5 Substitutes for Rice Flour

As a less common ingredient, rice flour is a versatile ingredient. Different from all-purpose flour, rice flour works well for baking, frying, and as a thickening agent. Due to its individuality, there are few alternatives that have the same texture or yield the same results as rice flour. 

Yet, there are a few options that come close. Substitutes for rice flour include cornstarch, potato starch, coconut flour, almond flour, and tapioca flour. You can decide between these substitutes based on what you intended to use rice flour for. 

One of the benefits of rice flour is that it is gluten-free. So, when you are considering an alternative, be sure to note which of these options follow that health guideline. 

Alternative Options for Rice Flour When Cooking

Since rice flour can be used for so many types of cooking, there are many alternatives that can be considered. Certain alternatives work better for specific food preparation methods. So take a look at these rice flour substitutes to see how you can use them in your kitchen.

  • Cornstarch: If you’re looking for something to thicken your sauce or gravy in the way rice flour does, consider cornstarch as a possible substitute. Rice flour is known for its light and airy texture, which cornstarch can replicate when baked. 
  • Potato Starch: Potato starch does an even better job of thickening than regular rice flour. Thanks to its starchy makeup, potato starch is a great addition to any thin liquid.
  • Coconut Flour: Doubling as both a good breading and thickening agent, coconut flour is high in fiber and low caloried. It is also low on the glycemic index, so it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
  • Almond Flour: As a popular gluten-free option, almond flour is a comparable replacement for rice flour. Almond flour works best in baked products, but can also be used for frying.
  • Tapioca Flour: This rice flour alternative is slightly sweet, so it works best in dessert-like baking.

Even though there are more alternatives to rice flour, these options are the ones that work best. Rice flour is great for making tempura and when used in baking, so these substitutes retain those qualities. 

How Are Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour Different?

These two types of flour are similar in their name, but they are actually quite different and are used in varying ways.

From the very start, these two flours differentiate themselves in their origin. Rice flour is derived from long-grain rice, while glutinous rice flour comes from a mixture of long-grain and short-grain rice. In essence, glutinous rice flour comes from the varieties of what is known as sticky, or sweet, rice. 

Glutinous rice flour is certainly chewier, while rice flour is less so. However, both types of flour may be used to thicken certain liquids. 

What is the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour and Rice Flour?

All-purpose flour is a well-known baking product, so how does it compare to rice flour? To begin with, all-purpose flour is not gluten-free, so those who are sensitive to this ingredient will need to stay away from it. 

Rice flour also won’t absorb liquids as well as all-purpose flour, so you will get a completely different texture when using it for baking. As a result, baking with rice flour will cause your result to be rather greasy or soft. 

There are also different variations of rice flour, such as brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, or white rice flour. In comparison, there is no variation to all-purpose flour.

In the end, rice flour and its gluten-free substitutes can be helpful for those following a gluten-free diet. If you can’t find rice flour or find that you don’t like, you will have plenty of alternatives to choose from.