is maizena the same as cornstarch

Is Maizena the same as cornstarch? It is natural to feel confused when you find the term “cornstarch” used on a box of Maizena.

In most households, cornstarch is a staple in the kitchen and pantry.

Soups, glazes, marinades, casseroles, and sauces all benefit from cornstarch’s thickening properties.

But, sometimes, you just cannot find your regular cornstarch to use in baking.

  • What should you do then?
  • Can you go with Maizena without affecting your recipe?
  • And is cornstarch and Maizena the same thing?

Yes, Maizena is cornstarch, but the only difference is that you do not have to heat Maizena like regular cornstarch for thickening. 

Is Maizena the Same as Cornstarch?

maizena same as cornstarch

Many people use the terms Maizena and cornstarch interchangeably, but it is not always accurate.

What you should understand is that Maizena is cornstarch but not all cornstarch is Maizena. 

What Exactly is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is an extremely popular thickening agent, used in a variety of recipes.

It basically comes from the endosperm of corn and is a form of maize starch.

The preparation process involves removing the maize kernel’s germ and bran while keeping the white endosperm.

It contains a high concentration of starch but almost no fiber or protein. It is then processed into a fine powder to produce cornstarch.

cornstarch on bowl
Fact: Cornstarch can be stored indefinitely, and the powder will not spoil unless the container is opened and bugs or moisture is allowed to enter.

What Makes Cornstarch So Versatile?

Cornstarch is versatile because it has a neutral flavor, making it usable in many ways.

It has no discernible flavor and does not linger in the mouth. This means it will not change the taste of anything you cook.

However, it can alter a dish’s texture and consistency and is excellent when combined with water and used as a thickening agent. 

When added to the dish, the slurry creates a creamy, jelly-like consistency.

But, it is possible to use it as a batter ingredient when deep-frying food.

And for cheese, it serves perfectly as an anti-caking agent.  

What Exactly is Maizena?

what exactly is maizena

Maizena is an extremely popular cornstarch brand. Originally, it was meant to be a more hygienic and risk-free alternative to regular cornstarch.

The brand has evolved considerably over the years, adding many new items to its lineup. 

Of their many offerings, Maizena cornstarch stands out as a high-quality thickening agent used in various culinary applications.

The notable thing is that Maizena refers to precooked cornstarch. 

It means that when you use traditional cornstarch, you first need to heat it up to use as a thickening agent.

No such thing is needed with Maizena, though. 

Can You Use Cornstarch in Place of Maizena in Recipes?

use cornstarch

Yes, you can.

You can easily switch between them and not notice any differences. There may be some variation in quality, but that is about all.

Remember, Maizena is a premium, pre-cooked cornstarch. Therefore, the quality of the results you get from using a different brand of cornstarch may vary.

Fact: Regular cornstarch would stay ineffective if you do not bring the mixture to a boil before use. 

Is Corn Flour and Maizena Flour the Same Thing?

Essentially, they are.

In many recipes, corn flour replaces maize flour. Therefore, it does not matter if you use corn flour or maize flour.

corn flour in bowl

Even inside the United States, the product is known as maize flour in several regions and corn flour in others.

The same product is known as corn flour in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth. 

Is there a Difference between Maizena and Cornmeal?

Yes, there is a slight difference between the two.

Basically, Maizena is cornstarch or corn flour, whereas cornmeal is dried maize milled to a coarse meal. 

What is the Substitute for Maizena?

You can replace it with arrowroot, flour, tapioca, potato starch, or even instant mashed potato granules.


However, cornstarch usually works better depending on the recipe.

And in most cases, you only need a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken a cup of liquid. 

Where Can You Use Maizena Flour?

Just like corn flour, you can use maize flour in so many ways.

Some of the most common uses include muffins, bread, pancake, doughnuts, wafers, biscuits, infant foods, and breakfast cereals.

Fact: Cornstarch dissolves when heated to about 150F because the crystalline-like starch granules break down at this temperature. 

What are the Best Substitutes for Maizena Cornstarch?

best substitutes for maizena

Do not worry if you run out of cornstarch and need a replacement because you forgot to resupply or have a corn allergy. There are substitutes.

