Rice flour is an ingredient that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It has gained popularity in recent years because it is gluten-free.
It is the go-to option for people who suffer from gluten intolerance and also for those with celiac disease.
There are two main types of rice flour in the market. There is brown rice flour and white rice flour. Both are used as ingredients in baking, frying, and thickening sauces.
You may not always have rice flour on hand, which is why you need to know what you can use as substitutes. Luckily, there are several substitutes available that are also gluten-free.
Cornstarch, all-purpose flour, sorghum flour, and potato starch are good substitutes for rice flour. You can also make your own rice flour at home for the best results.
Before getting into the details of these substitutes, let us educate ourselves a little bit about rice flour.
What is it and How is it Used?
A lot of people use rice flour as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. It is made by grinding whole grain rice into a fine powder.
The advantage is that it has more nutritional value. It contains iron, fiber, γ-Oryzanol, and vitamin B.
Research has shown that it has numerous health benefits including reducing the cholesterol levels in the body.
It has a distinct creamy white color and a mild taste. It can be used in frying, baking, and thickening sauces too.
Brown rice flour and white rice flour can be used interchangeably. Both work the same way so it all depends on your preference.
However, you should know that white rice flour has a mild flavor while brown rice flour has a nutty flavor. The two also have different textures.
White rice flour has a light texture while brown rice flour has a dense texture. Always keep this in mind when using them interchangeably.
What you use as a substitute is highly dependent on the dish you are making.
For instance, the substitutes that work perfectly in baking may not work as well as a thickener. The same goes for the white rice flour substitute that works well for frying.
Here are a few of the best substitutes for rice flour and what they are best suited for.
For thickening sauces
We all know that rice flour works quite well when used to thicken sauces.
I love using it because it has a mild flavor and therefore does not interfere with the flavor of my dishes. The rice flour substitutes you can use to thicken sauces include;
Cornstarch is the best rice flour substitute for thickening sauces. It is readily available and I can bet you have some stocked in your pantry.
Just like rice flour, cornstarch is gluten free. The best part is that it will give you the same outcome that rice flour does.
You should however note that you cannot use the same technique you use with rice flour to thicken your sauce. With rice flour, all you need to do is sprinkle the flour in your dish, mix it up and you are good to go. The results are also instant.
With cornstarch, you have to make a semi-liquid mixture before adding it to your dish.
You can do this by adding a tablespoon or two to your cornstarch depending on how much cornstarch you are using. Mix the two together until it becomes a semi-liquid mixture then add it to your dish.
The results are also not instant. You should leave your dish on low heat for a few minutes until you get the consistency that you want.
You should also taste it before removing it from heat to ensure that it does not have that starchy taste of cornstarch. If it does, leave it on the heat for a few more minutes.
Substitute rice flour with cornstarch in the ratio 1:1.
All-purpose flour is also a good rice flour alternative for thickening sauces. You should however keep it in mind that all-purpose flour is not gluten-free. If you do not mind a little bit of gluten in your diet then it will work just fine.
To use all-purpose flour as a substitute for rice flour, you will need to mix it with a little bit of water before adding it to your dish. The result is also not instant.
You will need to leave your dish on the heat for a few minutes for it to have the consistency that you want.
You can use all-purpose flour as a rice flour substitute in both gravies and sauces.
Rice flour is a common baking ingredient.
A lot of people like it because of its gluten-free property. Here are some of the best substitutes for rice flour for baking.
- Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is arguably the best substitute for rice flour when you are making baked goods. It is also gluten-free just like rice flour. This is an added advantage.
It is readily available and you can purchase it at any grocery store near you. It is also very easy to use.
It has several advantages. First, its flavor is quite similar to that of rice flour. People won’t even notice that you used a substitute instead of the rice flour. It also has the perfect texture.
Sorghum flour contains fiber and protein which is sufficient to help baked goods maintain their structure and stability. This makes it perfect for baking bread and muffins.
Additionally, it is packed with nutrients. Sorghum flour is one of the few types of flour that contains anti-oxidants.
Anti-oxidants are essential in the body because they help maintain heart health. It is also recommended for diabetic patients.
Substitute rice flour with sorghum flour in equal amounts.
- Coconut Flour
Coconut flour can also be used to replace rice flour. It has a slightly sweet flavor which makes it the perfect addition to baked goods.
I’ll be the first to admit that my muffins always turn out better when I use coconut flour instead of rice flour.
I find that it is readily available. You will not have any trouble purchasing it at the grocery store.
Substitute rice flour with coconut flour in equal amounts.
I have come across several recipes that require me to use rice flour as a coating for frying. When choosing a substitute for frying, go for one that is as light as rice flour.
A lot of people like using rice flour as a coating for frying because it does not absorb too much oil. Therefore, your end product will not have too many calories.
There are two main things you should consider when choosing a rice flour substitute for frying.
First, the substitute needs to be gluten-free. This is because substitutes that are not gluten-free tend to be heavy thus they absorb a lot of oil.
However, if you do not mind it you can use all-purpose flour. The second thing you need to consider is neutral flavor.
Rice flour generally has a mild flavor so do not use a substitute that will change the flavor of your dish.
Here are two of my favorite rice flour substitutes for frying.
- Potato Starch
Potato starch is the best substitute for rice flour when frying. In fact, chances are that your dish will turn out better when you use potato starch instead of rice flour.
Potato starch will make your fried food crispy and also enhances the flavor.
Just like rice flour, potato starch does not absorb excess oil thus your fried food will not have a lot of calories.
- Corn Starch
Cornstarch is commonly used to thicken sauces but you can also use it as a coating for fried foods. It is gluten-free and natural light. It is also readily available.
When you use cornstarch as a coating, your fried food will turn out crispy and flavorful. The cornstarch also won’t absorb too much oil.
Making your own Rice Flour at Home
Making your own rice flour at home is very easy. You can use either white rice or brown rice depending on your preference.
The first thing you need to do is to soak the rice you intend to grind for ten minutes. Drain it and then dry it.
Once dry, put the rice in a blender and turn it to the highest power. Blend the rice until you get a powdery consistency.
Once you get the consistency that you want, remove it from the blender and sift it to remove the large particles that have remained.
The process is quite simple and you will have your rice flour ready for use in no time.
Rice flour is an amazing ingredient. However, you may need to substitute it with something else for one reason or another.
Use cornstarch or all-purpose flour as thickening agents, sorghum flour or coconut flour for baking, and potato starch or cornstarch for frying.
Let me know how your dishes turn out.