Cornmeal is flour ground from dried maize or American corn. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies.[1] In the United States, the finely ground cornmeal is also referred to as cornflour.[1] However, the word cornflour denotes cornstarch in recipes from the United Kingdom.[citation needed]



Steel ground yellow cornmeal, common mostly in the United States, has the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. It is conserved almost indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Stone ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ, lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. It is more perishable, but will store longer if refrigerated. However it too can have a fairly long shelf life of many months if kept in a reasonably cool place. It can also be used for cornmeal cakes.

White cornmeal (mielie-meal) is more traditional in Africa. It is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread.[2]

Blue corn meal is cornmeal with a light blue or violet color that is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. The corn meal is dried corn kernels that have been ground into a fine, medium texture.

Blue corn has significant spiritual importance for Native Americans in the southwest. According to the Navajo people, blue corn meal is a traditional healing food that has strong ties to the Navajo Culture. Blue corn meal in evidence, is ground into a fine coarse substance, and mixed with cedar ash. It is important to mix these two main ingredients of this dish.

Regional usages



  • G'omi, Tchvishtari, Mchadi (Georgian: ღომი), Georgia- G'omi is similar to polenta, Tshvishtari- cheese cornbread, Mtchadi-cornbread
  • Kachamak (Bulgarian and Serbian: качамак), Bulgaria and Serbia
  • Mălai, Romania
  • Farina di granturco, Italy (not the same as farina which is made from wheat.)
  • Polenta, southern Europe - especially Italy
  • Arapash or Harapash, Albania - similar to the Romanian style but often combined with lamb organs, or/and feta cheese (like the Greek feta)

South Asia

Meso- and South America

  • Masa, used for making tortillas, arepas and tamales in Mexico, Central America, and South America
  • Fubá, Brazil
  • Polenta, a typical dish in many south american countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay


  • Cou-Cou, is part of the National dish of Barbados which goes by the name "Cou-Cou and Flying fish."
  • Funchi, a cornmeal mush cooked and cooled into a stiff pudding, sometimes eaten with saltfish and/or pepperpot, consumed on the island of Curaçao and part of the National Dish of Antigua and Barbuda.

North America

Non-food uses

There are occasional mentions of the use of cornmeal as a pesticide or as a dermatological antifungal. Most such mentions appear apocryphal and lacking in authoritative sources.


  1. ^ a b Herbst, Sharon, Food Lover's Companion, Third Edition, Pg. 165, Barrons Educational Series Inc, 2001
  2. ^ Kilbride, Philip; Goodale, Jane; Ameisen, Elizabeth, eds (1990). Encounters With American Ethnic Cultures. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama. p. 82. ISBN 0-8173-0471-1. Retrieved July 24, 2010. "All my African-American informants told me they preferred white to yellow cornmeal because it looks and tastes better...." 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cornmeal — 1782, from CORN (Cf. corn) (1) + MEAL (Cf. meal) …   Etymology dictionary

  • cornmeal — [kôrn′mēl΄] n. ☆ 1. meal made from corn (maize) 2. meal made from some other grain, as, in Scotland, oats: see CORN1 …   English World dictionary

  • cornmeal — noun Dried corn (maize) milled (ground) to a coarse meal. She made a kind of polenta from cornmeal and chicken broth, with some cheese sprinkled on top …   Wiktionary

  • cornmeal — [[t]kɔ͟ː(r)nmiːl[/t]] also corn meal N UNCOUNT Cornmeal is a powder made from maize. It is used in cooking …   English dictionary

  • cornmeal — кукурузная мука cornmeal mush кукурузная каша …   English-Russian travelling dictionary

  • cornmeal — noun coarsely ground corn (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑Indian meal • Hypernyms: ↑meal • Substance Holonyms: ↑hoecake, ↑polenta, ↑mush, ↑co …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cornmeal (band) — Cornmeal Origin Chicago, Illinois, USA Genres Jam band Bluegrass Years active 2000–Present Labels Livin Live Records Website …   Wikipedia

  • cornmeal mush — noun cornmeal boiled in water • Syn: ↑mush • Derivationally related forms: ↑mushy (for: ↑mush) • Hypernyms: ↑hot cereal • Hyponym …   Useful english dictionary

  • cornmeal — noun Date: 1749 meal ground from corn …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cornmeal — /kawrn meel /, n. 1. Also called, esp. Brit., Indian meal. meal made of corn. 2. Scot. oatmeal. [1740 50; CORN1 + MEAL2] * * * …   Universalium

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