Masa Harina Vs Corn Flour – Are They The Same

Masa Harina is a type of corn flour used in Mexican cuisine. It is used to make tortillas, tamales, nachos, and other dishes. It is also used as a thickening agent in sauces and soups. Masa Harina can be made from either white or yellow maize.

White Masa Harinas are more common than the yellow ones. Yellow Masas have less protein content and they tend to absorb water better when cooked. This makes them ideal for making doughs that need to hold their shape well. On the other hand, white Masa Harinas contain higher levels of proteins which give it its elasticity. These properties allow it to retain moisture while cooking.

Corn flour is a type of cornmeal that is used in baking. It is available in different forms such as fine, medium, coarse, and extra coarse. It is used as a thickener in sauces, gravies, soups, and stews. It is also used in breads and muffins. The main difference between these two types of flours lies in how finely ground they are. White cornflour has been milled into very small particles whereas corn flour remains relatively large. Both of these products come with varying nutritional values depending on what part of the grain you use.

Masa Harina and Corn Flour are frequently confused by the kitchen’s "stars." It may appear different, but it is not the same. At first, I confused the two until I learned that Masa Harina is ground maize that has been alkalized. Let’s continue digging.

I’ve discovered a few things that will assist you comprehend Masa Harina. It’s a maize dough that’s utilised in the making of fresh tortillas. Masa Harina is made using a relatively easy method: crushed maize is soaked in calcium hydroxide, then processed into a corn dough using a fine grade grinder. Corn flour, on the other hand, is ideal for frying and breading but not for making tortillas. In this article we will compare both of these ingredients so that you know exactly what each one offers.

What is Masa Harina?

The term’Masa’ means ‘dough’. Maseca Harina refers to any kind of corn dough that contains at least 50% corn meal. There are many varieties of Masa Harina; some are finer than others. Some brands even offer several kinds of Masa Harina. For example, there are those that are gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, etc.

There are three basic methods of producing Masa Harina: soaking, grinding and drying. Soaking involves soaking raw whole kernels of corn in an alkaline solution for about 24 hours. After soaking, the kernel is rinsed thoroughly before being dried. Grinding requires crushing the soaked kernels after removing the germ. Drying takes place through air circulation.

Masa Harina comes in various sizes. Fine Masa Harina is usually sold in bags containing 1 pound per bag. Medium size Masa Harina weighs 2 pounds. Coarse Masa Harina measures 3 pounds, and extra coarse Masa Harina weights 4 pounds.

What is Corn Flour?

Corn flour is simply ground yellow or white corn. This product can be found in grocery stores under names like cornstarch, cornmeal, polenta, grits, hominy, and corn starch. You’ll find corn flour in all sorts of recipes including cakes, cookies, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, gravy, salad dressings, dips, and more.

It’s important to note that corn flour does not have to be 100% corn. Sometimes manufacturers add wheat flour to make up the rest. If you’re looking for something healthier, try buying unbleached corn flour instead. Unbleached corn flour is less likely to contain additives such as bleaching agents, preservatives, artificial colours, and flavours.

How does Masa Harina Compare With Corn Flour?

Both Masa Harina and corn flour are derived from corn. However, their composition differs greatly. While corn flour is simply ground up corn grains, Masa Harina is composed of more complex carbohydrates. This makes it much easier to digest compared to regular corn flour.

Both Masa Harina and wheat flour have similar chemical compositions. Wheat flour consists mainly of starch, protein and water.

Are Masa Harina and Corn Flour Same?

No, it isn’t.

Let’s speak on maize flour. The cornflour is obtained from the dried corn kernel, the maize and hull, endosperm and the germ are melted and made of entire meat. Usually, the texture is extremely gentle and the colour depends on the maize used, yellow, white or blue.

Corn flour is ideal for bread because it provides it a nice smooth structure, as I previously stated. It’s then mixed with eggs to give it form. The raw corn flour has no flavour, but when combined with other ingredients to produce bread, or utilised in baking or cooking, the flavour bursts forth. Corn flour is ideal for frying since it adds crispiness and improves the flavour of the meal. Corn flour is an excellent choice for breading and frying a variety of foods, including muffins, blinis, and more.

Let’s chat about Masa Harina for a moment. It is, after all, Mexico’s staple flour. Masa Harina is preferred by Mexicans over cornflour. It’s commonly referred to as "corn dough." Tortillas, tamales, and pupusas are all made using it. Masa Harina is a fine flour with a smooth texture that is cooked in lime water or calcium hydroxide, totally changing the flavour of the flour.

Every Masa flour contains limewater, which is necessary for the distinct taste and simple digestion by our bodies. Fortunately, Masa flour is gluten-free by nature; it is 100 percent pure.

Can you substitute Corn Flour for Masa Harina?

Both are quite different, and substituting one for the other would leave your dish bland. Remember that Masa flour is a Mexican staple, and it’s combined with lime water or calcium hydroxide, which alters the flavour of the final product. The properties of maize flour and Masa Harina are not the same.

After Nixtamalization, which is the process of boiling maize in an alkaline solution, the nutritional content of the corn is increased while germs and bacteria are removed. This procedure, on the other hand, smooths down the corn, making it easier to ground and shape into a dough.


The two flours are very different, so if you’re looking to make tortilla chips, use Masa Harina instead of corn flour. If you want to bake something like pizza crust, however, go ahead and swap them out!

Daisy Kim
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