Can You Overcook Cornstarch? (explained)

The common thickening agent in culinary arts, called cornstarch works great at giving your sauces and meals a touch of brilliance.

A well-composed factor that makes things extremely easy, for everyone. 

If you ever wondered whether cornstarch can be overcooked and if yes, how and if no, why? The trouble is not for you to bear alone, we all have these questions ring a bell in our mind. This article will proffer the answers we all require. 

How cornstarch works 

Before hitting the nail on the subject matter, knowing how cornstarch works will give you a beautiful balance on what you have heard and what it is. Cornstarch is a great thickener, one of the best I must confess. 

It takes just 5-10minutes for cornstarch to show its full effective composition in the sauces and meals you plan to cook. It will bubble and then thicken, and within 10 minutes at most, you will have the effects show. 

Like sponges, cornstarch soaks up water and then expands with the water it has soaked up. The thickening methods used by cornstarch are similar to what operates with rice, oatmeal, and polenta. 

Can you overcook cornstarch? 

Just like everything else and as it goes with every meal in the world, cornstarch too can be overcooked. And this wouldn’t take so much of your time, it is a simple act of keeping the cookie or microwave on after your food is ready. 

While you can overcook cornstarch, it is advised that you don’t overcook cornstarch. The reason for this is that, when overcooked, the liquid thins out. When this happens, your thickening becomes a waste of time. 

Your supposed transparent sauce will now be watery and oftentimes it will not show signs that it was supposed to turn out thick. So this is the challenge, don’t overcook cornstarch, so you can enjoy the finest offerings in the market. 

Difference between corn flour and cornstarch

Cornstarch and flour corn share a striking line of similarities,  they are made from the same source, corn kernels. Corn is made by grinding corn kernels, on the other hand, cornstarch is made from the starchy part of corn kernels. 

In addition to the difference here, flour corn is necessary because of the many advantages it offers. It is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which gives flour an active consideration. 

Cornstarch on the other hand is only carbs, while carbs have got a few fine details that speak great for it. The advantages of flour corn here outweigh the offerings of cornstarch, from the point of health balance. 

However, when it comes to thickening your sauces and meals, which is the main reason while you are looking at cornstarch. It is perfect to state that cornstarch does this job with extreme importance, and it is twice as effective as flour. 

Also, wheat flour has a higher protein content than cornstarch is made of. It contains fewer carbohydrates as well as dietary fiber, than what you get on cornstarch. On the minerals and Vitamins table, the wheat flour beats cornstarch. 

How to use cornstarch as a thickener

The glossy sheen that cornstarch adds to your meals, is an irresistible good that gets many going. Cornstarch has a perfect reputation for producing sauces that are great in all shapes, the pie fillings it offers is another unique feature to go with. 

If you are looking out for a transparent filling and one-of-a-kind outcome with your sauce, and other meals, cornstarch is the thickener of choice in this regard. Therefore, learning how to use cornstarch is a major topic of interest.

Here are some basic steps on how you can use cornstarch effectively to achieve your all-important goal of having meals that are thick right and are great for every occasion. 


Get started with your slurry 

The slurry is a mixture of cornstarch and liquid, this is against the alternative measure of pouring your cornstarch directly into the hot liquid. Doing the latter will not create the best experience, as your cornstarch will have lumps. 

Here is how you get a slurry, for every cup of liquid you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. When you have this, add an equal amount of cold liquid and stir until you have smooth finishing. 

Once you have your mixture out together here, you have a great slurry for your sauce and other meals. You are in perfect shape to win! 


Mix the slurry with the hot liquid 

By this time we believe your liquid is simmering already and it is just waiting for your slurry. With the slurry ready as well, put it into the hot simmering liquid that you desire to thicken. 

Ensure you stir them together, allow them to simmer so the starchy taste is cooked away. While you have your eyes on the starchy taste, ensure you don’t overcook the meal, so the liquid will not thin out. 

If you followed these two simple steps above, congratulations as you have completely thickened your sauce and meal with cornstarch. You need not worry about getting it perfect, because you already did. 

Cornstarch alternatives 

There are a lot of reasons why you will prefer an alternative to cornstarch, first among the reasons is if the liquid you are preparing is quite acidic. Cornstarch has a bad name, with acidic liquids. 

If what you intend to thicken is tomatoes-dominated liquid, you may also want to go with cornstarch alternatives other than pitching your tent here as cornstarch will not produce the best thickening results for you here. 

Arrowroot and tapioca are twins alternatives that will get the job done if you are dealing with an acidic-based liquid or tomato-dominated liquid and you want the best results in this regard. 

Another reason why you will need cornstarch alternatives here is if you have intentions to freeze your meal made with cornstarch, for a while. Cornstarch-dominated meals often turn out poor when frozen. 

It returns a spongy texture when frozen, this result will leave you wondering about your choice. Arrowroot and tapioca are not great options for thickening cream or milk, the use of flour is best advised in this regard. 

How long can cornstarch maintain its effectiveness 

You have gotten a fine lecture on cornstarch here, whether you can overcook it and every other fine detail that works around it to produce the best results for you. Knowing how long your cornstarch can last you, is a great detail too. 

Just like other products, which will include corn syrup. The life shelf of cornstarch is indefinite, how you preserve the meal is the most important feature to look out for here. 

Factors like bugs and moisture getting into your preserved liquid can completely alter its shape, and get it bad. However, provided your cornstarch is properly stored, it will always last you a long period of use. 

Here the focus is on the cornstarch powder that has been processed already. If it is a slurry or meal that you have prepared with cornstarch, finishing the meal as soon as you can is one way you can retain the fine taste of cornstarch. 

Is cornstarch a natural ingredient?

You want to be sure you are not adding another sugar to your meal, or embarking on a wasteful adventure. So knowing the composition of cornstarch will help relieve your fears, if any. 

Cornstarch is made from corn, it is gotten from the white endosperm at the heart of corn. The endosperm is processed by simply removing the outer layer of the corn and its shell. 

This processed corn is then ground to produce the fine white powder we know as cornstarch, so the composition is 100% natural, which makes this a fine choice for all occasions. Similarly, cornstarch has fine detail of natural minerals and Vitamins. 

Does cornstarch need heat to thicken?

Maybe you have wondered about this path and thought of the best thickening conditions, which will provide the right results for you. If this is the case, I have gotten the right answers to your question and the silent worry of your heart. 

Cornstarch needs to be cooked to 95°c or 230°F before thickening will begin to happen, once you hit these highs, your meal and sauce will immediately begin to thicken. You will begin to enjoy the fine opaque appearance you always enjoy!

Ensure you keep your eyes on your sauce to ensure it doesn’t overcook, overcooking your sauce will make you lose out on the gains that you have made already on this part. So keep your eyes on this and maximize your results always.  


Overcooking your cornstarch is not the best way to go and this content does a great job of explaining why, and how this option isn’t the best fit for all reasons. You don’t have to overcook your cornstarch if having the best result is your goal. 

To maintain this balance, ensure your cornstarch is cooked medium rare or well, this way you will have a fine touch of all things good. To enjoy your sauce, which I know is your goal, keep your eyes on the pot. Bring it down as soon as possible!