What Does Cornstarch Do In Cookies? (Plus Simple Substitutes To Use In A Pinch)

Quick Answer

The addition of cornstarch to cookies gives them the right structure and holds them together. Furthermore, cookies using cornstarch tend to be thicker and more satisfying to chew since they are soft and fluffy.

Sometimes, cornstarch is used with specific types of flour. When cornstarch is combined with different types of flour, it can make a chewy and light cookie.

This implies that cornstarch is a great component for making chewy cookies. Cornstarch is a common component in some types of cookies that are meant to be chewy.

Running out of cornstarch will not wreck your day in the same way that running out of butter will, but it will throw a kink in your cookie-baking plans.

Fortunately, cornstarch isn’t completely useless. Here are several alternatives to cornstarch that you may use in cooking or baking. We will also talk about why cornstarch is called for in these cookie recipes anyway.

So, what does cornstarch do in cookies? Let’s find out.

What Does Cornstarch Do In Cookies? (Plus Simple Substitutes To Use In A Pinch)

What Is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch is produced by grinding the endosperm of maize kernels into a fine powder. It’s mostly used as a thickening and binder in savory and sweet cookery and baking.

Cornstarch may be used to thicken a number of combinations, including gravy, pie fillings, custards, and cake fillings.

It has greater strength than flour, which is also used for this purpose; increasingly, bakers are drawn to it since it is gluten-free, allowing them to manufacture gluten-free pie fillings and custards.

The cornstarch will not only thicken as it heats, but it will also set as it cools, making it a perfect method to further firm sloppy delicacies like lemon meringue pie filling without the murky hue that flour could give.

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you must exercise extreme caution when preparing meals.

Even though an ingredient is naturally gluten free, if it is processed in a non-gluten-free facility, it may be contaminated and annoy individuals who are gluten intolerant.

Cornstarch is gluten-free when it is pure. Remember that cornstarch is produced from maize, not gluten cereals such as wheat or rye.

Unfortunately, many cornstarch producers make it in a gluten-containing facility. You avoid gluten intake, make sure to buy high-quality cornstarch with a gluten-free label.

Where To Buy Cornstarch

In the baking department of each grocery store or supermarket, at least one sort of cornstarch should be available. A typical 16-ounce jar costs only a couple of bucks.

Although bulk amounts are available, most home chefs will only need a tablespoon or two for recipes, therefore bulk quantities are unnecessary.

Cornstarch derived from non-GMO corn can also be found and will be plainly labeled; organic cornstarch is inherently a non-GMO product.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, check the labels carefully. To avoid cross-contamination, be sure your cornstarch was not manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat products.

What Does Cornstarch Do In Cookies?

When it comes to cookies though, cornstarch is not used as a thickening agent but it still has a crucial role. When a recipe calls for cornstarch, it’s mostly to assist build structure.

You may add cornstarch to guarantee that your cookies have the essential structure to be relished. It holds the cookies together and may be used to give baked items the proper consistency.

Cornstarch is sometimes used with specific types of flour by bakers. When cornstarch is combined with different types of flour, it can aid in the creation of a light and chewy dessert.

This implies that cornstarch is an excellent component for making chewy cookies. Cornstarch is a typical component in some types of cookies that are designed to be highly chewy.

Cornstarch also contributes to the smooth, pleasant texture of cookies. Cornstarch is required for many cookie recipes in order for them to come out properly.

How To Cook With Cornstarch

How To Cook With Cornstarch

When working with cornstarch, it’s preferable to incorporate it into a recipe at room temperature.

When cornstarch is added to an overly hot liquid, the heat might produce clumping. It is best to produce a slurry before adding any starch to a dish. Simply combine cornstarch with a cold liquid, such as water, to form a slurry.

This combination will provide a paste-like consistency, which you can then incorporate into the required recipe.

The slurry technique ensures that the cornstarch is properly dispersed throughout the mixture and is not broken down by heat.

Sauces and soups containing cornstarch should not be frozen. When cornstarch is frozen, the molecules in the starch break down, and the liquid does not have the same texture as previously when it is thawed.

Other Cornstarch Uses

Cornstarch is far from a one trick pony, and here are some other ways in which it is used in the kitchen.

Frying Foods

Cornstarch can also be used as a frying coating. While cornstarch should not be used as a flour substitute in baked items, it may readily replace flour when coating fried fish, chicken, and other meals.

Not only will cornstarch perform similarly to flours, but it will also absorb less frying oil, this means that you will have less fat in your food as well.

We recommend gently coating the dish with cornstarch before cooking it. Applying a light, consistent coating to your dish helps provide a crispy texture.

When too much cornstarch is used, the coating becomes gummy instead of crispy.

Consider combining cornstarch with a gluten-free flour, such as almond flour, to make the ultimate gluten-free fried meal. This will aid in the creation of a more breaded outcome, comparable to wheat flour.

Anti-Caking Agent

Cornstarch is an excellent anti-caking agent; by preventing moisture and condensation from reaching whatever it is combined with, it aids in the prevention of lumps in finely powdered foods such as sugar.

However, cornstarch is utilized for more than merely keeping moisture away from sugar.

Thickening Agent

Cornstarch is frequently used as a thickening ingredient in soups, stews, and gravies. Cornstarch, being denser than flour, requires less cornstarch to thicken a liquid to the appropriate viscosity.

When you add cornstarch to a recipe, the starch molecules absorb water and thicken the substance. When those molecules are heated, they enlarge and devour even more of the liquid in the recipe.

The starch in the mixture will have enlarged six to ten times its original size after completely cooking. These identical molecules will solidify when the mixture cools.

