corn flour from cornmeal

How to Make Corn Flour From Cornmeal

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Corn flour is a delicious, nutritious, and naturally gluten-free alternative to wheat flour, but for some reason, it isn’t widely stocked at all grocery stores. Cornmeal, however, is common in grocery stores and pantries across America.

But did you know you can actually make corn flour? In fact, you can use cornmeal to make your own corn flour, so you never have to worry about finding it at the store.

How do you make corn flour from cornmeal? Making corn flour from cornmeal is as simple as reducing the grain size. All you need to do is grind cornmeal to a fine powder using a food processor, blender, or grain mill.

This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions teaching you how to make corn flour from cornmeal in just a few easy and fast steps.

There are also instructions for making corn flour from grits, whole corn, or even popcorn, so you can use whatever you have on hand to make this key ingredient.

What is Corn Flour?

Corn flour is a type of flour that is milled from whole-grain corn. It contains all the parts of the corn, including the hull, germ, and endosperm which makes it a whole grain product. 

Corn flour is not nearly as common as wheat flour or cornmeal, but it has some fantastic qualities that may encourage you to give it a try in your next baking project.

Is Corn Flour the Same as Corn Starch?

Before we talk about how corn flour is used, it’s important to distinguish corn flour from corn starch, as the two are often confused.

Corn flour is made from whole corn kernels. However, corn starch is made only from the endosperm, which is the starchiest part of the corn kernel.

Corn starch has no protein, fat, or fiber, but it does have more carbohydrates. It is not suited to be used as a traditional flour, but rather is more popular as a thickening agent or to get a nice crispy finish on fried foods.

Corn flour also shouldn’t be confused with masa harina, which is a type of cornflour, but the whole grain kernels are soaked in limewater before they are dried and ground, which produces a much softer, finer texture that is perfect for making very quick-cooking dough, specifically.

Make Corn Flour from Cornmeal

The biggest difference between corn flour and cornmeal is the coarseness of the grind. 

corn flour from cornmeal

Corn flour is finely milled to create a fine, dry powder whereas cornmeal is coarsely ground for a larger, grittier texture.

They are both made from the whole corn kernel, however, so turning cornmeal into corn flour is merely a question of reducing the size of the grind until it becomes a soft powder.

Tips & Tricks

This is a relatively easy job, but there are a few best practices you’ll want to follow before converting your cornmeal into corn flour:

  • Sharp blades are crucial for making flour in a food processor or blender. If your blades are dull, they will crush and pack the cornmeal rather than slicing it into a fine powder.
  • Movement is key when you’re creating flour. If your machine is not specifically designed for processing dry grains you will need to constantly shake the machine, in between pulses, to prevent the flour from packing.
  • Have a glass, air-tight storage container ready to store any leftovers (see section on storing corn flour).

How to Make Corn Flour from Cornmeal

Making corn flour from cornmeal is quite simple. You just need one of the following:

  • Food processor or blender with a sharp blade, or
  • Grain or flour mill with extra-fine flour setting

The process is similar either way, but here’s how to make your corn meal using either type of tool.

Method 1: Using a Food Processor or Blender

  1. Add your cornmeal to the container until it is no more than ½ full, but at least cover the blades by 1–2 inches.
  2. Pulse your machine in 20-second bursts, shaking the container in between.
  3. Continue to pulse until you are happy with the consistency of your flour.

Method 2: Using a Grain Mill

  1. Set your grain mill to the finest grind setting.
  2. Fill the hopper with cornmeal.
  3. Grind the cornmeal.

The first few tablespoons may not get the best grind. So it’s sometimes helpful to capture the first small amount in a separate bowl and run it through the mill twice.

Alternative Methods for Making Corn Flour

If you don’t have corn flour, turning cornmeal into flour is the quickest and easiest solution. Cornmeal is readily accessible in most local grocery stores and is the easiest option to reduce to a powder. 

It isn’t the only option, however. If you don’t have cornmeal at home, but you do have either grits, whole corn, or popcorn, you can still make yourself corn flour, though the process may be a bit more involved.

How to Make Corn Flour From Grits

Grits are actually a type of cornmeal, though it’s usually a coarser grind than anything labeled as simply as cornmeal.

If grits are what you have, you can make corn flour following the exact same steps listed above for making corn flour from cornmeal. It may take slightly longer to grind into the fine powder, but it will be the same process.

corn grits

The most important factor to consider is flavoring. Grits are commonly packaged pre-flavored, either with butter, cheese, bacon, or any other combination of flavorings.

