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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Masa Harina

Ever find yourself staring at a recipe that calls for masa harina, only to realize you’re fresh out? We’ve all been there. It’s like your kitchen is mocking you.

Before you throw in the towel and order takeout, check this out. We’ve got some top-tier swaps that’ll save your dish.

I remember this one time, we were trying to make homemade tortillas. Spoiler alert: no masa harina in sight. Panic mode activated. Yet, here we are, ready to share the wisdom gained from that chaotic kitchen fiasco.

Ready to rock your recipe with something else? We promise, these substitutes won’t make your dish a culinary catastrophe.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Masa Harina

Masa harina is a type of flour made from dried corn kernels that have been treated with an alkaline solution.

It is commonly used in traditional Mexican cuisine to make tortillas, tamales, and other corn-based dishes.

However, if you don’t have masa harina on hand or need a suitable substitute, there are several alternatives available.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Dried HominyCorn kernels that have been dried and processedUse an equal amount of dried hominy as a substitute for masa harina
Canned HominyPrecooked corn kernels preserved in a canUse an equal amount of canned hominy as a substitute for masa harina
Corn GritsCoarsely ground dried corn kernelsUse an equal amount of corn grits as a substitute for masa harina
CornmealFinely ground dried corn kernelsUse an equal amount of cornmeal as a substitute for masa harina
Dry PolentaCoarsely ground yellow cornmealUse an equal amount of dry polenta as a substitute for masa harina

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – Dried Hominy

dried hominy

Hominy is corn with its husk removed in a limewater soak.

So, it has a similar flavor to masa harina.

You can say it’s pre-ground masa harina also.

All you have to do is put the kernels in an appliance and grind it.

Once it becomes powder, you can use it to prepare any dish that asks for masa harina.

Apart from making the usual items, you can also add it to soups and other dishes if you want to thicken them.

Mexicans make a beverage called atole by mixing it with water and milk.

It’s also eaten as a whole in several dishes.

Dried hominy also offers several health benefits, just like masa harina.

  • Key Characteristics: Dried hominy consists of corn kernels that have been dried and processed. It provides a similar corn flavor and texture as masa harina. To substitute masa harina with dried hominy, use an equal amount of dried hominy. Grind the dried hominy into a fine powder using a food processor or a grain mill before using it in your recipes.

2 – Canned Hominy

canned hominy

Basically, it’s hominy conserved in a can or tin of water.

It’s also a suitable alternative when masa harina is not available.

Since it’s soaked in water, the kernels will produce softer dough but with the same flavor.

You can find different brands in grocery stores that sell Latin American and Mexican products.

You can take the kernels and grind them in a food processor.

While mixing it to make your items pour a smaller quantity of water.

Apart from the usual Mexican and Latin American dishes, you can also use it to make casserole, soups and stews without grinding them.

It contains many nutrients, including vitamin B, fiber, and is low in sugar and fat. It’s gluten-free too.

It maintains digestive health, maintains blood sugar, manages weight and even lowers cholesterol levels.

  • Key Characteristics: Canned hominy is precooked corn kernels preserved in a can. While it may have a slightly different texture compared to masa harina, it can still be used as a substitute. Use an equal amount of canned hominy as a substitute for masa harina. Rinse the canned hominy before using it to remove any excess sodium or brine.

3 – Corn Grits

corn grits

Corn grits come from two sources; milled corn or hominy.

It will have a similar flavor to masa harina if it’s made from hominy.

The dough will taste like cornmeal if it comes from milled corn.

However, you can use it in times of emergency.

Different recipes require different textures.

So, you can grind the grits in an appliance to make it smoother if a recipe demands it.

As with the other substitutes, you can make plenty of things with corn grits.

Corn grits also contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

So, they are good for the eyes and heart.

They may also help prevent cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Hominy corn grits retain most of the grits’ nutritional value because of the limewater treatment.

  • Key Characteristics: Corn grits are coarsely ground dried corn kernels. They have a slightly grainy texture and provide a similar corn flavor. Use an equal amount of corn grits as a substitute for masa harina. Adjust the liquid content in your recipe as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

4 – Cornmeal

cornmeal

Though masa harina and cornmeal come from the same source, the flavor is different because of the hulling process.

However, it can stand-in for the former when there is nothing else to use.

The taste will change, obviously, but you will have a similar texture.

So, you can make most dishes with cornmeal that asks for masa harina.

You may not have the exact flavor, but it will be delicious if you follow the proper steps and ratio.

Cornmeal is also a gluten-free ingredient and, therefore, a healthy option.

It’s versatile, and you can use it to make tortillas, cornbread, muffins, flatbreads, and pies.

You can use the same amount of cornmeal for masa harina.

  • Key Characteristics: Cornmeal is made from finely ground dried corn kernels. While it may not have the same texture as masa harina, it can still be used as a substitute in certain recipes. Use an equal amount of cornmeal as a substitute for masa harina. Keep in mind that cornmeal may result in a slightly different texture in the final product.

5 – Dry Polenta

dry polenta

Polenta is an Italian-origin porridge made from stone-ground yellow flint corn.

The ingredient is the Italian version of cornmeal, and it’s commonly called dry polenta.

Since it’s stone-ground, it has a similar texture to masa harina.

But the flavor will be slightly different as masa harina has a unique taste because of the hulling process.

But you can use dry polenta in place of masa harina in most dishes that require the latter.

However, the dry ingredient may also contain some other ingredients, and it can change the taste of a dish significantly though not the texture.

This Italian version of cornmeal is also gluten-free and contains several nutrients.

When using it for masa harina, take the same quantity.

  • Key Characteristics: Dry polenta is coarsely ground yellow cornmeal. It offers a similar taste and texture to masa harina, making it a suitable substitute in many recipes. Use an equal amount of dry polenta as a substitute for masa harina. Adjust the liquid content in your recipe to ensure the desired consistency.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Masa Harina

Searching for the perfect substitutes for masa harina? Your quest ends here! Discover our carefully curated list of the 5 best alternatives that seamlessly replace masa harina in your recipes, ensuring delicious results every time.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • Dried Hominy
  • Canned Hominy
  • Corn Grits
  • Cornmeal
  • Dry Polenta

Instructions
 

  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for masa harina
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