Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – What are the Differences?

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – What are the Differences? I get this question a lot, and so, I am sharing this post to explain the differences between Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour, the common brands available, how they are used in cooking, and when they can be substituted in recipes. Also, to help you get familiar with these flours, I am sharing some of my favorite recipes using Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour. You can make some yummy dishes and explore these unique ingredients for yourself.

Rice Flour vs Glutinous Rice Flour - Different Brands | runawayrice.com

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Subtle Name Difference

Rice Flour is ground from long-grain or medium-grain white rice. This rice is the type we commonly eat and make in our rice cookers. The rice grains are typically opaque.

Glutinous Rice Flour is ground from long-grain or short-grain sweet white rice and is also called Sweet Rice Flour. Sweet rice grains are typically solid white.

Rice Flour vs Glutinous Rice Flour - One is milled from Long-grain Rice and the other from Long-grain Sweet Rice | runawayrice.com

Both flours are gluten-free which make them wonderful alternatives to wheat flour. “Glutinous” refers to the sticky and gluey consistency of the cooked flour rather than containing glutens. The name can be misleading because Glutinous Rice Flour is actually gluten-free.

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Texture, Taste and Weight

Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour are made from white rice, and so, are white in color. Both are finely milled flours with a powdery texture.

Both Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flours are neutral tasting before and after cooking. Even though Glutinous Rice Flour is often called Sweet Rice Flour, it is not sweet at all.

1 cup Rice Flour and 1 cup Glutinous Rice Flour weigh about the same, approximately 4.6 ounces (130 grams).

Rice Flour vs Glutinous Rice Flour - Erawan (Elephant) Brand | runawayrice.com

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Types and Brands

The common Asian grocery store brand for Rice Flour is the Erawan (Elephant) brand. This Rice Flour is milled from long-grain rice and packaged in a 1 pound (454 grams) plastic bag. Note the “Rice Flour” is in red lettering.

The common Asian grocery store brand for Glutinous Rice flour is also the Erawan (Elephant) brand. It’s milled from long-grain sweet rice and packaged in a 1 pound (454 grams) plastic bag. Note the “Glutinous Rice Flour” is in green lettering.

Because the packages are so similar, it’s really easy to mix them up. Here’s a little trick: “R” for red lettering = regular Rice Flour. “G” for green lettering = Glutinous Rice Flour. 🙂

Rice Flour vs Glutinous Rice Flour - Erawan (Elephant) Brand | runawayrice.com

Bob’s Red Mill also makes Rice Flour and Glutinous / Sweet Rice Flour. They can be substituted for the Asian brand flours in most recipes.

Koda Farms makes Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour. This Glutinous Rice Flour is milled from short-grain rice, has a grittier texture and a bit heavier than the Erawan brand when compared cup per cup. 1 cup Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour is approximately 5.3 ounces (150 grams) versus 1 cup Erawan brand which is 4.6 ounces (130 grams).

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Culinary Uses

Both Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour are staple ingredients in Asian cuisine. Additionally, these flours have become more popular with the rise of gluten-free diets.

Rice Flour is typically used in making sweet and savory cakes, pastries and noodles.

All of our efforts have paid off, look at this tray of Rolled Cakes--ready to be devoured!

Rice Flour can be substituted for wheat flour in most bread and cake recipes. However, because of the lack of glutens, additional ingredients such as Tapioca Starch or Potato Starch are usually added to give foods a softer, doughy consistency.

Glutinous Rice Flour becomes very sticky when heated and has a uniquely chewy texture. As such, it’s a common ingredient in dumplings and many Asian desserts. Glutinous Rice Flour also makes an excellent thickener for sauces and gravies.

Sesame Balls (Banh Cam) | recipe from runawayrice.com

Both flours have a tendency to separate when combined with water. When using in batters, be sure to stir well to remove any settling before cooking.

Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour are raw flours. They must be cooked completely before eating. Never eat these flours raw.

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Substituting in Recipes

In most recipes, unless specifically stated, Rice Flour and Glutinous Rice Flour should not be used interchangeably. The flours have very different textures, cook very differently and yield very different results. Rice flour is closer to wheat flour and yields a cake-like consistency whereas Glutinous Rice Flour yields a sticky and chewy texture suitable for dumplings or foods that don’t require much structure.

If the Rice Flour or Glutinous Rice Flour is a minor ingredient, you can make the following substitutions:

If the major ingredient in the recipe is Rice Flour or Glutinous Rice Flour and you purchased the wrong product, don’t proceed with the recipe. It will not work out and you’ll waste your time and ingredients.

Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – Recipes to Try

Rice Flour is a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine and used in both savory and sweet dishes. Depending on the cooking method, foods with rice flour can be both light and delicate and solid and hearty. Below are some of my favorite recipes:

Steamed Rice Cakes / Cow Cakes / Steamed Honeycomb Cakes (Banh Bo Hap) - They're bite-sized so you can have more than one! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Steamed Rice Cakes / Cow Cakes / Steamed Honeycomb Cakes (Banh Bo Hap)

Honeycomb Cake - Eggless/Vegetarian Recipe (Banh Bo Nuong Chay) - Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Easy Oven Recipe | recipe from runwayrice.com

Honeycomb Cake – Eggless / Vegetarian Recipe (Banh Bo Nuong Chay)

Savory Coconut Rice Cake with Toasted Shrimp Flakes (Banh Duc Tom Chay) - an amazing small bite or snack! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Steamed Coconut Rice Cake with Toasted Shrimp Flakes (Banh Duc Tom Chay)

Savory Steamed Rice Cakes (Banh Beo) | recipe from runawayrice.com

Savory Steamed Rice Cakes (Banh Beo)

Freshly made, these savory cakes are perfect as a snack or meal!

