Is It Safe to Eat Cornstarch?

This kitchen staple is safe in moderation.

Cornstarch is the starch that comes from a grain of corn. It’s taken from the endosperm of the kernel of corn and is a common ingredient in sauces, soups and baked goods. Cornstarch is one of the best thickeners out there and can transform a watery mixture of ingredients into a hearty stew in no time.

Is it safe to eat cornstarch?

Yes, it is safe to eat cornstarch in small amounts. Cornstarch should never be consumed raw, though. Most recipes that use cornstarch call for 1 to 2 tablespoons that are heated either on the stovetop or in the oven.

To thicken a sauce, soup or stew, mix a small amount of cornstarch with cold water to create a slurry. From there, whisk the mixture into your recipe and watch it work its magic.

To give your favorite pie filling that gel-like consistency, whisk cornstarch into the sugar before adding it to the fruit mixture. Cornstarch can also be used as an egg substitute in vegan baked goods.

Here are genius uses for cornstarch that don’t involve eating it.

Is cornstarch bad for you?

Small servings of cornstarch are not bad for you. However, eating a large amount of cornstarch or consuming it raw is not recommended. Cornstarch tends to be high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients. This gives it a high glycemic index.

A food’s glycemic index describes how much that food affects your blood sugar level. Foods with a high glycemic index, like cornstarch, are digested quickly and cause your blood sugar level to increase quickly. This affects all of us and is especially important for individuals with diabetes to be aware of. Most starchy foods have a high glycemic index and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Cornstarch Substitutes

If you’d like to branch out from the usual cornstarch slurry in your cooking, try any of these substitutions:

  • All-purpose flour: Substitute 2 tablespoons of flour for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  • Potato starch: Substitute 1 tablespoon of potato starch for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  • Rice flour: Substitute 2 tablespoons of rice flour for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  • Tapioca starch: Substitute 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

  • Arrowroot powder: Substitute 2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.