Rice Flour Substitute

Explore a list of ideas for the best rice flour substitutes in a pinch. Rice flour is a versatile flour used in a variety of cooking applications including baking and frying. 
Rice flour in a plate with rice grains on the side.

Explore a list of ideas for the best rice flour substitutes in a pinch. Rice flour is a versatile flour used in a variety of cooking applications including baking and frying. 

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Types of Rice Flour

Uses of Rice Flour

What Makes A Good Substitute?

Best Rice Flour Substitutes

14 Rice Flour Substitutes

Rice Flour Substitutes For Frying

Indian Recipes Using Rice Flour

Rice flour is a fine, powdery flour made from ground rice grains. It is a staple ingredient in many traditional recipes, particularly in Asian cuisine.

I always say there is no absolute perfect substitute for any ingredient, but I think we can get close to one for rice flour for when you are in a pinch and looking for a quick alternative.

Other substitute ideas for Indian cooking that may be handy in a pinch include Gram Flour Substitute, Ghee Substitute, and Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitute.

India Gate dry basmati grains.

Types of Rice Flour

Just want to note, there are a variety of types of rice flour.  This article covers white rice flour.  You can often swap out brown rice flour for white rice flour, dependent on your needs.

Several types of rice flour are commonly used in cooking and baking:

  1. White rice flour: Most common type of rice flour and is made from finely milled white rice. It has a light, powdery texture and a slightly nutty flavor.
  2. Brown rice flour: Brown rice flour is made from whole-grain brown rice and has a slightly coarser texture than white rice flour. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and is higher in fiber and nutrients than white rice flour.
  3. Sweet rice flour: Also known as glutinous or sticky rice flour, sweet rice flour is made from short-grain, glutinous rice. It has a very fine, powdery texture and is often used in Asian cuisine to make steamed buns, dumplings, and rice cakes. Can be used as glutinous rice flour.
  4. Wild rice flour: Made from the grains of wild rice, which is not a type of rice but a grass native to North America.
  5. Red rice flour: Made red rice flour is made from red rice, which is a variety of rice that is high in antioxidants and nutrients.
Rice flour on a plate.

What Makes A Good Rice Flour Substitute? Characteristics of Rice Flour

The best substitutes for rice flour have similar characteristics to rice flour.

Some of the characteristics of rice flour include:

  1. Gluten-free flour: Rice flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable option for people who are intolerant to gluten or follow a gluten-free diet.
  2. Texture: Light and powdery texture. Rice flour has a fine, powdery texture similar to wheat flour, although slightly coarser.
  3. Taste: Mild flavor: Rice flour has a mild, slightly nutty flavor that is not overpowering. It does not have the strong, wheaty flavor of wheat flour.
  4. Versatility/Applications: Rice flour can be used in a variety of recipes, including bread, cakes, pastries, pizza crusts, and noodles. It is also used as a thickening agent in sauces, soups, and even pie fillings.
Rice flour on a plate.

Other

  • Nutritional value: Rice flour is a source of complex carbohydrates and provides a small amount of protein. It is also low in fat and contains minimal amounts of fiber.
  • Long shelf life: Rice flour has a long shelf life and does not spoil easily.
  • Can be made at home: Rice flour can be easily made at home by grinding uncooked rice in a blender or food processor until it forms a fine powder

Uses

There are a variety of applications of rice flour in recipes. The way you are planning on using it will impact the replacement you many choose.

Fry

Bake

Steam

Thickening agent

Binding agent: Good binding properties: Rice flour can be used as a binding agent in recipes that require a dough or batter to hold together.

Quinoa flour on a plate with quinoa grains to the side.
Quinoa flour

So, what is the best substitute for rice flour?

What is the best substitute for rice flour?

The best substitutes for rice flour in a ratio of 1:1 across a variety of applications are brown rice flour, sorghum flour, gluten-free baking flour mix, gram flour, and all-purpose flour.  The exact substitute will be dependent on the recipe you are using it for and which characteristics of rice flour you need (i.e. gluten-free, is it for frying or baking, etc.)

The best substitutes for rice flour in a ratio of 1:1 across a variety of applications are brown rice flour, sorghum flour, gluten-free baking flour mix, gram flour, and all-purpose flour.  The exact substitute will be dependent on the recipe you are using it for and which characteristics of rice flour you need (i.e. gluten-free, is it for frying or baking, etc.)

Sorghum flour or jowar flour on a plate.
Sorghum flour

A reminder, there is no perfect substitute in some recipes.  Each alternative flour will create a slightly different texture and flavor than rice flour would.

A summary of some examples for each application is below:

Best all-around alternatives: Brown Rice Flour, Gluten-free baking blend, Sorghum Flour, All-purpose flour

The above can generally be used in equal amounts as alternatives.  Meaning a cup of rice flour can be substituted by a cup of replacement flour.