Savory Rolled Cakes (Banh Cuon)

Because of its soft, chewy and sticky texture, Glutinous Rice Flour is a favorite ingredient in desserts and dumplings. The delicious chewy texture is really addicting! Check out the links below for some amazing recipes.

Sticky Rice Balls (Che Troi Nuoc) - Deliciously Gooey Dessert | recipe from runawayrice.com

Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup (Che Troi Nuoc)

Snowball Cakes / Mochi Cake / Nut-Filled Glutinous Rice Balls / Banh Bao Chi - easy recipe for this popular Vietnamese treat | recipe from runawayrice.com

Snowball Cakes (Banh Bao Chi)

Sticky Rice Dumplings (Banh It Tran) - delicious bites of savory goodness! | recipe from runawayrice.com

Sticky Rice Dumplings (Banh It Tran)

Steamed Rice Cakes and Pork Roll (Banh Day) | recipe from runawayrice.comSteamed Rice Cakes and Pork Roll (Banh Day)

If you have additional questions, regarding the differences between Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour, share your comments with me below. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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46 Responses to Rice Flour vs. Glutinous Rice Flour – What are the Differences?

  1. Char August 26, 2019 at 5:09 am #

    Hello, Would I use regular rice flour to fry fish? I’m planning on trying to duplicate a fried black bean sauce fish recipe I tried in a restaurant. It was crispy but not a thick batter.. I’m assuming it was corn starch or rice flour. It was crispy even after being stir fried.

    • Trang September 9, 2019 at 4:42 pm #

      Hi Char,
      If the crust was crispy, the batter probably had corn starch or potato starch. A rice flour batter usually makes a heavier crust. Hope that helps!

  2. Claire August 23, 2019 at 7:03 am #

    You said that rice flour and glutinous rice flour if used as a main ingredient should be cooked as they are raw. The recipe I will try says 2.5 TB of rice flour and almost the same as the measurement of the other ingredients. The recipe does not require cooking. Do you think that will be ok?

    • Trang September 9, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

      Hi Claire,
      I am curious about what you’re making that doesn’t require cooking rice flour. I don’t recommend eating any of the flours raw.

  3. Zoha August 20, 2019 at 4:49 am #

    Hi. This was really helpful. Can i use cornstarch to substitute glutenious rice flour ?

    • Trang September 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm #

      Hi Zoha,
      Corn starch isn’t the right ingredient to substitute with glutinous rice flour especially if it’s a major ingredient in the recipe. I hope that helps!

  4. Bavisha Mistry August 13, 2019 at 5:25 am #

    Hi there, can you use glutinous rice flour to make roti (indian flatbread)?

    • Trang August 13, 2019 at 11:48 am #

      Hi! I don’t think glutinous rice flour will work. A wheat flour is typically used to make roti. I hope that helps.

  5. Marie August 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm #

    Hello, thank you explaining the difference between the rice flours. I’m interested in using rice flour in lumpia wrappers (Filipino eggrolls). My usual recipe is a combination of all purpose flour, water,, egg whites and salt. But the wrappers don’t stay crispy after frying. Do you know if adding rice flour in the dough mix would give me a crispier fried lumpia wrapper?

    • Trang August 12, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

      Hi Marie,
      I am glad you found the post helpful. Yes, add 1-2 Tbsp rice flour to your recipe for a crispier wrapper. Good Luck!

  6. Debbie August 4, 2019 at 6:23 pm #

    Hafa Adai from Guam. Thanks 4 ur insight on the difference between the flours. I made a butter mochi cake & used rice flour & was disappointed in how much drier it was in texture from the previous one I made with Mochiko. We learn from our mistakes.

    • Trang August 7, 2019 at 11:58 am #

      Hi Debbie,
      That’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing your results. 🙂

  7. D Phan July 26, 2019 at 10:00 pm #

    Hi Trang,

    Do you know if I can use the Erawan Glutinous Rice Flour in the same recipes that have Mochiko?
    Specifically mochi.

    Thanks a lot

    • Trang August 1, 2019 at 6:33 am #

      Hi D,
      You can use the Erawan brand but keep in mind the texture and weights are different so you may need to adjust your recipe. As I mentioned in the post, 1 cup Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour is approximately 5.3 ounces (150 grams) versus 1 cup Erawan brand which is 4.6 ounces (130 grams). Good Luck!

  8. Tina Teo June 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

    Thank you and its helpful…

    • Trang June 30, 2019 at 8:30 pm #

      My pleasure! Thank you for stopping by!

      • Nona July 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

        I am baking a cake. Recipe calls for three cups of flour,I only have two cups. Can I use one cup of mochiko flour to make up the third cup?

        • Trang July 19, 2019 at 10:50 pm #

          Hi Nona,
          I don’t recommend using the Mochiko flour for a baked cake. It’s too glutinous and will not yield the right texture.

  9. Bonolo June 22, 2019 at 10:30 pm #

    This is really helpful, thanks!

    • Trang June 30, 2019 at 8:30 pm #

      You’re welcome! Thank you for stopping by!

  10. martine thompson June 20, 2019 at 3:07 am #

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the difference between these flours. It has been so helpful.

    • Trang June 20, 2019 at 11:41 am #

      You’re very welcome! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

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