be explained through the mixture termed "cornflour slime". [5]


Advertisement for a Cornflour manufacturer, 1894 Brown & Polson's.JPG
Advertisement for a Cornflour manufacturer, 1894

Until 1851, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and for other industrial uses.[ citation needed ]


Although mostly used for cooking and as a household item, corn starch is used for many purposes in several industries, ranging from its use as a chemical additive for certain products, to medical therapy for certain illnesses.[ citation needed ]


Advertisement by the US Food Administration, 1918, indicating corn starch as "wholesome" and "nutritious" United States Food Admininstration corn products poster.jpg
Advertisement by the US Food Administration, 1918, indicating corn starch as "wholesome" and "nutritious"

Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in liquid-based foods (e.g., soup, sauces, gravies, custard), usually by mixing it with a lower-temperature liquid to form a paste or slurry. It is sometimes preferred over flour alone because it forms a translucent, rather than opaque mixture. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid (Starch gelatinization). It is usually included as an anticaking agent in powdered sugar (icing or confectioner's sugar).[ citation needed ]

A common substitute is arrowroot starch, which replaces the same amount of corn starch. [6]

Food producers reduce production costs by adding varying amounts of corn starch to foods, for example to cheese and yogurt. [7]

Chicken nuggets with a thin outer layer of corn starch allows increased oil absorption and crispness after the latter stages of frying. [8]


Baby powder may include corn starch among its ingredients. [9] Corn starch can be used to manufacture bioplastics and may be used in the manufacture of airbags.[ citation needed ]

Adhesive can be made from corn starch, traditionally one of the adhesives that may be used to make paste papers. It dries with a slight sheen compared to wheat starch. It may also be used as an adhesive in book and paper conservation.[ citation needed ]


Corn starch is the preferred anti-stick agent on medical products made from natural latex, including condoms, diaphragms, and medical gloves. [10] [11]

Corn starch has properties enabling supply of glucose to maintain blood sugar levels for people with glycogen storage disease. [12] Corn starch can be used starting at age 6–12 months allowing glucose fluctuations to be deterred. [13]


The corn is steeped for 30 to 48 hours, which ferments it slightly. The germ is separated from the endosperm and those two components are ground separately (still soaked). Next the starch is removed from each by washing. The starch is separated from the corn steep liquor, the cereal germ, the fibers and the corn gluten mostly in hydrocyclones and centrifuges, and then dried. (The residue from every stage is used in animal feed and to make corn oil or other applications.) This process is called wet milling. Finally, the starch may be modified for specific purposes. [14]


Like many other powders, corn starch is susceptible to dust explosions. It is believed that overheating of a corn starch-based powder on 27 June 2015, initiated the Formosa Fun Coast explosion in Taiwan, despite warnings on the packaging indicating that the material is flammable. [15]

Names and varieties

See also

Related Research Articles

Dessert Course that concludes a meal, usually sweet

Dessert is a course that concludes a meal. The course consists of sweet foods, such as confections, and possibly a beverage such as dessert wine and liqueur. In some parts of the world, such as much of central and western Africa, and most parts of China, there is no tradition of a dessert course to conclude a meal.

Starch Glucose polymer used as energy store in plants

Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants for energy storage. Worldwide, it is the most common carbohydrate in human diets, and is contained in large amounts in staple foods like potatoes, maize (corn), rice, wheat and cassava (manioc).

Flour Cereal grains ground into powder

Flour is a powder made by grinding raw grains, roots, beans, nuts, or seeds. Flours are used to make many different foods. Cereal flour, particularly wheat flour, is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for some cultures. Corn flour has been important in Mesoamerican cuisine since ancient times and remains a staple in the Americas. Rye flour is a constituent of bread in central and northern Europe.

Custard Cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk

Custard is a variety of culinary preparations based on sweetened milk, cheese, or cream cooked with egg or egg yolk to thicken it, and sometimes also flour, corn starch, or gelatin. Depending on the recipe, custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce to the thick pastry cream used to fill éclairs. The most common custards are used in custard desserts or dessert sauces and typically include sugar and vanilla; however, savory custards are also found, e.g., in quiche.

Corn syrup Syrup made from corn used as food additive

Corn syrup is a food syrup which is made from the starch of corn and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup, also known as glucose syrup to confectioners, is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor. Corn syrup is distinct from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is manufactured from corn syrup by converting a large proportion of its glucose into fructose using the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, thus producing a sweeter compound due to higher levels of fructose.

Gravy sauce often made from the juices of meats

Gravy is a sauce, often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and often thickened with wheat flour or corn starch for added texture. The gravy may be further coloured and flavored with gravy salt or gravy browning or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned and instant gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with biscuits, roasts, meatloaf, rice, noodles, chips and mashed potatoes.

Pudding Type of food

Pudding is a type of food that can be either a dessert or a savory dish that is part of the main meal.


Roux is flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. The flour is added to the melted fat or oil on the stove top, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired level of brownness. A roux can be white, blond (darker) or brown. Butter, bacon drippings or lard are commonly used fats. Roux is used as a thickening agent for gravy, sauces, soups and stews. It provides the base for a dish, and other ingredients are added after the roux is complete.

Field corn is a North American term for maize grown for livestock fodder (silage), ethanol, cereal, and processed food products. The principal field corn varieties are dent corn, flint corn, flour corn which includes blue corn, and waxy corn.

Birds Custard

Bird's Custard is the brand name for the original powdered, egg-free imitation custard powder, now owned by Premier Foods. Custard powder and instant custard powder are the generic product names for similar and competing products. The product is a powder, based on cornflour, which thickens to form a custard-like sauce when mixed with milk and heated.

Cornflour may refer to:

Maltodextrin Chemical compound

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food ingredient. It is produced from vegetable starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose and may be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless. It can be found as an ingredient in a variety of processed foods.

Chocolate pudding Class of desserts with chocolate flavours

Chocolate puddings are a class of desserts in the pudding family with chocolate flavors. There are two main types: a boiled then chilled dessert, texturally a custard set with starch, commonly eaten in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and East and South East Asia; and a steamed/baked version, texturally similar to cake, popular in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

Thickening agent increases the viscosity of a liquid without altering its other properties

A thickening agent or thickener is a substance which can increase the viscosity of a liquid without substantially changing its other properties. Edible thickeners are commonly used to thicken sauces, soups, and puddings without altering their taste; thickeners are also used in paints, inks, explosives, and cosmetics.

Waxy corn

Waxy corn or glutinous corn is a type of field corn characterized by its sticky texture when cooked as a result of larger amounts of amylopectin. The corn was first described from a specimen from China in 1909. As this plant showed many peculiar traits, the American breeders long used it as a genetic marker to tag the existence of hidden genes in other maize breeding programs. In 1922 a researcher found that the endosperm of waxy maize contained only amylopectin and no amylose starch molecule in opposition to normal dent maize varieties that contain both. Until World War II, the main source of starch in the USA was tapioca but when Japan severed the supply lines of the States, they forced processors to turn to waxy maize. Amylopectin or waxy starch is now used mainly in food products, but also in the textile, adhesive, corrugating and paper industry.

Deglazing (cooking)

Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving browned food residue from a pan to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies.

Mazamorra Beverage from Iberia or Latin America

Mazamorra is the name for numerous traditional dishes from Iberian Peninsula and Latin America.

Arrowroot is a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock) of several tropical plants, traditionally Maranta arundinacea, but also Florida arrowroot from Zamia integrifolia, and tapioca from cassava, which is often labelled as arrowroot. Polynesian arrowroot or pia, and Japanese arrowroot, also called kudzu, are used in similar ways.


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