Can cornstarch thicken cold liquids?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “Can cornstarch thicken cold liquids?” and the information on gelatinization.

Can cornstarch thicken cold liquids?

No! Cornstarch cannot thicken cold liquids. Cornstarch gelatinizes and thickens beverages by forming a gel. The temperature range for this technique is 62-72 degrees Celsius for cornstarch. Whether the temperature is at or below this point, the starch will remain suspended in the liquid. If left unattended, it will sink to the bottom of the container or form lumps in the liquid.

To learn how to thicken sauces, curries, and custards with cornstarch, continue reading this article. If you run out of cornstarch, don’t be concerned; follow the instructions below to figure out what you may use as a replacement.

What is cornstarch and how does it work?

The corn kernel is milled into corn starch or cornflour, depending on the variety. The grain endosperm of maize kernels contains 72-72 percent starch by weight, according to the International Food Information Council. Cornstarch is a thickening agent that is commonly used in the kitchen. It is used to thicken gravies, curries, soups, and custards, among other things.

Cornstarch gelation imparts a translucent appearance to the liquid rather than an opaque appearance, as is the case with other thickeners. As a result, cornstarch has been selected for use in the kitchen.

It’s also used as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar and baking powder, among other products. It is used in the paper industry as an anti-adhering agent to prevent the paper from sticking together. This multi-purpose product is also utilized in the textile industry, to name a few applications.

What exactly is the process of gelatinization?

It is, in essence, the irreversible disruption of the crystalline structure of the starch molecule. Heat and water cause amylopectin to lose its crystalline shape, allowing water to enter the amorphous portions of the starch granule and causing it to gel.

A consequence of this is that the molecule expands. It doesn’t take long for the granule to dissolve. The temperature at which this activity takes place varies depending on the type of starch used.

What is the best way to thicken with cornstarch?

Due to the glossy sheen that cornstarch lends to the liquids, it thickens, and sweet sauces and pie fillings are more typically used in cornstarch-based thickeners than savory sauces and gravies. Despite this, it runs wonderfully and is straightforward to use:

Prepare a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for each cup of liquid you want to thicken, and set it aside. Combine the dry ingredients with an equal amount of cold liquid until homogeneous paste forms. Your slurry has been delivered.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the slurry and the thickening liquid, which should be hot and bubbling. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low setting and cook until any starchy flavor has been eliminated. Cooking for an extended time will cause the starch to break down and the liquid to thin down once more.

Are there any alternatives to cornstarch?

Keep the following points in mind when working with cornstarch: Cornstarch may lose some of its thickening power when your sauce is acidic (such as a tomato-based sauce). In that case, arrowroot or tapioca starch may be substituted for cornstarch.

Using these two solutions is also beneficial when making something to freeze because cornstarch can turn mushy when it is stored in a freezer. In contrast, arrowroot combined with milk can become sticky, so don’t use it to thicken a cream or milk-based sauce if you don’t want it to adhere to your fingers.

Are there any further applications of cornstarch?

The thickening capabilities of cornstarch can also be used in a variety of different applications. Consider the following scenario: you’re preparing a stir-fry that has become watery. This is a common occurrence when your wok or skillet is not heated sufficiently.

Since all of the liquid from the veggies and meat drains out, the meal steams as opposed to frying. You might reduce the heat, but your vegetables would be overcooked as a result. Add more cornstarch (again, making a slurry) instead, and all of the extra liquid will thicken into a delicious sauce in a matter of seconds, saving you time and effort.

A quick gravy sauce can be made with cornstarch if your meat recipe necessitates the addition of sauce. Making your slurry using chicken stock instead of water will work in this situation. Add any meat drippings or little scraps from the pan (everything is better than nothing) to the slurry and you’ll have a delicious, hot sauce for your roast chicken or roast beef.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “Can cornstarch thicken cold liquids?” and the information on gelatinization.


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