Corn Grits vs Cornmeal: What’s the Difference?

Corn Grits
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Corn grits and cornmeal are two pantry staples, especially in the American kitchen.

They both have many uses and are used in many dishes, and although the two both come from maize, they have their differences as well. We’re going to look into the differences between corn grits and cornmeal as well as their uses and appearances. 

Corn grits are made from grinding corn into a coarse meal, and then boiling them with water to make a porridge-like consistency.

Sometimes cheese, butter, and salt are also added to the grits and they are eaten as a porridge, usually for breakfast. They are also eaten with eggs, steak, bacon, and other foods. 

Cornmeal is also ground corn. The corn is ground much finer but still has a slightly coarse texture. It can have many different consistencies, from fine to medium to coarse, depending on what you’re using it for.

It is most popularly used to make cornbread, a staple food in Southern America. However, you can use it for other dishes as well.

When ground very finely, cornmeal is referred to as corn flour, and cornmeal from maize soaked in lime water is known as masa, which is the main ingredient in tortillas.

All of these can be bought in supermarkets. Other varieties of cornmeal include blue cornmeal and stone-ground cornmeal, which has more texture to it and is also more nutritious. 

You can also boil cornmeal. And when boiled it is called Polenta, which is a much creamier, smoother version of corn grits. Polenta makes a great side dish, much like grits. However, you can also freeze it and cut it into pieces to make polenta fries. 

Corn Grits vs Cornmeal Comparison Chart

Characteristics Corn Grits Cornmeal
Found In the supermarket, usually dry Dry, in the supermarket
Texture Coarse Depending on which one you buy, it can come in several textures from coarse to fine. Fine cornmeal is called cornflour.
Uses Made into a porridge and eaten for breakfast, usually with a side of eggs, bacon, or steak. Used to make cornbread, or corn flour is used to make tortillas.

When boiled, it is called polenta, which is eaten as a side dish.

What Are Some Substitutes for Cornmeal?

If you cannot find cornmeal, use corn grits. They come from the same plant. And the only real difference is that grits have a slightly more coarse texture. 

Another substitute is wheat flour, especially for making cornbread. It is slightly coarser than white flour and gives that grainy taste that cornmeal would offer. You can use it in the same way and it is widely available in supermarkets.

You can also use ground oats because they will have the same texture as cornmeal, as well as the same functions. They will also add a lot of fiber to your dish.

Ground flaxseed is also a great alternative and you can grind the flaxseed yourself to ensure you get the coarseness that you want.

FAQs

Can I use corn grits in place of cornmeal?

Grits are a good substitute for cornmeal because they are both made from maize and have the same flavor. The only difference is the texture, as grits are slightly coarser than cornmeal.

However, you can still substitute cornmeal for grits by adding slightly less of the amount to a mixture, as the grains are coarse.

Another great substitute for cornmeal is corn flour, even though it is less coarse, as it will still work for a recipe that calls for cornmeal. 

If you have a blender or food processor, you can blend the grits slightly to make them finer for your mixture, but this is not completely necessary.

Are corn grits and cornmeal the same thing?

Both corn grits and cornmeal come from ground maize, but grits are ground much coarser and boiled to make a porridge-like dish which is usually eaten for breakfast. 

Cornmeal is also made from ground dried corn. However, cornmeal is ground more finely ground and can be found coarser or finer. Very finely ground cornmeal is called corn flour.

Cornmeal is used to make cornbread among other things and can be found in many varieties. It can also be boiled into a porridge called polenta, which is eaten as a side dish.

Is it polenta cornmeal or grits?

Polenta is boiled cornmeal and is prepared in a similar way to grits. However, because the grains are not as coarse, polenta has a smoother, creamier texture than grits.

Chefs also freeze and cut polenta to make polenta chips. It is a great side for any meat dishes instead of rice or potatoes.

Are polenta and grits the same thing?

Polenta and grits are similar, but they are not the same.

Grits are made of coarsely ground dried corn, resulting in a lumpier, coarser texture. Polenta, on the other hand, is made of boiled cornmeal which is ground more finely, resulting in a creamier texture. They can be used interchangeably but the texture might be slightly different.

Can you substitute grits for cornmeal in cornbread?

Yes, you can. Grits are one of the best substitutes for cornmeal in cornbread because they both come from the same plant and have a similar flavor.

The only difference is that grits are more coarse. So, make sure to add a little less of them into the mixture so that the consistency stays the same.

You can also grind grits a little more in a food processor before adding them to your cornbread mix, however, this is not completely necessary.

Corn flour is another substitute for cornmeal in cornbread because it is the same but finer. Either of these three ingredients will yield good results when making cornbread.

What does blue cornmeal taste like?

Blue cornmeal is another variety of cornmeal made of blue corn. The blue corn is ground into cornmeal and it is said to have a sweeter flavor. However, it can also be used in place of cornmeal in dishes and will give a purplish-blue hue to your dish.

It is also used to make tortillas in Mexican food. You can also find blue corn tortilla chips in the supermarket, which have grown popular because of their unique color.

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