Best Substitute For Binding or Thickening Agent: Cornstarch, Tapioca Starch

Best Substitute For Frying: Gram flour (besan), Cornstarch, All-purpose flour

Best Substitute For Baking: Gluten-free baking blend, Sorghum Flour (Gluten-free alternative), All-Purpose Flour

14 Rice Flour Substitutes

Here are 14 substitutes for rice flour that can be used in various cooking and baking applications:

#FlourTasteTexturePotential Use As SubNotes
1Almond Flour Fine, slightly grainy textureBakingGluten-free option
2Coconut FlourSlightly sweetAvailable in powdered formBakingGluten-free Very absorbent requires more liquid in recipes.
3Quinoa FlourMild, nuttySimilar to rice flourBakingGluten-free
4Gluten-Free Baking Flour MixNeutralSimilar to rice flourBakingGluten-free. Many varieties are available.
5Cassava flourNeutral, earthySoft, powderyBakingGluten-free
6All-purpose flourNeutral Baking, FryingNOT gluten-free
7Wheat flourSlightly nutty, hearty  Baking, FryingNOT gluten-free, Rice flour can be used as a 1:1 replacement for wheat flour in many recipes (and vice-versa), although the texture may be slightly different.
8Oat flourSweet, toasty BakingGluten-free
9Chickpea flour or Gram Flour (besan)Earthy BakingGluten-free, Easily found in Indian grocery stores
10Sorghum flourSlightly nuttyFluffy, lightBakingGluten-free
11Millet flourMild sweet, mild corn tasteLight  
12Tapioca flourNeutralFineThickening Agent, Baking, FryingGluten-free
13CornstarchNeutralFineThickening Agent, FryingCreates a crispy coating.  Needs to be combined with water to form a slurry.
14Arrowroot flourNeutralFineThickening Agent, FryingDo not mix with dairy – will create a slimy texture

substitutes when frying

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is a blend of wheat flour and is a good substitute for rice flour in most frying applications. It has a neutral flavor and a fine, powdery texture that is well-suited for coating and frying foods.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a fine, white powder that is made from corn and is often used as a thickening agent in sauces and soups. It can also be used as a substitute for rice flour when frying foods, as it creates a crispy, crunchy coating when mixed with liquid and fried.
  • Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour is made from the cassava plant (ground cassava root) and has a slightly sweet, starchy flavor. It is a good substitute for rice flour when frying foods, as it creates a crispy, crunchy coating when mixed with liquid and fried.
Rice flour on a plate.
  • Arrowroot flour: Arrowroot flour is made from ground arrowroot and has a slightly sweet, starchy flavor. It is a good substitute for rice flour when frying foods, as it creates a crispy, crunchy coating when mixed with liquid and fried.
  • Corn flour: Corn flour is made from finely ground cornmeal and has a slightly sweet, corn-like flavor. It is a good substitute for rice flour when frying foods, as it creates a crispy, crunchy coating when mixed with liquid and fried.

Indian Recipes That Use Rice Flour

Rice flour is a staple ingredient in many traditional Indian recipes, particularly in South Indian cuisine. Here are a few Indian recipes that use rice flour:

Khichu or Papdi No Lot: Khichu is a popular Gujarati snack made with steamed rice flour and spices. Topped with a little oil and methi masala, it is a very quick spicy snack. It is traditionally used to make papad.

Khichu or papdi no lot in a gray plate topped with methi masala.
Gujarati Khichu – Made from steamed rice flour
  • Dosa: Dosa is a popular South Indian dish made from a thin, crispy crepe made from a mixture of rice flour and lentil flour. It is typically served with a variety of savory accompaniments, such as chutney and sambar.
Beet Dosas Pink Dosas
  • Idli: Idli is a steamed rice cake that is popular in South India. It is made from a mixture of rice flour and black lentil flour and is often served with chutney or sambar.
  • Appam: Appam is a thin, rice flour pancake that is popular in South India and Sri Lanka. It is typically served with coconut milk and a variety of curries or stews.
  • Pitha: A type of rice flour cake that is popular in eastern India. It is made from a mixture of rice flour, coconut, and jaggery (a type of unrefined cane sugar) and is often flavored with spices such as cardamom and nutmeg.
  • Puttu: A steamed rice flour and coconut dish that is popular in Kerala, a state in southern India. It is typically served with a variety of accompaniments, such as coconut chutney or vegetable stew.

Rice flour in a plate with rice grains on the side.

14 Ideas: What’s The Best Rice Flour Substitute?

Shilpa Joshi
Explore a list of ideas for the best rice flour substitutes in a pinch. Rice flour is a versatile flour used in a variety of cooking applications including baking and frying. 
No ratings yet
Total Time 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine global cuisines, Indian
Servings 1 serving
Calories 2 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 1 serving brown rice flour OR
  • 1 serving gluten-free flour baking mix OR
  • 1 serving sorghum flour OR
  • 1 serving all-purpose flour OR (Not gluten-free)
  • 1 serving homemade rice flour

Instructions
 

  • Substitute your choice of ingredient to use 1:1 in the place of rice flour when you are in a pinch. See post for details. Best substitute is dependent on the dish you are making.

Notes

There is no absolute perfect substitute for rice flour, but I think we can get close to one that you can use in a pinch.
See post for more details.
 The exact substitute will be dependent on the recipe you are using it for and which characteristics of rice flour you need (i.e. gluten-free, is it for frying or baking, etc.)
If you don’t need gluten-free flour then all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour may work.

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcalCarbohydrates: 0.03gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1mgPotassium: 1mgVitamin A: 4IUCalcium: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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