What is Corn Pasta?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Corn pasta is pasta that has been made from ground corn. It is usually offered as a gluten-free alternative to regular pasta for people who are intolerant or sensitive to gluten. Some people simply use it because they enjoy the flavor and texture, however. Health food stores sometimes carry this pasta, as do major markets that have a gluten-free section. For people who are concerned about gluten in food, it is a good idea to read packages carefully to ensure that they are purchasing a gluten-free product.

Corn is ground and shaped into pasta.
Corn is ground and shaped into pasta.

Just like regular wheat pasta, corn pasta is made by grinding corn into flour, blending the flour with water, and then rolling it out or extruding it to make pasta shapes. It comes in a range of shapes, including flat cut shapes like linguine and extruded shapes such as corn elbows. This pasta can also be flavored with ingredients like spinach, peppers, or sundried tomatoes, and it can be creamy white to yellow in color, depending on the type of corn used. Some companies also add food coloring to make their pasta yellow, since people associate corn with this color.

Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach can be added to corn pasta.
Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach can be added to corn pasta.

Because this pasta lacks gluten, it can fall apart more readily than wheat pasta. It is important for cooks to follow cooking directions carefully and to taste the pasta to ensure that it does not become overcooked, as it can transition from resilient to mushy in less than a minute. Corn pasta is also not very suitable for inclusion in soups for this reason, although it can be added separately at the table.

Spinach can be added to pasta to add color and flavor.
Spinach can be added to pasta to add color and flavor.

The flavor is usually relatively mild, and it pairs well with a variety of sauces. Various shapes can be picked out to cater to specific pasta sauces, ranging from cheesy alfredo to chunky meatball sauces. Depending on the recipe, corn pasta can do well in baked dishes: generally it pairs better with dry sauces, rather than soupy ones, and it is a good idea to leave the pasta undercooked so that it will not soften in the oven.

A person with a gluten intolerance may experience abdominal cramping, gas and diarrhea as a result of consuming products containing gluten.
A person with a gluten intolerance may experience abdominal cramping, gas and diarrhea as a result of consuming products containing gluten.

This pasta will keep potentially indefinitely as long as it is stored in cool, dry conditions. People who are trying to eat gluten-free may want to be careful about where they store their pasta and which container they use if they share the house with others. It can help to set up a gluten-free shelf or cabinet in a roommate situation, both to keep food isolated and to ensure that roommates don't accidentally eat gluten-free items and leave someone without anything to make for dinner.

A chunky meat sauce for corn pasta could include tomatoes, onions and herbs.
A chunky meat sauce for corn pasta could include tomatoes, onions and herbs.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I' not allergic to gluten, only pasta, rice, noodles, etc. I sick them all up. So will I still sick corn pasta up or will I keep it down?


Corn Pasta: 1 Cup cornmeal or Masa Harina (corn flour)

1/3 Cup corn starch (experiment, you might want less than I like)

1 Teaspoon Xanthan gum (or, try it without, but the gum makes it stick together better)

Enough water to make a dough

this can be refrigerated overnight to age and to soften the cornmeal

roll out for pasta or make rivvels

1 Quart boiling water.

For the starch to hold it together, it must be boiling. Cook till tender, a few minutes with Masa. The noodles will be softer than normal.


Do you know how to make homemade corn pasta from scratch? Or where can I find that information?


@StreamFinder-- Yes, you can. That's actually the best part about corn pasta, it can literally be replaced with wheat pasta in recipes.

I've tried rice pasta as well and I was not happy with the results. Rice pasta falls apart very quickly so it's not possible to make casserole from it. But corn pasta holds up well and I personally think that it tastes better than rice pasta too.

Try mac and cheese with corn pasta, it's very good.

@ankara-- Corn pasta does have less calories than regular pasta, as well as less carbohydrates and fat. But it also has less protein, about half as much. So I'm not sure if that makes corn pasta healthier than regular pasta made from wheat. I think in general, both are healthier alternatives to bread or rice.

I don't have a gluten intolerance but I'm sure that this is a great food for people suffering from this condition. I love pasta, I cannot imagine what I would do if I was told that I couldn't eat it.


Is corn pasta healthier than regular pasta? How do the calories in corn pasta compare to the calories in regular pasta?


When making regular pasta dishes with corn flour pasta, how do you keep it from sticking to the pan?

I have the worst time keeping my pasta from either disintegrating or sticking like glue to the bottom of my pan when I boil it.

Is this something to do with the fact that it's made of corn rather than wheat, or am I just doing something crazy wrong in my cooking?

I would really appreciate any tips -- thanks!


When it comes to gluten free pasta, I definitely think that quinoa and corn pasta are the best.

It's really hard to choose between the two, since you get that really fresh taste with quinoa pasta, but you get a little bit of sweetness from the corn pasta.

The most important thing for me is that they're gluten-free though. I'm working my way down to a raw food diet, and going gluten free is my first step.

One thing, just to remind all you corn pasta eaters, you really do need to check if the pasta you buy is truly gluten free. Just because its corn doesn't mean it's necessarily completely gluten free, since it could be produced in a mill that also processes wheat.

So do remember to double check, whether you have a gluten intolerance or you just want to cut it out of your diet, like me -- if the bag doesn't say gluten free, then it's probably not.


Can you bake corn pasta like you would regular wheat pasta, in a casserole, say?

I've been looking for some good alternative recipes since we just found out that my daughter has a gluten sensitivity, and since she likes gluten free corn pasta, I thought that might be a good place to start.

Do you have any good corn pasta recipes, particularly ones that you can bake? See, I usually cook big portions at the beginning of the week and then store them for us to eat the rest of the week, since I'm not home every night.

Would corn pasta (or any other kind of gluten free pasta that you know of) work for that kind of thing?

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