Glutinous rice flour aka sweet rice flour is a versatile ingredient used in many Asian dishes, particularly those that require a sticky and chewy texture. However, you may find yourself in a situation where you need a substitute for these flours because of dietary restrictions, ingredient availability, or personal preference.
In this blog post, we’ll explore several alternatives to glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour, allowing you to continue creating delicious dishes without compromising on taste and texture.
What to Know about Substitution for Glutinous Rice Flour First?
Before getting into the list of the most possible substitutes for glutinous rice flour, you need to keep the purpose of glutinous rice flour in view. Knowing this will help you do a successful substitution without altering the taste or texture of your recipe.
When selecting a substitute, focus on the taste and starch ratio. If glutinous rice flour contributes to the recipe’s taste, choose a substitute with a similar flavor profile.
Glutinous rice flour is made from glutinous rice, a type of rice with 80-85% starch content, of which 100% is amylopectin as starch. Amylopectin gives glutinous rice flour its sticky and chewy texture.
For this starch ratio, aim for a gluten-free flour that matches the texture and starch of glutinous rice. So, you need to find high-starch flour–it’ll be great if the substituting flour also has a higher level of amylopectin.
By considering these factors, you can find suitable substitutes for glutinous rice flour while maintaining its primary role as a gluten-free starch and flour.
Best Alternatives to Glutinous Rice Flour or Sweet Rice Flour—A Quick Look
|Substitute Flour||Gluten-free?||Neutral flavor?||Similar texture?||Good for?|
|Tapioca flour||Yes||Yes||Yes||Chewy or bouncy texture|
|Potato starch||Yes||Yes||Yes||Smooth and creamy texture|
|Arrowroot starch||Yes||Yes||Yes||Smooth and creamy texture|
|Cornstarch||Yes||Yes||No||Smooth and creamy texture|
|Oat flour||No||Yes||No||Denser texture|
|Green banana flour||Yes||Yes||No||Denser texture|
|Teff flour||Yes||Yes||No||Denser texture|
|Millet flour||Yes||Yes||No||Denser texture|
|Quinoa flour||Yes||Yes||No||Denser texture|
10 Best Alternatives of Glutinous Rice Flour (Sweet Rice Flour)
Below we’ve discussed the best substitutes for glutinous rice flour with a higher starch and amylopectin ratio to give you recipes with the exact or similar texture and thickness of glutinous rice flour.
1. Rice Flour
Regular rice flour is one of the closest substitutes to glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour. Rice flour contains about 70–85% starch, depending on the type of rice used.
Made from any other rice variety like brown rice, long grain rice, Jasmine rice, or basmati rice, rice flour can be an excellent substitute for glutinous rice flour because:
- The 70-85% starch ratio of regular rice is closer to the starch ratio of glutinous rice.
- The texture will not be exactly like glutinous rice flour but somehow compensates because other rice varieties’ starch content of 73.5% to 76.3% has 48.99 to 63.03% of amylopectin.
So, use 1.5 cups of regular rice flour for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour. However, remember that rice flour lacks the elasticity and stickiness of glutinous rice flour, so it may not be the ideal choice for certain dishes like mochi or rice cakes.
Similarly, consider the taste of the rice flour you use as an alternative to glutinous rice. For example:
- Basmati rice has a slightly nutty and spicy flavor
- Jasmine rice has a mild flavor
- Brown rice has a nutty and earthy flavor
- Bomba rice has a mild nutty flavor.
Keeping the rice varieties’ flavor profiles in view, you can determine that jasmine rice flour or bomba rice flour can be good substitutes for recipes requiring glutinous rice flour in large quantities. While for the recipe that needs glutinous rice flour as a thickening agent only, you can opt for any rice flour in small quantities.
2. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is the second-best substitute for glutinous rice flour. Also known as tapioca flour, it is derived from the cassava root.
It’s a gluten-free flour commonly used as a thickener and for its binding properties. Its smooth and slightly chewy texture can work well in recipes that call for glutinous rice flour. It can serve as a viable substitute for glutinous rice flour for the reason:
- It is a healthier starch, with a higher ratio of amylopectin, which is about 82%.
- Tapioca starch has a higher ratio of about 98%, of which 82% is Amylopectin, to give an ideal chewy and sticky texture similar to glutinous rice flour.
- It hasn’t any overpowering taste because tapioca starch tastes bland. So, it can be ideal for recipes that require you to use glutinous rice flour, no matter in what ratio.
Yet, keeping the tapioca flour’s higher starch ratio you need to follow the substitution as 1 or ⅔ cup of tapioca flour for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour.
- Tapioca flour has a slightly nutty flavor that can be noticeable in some recipes.
- Tapioca flour can be used in various recipes than glutinous rice flour.
In short, Tapioca flour is an excellent substitute for glutinous rice flour.
3. Arrowroot Starch
Arrowroot starch is the 3rd best alternative to sweet rice flour. It’s derived from the arrowroot plant and is commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking. It has a light, powdery texture and is gluten-free. When used as a substitute for glutinous rice flour, it can help achieve a smooth and thick consistency in your dishes.
