Rice Flour: An Essential Gluten-free Ingredient

Rice Flour: An Essential Gluten-free Ingredient

Rice is one of the most popularly consumed cereals in the world, especially in Asian cuisines. Not only is rice consumed in its original form but also in the form of rice flour, which is often incorporated into various traditional savory and sweet recipes throughout the pan-Asian region. You, too, can harness the benefits of this unique flour, as not only is it easy to digest and has additional nutritional and health advantages, but it is also very easy to incorporate into your regular diet as a wheat flour substitute. The best part is, you won’t even know the difference!

In this article, we shall discuss rice flour, its various types, nutritional composition, uses in cooking, how it’s made, and a host of health benefits. So, let’s explore the details of this versatile and delicious ingredient that you should add to your kitchen inventory today!

Types of Rice Flour

Two main types of rice flour are commercially available and used worldwide, namely regular rice flour and glutinous rice flour. We have listed their various attributes below to help you understand the distinction between them.

  • Rice Flour: Regular rice flour is made with either brown or white rice. It is made with medium-to-long-grained rice and, depending on the rice used, varies in flavor. Flour made with brown rice is made with whole-grain rice and hence has a warm and slightly nutty flavor, while flour made with white rice doesn’t have any taste due to the grains being polished. Regular rice flour can be used in various savory and sweet dishes like bread, noodles, and dumplings, as a thickener for stews or soup dishes, etc.
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: This type of flour is made with short-to-long-grained rice, and unlike the other variety, the rice is cooked first! The cooked rice, which is now starchy, is then dehydrated and ground into flour. Glutinous rice flour gives a sticky and chewier product when cooked and hence is often used in several desserts like mochi or sticky rice puddings.

If you compare rice flour vs. glutinous rice flour, there isn't any competition as they both have vastly different end products, are used for different dishes, and have different methods of preparation. In the next section, we shall learn how to make regular rice flour at home in a few quick and easy steps.

How to Make Rice Flour at Home

If you are wondering how to make rice flour, the process is fairly simple. Listed below are the various steps you need to follow to make this delicious and light flour from the comfort of your home!

  • Add your raw rice to a bowl and rinse with water. Ensure that you clean all the grains properly and rinse them thoroughly without letting it absorb too much water.
  • Drain the water from the rice and let it sit in a colander or sieve to remove excess water.
  • Let the rice rest for a while to eliminate maximum moisture, and then spread out your rice on a clean cotton or muslin cloth.
  • You can choose to either air dry your rice outdoors under a fan or roast it until all the moisture coating the grains has evaporated and the grains are crunchy and coarse to the touch. You can even roast your rinsed rice grains on a dry skillet on low heat for 5-6 minutes, but ensure that the rice doesn't harden or get burnt in the process.
  • Leave the crunchy rice grains out to cool until they reach room temperature.
  • Add your rice to a mixer-grinder jar, or into a food processor, and blitz until you have a fine powder.
  • Run the powder through a sieve or a thin muslin cloth until all the rice grains are ground perfectly. You may need to repeat this process to ensure you have fine and uniform flour.
  • Your rice flour is now ready! Store it in an airtight container and use it in your daily cooking!

Nutritional Components of Rice Flour

Now that we have understood how to make rice flour, let's look at its nutritional information. This data is a table of the number and measurements of various nutrients in rice flour per 1 cup serving, or roughly 120g.

Nutrients Quantities
Carbohydrates 126.61 g
Calories 578.28 kcal
Protein 9.6 g
Fat 2.24 g
Dietary Fiber 3.79 g
Sugar 0.19 g
Phosphorus 154.84 mg
Potassium 120.08 mg
Magnesium 55.3 mg
Calcium 15.8 mg
Zinc 1.26 mg
Copper 0.21 mg
Iron 0.55 mg
Folate 6.32 mg
Niacin 4.09 mg
Riboflavin 0.03 mg
Thiamine 0.22 mg

Benefits of Rice Flour

Now that we have examined the various nutrients present in rice flour, let's consider some of its many benefits and why you should include this versatile flour in your dietary rotation.

