Is Masa Harina The Same As Corn Flour?

The difference between corn flour and masa harina

Note that while both corn flour and masa harina are flours made from corn, masa harina is milled from corn kernels that have been soaked in a slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) solution to remove the hull.

Can I substitute corn flour for masa harina?

Cornflour. Due to the difference in how the corn is processed, substituting cornflour will change the flavor of the dish slightly. However, it does have a similar texture and makes a great substitute for thickening soups and sauces that call for masa harina.

Is masa harina just corn flour?

Masa harina, sometimes simply referred to as masa, has a distinctive flavor that comes from the process of soaking corn flour in slaked lime then drying and grinding it a second time. It’s used to make many Mexican and South American specialties like corn tortillas and tamales.

What is a good substitute for masa harina?

  • Grits.
  • Ground Corn Tortillas.
  • Flours of Various Kinds.
  • Arrowroot Powder.
  • Cornstarch.
  • Cornmeal.
  • Ground Hominy.
  • Fresh Masa Preparada.
  • Polenta.
  • Ground Corn Taco Shells, Tortilla Chips, or Corn Tostadas.

Is masa harina the same as fine cornmeal?

Cornmeal is ground dried corn and usually has a coarser consistency. It’s used to make polenta and pizza crust. Masa harina is ground more finely and is often used to make dough for tortillas and tamales.

How do you make masa harina with corn flour?


  • 2 cups nixtamal corn
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Add nixtamal to your food processor.
  2. Add water and salt.
  3. Process the corn, stopping to wipe down sides as needed.
  4. If the mixture gets too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time.
  5. Process the corn for 5-10 minutes until finely ground (stop here if making masa harina).
  6. A dough should begin to form from the ground corn.
  7. Knead dough for several minutes until smooth and shape into a ball.
  8. You can either use the wet dough immediately, freeze it for up to 3 months, or dry it to make masa harina.

What is cornflour in USA?

In the U.S., corn flour means finely ground cornmeal. In cakes, especially sponge cakes, it is likely to mean cornstarch, as a coating for fried okra. It is likely to mean finely-ground cornmeal.

Can I substitute masa for cornmeal?

No, not really! Masa Harina uses corn that’s been soaked in an alkaline agent and it has a distinct flavor.

Is corn masa the same as cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a starch made from corn. It is not to be confused with cornmeal or corn masa. Both cornstarch and finely-ground cornmeal are sometimes called cornflour; this is thus a bad term to use.

How to make masa harina

Masa harina is made from field corn (or maize) that has been dried, treated in a solution of lime and water, washed, and then ground into a dough, called masa. This fresh masa is then dried and powdered to become masa harina.

Can I make masa harina at home?

You have to make it at home. The real advantage of making your own masa harina is that you can use any variety of corn you can get your hands on, or grow yourself. Color is the chief attraction here, but also flavor: Some of you reading this are Southerners, and Southerners know that good grits matter.

How do you grind masa at home?

To grind masa in a food processor: Transfer corn to a salad spinner, and spin to remove excess water. (Drying the corn well is essential for grinding it evenly.) Transfer half of the corn (about 21/2 cups) to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until kernels are coarsely chopped, 6 to 8 pulses.

Can I make masa harina from cornmeal?

For every 2 cups of masa harina called for in a recipe, substitute 2/3 cup cornmeal and 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. Unlike fresh masa, ground cornmeal isn’t boiled with lime, so you can add a squeeze to your dough if you’d like.

Is there a difference between masa and masa harina?

The difference between masa harina and masa is simple: Masa is what you get when you mix masa harina with water. It is a corn dough that is used to make a number of foods that are essential to Mexican cuisine, including tortillas and tamales.

What is masa harina in chili?

There are as many versions of chili as there are chili cooks. This one includes a signature flavor of the American Southwest: masa harina. The Mexican corn flour used for making tortillas and tamales, masa harina is made by grinding corn kernels that have been simmered in a slaked lime solution and then dried.

Is masa harina healthy?

