Looking for cornmeal recipes? We have more than you thought of here. Is there anything cornmeal can't do? This is one of our favorite ingredients, and it can be used in so many ways. Take a look around to see what you can cook with our favorite harina de maíz recipes.
By- Last reviewed . Published Jul 16, 2022
Why we ❤️ it
Cornmeal is one of the staple ingredients of our cuisine, used in some of our favorite recipes: from popular desserts to dumplings, to sweet and savory cornbread recipes, side dishes, and casseroles.
Harina de maíz is an inexpensive ingredient that fits any budget and level of expertise.
Harina de maíz (cornmeal) recipes
From fritters to casseroles, from desserts to savory dishes. See what we can do with the popular cornmeal.
- Arepa Salada (Dominican Savory Cornbread)
- Pan de Maiz (Dominican Cornbread)
- Arepitas de Maiz (Cornmeal Fritters)
- Pastelón de Harina de Maíz (Cornmeal and Beef Casserole)
- Guanimos Salados (Cornmeal and Beef Pockets)
- Bollitos de Maíz (Boiled Cornmeal Dumplings)
- Gofio (Sweet Corn Powder) - And Pattern for the Cones
- Harina de Maiz (Dominican Cornmeal Porridge)
What is harina de maiz?
There's more than one food item that could be classified as "cornmeal," but has a different Spanish name. It will be used for different dishes depending on how finely it's ground. For example, what we call "harina de maíz" is corn flour that is slightly finer than polenta, which is, in turn, finer than grits. A grits-like texture is used to make Chenchén, and cracked corn (Maíz caquiao), is used to make Chacá, a corn-based dessert.
Much finer corn flour is used in South America to make their own version of arepas (which are not similar to ours, except that both are corn-based). In Mexico and Central America, tortillas are made with cornmeal or wheat flour, while Salvadoran pupusas are made with cornmeal or rice flour.
🔗 Buy harina de maíz (Amazon affiliate link).
Is harina de maíz the same as cornmeal?
Cornmeal is finely ground dry corn (maize). Cornmeal is called harina de maiz in Spanish, a not quite literal translation. On top of that if you study the supermarket aisle you will find several products labeled "cornmeal", and they don't all look the same.
The cornmeal that is equivalent to the Dominican "harina de maiz", and that we use throughout our sites, is not the coarse one that is used in some Southern US cuisines, nor is it the fine one used in Venezuelan cachapas, for example. Both would produce results far from the intended ones. So how do we solve this dilemma?
Let's try this: If you are unsure, and you have never seen the ingredient used in our cuisine, please feel free to ask. Not only will I try to find the answer (I'm not familiar with every brand, obviously), but there might be somebody from your neck of the woods who does know the correct brand or name. Deal?
How to cook cornmeal
Savory dishes include Pastelon de harina de maiz (Cornmeal and beef bake), Guanimos (Cornmeal and beef pockets - similar to tamales), Bollo de harina de maiz or Bollitos de maiz (Boiled cornmeal dumplings), Arepa salada, (Savory corn bread), Pan de maíz (Dominican homemade cornbread), and Arepitas de maiz (Cornmeal fritters).
A reminder that neither of the last two is to be confused with Venezuelan or Colombian arepas. Sweet dishes include Arepa dulce (Cornmeal and coconut cake made in the oven), Harina de maiz (Dominican cornmeal, a creamy porridge, and a cornmeal cereal similar to oatmeal, known as Crema de maiz in Puerto Rico), and Gofio (Sweet corn powder, a traditional children's treat). Sweet cornmeal dishes are flavored with vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Nutrition in cornmeal
Per 1 cup [168 grams] of cornmeal:
Calories: 611kcal | Total carbohydrate: 116g | Protein: 16g | Total fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 0g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 5mg | Vitamin A, C: 0IU
Commercial cornmeal products are often enriched with nutrient additives such as niacin, thiamin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and ferric orthophosphate. The best quality harina de maiz has no artificial colors or preservatives added. Just check the product label!
How to use cornmeal?
To cook cornmeal on the stove, stir the mixture into water or whole milk over medium heat, adding salt to taste, or a couple of tablespoons of white sugar if preparing a sweet dish, and bring to a boil. Stir constantly to prevent clumping. Sprinkle some nutmeg for flavor. A classic harina de maiz Dominican recipe is Arepa, which can be either sweet or savory.
Harina de maiz substitutes
If you cannot find proper "harina de maíz" where you live, polenta is an adequate substitute, but be mindful that it will not result in the exact consistency that we're used to, as polenta is thicker in texture, and contains less cornstarch than harina de maíz. The flavor is also similar.
Some experimentation on your part may be needed to adapt these recipes to using polenta and finding just the right taste and texture.
Harina de maiz is cornmeal or cornflour in English. Note that in British English, cornflour is the word for cornstarch, which is maizena in Spanish, an ingredient that is mainly used for thickening sauces and soups.
Harina de maiz is the Spanish name for cornmeal.
Harina de maiz is made from dried corn kernels, ground to different consistencies.
We use harina de maiz in a variety of traditional meals, both sweet and savory.
No, harina de maiz is gluten-free and thus suitable for celiacs and any other dietary restrictions that involve avoiding gluten. Pan de maiz or Dominican cornbread is a great alternative.