What Is Masa Flour? (What Is It Made Of, What’s It For, Substitutes + More) 

Flour is a common ingredient used around the world, and as such, many people may call flour different names. For instance, some people may use the words masa flour and maize flour in the same recipe.

If you do not know about masa flour, you may be curious as to what masa flour is. I looked up the facts, and here is what I learned!

What Is Masa Flour?

Masa flour is soft flour made from maize, which is a type of corn. While masa flour and masa harina may be the same thing, masa flour is slightly different from cornflour despite all of them being made from corn. Moreover, there are different types of masa flour, such as white masa flour and yellow masa flour.

Do you want to learn more about the types of masa flour, how masa flour differs from cornflour, and what masa flour is used for? Keep reading!

What Type Of Flour Is Masa Flour?

Masa flour is considered a type of maize flour, which is corn flour, and masa is also called soft flour.

Masa flour may also be called masa harina since “harina” is the Spanish word for flour, and maize flour such as masa harina is popular in Latin countries.

Are There Different Types of Masa Flour?

There are different types of masa flour available, and each variety of masa flour will suit different recipes.

One variation of masa flour is white masa flour, which is the most common variety, that is made from white dried corn to create a paler and slightly sweeter flour.

Another type of masa flour is yellow masa flour made from yellow dried corn, which is slightly yellow and less sweet compared to white masa flour.

What Is The Difference Between Masa Flour And Masa Harina?

Technically, there is no difference between masa flour and masa harina because they both mean masa flour, and harina is the Spanish word for flour.

However, using the word “masa” alone will change the meaning since the term masa often refers to masa dough, which is prepared dough made from mixed water and masa harina.

What Is Masa Flour Made Of?

What Is Masa Flour Made Of?

Generally, masa flour is made from dried corn kernels, making masa flour a variety of corn flour, and masa flour can be made from white dried corn or yellow dried corn.

However, masa flour also contains calcium hydroxide or lime water since the corn used to make masa flour first gets soaked in calcium hydroxide.

What Does Masa Flour Taste Like?

Normally, masa flour is said to have a slightly neutral taste, but if you try white masa flour it will be slightly sweeter than yellow masa flour.

What Do You Use Masa Flour For?

Typically, the most popular use for masa flour is to make corn tortillas since masa flour provides the perfect flavor and texture needed for corn tortillas.

However, masa flour can make a variety of other Latin dishes, such as gorditas, pupusas, tamales, and more.

Moreover, you can use masa flour instead of other flour varieties if you want to change the texture. For instance, masa flour can be used to create buttery bread.

Plus masa flour can be useful for cooking since masa flour can be great to thicken drinks, sauces, and soups.

Is Corn Flour The Same As Masa Flour?

Technically, masa flour is not the same as cornflour even if they are both types of flour made from corn.

What makes masa flour unique is that the corn used to make masa flour gets soaked in lime water or calcium hydroxide to change the flavor of masa flour.

When the corn gets soaked in the lime-water solution, the flour has more nutritional value while removing bacteria and germs, which produces a softer and smoother dough that most chefs prefer.

For instance, if you were to use regular corn flour for a tortilla instead of masa flour, you would get a chewy, rubbery tortilla, or the tortilla would easily fall apart.

On the other hand, using masa flour for a corn tortilla would give you a soft, tender tortilla that can hold its form.

Is Maize Flour The Same As Masa Flour?

Generally, maize flour can be the same as masa flour if the corn used to make maize flour was soaked in lime water before being turned into maize flour.

However, some manufacturers will create maize flour without soaking the corn kernels in lime water, which would mean that variety of maize flour will not be the same as masa flour.

Can I Use All-Purpose Flour Instead Of Masa Flour?

In some cases, you can use all-purpose flour instead of masa flour, but you may not get the same texture or flavor that you would want.

For instance, masa flour is great for a corn tortilla because masa flour provides a mildly sweet and soft tortilla.

However, all-purpose flour creates a crumbly, harder tortilla since all-purpose flour is not as smooth as masa flour.

Is Masa Flour Gluten-Free?

Typically, masa flour is a naturally gluten-free flour since masa flour is made from corn, which is a gluten-free ingredient.

However, some store-bought masa flour can be contaminated with gluten, so it is best to check if the manufacturer guarantees that the masa flour is gluten-free.

What Can I Substitute Masa Flour For?

Normally, the best replacement for masa flour is masa preparada, which is simply dough made from masa flour and water, making it a ready-made version.

Additionally, you may use cornflour instead of masa flour, but you may lack the exact taste and texture that you would want.

Take a look at our other articles to learn what malted barley flour is, what mochiko flour is, and what mochiko flour is.


Masa flour is a variety of maize flour made from dried white or yellow corn kernels, and there are several types of masa flour like white masa flour and yellow masa flour.

Normally, masa flour differs from regular cornflour since masa flour’s corn gets soaked in a lime-water solution to create a smoother flour with more nutritional value.

Typically, most chefs prefer masa flour over cornflour for most recipes since masa flour provides softer and tastier results for recipes like corn tortillas.

1 thought on “What Is Masa Flour? (What Is It Made Of, What’s It For, Substitutes + More) ”

  1. Very helpful, thank you. Some detail of how and why it is necessary to soak the corn in lime water to make it nutritionally better for the human body would be interesting; especially considering that highly processed food is generally frowned on these days!


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