The short answer to the question “Is Corn Starch Gluten Free?” is yes. Corn starch is gluten free, but this is only true in most cases.
Just dive in for more detailed information. As said, in most cases, cornstarch should be gluten free, which means there are situations when corn starch isn’t gluten free.
Corn can get cross-contaminated in silos or during the farming process. This is so because corn starch is frequently grown near wheat fields.
It can also get cross-contaminated in the production process, so you need to be careful.
This is one of the many reasons why reading the ingredients label when you are buying cornstarch is extremely vital.
This ingredients label will give you information on whether the product is gluten-free or not and whether it was produced on equipment that also processes wheat.
You can also get more detailed information from the manufacturer’s website, so pay a visit as this will help you decide whether a bag of cornstarch is safe for consumption, especially for those on a gluten diet.
Furthermore, it is actually safe for you to purchase a certified gluten-free flour blend with cornstarch, as this denotes the fact that it has gone through tests under the 20 ppm rule for it to be labeled gluten free.
What Is Corn Starch and How Is It Used?
Well, now you have the answer to the above question. But, another important question is, “What is this corn starch and how can it be used?”
Corn starch is a baking product that is produced completely from corn. Manufacturers grind corn kernels to make cornstarch.
After grinding, they go ahead with washing to separate the starch from the protein, fiber, and oil components.
The final product is extremely exceptional and powder-like. Commonly, it is used in baking and cooking.
It is also used for cleaning silverware, polishing cars, and starching clothes. Cornstarch is also a thickening agent, as its most common use is in cooking.
Although it can be used as a partial alternative for flour in gluten-free baking.
Cornstarch can also serve the purpose of thickening the filling for sauces, soups, casseroles, pies, and gravies.
Cornstarch is preferred to be used as a thickener in many recipes, and this is thanks to the fact that it forms a gel when mixed with water.
And this gel is transparent instead of non-transparent. This is why it is the best choice for desserts, as it contains a fruit glaze.
However, there are some easy but important tips you have to know when using cornstarch. The most important of them all is to avoid adding cornstarch directly into hot liquid.
This is something you should never do, as the cornstarch will form clusters that you won’t be able to remove.
At room temperature, make sure you blend the cornstarch with a little liquid, as this will produce a slush. You can then take that into the hot liquid.
This should be done when you are using cornstarch as a thickener. After that, to ensure that the cornstarch becomes coagulated completely, you are to fully boil the liquid before cooling it.
Is Modified Cornstarch Gluten-Free?
Well, my short answer to this question, “Is modified cornstarch gluten-free?” is yes. Modified cornstarch is gluten-free.
But what is modified cornstarch? It is a food additive that is manufactured by altering starch, which will cause it to break down partially.
In the United States, modified food starch is frequently gluten-free. Modified cornstarch has developed into an extensive ingredient in both gluten-containing and gluten-free packaged meals.
This data is according to the consumption data. In short, in the United States, modified cornstarch is practically acknowledged as gluten-free.
Normally, modified cornstarch is manufactured using maize or waxy corn, so this answers the above question; it is gluten-free.
If a product happens to consist of modified food starch-containing wheat, its label has to state such.
And, according to the FALCPA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act), eight allergens must be highlighted on product labels.
These eight allergens include fish, peanuts, wheat, eggs, milk, tree nuts, soybeans, and shellfish.
However, the law above only has to deal with items that are regulated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration).
The above law does not apply to items controlled by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
Although I will say that this is dangerous because wheat items are not highlighted on the label.
What Can I Substitute Cornstarch With?
You should know that you can substitute cornstarch with another starch or ingredient that possesses similar thickening properties.
However, this is only if you want to avoid cornstarch or if you don’t have any on hand for your recipe.
Below will be a list of gluten-free ingredients that you can substitute cornstarch with:
- Potato starch
- Rice flour
- Guar gum
- Arrowroot starch
- Tapioca starch
- Xanthan gum
- Ground flaxseed
- A gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
- Cassava flour
- Water chestnut starch
- Psyllium husk
These ingredients have the same properties as cornstarch, which means your recipes will have similar results.
Some Substitutes of Corn Starch
Potato starch is rich in carbohydrates, but it has no flavor. It is produced by grinding potatoes to bring out the starch. It is then dried into a powder. It can be supplemented at a ratio of 1 to 1.
Ground flaxseeds create a jelly when mixed with water. This is what happens after you remove the moisture.
However, the soil seed composition is extremely rich in fiber but also extremely rough.
Tapioca is pounded into a mash, and then it is allowed to dry out into flour. This is done to remove the starch from the cassava plant.
Tapioca starch can be complemented by two spoons for each spoon of cornstarch at a 2:1 ratio.
Naturally, rice flour is gluten-free. And, when mixed with water, it becomes colorless. It is manufactured from finely ground rice.
It also works perfectly well to thicken transparent liquids. However, you have to use twice as much rice flour as corn starch to get the same result. And, fortunately, you can use rice flour hot or cold.
There’s a good reason if a recipe includes corn starch. And, make use of it if you have this gluten free cornstarch on hand.
However, if you don’t have one, the options listed above can be used as substitutes for cornstarch; while they may not produce the same results, they will produce a similar result.
Final Thoughts: Is Corn Starch Gluten Free?
Corn starch is gotten from corn, which is a naturally gluten free grain. So, this makes corn starch generally gluten free as it requires no other ingredients for its production.
Although some corn starch has trace amounts, this is especially true when it is produced in a facility that also produces gluten-containing products.
Just ensure that the ingredients do not contain anything other than corn or cornstarch. This way, you will be able to determine if your corn starch is gluten free or not.
I will also recommend that you go for products that are certified gluten free. And, as an alternative, you can also use gluten free thickening agents such as arrowroot powder or flaxseed gel to substitute corn starch.
And, with all that being said, this will be the conclusion of this guide, as detailed answers have been given to the question “Is Corn Starch Gluten Free?”