Arrowroot starch is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour because:
- It’s extremely higher in amylopectin with a 98% ratio
- It’s gluten-free.
- Arrowroot starch has a neutral flavor.
It is also a good thickener, making it a versatile ingredient used in various recipes.
Here are some tips for using arrowroot starch as a substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- When substituting arrowroot starch for glutinous rice flour, use the 75% amount. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour, you can substitute 2/3 cup of arrowroot starch. You can also increase the quantity to reach desired texture and thickness.
- Add it at the end of cooking because arrowroot starch thickens quickly, so it is best to add it. It’ll help prevent it from clumping.
- Blend arrowroot starch with water first for it is prone to be lumpy. And mixing it with water will help ensure it is evenly distributed.
Corn starch ranks 4 as an alternative for sweet rice flour for certain recipes. While it won’t provide the same sticky and chewy texture, it can still be a thickening agent or contribute to a lighter texture in some dishes. It’s an excellent substitute for glutinous rice flour for the reasons:
- It has a bland or neutral flavor
- The corn starch has a 75% amylopectin ratio, which gives it stickiness closer to glutinous rice flour.
When using cornstarch as a substitute for glutinous rice flour, it is important to use a 2:1 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour, you can substitute ½ cup of cornstarch.
You can also combine corn starch with any other gluten-free flour to replicate glutinous rice flour’s texture in baking.
Please be aware of alterations in taste, texture, and appearance; experiment and adjust based on recipe and preferences.
5. Potato Starch
Potato starch comes in 5th place as the best alternative to glutinous rice flour. It’s made from the starchy part of potatoes, which is extracted and then ground into a fine powder. It is a white, odorless, and tasteless powder used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking.
Potato starch is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour because:
- Potato starch has about 80% amylopectin, giving it a sticky texture identical to glutinous rice flour.
- Neutral in flavor
Here are some tips for using potato starch as a substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- Use an equal amount of potato starch as you would glutinous rice flour: 1 cup of potato starch for 1 cup of sweet rice flour.
- Don’t overcook the dish, as it’ll cause the potato starch to break down and lose its thickening power.
- If you’re using potato starch to make a dough, you may need to add more water or another liquid to get the desired consistency.
So, if you’re looking for a gluten-free and neutral-flavored thickener, potato starch is a good option. It is easy to find and inexpensive and has a high thickening power.
6. Green banana flour
Green banana flour is made from unripe green bananas and has a starchy texture that can work well as a gluten-free substitute in various dishes. Using green banana flour as an alternative to sweet rice flour can be a viable option in certain recipes because:
- It has 70% starch of which 82.5% is amylopectin.
- It’s gluten-free.
- The flavor of green banana flour is neutral.
- It’s high in fiber and nutrients. It can be used in many recipes, including baking, cooking, and thickening sauces.
When using green banana flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour, please consider to:
- Use the same amount of green banana flour, e.g., 1 cup of green banana flour for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour, you can substitute 1 cup of green banana flour.
- Green banana flour can absorb a lot of liquid, so it is best to add it at the end of cooking.
Hence, green banana flour is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour.
7. Teff Flour
Teff flour is a good alternative to glutinous rice flour in various recipes.
A study published in the Journal of Cereal Science found that teff flour has an amylopectin content of 77.6%. This is significantly higher than the amylopectin content of other common flours, such as wheat flour (20%) and corn flour (25%).
The high amylopectin content of teff flour gives it a number of advantages over other flour types. And for this primary reason, it can be used as a substitute for sweet rice (glutinous rice) flour.
Here are some other reasons as well, why teff flour is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- It’s gluten-free.
- It shares a similar texture with sweet rice flour.
- Teff flour has a slightly nutty flavor that can be noticeable in some recipes. Glutinous rice flour has a neutral flavor.
Here are some tips for using teff flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- When substituting teff flour for glutinous rice flour, use the same amount. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour, you can substitute 1 cup of teff flour.
- Teff flour has a coarser texture than sweet rice flour. So, you should sieve it before adding it to your recipe.
If easily available, teff flour can be an effective alternative to glutinous rice flour.
8. Quinoa flour
The starch content of quinoa flour varies depending on the variety of quinoa used, but it is typically between 65% and 75%. This means that for every 100 grams of quinoa flour, there are approximately 65 to 75 grams of starch.
While the amylopectin ratio in its starch is 87.48%, however, quinoa flour has a grassy and bitter flavor. So, you can use it as a substitute for glutinous rice flour as a thickening agent only. Also, you’ll need to use it in larger quantities because of its lower starch ratio.
Quinoa flour is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour because it is:
- High in protein and fiber
- Has a slightly nutty flavor
- Can be used in a variety of recipes
When using quinoa flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour, remember that it’ll not give the same chewy texture to your recipe. However, it will still thicken the dish and add a slightly nutty flavor.
Here are some tips for using quinoa flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- Use an equal or higher ratio of quinoa flour for every 1 cup of glutinous rice flour.
