There are many recipes that call for cornmeal as an ingredient. In case you run out of cornmeal, use its substitutes, like polenta, grits, or ground oats.
If you are a person who is actively involved in regular cooking, you must have a basic understanding about the substitutes for common culinary items. This will prove helpful in case, you run out of ingredients while cooking. Such substitutes may also prove handy, if any of the family members is allergic to a particular ingredient. Cornmeal is widely used as a breakfast cereal. It is also used to prepare various recipes. It is nothing other than dried corn kernels. The term cornmeal is often used interchangeably with cornflour, but the latter is finely ground powder of dried corn.
Cornmeal is available in different forms that vary in the degree of fineness, like fine, medium, and coarse. You may also find white, yellow, or blue cornmeal. It is one of the indispensable ingredients in some Mexican and Italian recipes. If you run out of cornmeal, use any of its substitutes. However, make sure that the substitute serves the purpose.
What can You Substitute for Cornmeal?
Before choosing a particular substitute, try to understand the purpose of cornmeal in that recipe. Usually, cornmeal serves two purposes ― texture and flavor. If a particular recipe requires cornmeal for its flavor, you may replace it with other corn products. If the purpose of using cornmeal is texture, you may use a substitute that has a similar texture. Those who are allergic to corn and corn products must go for substitutes with no corn.
When it comes to corn products, grits can be used as an ideal substitute for cornmeal. Grits is ideal for cooking and baking purposes. Being coarser than cornmeal, use grits in slightly lesser amounts, especially for liquid-based recipes. Or else, grind grits, so that you get the texture of cornmeal. You may use regular grits or hominy grits.
Polenta is also a good substitute for cornmeal. It is nothing other than coarse ground corn, and is available in different grades ranging from coarse to fine. So use polenta according to the desired consistency of the dish. If you need coarse cornmeal for preparing a dish, use coarse polenta instead. Polenta flour is an ideal replacement for cornflour.
If you need cornmeal to sprinkle on a bread pan, you may use corn flour or polenta flour as a substitute. However, you will not get the crunchy texture of cornmeal. You may also use corn flour in some recipes that call for cornmeal. In that case, the dish prepared will be lighter and less denser. Cornflour can be used for replacing cornmeal in cornbread.
If cornmeal is used in a recipe for its texture, you may use substitutes, like semolina, breadcrumbs, ground oats, etc. If you are not particular about the flavor, you may try rice flour, wheat flour, tapioca, etc. Any of them can be used as a cornmeal substitute for baking purposes. A mixture of wheat flour and ground oats may also work. You may also try multigrain cereal mix. These substitutes are best for those who are allergic to corn.
While crushed tortilla chips may work in some recipes; cornstarch has a totally different flavor and texture, and it is not usually used in recipes that call for cornmeal. In short, there are various options that can be tried, if you are looking for a substitute for cornmeal. However, you must know which one works bests for a particular recipe.