Extra Helpings: What’s Cornstarch?


In your top things to have in your pantry” post, you say I should have cornstarch. What is it and why do I need it?


Cornstarch is a silky smooth white corn flour that is great to have around the kitchen to thicken sauces, soups, gravies, pie fillings and other desserts. And… it’s completely gluten-free.

Mama prefers cornstarch to flour because it has twice the thickening power of flour, is flavorless and forms a clear sauce instead of an opaque one. You can even use it around the house… but I’ll get to that in a sec.

To use cornstarch as a soup or gravy thickener, whisk one teaspoon of cornstarch with about ¼ cup of cold water (this is called a “slurry”). Stir the slurry into one cup of the hot liquid (gravy, soup, sauce… whatever you’re making) near the end of cooking. Stir constantly for several minutes to thicken and get rid of any of the cornstarch flavor.

Make sure you never add the cornstarch directly to the hot liquid or you’ll get little floating islands of cornstarch lumps.

Cornstarch can be stored indefinitely if it is kept dry.

Fun uses of cornstarch around the house!
• Wash your windows! Add ½ cup ammonia, ½ cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a gallon of warm water. Wash the windows and then wipe them with a lint-free cloth. Now you can see what the neighbors are doing!
• Remove greasy spots from washable items! Sprinkle cornstarch on top of the greasy spot and rub gently. Brush off excess cornstarch. Repeat until grease is absorbed and wash the item as directed. No one has to know that occasionally you share your food with your clothes!
• Polish your precious silver! Make a paste using 2 tablespoons of corn starch with ¼ cup water. Rub the paste on the silver and let dry for a few minutes. Rub it off with a soft cloth. Bright and shiny!
• Freshen up your sports equipment! Sprinkle cornstarch inside athletic shoes and on the handles of rackets and golf clubs to absorb moisture. Keeps the stink out!


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com