Good substitutes for cornmeal are polenta, corn grits or maize meal. For example, if a recipe requires a cup of stone ground cornmeal, then a cup of one of the suitable substitutes can be used.
However, there are slight differences among all these types of corn products. Cornmeal is dried corn that is ground. There are different types of ground cornmeal, such as fine, medium and coarse. Cornmeal is useful for making dishes like cornbread and corn cakes, as a coating for a pizza crust and in batters.
Grits also are made from ground and dried corn, but this product is coarser in texture than cornmeal. Hominy, which is corn that has the hull removed through a lime treatment, also is used to make grits. Some uses of grits are for recipes like cheese grits or as a side dish for meats.
Polenta is another corn product that has a similar texture to grits and used in Italy for many dishes. Pre-cooked polenta can be fried or grilled and served as a side dish. Maize meal also is ground corn and can be another substitute for cornmeal. It is served as a porridge in many African countries.