What does cornstarch taste like? Is it sweet or sour? Does it have a strong flavor? Or maybe it has no distinct taste at all? These questions might seem trivial, but they can really affect our perception of food.
Cornstarch has been around since the 1800s and has since gone on to be used for a variety of applications. However, most commonly, it is used in cooking with many people adding it to soups and sauces to thicken the liquid.
However, if you have spent hours painstakingly recreating Grandma’s special soup recipe, then the chances are that you aren’t going to want to ruin it by adding something that will alter the taste.
But does cornstarch taste like anything and how is it beneficial to your cooking? In short, cornstarch is mostly tasteless but it will alter your food in terms of texture so before you commit to using it, let’s get to know this common kitchen ingredient a little better.
What Does Cornstarch Do?
Cornstarch is a type of starch that comes from corn. It is sometimes called corn flour, depending on where you are from.
However, it is important to keep in mind that these are actually two different things. Whereas cornstarch is made from the corn kernel, corn flour is made by grinding down corn until it creates a pale yellow powder.
Back to what cornstarch does. This is a carbohydrate which is an important nutrient in the human diet, so adding it into food, in the right quantities, could be beneficial for you.
The ingredient is most commonly used with things like sauces and soups and can be added as a way of thickening the liquid and making it less watery.
While cornstarch is used all over the world, the product is most widely used in parts of Asia and across North America. If you suffer from a gluten intolerance, cornstarch is an excellent alternative to flour-based thickeners as, since it is not made from wheat, it contains no gluten at all.
Does cornstarch change the flavor of food?
Instead of changing the flavor of food, the aim of adding cornstarch is to alter the texture and make any liquid a little thicker. This is why it is commonly used in sauces such as sweet and sour sauce or gravy.
However, by adding too much cornstarch, this could alter the taste of the food leaving it filled with nasty clumps that become gelatinous on the outside and powdery on the inside. It is possible to fix too much cornstarch and we will look at this a little later on.
What does cornstarch look like?
Cornstarch is a fine white powder with a very light texture. Unlike corn flour, which has a yellow tinge, you can tell cornstarch apart owing to its much lighter tone.
What Does Cornstarch Taste Like?
You could be forgiven for thinking that cornstarch tastes similar to corn, owing to the fact that it derives from this vegetable. However, it doesn’t resemble anything like the taste of corn, in fact, it barely resembles anything at all because cornstarch doesn’t typically have a flavor.
However, if you did want to try and compare it to anything, you would be better comparing it to the taste of flour. If you have ever eaten flour on its own, you will know that there is a very bland taste.
Some might say that there is a starchy taste to it but this is likely more to do with how the texture interacts with the receptors on your tongue.
Does cornstarch taste like baby powder?
People have compared cornstarch to many different things, including baby powder which is usually a highly perfumed product. Of course, cornstarch doesn’t have any perfume added into it and so it does not taste like baby powder.
That being said, there has been some suggestion that cornstarch might be used in place of baby powder as a more natural alternative.
Are cornstarch and corn flour the same thing?
Cornstarch and corn flour are both made from corn. However, they are different types of food. Cornstarch is used for thickening sauces, gravies, soups, and stews. Corn flour is used for making breads, pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, and other baked goods.
How Do You Remove The Taste Of Cornstarch?
If you were unfortunate enough to have added a little too much cornstarch to your favorite recipe, you may now find yourself with what resembles a globby mess and you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the point of no return.
The good news is that cornstarch can be reduced, or at least its effects can be reduced relatively easily. One of the best ways to remove excess cornstarch or encourage it to dissolve is to heat the food intensely.
This will remove much of the taste but the sauce or soup will still continue to thicken. Of course, you could go on to add more water but this might dilute the flavor of the dish.
If you find that you cannot bring your dish back to life, it may be a case of throwing it out and starting again. But to avoid problems in the first place, you should only add a little bit of cornstarch at a time. This is a very potent ingredient and the term ‘ a little goes a long way’ could not be more fitting.
When you discover that your sauce or soup is a little thin and decide to add cornstarch, begin by adding just a teaspoon at a time. It might not seem like much, but believe us, if you try to add a large portion of the box at once, you will end up regretting that decision.
Once you have mixed the first spoonful in, you will get a good idea of how far each spoon will go and will be able to adjust the amount accordingly.
Keep adding it spoon by spoon and stirring each one in completely before moving on to the next until you are happy with the consistency of the dish.
Is cornstarch gluten free?
Cornstarch is a starch made from corn. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. If you want to be sure that cornstarch is gluten free, look for the word “gluten” on the label.
Is cornstarch bad for you?
Cornstarch isn’t bad for you. It’s fine to eat corn if you don’t have an allergy or intolerance to it.
What Is a Healthy Alternative to Cornstarch?
Some people don’t like cornstarch, so you may want to use a different thickening ingredient for your sauces. There are plenty of healthy and vegan options available.
Whole wheat flour can be used in place or cornstarch as it thicken liquids when cooked, but it may impart a “wheaty” flavor if used too much.
Arrowroot starch, which comes from the arrowroot plant and works like cornstarch, is also a good option for thickening fruit sauces and pies, and it has a mild flavor. Tapioca starch works especially well for pies and any other dish that you want to remain light and clear rather than slightly opaque and sticky.
Cornstarch is often confused with corn flour and while the two both derive from corn, they are made in different ways. Cornstarch is a popular choice for thickening dishes like gravies, sauces and soups.
However, while it likely won’t affect the taste of your food, it is entirely possible for it to ruin the texture if too much is added. For this reason, we would always suggest adding it bit by bit until you are happy with the outcome.