Cornstarch is an indispensable kitchen ingredient since it can be used in so many different ways, like:

  • As a thickener in soups, stir-fries, jams, and jellies;
  • As a stabilizer in emulsions and whipped toppings;
  • As a miraculous dredge for crisping up baked, fried and sautéed meals.

The interesting thing is that with the following substitutes, you can get the same results as with cornstarch without using any.

Potato Starch

Many cooks find that potato starch can be used in place of cornstarch.

Crushed potatoes are processed into a fine white powder that can be used as a direct replacement for cornstarch.

bowl of potato starch

It can be used as a thickening slurry to create velvety homemade Queso or combined with tofu to make a fluffy, crunchier exterior.

And of course, it can be used in desserts like marshmallow dishes because of its sugary flavor. 

Rice Flour

Rice flour is a suitable substitute for cornstarch when it comes to creating craggy, crispy, and shatteringly crunchy coatings for fried foods.

There is only one consideration, though: it is more expensive than your regular cornstarch, or even Maizena.

rice grains and rice flour

 If you need to utilize a considerable quantity, the expense of your cooking job may grow significantly.

However, rice flour can be substituted for cornstarch in a number of recipes with equally crisp results.


Use rice flour as a thickener with caution. Some brands may have a grainier or gummier consistency, but you need finely milled rice flour for the best effects.

All Purpose Flour

If you have ever created a roux, you are aware of how wonderfully plain flour thickens gravies, sauces and stews.

whisking all purpose flour

What to Consider

It may be used as a substitute but is not a perfect replacement for cornstarch.

A sauce thickened with all-purpose flour will be less transparent and have a thicker consistency than one thickened with cornstarch.

It will not give fried items the same thing, shatteringly crunchy crust as cornstarch does, but it can be used in a pinch for either situation.


Replace one spoonful of cornstarch with two teaspoons of flour.

If preparing a pan sauce, saute the flour in a little amount of fat until golden and caramelized to eliminate the “raw flour” flavor and texture.

Tapioca Flour

bowl of tapioca flour

Tapioca flour derived from cassava root is among the best replacements for cornstarch in sweet sauces and puddings.

But, do not confuse it with more fibrous cassava flour.

Tapioca flour is an excellent thickening agent, but use it sparingly. If you prefer bubble tea or boba, you are familiar with tapioca flour’s potential chewiness.


Replace cornstarch in a recipe with twice as much tapioca flour, and do not overheat or boil for an extended amount of time.

Arrowroot Powder

There are a number of tropical plants whose roots can be processed into arrowroot powder or arrowroot starch.

fresh and powdered arrowroot

It works quite like cornstarch, but with a bit more finicky. It is most often used to provide airiness to vegan or gluten-free pastries.

What to Consider

Avoid using arrowroot in dishes that require extensive simmering or direct heat, like desserts.

To get good results, you may want to dissolve it in cold water first – use two parts of cornstarch and one part of arrowroot starch.

Then gradually add the resulting slurry to sauces that are already at room temperature.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is unlikely to be on hand if cornstarch is not already. Still, it serves as an effective substitute for Maizena cornstarch.

xanthan gum in a spoon

 Xanthan gum is a typical thickening agent and is frequently used in gluten-free baking recipes to replicate the stretchiness of wheat flour.

It is usually created by fermenting cornstarch (if you have a corn allergy, beware!).


Only use a pinch as a cornstarch replacement in gravies and sauces.

Because of its incredible thickening capacity, you just need half a teaspoon for a whole pan of gravy.

Begin slowly and gradually increase the pace as needed.

Fact: Cornstarch can thicken more efficiently than flour but loses its thickening ability if heated for too long or if over-whisked after it has thickened.


When you love baking, you may already know the role of cornstarch in cooking perfect dishes.

But it is also important to know what you can use in place of cornstarch, like Maizena.

So, is Maizena the same as cornstarch? Turns out, it is, and you can always use it in recipes that call for cornstarch or corn flour.

But, if that is not available, there are always other substitutes to consider.