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If you love to create your own dishes, it’s important to know which ingredients are vegan and which are not. One of the most common ingredients we hear being talked about among the vegan community is corn starch.
Is it vegan-friendly, or does it contain anything that disqualifies it as a vegan ingredient? That’s what we’re answering here today, so please keep reading to learn whether you can safely use corn starch in your vegan recipes.
What Is Corn Starch?
Corn starch is a white powder that is derived from corn grain. More directly, corn starch comes from the endosperm in corn kernels. Moreover, corn starch is incredibly smooth to the touch and has many uses in and out of the kitchen.
In fact, corn starch is found in things like deodorant and shampoo, and you can use corn starch for cleaning as well as cooking. Its primary use, however, is as a thickener for sauces and soups.
Sometimes, it is more suitable for thickening than flour because the mixture that it forms is translucent rather than opaque. Furthermore, corn starch works wonders in keeping powdered sugar from caking together.
Corn Starch Alternatives
There are many vegans who don’t use corn products for various reasons. Although rare, corn allergies do exist and thus prevent some people from being able to consume corn. Whatever your reasoning may be, it’s important to know that you have options when it comes to corn starch.
As such, we discovered five corn starch alternatives for your consideration.
Potato starch is rather interesting in that it is very similar to its corn starch counterpart. In fact, the two are so alike that you can substitute corn starch for potato starch at a ratio of 1:1.
As good an alternative as potato starch is, some people prefer arrowroot even more so. This is largely because arrowroot creates a translucent mixture, just like corn starch. And like potato starch, arrowroot works on a 1:1 ratio.
If you need a suitable thickening agent for your recipes and don’t want to use corn starch, tapioca serves as a viable solution. It’s not as effective as corn starch in this regard, however. So you’ll need to use tapioca on a 2:1 ratio.
Another alternative thickener that isn’t quite as effective compared to corn starch is wheat flour. And like tapioca, you’ll need to use wheat flour 2:1 in your recipes. Just keep in mind that wheat flour contains gluten.
Last on our list of corn starch alternatives is rice flour. To achieve this fine flour, rice is ground up into a powder. If you are trying to avoid gluten and can’t use wheat flour, try this instead. Rice flour is naturally gluten-free and works well as a thickening agent. Use this ingredient 2:1 in your recipes.
So, Is Corn Starch Vegan?
Absolutely! Being derived from corn, corn starch is 100% vegan. And unless animal products were used back in the olden days for processing purposes, corn starch has always been a vegan-friendly product. What’s more, in our research of various brands of corn starch, we couldn’t find any that contained animal product ingredients.
So as it stands, you can safely and confidently use corn starch in your vegan recipes. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that corn starch is gluten-free, as well. So unless you can’t use corn-based products for some reason, you’re getting twice the benefits with this vegan ingredient.
As a brief aside, you do want to pay close attention to the label on corn starches if you can’t consume gluten. Some brands produce their corn starches in facilities that make gluten products. Thus, the risk of cross-contamination might be present.
Corn Starch FAQs
Corn starch is a very useful ingredient in vegan baking. Any time you come across a recipe that calls for an egg, you can use corn starch in its place!
Simply mix together 3 tablespoons of warm water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for every egg. In doing so, you will have an excellent egg substitute for things like biscuits, cookies, bread, and cakes.
And as we’ve already discussed, corn starch acts as a wonderful thickening agent. Many people actually prefer corn starch over flour due to the former’s ability to create a clear mixture.
Corn starch works wonders in pie fillings. If you want to ensure that the fruit in your pies stays thick and gel-like, be sure to use corn starch in your recipes. Please note, though, that corn starch tends to clump together here. So mix in some sugar with it to keep your corn starch from clumping.
There are numerous non-baking uses for corn starch. One such use is cleaning grease. For example, let’s assume your kitchen walls and backsplash have grease splatter on them. Putting some corn starch on a rag and rubbing it into the grease will lift and remove those unsightly splatter marks.
Another helpful benefit of corn starch is that it makes short work knots. If you run into a stubborn knot, whether on shoelaces or rope, corn starch will help you loosen it up. Simply sprinkle a little bit of corn starch on the knot and rub it in.
The corn starch works to reduce the friction in the fibers of the rope, thereby allowing you to easily untie those stubborn, tight knots.
Is Corn Starch a Good Choice for Vegans?
Definitely. Corn starch is a highly versatile ingredient that is sure to serve you well in and out of the kitchen. And if you run into recipes that call for eggs, you can even use corn starch as a vegan-friendly substitute.
If you are interested in learning about other vegan foods and products, be sure to check out our vegan info page. We discuss restaurants, ingredients, and more to bring you vegan-friendly options.