Brown rice flour is a popular gluten-free alternative flour that is also highly nutritious. It is an effective substitute for wheat flour but may not be easy to find, depending on where you live. If you need this flour and have no way of getting it quickly, try one of the brown rice flour substitutes below.
Your best bet: Make your own brown rice flour
Brown rice flour is ground brown rice so you can make it at home using a blender, but if you have your own grain mill, you may be able to get a more consistent product. It is the easiest to find and most affordable of all the brown rice flour substitutes. Measure out about 1 1/2 cups of rice and add to your blender jar and start grinding. If your blender is not powerful enough, you may wind up with an inconsistent final product. Sift it, return the more substantial particles to the blender and repeat the process.
You may not get as fine a flour as commercial brown rice flours by using a blender, but you should still be able to use it in many of the same dishes and baked goods. A grain mill may provide you with a finer flour that is closer to the store-bought kind.
A decent second choice: White rice flour
Like brown rice flour, white rice flour consists of milled rice grains, but these grains have been polished with the bran layer and germ removed. It is also gluten-free, just like brown rice flour, even when it is made with glutinous rice. The word glutinous only indicates the rice’s consistency when cooked and does not mean that it contains gluten. White rice flour is relatively easy to find, especially if you shop at an Asian grocery store. It is popularly used to make rice noodles and edible rice paper. Alternatively, you can make it yourself with a blender or grain mill. White rice flour can thicken in the same way as brown rice flour and has the same effects on texture.
White rice flour does not have the same subtle nutty flavor as brown rice flour, nor does it have the tan color. Its flavor is neutral, and its color is white. Your dishes may not look the same or have the same flavor profile, but these differences will be relatively minor. Depending on the recipe, they may be imperceptible.
In a pinch: Tapioca flour
Like brown rice flour, tapioca flour is a gluten-free flour, but it is made with the cassava plant’s root. The root is dried and milled to produce this flour that has many of the same characteristics as brown rice flour. It is a starchy flour, so it will absorb liquid similar to rice flour. The flavor is also mild enough to work in many recipes that call for brown rice flour without much of a difference in the flavor profile.
You can use tapioca flour as a thickener and in the breading when deep-frying meats or vegetables. When used in coatings for fried foods, tapioca flour is known to give these foods a crisp and light texture.
Potato flour is made in a similar way to tapioca flour. It consists of a starchy root that has been dried and milled to a fine powder. Potato flour is a good substitute for brown rice flour in baked goods and is a great thickening agent as well.