This corn flour has many health benefits, including the fact that it’s naturally gluten free. Flour made from corn is also higher in fiber, vitamin A, zinc and iron that wheat flour. The combination of fiber and carbohydrates makes it a bit more filling as well.

Can you use masa in place of flour?

Masa is the main ingredient in homemade corn tortillas and in tamales. You can also add small amounts of masa to things like chili and soups as a thickening agent, and use it in place of wheat flour in many recipes too (including cornbread).

Can I use masa instead of cornmeal for cornbread?

Masa harina and sugar give classic cornbread a more vivid corn flavor. This cornbread recipe is pretty classic, save for the use of masa harina instead of cornmeal, which gives the bread a more tender texture and corn-forward flavor.

Is polenta and masa the same thing?

Polenta and masa harina are both types of ground corn that can be prepared into versatile doughs. The corn used to make masa harina is nixtamalized; that is, mixed with an alkaline ingredient such as ash or limestone. This process changes the flavor and also makes the nutrients more available.

Is masa more nutritious than cornmeal?

As a ground flour, masa is a more concentrated source of calories than the whole corn and a better source of calcium. Comparing the nutrition of the two can help you determine the health benefits of each.

Is masa harina and Maseca the same?

Maseca is by far the most common and it’s the Masa Harina that I started with — you’ll frequently find it in the Latin goods section of chain supermarkets.

How long does masa flour last?

Coarse-ground masa may be refrigerated, well covered, for 3 days; it may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Is polenta the same as cornmeal?

Polenta and cornmeal are almost exactly the same product, except for one thing: the consistency of the grain. Polenta is much more coarsely ground, which makes the end product less mushy, and it has a little more bite to it than cornmeal.

What is masa corn flour used for?

Masa harina is a staple ingredient called for in a variety of Mexican recipes. This instantly-binding corn flour is used for making the dough, referred to as masa or masa dough, for tortillas, tamales, and pupusas, and gorditas.

Does masa flour thicken chili?

This process gives the masa harina a nutty, robust, slightly sour flavor and soft texture. This naturally gluten-free flour is used to make corn tortillas, tamales and empanadas. And, as in today’s recipe, it works as a thickener for chili and soups.

Why would you put masa in chili?

Added to the chili near the end of cooking, masa harina thickens the liquid slightly, giving it body, and imparts a subtle corn flavor.

Is corn masa inflammatory?

Corn flour is a gluten-free alternative to white/wheat flour and can be used to thicken gravies or make tortillas and other baked goods without using inflammatory gluten.

Can you eat masa harina raw?

The short answer is no. Eating raw dough made with flour or eggs can make you sick. Raw dough may contain bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella.

Is corn masa easy to digest?

Masa is easier to digest because the corn gets partially broken down during the nixtamalization process. While masa harina is not as nutritious as fresh masa, the nutrients in the corn may be more bioavailable (easier for your body to absorb) than those in corn flour.

Can masa be used for grits?

For the grits: Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over high heat. Just before it comes to a boil, crumble the masa nixtamal into the milk; reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring constantly until creamy. Stir in the butter and season lightly with salt.

Is masa made from hominy?

Masa and masa harina are both made from hominy, which is dried corn that has been soaked or cooked in an alkaline solution of water and calcium hydroxide to remove the germ and hull.

Can you make masa from canned hominy?

Since masa harina is made from hominy, can you make corn tortillas from canned hominy? Yes, you can make corn tortillas using hominy, but the moisture level is tricky to get right. You want the tortilla dough to be not too dry and not too moist.

Where is masa harina in grocery store?

You’ll find masa harina in the ethnic aisle at most grocery stores. You may find a few different brands, especially if you’re at a specialty store. They’re all made with the same ingredients, but they’re often ground to different levels of fineness. Play around with a few brands until you find your favorite.

How do you store masa flour long term?

In its original paper bag, flour won’t last more than 6 months. If you move it to an air-tight container, it can last 6 – 10 months. For long-term storage(over 3 months), the best method is Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

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Written by Jessica Vargas

I am a professional food stylist and recipe creator. Although I am a Computer Scientist by education, I decided to follow my passion for food and photography.

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