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a white bowl of homemade cornmeal with a pink flower and a linen towel
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5 from 3 votes

How to Make Homemade Cornmeal

Homemade Cornmeal is such a fun way to embrace your inner homesteader. It is an all-day project to make, but it is so worth it in the end. Homemade cornmeal is sweeter, richer, and heartier than any cornmeal that you can buy in the store. Plus, it really is FUN to make.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Grinding + Baking10 mins
Total Time8 hrs 20 mins
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: cornmeal, homemade cornmeal
Servings: 4
Calories: 148kcal
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 4 cups corn use however much corn on the cob or frozen corn you want - 1 cup of corn will yield ½ a cup of cornmeal
  • water

Instructions

Part 1a: To Make Cornmeal Using Whole Corn

  • If you are using freshly picked corn, I highly recommend soaking it for 15 - 20 minutes in water. We do this to take care of the caterpillars and other bugs that try to hitch a ride into the house.
  • After soaking, drain the water and clean up the ears of corn - cutting off the thick stem on the end but leaving the husks on.
  • Next, cook your corn using your favorite method. I like to make it in my Instant Pot using the method in this blog post (but not cooking it as long as I would if I was eating it.) You can also make it in the microwave or by boiling the corn in water.
  • To make corn in your Instant Pot, put 1 ½ cups of water in your Instant Pot (use 2 cups for an 8 quart Instant Pot) and place a trivet or sling in the bottom. Stack as much corn as you can fit in layers, alternating directions so the corn is always perpendicular to the layer above and below it.
  • Once your Instant Pot is stacked with corn, put the lid on and close the vent to Sealing. Set the Instant Pot to Manual Mode at High Pressure for 2 minutes. This will just lightly cook the corn, just the right amount. If you are using homegrown corn and your ears of corn are really small, try cooking for only 1 minute. (Either way, you want it cooked to the amount where it would seem a little underdone if you were to eat it.)
  • After the two minutes are up, Quick Release the pressure and remove the corn from your Instant Pot. Let it cool enough that it can be handled, then remove the husks and cut the kernels off of the ears of corn. (I like to do this with a corn peeler.)
  • When all the corn is cut off the cobs, spread the kernels onto a lined tray of a dehydrator. You don't necessarily have to line the tray, but I have found that fewer kernels fall through the holes of the dehydrator if you line the tray with parchment paper.
  • Set the dehydrator to 125 - 135°F (I have found 135 to be fine, but some dehydrators get really hot at 135) and let the corn dehydrate for 8 - 12 hours.* Check at 6 hours and shake the corn around a little to make sure it isn't sticking to the tray. Also, break apart any large pieces.
  • Skip to Part 2 when your corn is dry.

Part 1b: To Make Cornmeal Using Frozen Corn Kernels

  • Dump frozen corn out onto a lined tray of a dehydrator. You don't necessarily have to line it, but I have found that fewer kernels fall through the holes of the dehydrator if you line the tray with parchment paper.
  • Set your dehydrator to 125 - 135°F and let the corn dehydrate for 8 - 12 hours.* (I have found 135 to be fine, but some dehydrators get really hot at 135.) Check at 6 hours and shake the corn around a little to make sure it isn't sticking to the tray.

Part 2: For Both Fresh & Frozen Corn

  • Using either preparation method, when your corn is done drying, the rest of the process is the same.
  • First, be sure that the corn is totally dry. If there is any dampness, you will end up with a corn paste. The corn is dry when you squeeze the kernels and you can't squeeze them. If you drop them, they should sound like plastic and if you smash them they should break and not squish. Think of the texture of the vegetables in those ramen noodle cups.
  • Next, add some of the corn spice grinder. (You likely won't be able to fit all of it in at one time so it is totally fine to grind it in batches.)
  • Put the lid on the grinder and grind it up. If you want the cornmeal on the coarse side, you can leave some bigger chunks - if you want it really fine, grind it really fine.
  • Once all of the corn is ground up, either use the cornmeal right away or dry out in the oven to make sure it is totally dry.
  • To dry out cornmeal, spread it out on a piece of parchment paper (not a silicone baking sheet) and bake it for about 5 minutes at 175 - 200°F (as low as your oven will go), stirring it around once or twice.
  • When the corn has cooled off and is dry, store it in a REALLY airtight container - I mean this - not a bag or a cheap plastic container, but something that has a good seal - with a desiccant packet to absorb any excess moisture.

To Better Condition the Cornmeal

  • For the first few days after making it, try to give it a good shake a couple of times a day to make sure no clumps form. Then you should be all set. For long term storage, I will vacuum seal it, but if it is going to be used soon that isn't necessary.

Video

Notes

*If your dehydrator doesn't have a temperature setting, just turn it on and let it start drying. Check on it every few hours just to make sure it isn't getting too hot.
Storage/Shelf Life
As long as you keep your cornmeal dry, it will last a long time. A desiccant packet will help with this, but you can also store the cornmeal in the freezer for longevity or even vacuum seal it.
Tips
  • This is a fun project to do but the dehydration process can take a while. I like to do it over two days starting in the evening, so the corn can dehydrate overnight while I am sleeping. Just make sure you turn the dehydrator on right as you go to bed so it doesn't end up running for 14 hours ;) When you wake up, the corn should be ready to grind up!
  • If you have a huge harvest of corn or if corn is really cheap at your grocery store, cornmeal can be a fun gift to make to give to family members. I know my family loves when I show up with jars of things - I sometimes wonder if they are disappointed when I don't bring treats!
What is the Yield with Homemade Cornmeal?
For the homegrown corn, I had a LOT of random sizes of ears of corn, so I used weight as a measure.
After cooking the corn, starting out with cobs included, I had 1,979 grams (4.36 lbs) of corn. When all was said and done and ground up, accounting for the cornmeal that I lost when it got stuck to the baking mat, I had 260 grams so around 0.57 lbs, and this was around 1 ¾ cups coarsely ground cornmeal.
For the frozen corn, I used measuring cups only. 1 cup of frozen corn made a little over half a cup of dried kernels and amounted to half a cup of cornmeal.
So, 1 cup of corn ~= ½ cup of cornmeal.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Iron: 1mg