If you look at the label on a box of Maizena, you will see the term “cornstarch” mentioned. So, is cornstarch Maizena?
Maizena is a cornstarch brand. It was initially developed as a hygienic and safe version of plain cornstarch. However, the brand has evolved to include more products. Of their varied product range, Maizena cornstarch is a high-quality, multi-purpose, flavorless thickener used in cooking and baking.
Let’s look at it in closer detail.
What Exactly Is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a key pantry ingredient in most households.
It’s commonly used as a thickening agent for various dishes like soups, casseroles, marinades, glazes, and sauces.
Cornstarch is also used for baking.
Now, cornstarch is a type of maize starch derived from the endosperm of corn.
To prepare it, the protein and fiber of the corn kernel are removed by leaving the white center behind, called the endosperm.
It’s rich in starch but devoid of fiber and protein.
This part of the corn is ground into a fine powder, which is how you get cornstarch.
Cornstarch is processed, refined, gluten-free, and white.
One of the main reasons why cornstarch is versatile is because it has a neutral flavor.
It’s bland and doesn’t leave any unpleasant aftertaste. Hence, it doesn’t alter the flavor of a dish.
However, it can change the texture and consistency of a dish and works perfectly as a thickening agent.
Cornstarch is usually mixed with water or another liquid to be used as a thickener.
When this slurry is added to the dish, it produces a jelly-like texture and makes the food creamier.
However, this is only one of the many uses of cornstarch.
Cornstarch is also used as a batter ingredient for deep-fried snacks and food.
It works as an anti-caking agent for cheese and is widely used in baking.
Some of its uses include making pie fillings thick and cakes fluffy and moist.
What Is Maizena?
The terms cornstarch and Maizena may be used interchangeably.
However, you should remember that all cornstarch isn’t Maizena.
Maizena is a cornstarch brand that originated in the United States of America in 1856.
The company was registered by Glen Cove Starch Manufacturing which sold cornstarch along with a range of other products.
They came up with the idea of “Maizena” to market cornstarch exclusively as a safe and hygienic product.
Although cornstarch was the primary product of Maizena, the brand soon expanded to include other products as well.
They introduced various fortified flavored beverage mixes that are popular as delicious food products for children.
With time, the packaging details of Maizena changed.
However, the company stayed true to the original concept and continued to keep its characteristic yellow color and logo.
Nonetheless, Maizena cornstarch is one of their most popular products.
It’s a high-quality, versatile pantry ingredient that can be used in multiple ways and for various purposes.
You can use it in cooking and baking to improve the consistency and texture of gravies, stocks, stews, soups, and sauces.
You can also use it to make high-quality pastries, cakes, and omelets.
What Is The Difference Between Maizena And Cornstarch?
Maizena is the brand name for a range of corn-based products, which includes cornstarch.
When the brand first started, its only product was high-quality cornstarch.
However, as we saw earlier, they soon expanded to include flavored beverages and various other products.
Nonetheless, the name Maizena is synonymous with cornstarch because it continues to be their most famous product.
Maizena is actually pre-cooked cornstarch.
Maizena can be directly added to liquid-based dishes to improve thickness.
Plain cornstarch would have to be heated to achieve the same effect.
Can You Substitute Cornstarch For Maizena?
Cornstarch and Maizena are essentially the same.
So you shouldn’t face any issues in substituting one of them for the other.
The only factor that may differ is the quality. Maizena is high-quality, pre-cooked cornstarch.
Depending on the brand and its origin, you may not achieve the same quality of results with other brands of cornstarch.
How To Use Maizena?
You can use Maizena just as you would use regular cornstarch to thicken soups, stews, and other liquid-based dishes.
Since it has a neutral flavor, it won’t affect the taste or texture of most dishes.
It will merely alter the consistency of the dish and make it silky and thick.
Nonetheless, Maizena is a good source of complex carbohydrates.
It’s derived from the endosperm of corn, which makes it a good source of starch.
Hence, it’s widely used as food.
Apart from being used for this purpose, it also finds various other uses like the following.
1. Porridges And Compotes
Being a product of cornstarch, Maizena contains complex carbohydrates and is a good source of energy.
It also doesn’t have any strong flavors. Hence, it’s widely used as infant food.
Maizena is mainly used to prepare food mixtures.
It’s used as a base for atoles, porridges, and competes.
Maizena also has pre-packaged flavored beverage mixes.
Maizena is widely used in cooking and baking.
Cornstarch is a key ingredient in various recipes for bread, cakes, puddings, flans, custards, and pastry.
Maizena can be used for such recipes. It’s also used to make ice creams and cakes.
3. Thickener And All-Purpose Starch
Maizena is primarily used as a thickening agent. When mixed with water, it turns into a smooth and silky liquid.
You can add this slurry to liquid-based dishes to absorb moisture and make them thicker.
Many cuisines use cornstarch as a thickening agent, and Maizena works in all such recipes.
In this case, after dissolving it in the liquid, you can stir the dish on the stovetop till it thickens.
However, if you’re using Maizena in soups and stews, dissolve it in liquid and mix it with the base recipe.
Simply place the entire dish on the stove and heat as usual.
It’s not necessary to stir it because the dish will achieve the desired consistency even otherwise.
To use Maizena as an all-purpose starch, mix it with half a cup of water and use it as intended.
4. Meat, Poultry, And Fish
You can use Maizena mixed with water instead of an egg wash in batter-fried recipes.
It will also work in batter coatings and bread crumb coatings as a binding agent.
Since Maizena doesn’t have any strong flavors, it doesn’t affect the taste of the dish and lets the main ingredient shine.