Corn starch, also known as corn flour, is a carbohydrate extract derived from the endosperm of corn. It’s a powder used across various parts of the world, especially in North America and Asia, for a wide range of culinary, domestic, and industrial purposes.

Corn starch contains long chains of starch molecules which inflate and bulge when heated in a moist environment. The inflation triggers gelatinization, which results in thickened textures. It also has excellent absorption qualities that help minimize watery or runny textures in food.

It’s a great gluten-free alternative to flour as a thickener in recipes like soups, gravies, and sauces. Besides being gluten-free, it’s also an excellent alternative to flour thickeners because it forms a transparent rather than an opaque gel.