Cornstarch Vs. Flour for Mac and Cheese

by iupilon

When appropriately used, cornstarch and flour both work well for thickening soups. Remember that cornstarch is a better thickener since it can absorb more water. On the other hand, flour is preferable when used in large quantities to prevent flavor imbalances.

Traditionally, cornstarch and flour have been the go-to thickeners for mac and cheese. But, can you use cornflour instead of plain flour for cheese sauce? It all depends on whoever you ask. Flour and cornstarch each have their advantages and disadvantages.

In the debate between roux or no roux for mac and cheese—the primary deciding factor is the chosen thickening agent. If you’re trying to thicken a dish, you’ll find that cornstarch works better than regular flour.

Whatever thickening agent you use, you must understand how to apply it effectively while minimizing potential drawbacks. It’s because they’re both starch-based that they’ll work.

If you use a lot of cornstarch, you risk imparting an off-putting ‘corny’ flavor to your dish. Instead, you should use all-purpose flour if you plan on doing a lot of thickening.

When you can make your cheese sauce at home, you may use it to accompany pasta and other dishes. It is common to prepare cheese sauces in two ways: a dip or a condiment for a substantial meal.

Can I Use Cornstarch Instead of Flour When Making a Cheese Sauce?

The most frequent method of thickening cheese sauce is to use a starch thickener. There are two primary varieties when thickening sauces using starch. You can either use cornstarch, the conventional choice, or flour.

While you can make a pack of Kraft mac and cheese with water, this is not the same as a homemade variant—splashed with a  yummy cheese sauce. But, what is a cheese sauce? And, can you use self-raising flour for cheese sauce?

A cheese sauce is one in which the primary component is cheese, either fresh or manufactured. Cheese powder or dry cheese may be utilized in several cases. Many flavors and applications are available, making it a versatile ingredient.

Thickening the sauce with cornstarch or flour is also a simple technique. Only a few teaspoons of cornstarch are needed to thicken your cheese sauce. Additionally, you’ll need to add around half a cup of water to the mixture.

Cornstarch and cold water must be whisked together in a small bowl to form a slurry. To get the best results from this slurry, you’ll need a teaspoon at a time to add to your cheese sauce. This could go awry if you try to rush things.

Can I Use Cornstarch to Thicken Mac and Cheese?

Cornstarch is a white powder that resembles flour in texture. To thicken the cheese sauce, stir in the slurry over medium heat and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

Cornstarch is a white powder that resembles flour in texture. Wheat, rye, barley, and oats are all examples of flours. On the other hand, flour is most typically associated with wheat flour in the United States.

Cornstarch, like flour, can be used to thicken sauces, sauté food, and bake goods. Nevertheless, how much to use, utilize, and affect the body can all vary tremendously. Cornstarch is safe for persons with celiac disease because it does not contain gluten.

Using a cup of water, mix the flour or cornstarch with the water in a small bowl until it dissolves. With cold water, a slurry will be formed. To thicken the cheese sauce, stir in the slurry over medium heat and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. The heat will also eliminate the taste of raw flour. If you want a thicker cheese sauce, keep adding a thickening agent.

A béchamel sauce is a cheese sauce made by first crafting some roux with flour and melted butter. Then, proceed to add a cup of milk to the mixture. More flour or even a few teaspoons of cornstarch can be used to thicken cheese sauce if desired.

Which Is Better to Thicken with Flour or Cornstarch?

It’s fine to use flour in your sauce if you appreciate the increased protein and think it makes the dish tastier. However, cornstarch can be substituted in your soups, sauces, and stews if you prefer its rapid action.

To avoid lumps, thoroughly combine the flour and water before using them as a thickener. Cook and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and bubbles. The flour should be cooked for a further one minute.

Cornstarch and flour can be used to thicken sauces; the only difference is the amount to be used. Pour the cornstarch and water into your sauce after thoroughly mixing them. Cook and whisk over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and bubbled up a few times. The cornstarch needs to be cooked for two minutes on high heat.

It’s crucial to know that cornstarch has two times the thickening power of flour if you’re short on flour or have a family member who is allergic to gluten and needs a gluten-free thickening agent for your soup recipe. For example, when substituting cornstarch for flour in a cheese sauce recipe, you would only need to use two teaspoons of cornstarch for a quarter cup of flour.

Can You Use Cornstarch Instead of Flour?

Soups, sauces, stews, and, of course, mac and cheese can all benefit from the rapid action of cornstarch. But, of course, your decision on the thickening agent is entirely up to you, as is the case with many other cooking decisions.

Some people prefer cornstarch to flour as a thickening in sauces, gravies, and pie fillings. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to detect any cornstarch flavor, as you might with flour. Prepare yourself for a transparent appearance from these foods. While flour contains a small amount of protein, cornstarch is completely starch-free, which causes this effect.

Fried chicken, fish, and other foods can easily be coated in cornstarch instead of flour. Using cornstarch will result in a tastier coating that can withstand sauces better and absorb less frying oil.

When thickening acidic sauces, cornstarch is less effective than flour. Tomatoes, vinegar, and lemon juice are not compatible with this product. Flour is more effective in thickening fat-based sauces like butter and egg yolks than cornstarch.

Using cornstarch and other gluten-free thickeners in your gluten-free cooking may continue to enjoy some of your favorite sauces. Making substitutes is a skill that may be learned via trial and error, but it can also spur your culinary imagination and lead to original dishes of your own.

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