Rice flour has long been an Asian staple used for making noodles and edible rice paper. In recent years, it has become popular in the West because it is gluten-free. It is a safe flour for people with celiac disease or who suffer from gluten intolerance to consume. If you can’t get your hands on any, here are a few rice flour substitutes with similar properties to try:
Your best bet: Make your own rice flour
Rice flour is simple to make, just add rice to a blender and blend until it reaches the desired consistency. Use whichever type of rice you prefer.
If you are using a less powerful blender, it may not give you a consistent grind. You may need to sift the rice to remove large particles. You can also do the same job with a coffee grinder. Some experts recommend soaking the rice flour and then spreading it out to partially dry before grinding. Use homemade rice flour in any recipe that calls for rice flour.
A decent second choice: Corn starch
Like rice flour, corn starch is gluten-free, and you can use it in most of the same recipes. For example, corn starch is an excellent thickener. It is a good option when breading deep-fried foods as well. It can make fried foods crunchy, just like rice flour.
Corn starch works as a 1:1 substitute when used as a thickener or for breading. You can use corn starch as a rice flour substitute in baking, but it is best mixed with other flours. Try combining it with sorghum flour or tapioca to get something that replaces rice flour in cookies and cakes. Corn starch has the benefit of being very affordable, and you can find it in most grocery stores.
One of the drawbacks of corn starch is that it can clump up when mixed into a thickening slurry. It can also affect the color of the thickened liquid by giving it a cloudy whitish appearance. Corn starch will not be an ideal brown rice substitute since it will lack the nutty flavor.
In a pinch: Sorghum flour
Many of the same vitamins and minerals found in rice flour are also found in sorghum flour. Also, it is gluten-free and safe for people who cannot consume gluten. Sorghum flour works best as a rice flour substitute when used in baked goods. Because of its protein content, sorghum flour can provide enough structure for some bread and cakes to rise. As a result, it is a better option than rice flour if you are looking for a wheat flour substitute.
The downside of sorghum flour is its slight bitterness. Because of the flavor, many believe that it is best used in combination with another flour.
Millet is believed to be the first cereal grain ever domesticated, and millet flour has a sweet flavor similar to that of corn. The corn flavor is a good alternative to the nutty flavor of brown rice flour. You can use it in most recipes or baked goods that call for rice flour. It is gluten-free but rich in protein, so it works especially well for bread and cakes.
Teff flour’s flavor profile has some of the nuttiness that you would get from brown rice flour. It also has a similar nutritional profile. Traditionally used to make the Ethiopian and Eritrean bread called injera, teff has many other uses.