  • Gluten-Free Option: So, is rice flour gluten-free? Yes, it is! Even though there is one type of rice flour known as glutinous rice flour, which we discussed in the previous section, that is not an indicator of actual gluten content. This means this flour is perfect for individuals with gluten intolerance and celiac disease, as it substitutes excellently in traditional flour recipes.
  • Liver-Healthy: This gluten-free flour is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and is low in fat. This means it is easier to digest and beneficial for your liver health, as low-fat foods do not harm your liver. Furthermore, foods like rice flour can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Nutrient-Rich: This flour is extremely rich in carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, iron, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients aid metabolic and body functions, helping improve energy levels, bone and overall health, etc.
  • Versatile Culinary Uses: One of the best benefits of rice flour is that it is very versatile and can be used in several cuisines in various sweet and savory dishes. It is a very popular ingredient in pan-Asian cuisine and is often used in place of other flour in rice cakes, dumplings, and noodles. It is also used as a gluten-free flour substitute in bakery and other wheat-based dishes.
  • Easy to Digest: As wheat-based flours and products take longer to digest, this flour is a better alternative, especially for individuals with sensitive stomachs. It is easier to digest, as rice is digested easily by most people and is one of the least allergenic cereals. 

In the next section, we shall explore some uses of rice flour and how to easily make delicious and mouth-watering food using this simple, unassuming ingredient.

Uses of Rice Flour:

Rice flour is an essential kitchen ingredient, and rice flour recipes can be used for anything and everything. They can act as a thickener, make entree dishes like dumplings or noodles, make desserts, or replace wheat-based flour for a lighter and easier-to-digest meal. Listed below are some rice flour dish ideas that you can include in your routine meals to incorporate this nutritious flour into your diet.

  • Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bread: While white rice-based flour is more common, brown-rice flour is also quite well-known as a flour alternative. As for how to make brown rice flour, the method is the same as making white rice flour, and this healthy flour can be used to make delicious gluten-free bread! Just substitute regular flour with brown rice flour and add some stabilizers like xanthan gum, and you can have delicious, gluten-free loaves ready to eat for your next meal!
  • Butter Mochi: Make sweet treats without any guilt if you opt to make butter mochi! This delicious dessert is made from glutinous rice flour, which gives it a sticky and chewy texture that is very appealing and popular among Asian cuisines.
  • Gluten & Guilt-Free Donuts: Another sweet treat you can make with rice flour is to substitute it in your doughnut recipe. This delicious, guilt-free dessert is easy on your gut and tastes just as good!
  • Roti: You can make rotis with this healthy flour as well! Chawal ki roti, or roti made from rice flour or rice, is a very common Indian household staple and a great substitute for days when you are looking to avoid gluten-based foods. The recipe is as simple as mixing rice flour with water and kneading it into a soft and springy dough! 
    Learn - How to Make Roti

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How to Store Rice Flour

Now that we have fully absorbed the various uses, benefits, and procedures of making this versatile flour, let us understand how to store it properly at home, whether it is homemade or store-bought.

  • Keep Them Separate: If you have opened multiple packets of rice flour, ensure that you store them separately. Whether you have separate batches of homemade flour or have bought different brands, it is important to store them in different containers, as mixing them may impact their shelf lives.
  • Air-Tight Containers: Always store your flour in airtight containers, as this flour is particularly prone to catching moisture and going stale, which may lead to spoilage or the development of fungus or mold in the containers.
  • Use Dry and Clean Container: Always ensure that your containers are clean of any debris or dirt particles and completely dry to ensure that the flour isn't spoilt due to any external additives or spoils due to moisture.
  • Store in Fridge: The best way to store homemade rice flour is to store it in the refrigerator, to ensure maximum freshness and prevent it from spoiling or going stale, especially if you are dealing with large quantities of flour. Store it in a sealed or vacuum container before putting it in the fridge to retain freshness.

We hope this article can help you continue or start your journey to a healthier diet, all by using an innovative yet simple ingredient like rice flour. We at Rotimatic pride ourselves on our dedication to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, which includes a vast variety of foods, starting from the flours you eat. We hope this article can help you take your health journey forward!


1. Can you make rice flour with basmati rice?

Yes, any kind of rice, including basmati, can be used to make rice flour.

2. Does rice flour need more water?

As rice flour has a high absorbency, depending on your desired consistency, you may need to use slightly more water and adjust your recipe to achieve the right texture while cooking with it.

3. Can rice flour be used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking?

Yes, you can! This flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour, but as it is gluten-free, it may need to be mixed with other ingredients or your recipe may need to be adjusted to achieve similar results to a wheat-flour-based product.

4. Does the type of rice used affect the quality of rice flour?

Of course it does! Different rice grains have differing textures and tastes, which are also translated into the flour prepared using them. For example, flour made with brown rice will have an earthy and nutty flavor compared to regular rice flour, which is tasteless.