Cornstarch is an excellent thickening additive for gooey fillings like pies and puddings since the settling of these molecules can assist further harden the dough.

This molecular growth, however, is restricted. A cornstarch-enhanced recipe can be brought to a boil, but it should never be totally boiled.

When cornstarch is heated to high temperatures, the starch molecules collapse and the mixture returns to its runny form.

Best Cornstarch Substitutes

Not everyone keeps cornstarch on hand in their kitchens. Cornstarch might be handy in your kitchen for a variety of reasons, but you might not have any right now.

What can you do if you want to create cookies that ask for cornstarch as an ingredient? Is there a method for you to proceed without having to travel to the store to get what you require?

Continue reading to discover about some substances that may be used as cornstarch alternatives. It’s probably ideal to use the exact product called for in the recipe, but these replacements will still work well.

After learning about your possibilities, you’ll be able to determine which replacement concept would work best for you. You almost certainly have at least one of these replacements in your kitchen.

All-Purpose Flour

Another pantry staple that may be used in place of cornstarch is simple all-purpose flour. It is very effective as a thickening agent.

All-purpose flour has about half the thickening power of cornstarch, this means that it is best to use two tablespoons of flour for every one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Be reminded that flour will not produce the same glossiness as cornstarch; the final product will have an appearance that is more matte and may be more opaque.

Using flour as a cornstarch alternative is also not the greatest solution for baked goods: Adding additional flour to a recipe will most likely result in a denser, not lighter, end product.

Whole wheat flour works well as a cornstarch alternative but may provide a malty taste to your cuisine. Bread flour has less starch than all-purpose flour, thus it will not work as well as a thickening.

Cake flour, on the other hand, has more starch, so you may use less to produce the same results.

Gluten-free flours can be hit or miss as a thickening, and they, like whole wheat flour, can alter the flavor of your food.

The good news is that this list includes a few more gluten-free options, such as rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.

Rice Flour

Rice Flour

Rice flour is a finely powdered rice powder. In Asian cultures, it is frequently used as an ingredient in sweets, rice noodles, or soups.

It is popular as a replacement for conventional wheat flour among those with gluten-related diseases as rice flour is gluten-free.

Rice flour may also be used to thicken dishes, making it a good alternative for cornstarch.

It is also colorless when mixed with water, making it particularly effective for thickening transparent liquids.

To get the same result as wheat flour, it is advised that you use twice as much rice flour when used as a substitute to cornstarch.

It can be used to form a paste with cold or hot water, or in a roux, which is a flour and fat combination.

Tapioca Flour

Tapioca flour is a little easier to work with than rice flour. If you have tapioca flour on hand, you may replace two teaspoons of it for one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Tapioca flour does not need to be used as much as rice flour or all-purpose flour. Overall, this may be a little easier for you.

Tapioca flour is also known as tapioca starch in some circles. If you have tapioca starch in your cupboard, that’s the same thing, and you may use it here.

In comparison to all-purpose flour, this is another unusual component. If you have some of this, it will work nicely to assist you in baking delicious cookies.

Xanthan Gum

In reality, if you don’t have cornstarch in your cupboard, you’re probably not loaded up on xanthan gum.

It is a popular thickening ingredient that is generally created from cornstarch through a fermentation process and is widely used in gluten-free baking recipes to approximate the stretchiness of wheat flour.

Sauces and gravies only require a little amount of cornstarch as a replacement. It has a lot of thickening power—just a half teaspoon or less for a full pan of gravy.

Begin slowly and gradually increase the amount.

Guar Gum

Another form of vegetable gum that may be used as a thickening agent is guar gum. It can be used in place of cornstarch in some recipes.

It may not be the best choice for all sorts of cookies, but there are those that employ guar gum expressly. The ingredient has acquired some appeal since it might be useful for preparing gluten-free cookies.

This can be used similarly to xanthan gum. It’s simpler to use than xanthan gum because it’s less expensive.

It, like xanthan gum, should be able to be utilized as a direct alternative for cornstarch. If you’re searching for a cornstarch substitute in your cookies, consider guar gum if you happen to have any on hand.

Potato Starch

If you dislike making conversions, you’ll like using potato starch as an alternative. Potato starch can be used in lieu of cornstarch in baked items without issue.

In a recipe, use the same amount of potato starch as you would cornstarch. If a recipe asks for three tablespoons of cornstarch, you may use three teaspoons of potato starch.

The only thing to keep in mind is that potato starch is not the same as cornstarch. When you use potato starch as an ingredient, it feels different.

For example, potato starch is known for clumping so you’ll want to keep an eye out for this so you don’t end up with lumpy cookies.

Ground Flaxseeds

When individuals need to thicken things up, ground flaxseeds are occasionally used for cornstarch. It works great for thickening sauces and gravies.

Some individuals prefer this choice since ground flaxseeds significantly increase the quantity of fiber. If you want to bake something with a lot of fiber, this can be a good option.

The issue is that it may not produce the greatest cookies in the world. You could use ground flaxseeds instead of cornstarch, but the consistency would be very different.

Ground flaxseeds will make your cookies grittier than you’d want. However, you won’t know if you don’t like it unless you try it out.

To substitute ground flaxseeds for cornstarch, blend the ground flaxseeds with water. To substitute two teaspoons of cornstarch, combine one tablespoon ground flaxseeds with four tablespoons of water.


Cornstarch is used in cookies to help give them structure and plays a big part in making them thick and chewy – a key part in a delicious cookie.

Even if you do not have cornstarch in the pantry the next time you are baking cookies, there are still plenty of other things that you can use instead.

Keep in mind though that you should make sure that you use the right amount of each substitute as their thickening properties will vary. 


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