You can also find instant grits, which are not ideal for making flour out of because, even though the grind is much finer, they are pre-cooked and won’t have the same results.

To make corn flour out of grits they must be regular, plain grits.

How to Make Corn Flour From the Cob (From Scratch)

The most traditional way to make corn flour is by starting with a whole cob of corn, removing and drying the kernels, and then grinding them into a fine powder.

corn cob

This will result in sweeter corn flour because the corn sold for eating whole is a different variety from the corn that is made to produce corn flour commercially. It’s best saved for sweet recipes.

Removing the kernels from the cob of corn is easier than it may seem at first. Follow these easy steps to de-kernel a corn cob:

  1. Slice off the bottom of the cob and peel the husk and silk away from the cut end.
  2. Using the handle of a spoon or fork, wiggle between two rows of kernels, popping one row out.
  3. Once one row is removed, press the kernels in the next row into the empty space to remove them.
  4. Repeat row by row until you’ve removed all your kernels.

To dry your kernels, you can use a dehydrator, your oven, or, depending on where you live, the sun outside. Just be sure to keep your corn shielded from pests who would love to snack on your hard work!

Next, you need to grind your corn. Dry corn kernels are hard. Extremely hard. Much harder than cornmeal or grits.

To convert whole, dried kernels of corn into corn flour you will need a very good blender or food processor. The blades need to be sharp and powerful enough to crack the hard grain and continue to decrease the size of the pieces until they are very small. 

Your standard home blender may work, but you’d have much better luck with a premium blender like a Vitamix or Blendtech. Run it in bursts of 20 to 40 seconds, frequently checking the consistency.

A grain mill designed for small, hard grains will be even more reliable and easy to use. Just fill the hopper and grind until you’re happy with the texture.

How to Make Corn Flour From Popcorn

It’s even easier to make corn flour from kernels that have already been dried. That makes popcorn kernels inexpensive and very useful for making corn flour.

As with the previously mentioned dried corn kernels, the most important equipment you will need is either a grain mill or a very high-powered, durable blender or food processor.

Some of the more advanced machines have special containers that are designed for dry grains to keep your flour from packing.

To grind popcorn into corn flour using a grain mill, simply add your kernels to the mill and grind until you have as much flour as you want. 

If you’re using a blender, fill the container no more than halfway at a time to provide space for the flour to move away from the blade.

It’s easier to grind additional batches than stress your motor trying to grind too much at once. Too little also won’t work as there won’t be enough to force towards the blade to cut. 

How to Make Corn Flour – Review [Chart]

That’s a lot of different ways to make corn flour. Let’s sum them up quickly:

Appliance NeededTime (Approx)
Corn MealFood processor, blender, or grain mill1-5 minutes
GritsFood processor, blender, or grain mill1-5 minutes
Whole CornHard grains mill or high-powered blenderHours to days
(mostly drying time)
PopcornHard grains mill or high-powered blender5-10 minutes

How to Store Corn Flour

Once you’ve made your corn flour, whether it was originally cornmeal, grits, whole corn, or popcorn, you will need somewhere to store it to keep it fresh. 

The best containers for storing corn flour are glass, which won’t stick to or collect the flour. It is also very important that you have an airtight seal. Even a tiny amount of moisture or humidity can completely ruin all your hard work.

You will also want to keep your corn flour stored in a temperature-controlled cool, dry location. It shouldn’t be exposed to sunlight or heat. Nor should there be any temperature fluctuations that may cause the flour to sweat inside the container.

corn flour from cornmeal

Corn Flour From Cornmeal

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

You don't need to worry about stocking up on corn flour if you have cornmeal on hand! Just blend or grind up what you have.


  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • Food processor or grain mill


Method 1: Using a food processor or blender

  1. Add your cornmeal to the container until it is no more than ½ full, but at least covering the blades by 1–2 inches.
  2. Pulse your machine in 20-second bursts, shaking the container in between.
  3. Continue to pulse until you are happy with the consistency of your flour.

Method 2: Using a grain mill

  1. Set your grain mill to the finest grind setting.
  2. Fill the hopper with cornmeal.
  3. Grind the cornmeal.


The first few tablespoons may not get the best grind in a grain mill. It may be helpful to capture the beginning spoonfuls in separate bowl and run it through the mill twice.

Up Next: Can You Freeze Masa?

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