- Do not overcook the dish, as this will cause the quinoa flour to break down and lose its thickening power.
- When using quinoa flour to make a dough, you may need to add more water or another liquid to get the desired consistency.
To sum up, quinoa flour can be a nutrition-rich, high-starch substrate for glutinous rice flour with some notable flavor.
9. Oat flour
Oat flour can be used as a substitute for glutinous rice flour in some recipes. However, oat flour has only 60% starch by weight of which 79.85-83.50% is amylopectin. Thus, the overall ratio of starch is less than glutinous rice flour, which affects its texture.
To compensate, you may need to add a larger quantity of oat flour if you’re using it as a thickening agent. Or you can combine it with tapioca starch or cornstarch to get a texture in recipes similar to glutinous rice flour.
Still, for the following reasons, oat flour works as a good alternative to glutinous rice flour:
- Oats are naturally gluten-free.
- Oats have a sweet and nutty taste like glutinous rice.
- Substitution ratio
- 1.5 cup for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour
Please beware of the potential texture and flavor changes that may occur when using oat flour in recipes.
Here are some tips for using oat flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour:
- When substituting oat flour for glutinous rice flour, use the same amount.
- Oat flour can be gritty, so it is best to sift it before adding it to your recipe for even distribution.
- Add it at the end of cooking because qat flour can absorb a lot of liquid. This will help prevent it from making your baked goods dense.
10. Millet flour
Millet flour has 70% starch, out of which 70-80% is amylopectin. For its higher starch content and neutral nutty flavor, millet flour can make an excellent alternative to sweet rice flour. Here are a few other reasons why millet flour can replace glutinous rice flour:
- It’s gluten-free.
- Millet flour has a slightly nutty flavor that is often described as being similar to wheat flour.
- Millet flour has a similar texture to glutinous rice flour, making it a good substitute for recipes that require a soft and fluffy texture.
- It can be used in various recipes, including baking, cooking, and thickening sauces.
When substituting millet flour for glutinous rice flour:
- Use the same amount: if a recipe calls for 1 cup of glutinous rice flour, you can substitute 1 cup of millet flour.
- Strain it because millet flour can be powder
In a nutshell, millet flour is a good substitute for glutinous rice flour.
Can I use almond flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour?
While almond flour and glutinous rice flour are both gluten-free options, they have quite different properties. Primarily, glutinous rice flour is used for its starchy nature and elasticity.
And almond flour lacks it. Almond flour is made from finely ground almonds and has a nutty flavor. It’s great for baking and adds a lovely richness to recipes, but it doesn’t have the same sticky or elastic properties as glutinous rice flour.
So using almond flour as a direct substitute for glutinous rice flour might not give you the desired results.
That said, if you’re just experimenting or don’t mind a different texture, try almond flour. It won’t have the same stickiness, but it might still work, depending on the recipe. Just remember that the results may vary, so it’s always a good idea to do a small test batch first.
Can I use coconut flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour?
No! Coconut flour and glutinous rice flour are quite different, and using coconut flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour might not give you the exact results you’re looking for.
Glutinous rice flour is used in recipes for its unique sticky and elastic texture when cooked. Coconut flour, on the other hand, despite being commonly used in gluten-free baking, doesn’t have the same sticky properties as glutinous rice flour.
So, if you’re thinking of swapping glutinous rice flour with coconut flour, you’ll likely encounter some challenges.
Coconut flour absorbs a ton of liquid, so if you use it as a one-to-one substitute, your dish may turn out dry and crumbly. You’ll probably need to adjust the liquid and possibly add more eggs or binding agents to compensate for the difference.
That being said, if you’re up for experimenting or you don’t mind a different texture, you can give coconut flour a shot!
Can I use white flour as a substitute for glutinous rice flour?
No, but sometimes, you can!
Glutinous rice flour and white flour are quite different in terms of their properties. Glutinous rice flour gives recipes an awesome sticky and chewy texture.
On the other hand, white flour has a totally different vibe. It’s great for baking cakes, bread, and all sorts of goodies that need a fluffy and light texture.
So, if you’re thinking of swapping white flour for glutinous rice flour, you should know that it might not work out exactly as planned. White flour won’t give you that signature stickiness that glutinous rice flour brings to the party.
But if you’re making a recipe where the sticky factor isn’t the main star, you can still give white flour a shot.
If you’re set on using white flour, you might need to do a bit of tweaking. Adding a little xanthan gum or tapioca starch can help mimic the stickiness of glutinous rice flour.
Also, remember that wheat flour isn’t a gluten-free substitute for glutinous rice flour. In such a case when you need a gluten-free substitute for sweet rice flour, white flour or all-purpose flour is a big “NO.”
While no exact substitute replicates the unique properties of glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour, several alternatives can be used depending on the recipe and desired outcome.
Rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch, and arrowroot starch are all viable options, each offering different characteristics and functionalities.
Explore and experiment with these substitutes to find the best match for your needs. Remember to adjust the quantities and make necessary modifications to achieve satisfying results in your culinary creations.