Cornstarch
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Cornstarch is actually a corn flour. It is the quickest and easiest thickener for a home cook, since it thickens 50-100% more efficiently than all purpose flour.

Unlike all purpose flour, Cornstarch contains no protein. Cornstarch thickens because when added to food and heated (cooked), it causes the starch molecules to absorb liquid and swell, at room temperature, to about ten times their original size. Cornstarch is considered a "Moderate Impact Thickener" and gives a glossy, translucent appearance to sauces. Cornstarch is especially helpful in Asian Cuisine. 

Be careful using Cornstarch though. If introduced directly to hot liquids, the Cornstarch will create lumps that will not dissolve. The best way to use Cornstarch is to create a slurry with the Cornstarch (mixing it into a small amount of cold liquid), and add it to a simmering sauce at the last minute. Since Cornstarch thickens immediately, you will know where your sauce’s consistency stands instantaneously.

Smart Kitchen has an exercise on Using Cornstarch properly for Thickening Sauces.

Substitutes

Wheat Flour

Nutritional Value USDA
CORNSTARCH
Amount Per 100g
Calories 381
%Daily Value*
 
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 9mg
0%
Potassium 3mg
30%
Total Carbohydrate 91g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes