I'm making bagels for the first time ever and I assumed I had cornmeal... I don't. I have corn muffin mix but no cornmeal.

The instructions say to sprinkle cornmeal on the baking sheets. Is there another common kitchen ingredient that would work as well? Or, should I just use a bit of corn muffin mix?

EDIT: Now that I'm no longer in a panic, it occurs to me that I have polenta and grits. One of those would work well, right?

I used polenta... I wish I had used flour instead, though, b/c the polenta bits are pretty big. Corn meal is now on the grocery list, to be purchased before I make bagels again.

  • 4
    Not to confuse things, but I actually thought having your idea as an option was useful. Then people can vote on it to express their opinion on whether or not it's a good idea..
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 15:36
  • @JustRightMenus - I'd go with either, although I imagine you actually want the finer of the two, if one is finer.
    – justkt
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 15:40
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    Yep, polenta or grits will work fine. They're just cornmeal ground differently. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 16:07
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    @Ocassi: That's a good idea, but not it the current context of the stackexchange sites. It would essentially allow people to 'reputation-farm' with a question: each answer that gets voted up earns the questioner reputation, which is not really the intent. You should post this as an enhancement request on the meta site, because it does have merit as a tool, much like community wiki.
    – Dave
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 16:14
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    @Dave: please see the FAQ. There is nothing wrong with answering your own question. It's even encouraged.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 19:13

5 Answers 5


I would have tried using semolina, polenta, or grits. If the grind was too big you could always use a small coffee grinder to get it a bit finer.

Corn muffin mix generally has other additives like sugar, baking powder or soda, so you probably wouldn't have wanted to use that on the outside of your bagels!

  • I wish I'd thought of the grinder! We have one for coffee and one for everything else. Commented Aug 20, 2010 at 22:07

I wouldn't use corn muffin mix, as that has baking soda in it, might not be tasty! Use some flour. This works fine for pizza, so it should be good for bagels as well.

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    Now that you've edited to say you have polenta and grits, those are an even better option. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 16:29
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    Flour isn't good for pizza, it tends to burn, most people use semolina. Just a heads up. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 18:02

Cornmeal often has a firmer, "grainier" (for lack of a better word right now) texture than flour. I'd use the coarsest flour you have on hand as a substitute.


Polenta is probably your closest option to plain cornmeal. In the past 3 hours, you probably could have run to the store, though :)

  • Yeah, unfortunately I didn't realize I had no cornmeal until about to take the first batch of bagels out of boiling water and put them on the baking sheets... the baking sheets that should have had cornmeal on them. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 20:29
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    @JustRightMenus I think the appropriate response in that case is "Panic!"
    – Bob
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 20:59

The reason most recipes like this recommend against cornmeal is that flour burns in the oven. However, I've found that if you use very small amounts of flour your baked good will turn out fine. In fact, it might provide a bit of character to the dish.

  • @duallain Do you mean "recommend against flour," not "recommend against cornmeal"? Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 23:15

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