cornmeal polenta with melting butter in a bowl

Corn meal is a course ground flour or meal made from corn. It is available in white, yellow and blue varieties. Corn meal in the United States is usually steel ground and has very little of the hull and germ of the corn left. Self-rising corn meal is simply corn meal mixed with a leavening agent. It is used in recipes for baked goods like corn bread.

Self-Rising Corn Meal Recipe

The basic ingredients in any recipe for a self-rising cornmeal substitute are cornmeal, a rising agent and salt. The exact proportions of each ingredient differ by recipe. To make exactly one cup of self-rising cornmeal, combine 3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. of cornmeal with 1 tbsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt. Another recipe uses one cup of cornmeal with 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. This will result in just slightly over one cup but use it as if it were one cup of self-rising cornmeal. Do not discard the excess.

Self-Rising Corn Meal with Flour

In some parts of the country, packaged self-rising cornmeal includes flour and fat. This is closer to a baking mix than the self-rising cornmeal that does not contain flour. To make your own version of this type of self-rising cornmeal, combine one cup flour, one cup cornmeal, one tbsp. baking powder, one tsp. salt and 1/4 cup fat, such as butter or vegetable oil. Measure out the needed amount of self-rising cornmeal from the mixture. You could also combine one cup self-rising flour with one cup regular cornmeal plus 1 tbsp. of leavening.

Substitutes for Corn Meal

If you don't have any corn meal on hand you can substitute cornflour for corn meal. Cornflour is just a finer-ground corn meal. Mix it with baking powder and salt to make self-rising cornflour for use in your recipes that require self-rising corn meal. You can also add baking powder to masa de harina and use it as self-rising cornmeal. You can finely grind corn chips and mix them with cornflour to get a better approximation of the texture of regular corn meal. Add baking powder as you would in the other substitute recipes. Grits and polenta are also roughly ground corn meals and can be used in place of regular corn meal in these substitutes. You can grind these rougher corn meals before using if you prefer a lighter texture.

Self-Rising Corn Meal without Corn

To make a corn-free substitute for self-rising corn meal, mix 1 cup of millet meal with one tbsp. baking powder and one tsp. salt. Millet meal has a similar texture to corn meal and will cook up in a similar way in your baking recipes. To make millet meal, grind one cup of millet in a food processor or food grinder until the consistency resembles corn meal.