What's the Difference? Blue Corn Meal vs. Harinilla

What's the Difference? Blue Corn Meal vs. Harinilla

Emma Christensen
Jun 18, 2008

Thanks for all the excellent blue cornmeal recipe suggestions, everyone! We think we'll save it for something fun for the Fourth of July--stay tuned...

As we were reading over the tortilla recipe on our bag of cornmeal, we noticed that the recipe called the flour "harinilla."

At first, we assumed that this was a Spanish term for blue cornmeal, but when we were looking up recipes, we learned that there's actually a significant difference!

Both blue cornmeal and harinilla are both made from the same variety of blue corn. Blue cornmeal is simply blue corn that has been dried and ground, but there's an extra step to make harinilla.

The dried corn is soaked in a lime-juice mixture before being ground into meal. This makes the corn kernels swell while the outer husk loosens and separates from the kernel.

Harinilla also tends to be ground to a finer texture than regular cornmeal.

Harinilla is cousin to masa harina, which follows the same manufacturing process but uses white or yellow corn kernels.

Does anyone know if there's a flavor difference between regular cornmeal and harinilla or harina?

Related: What's the Difference? TexMex vs. Mexican

(Image Credit: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)

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