Rice Flour Substitute: What Can You Use?

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If you’re opting for a gluten-free diet, you may have decided to kick wheat flour to the curb and try rice flour for your baked goods and to thicken sauces. However, rice flour isn’t always readily available, which may necessitate a more creative approach as you look for substitutes for rice flour. 

Here are a few great rice flour substitutes and when to choose a particular substitute.  

Substitute rice flour with cornstarch, pea flour, almond flour, all-purpose flour, oat flour, millet flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and even potato starch. What substitute you choose depends on the use the rice flour was intended for. 

Using rice flour has become increasingly popular, but not all stores carry rice flour, which means you may frequently have to substitute rice flour for alternatives. 

It’s a good idea to keep note of what substitutes work best in your favorite recipes, but here are your options to consider. 

What Is Rice Flour?

Rice flour, as the name hints, is a flour that’s made by grinding up rice kernels to produce a powder. Flour of any kind is made using a mechanical process to produce a powder. 

There are many uses for rice flour, and if you have health concerns, rice flour may be a good alternative to regular wheat flour. 

Rice flour can also increase your protein intake, and it’s a great source of fiber, which helps sort digestive problems. 

When Do You Use Rice Flour?

Rice flour can be used to substitute regular cake flour (aka wheat flour), and it can also be added to recipes that require a sauce to be thickened or to improve the elasticity of the dough. 

Uses for rice flour include thickening liquids (like that soup you accidentally drowned), and you can also use it to add flavor to the bread. However, rice flour shouldn’t be used in addition to yeast or other rising agents. 

You also can’t substitute rice flour for cake flour in all recipes—your chocolate cake may not end up as you want. 

You can also use rice flour cosmetically to help exfoliate your skin naturally.  

9 Best Rice Flour Substitutes

There are several great rice flour substitutes to consider, most of which you may have at home right now


Sticking with gluten-free flour, cornstarch is a versatile substitution for rice flour. Cornstarch is a thickening agent, can be added to the dough to improve the consistency and “binding power,” and can even be deep fried in batters. 

Cornstarch won’t change your recipe’s flavor profile, as cornstarch is flavorless. When you use cornstarch to thicken sauces, ensure you make a slurry with some warm water first to prevent lumping. 

Substitute cornstarch for rice flour in a ratio of 1:1. 

Pea Flour

Pea flour, which is usually made from ground chickpeas, is another great substitute for rice flour. 

You can expect a higher protein content with pea flour than rice flour, but it’s a great alternative for baked goods. The warm earthy flavor is ideal for making bread, rolls, and more.

Substitute pea flour with rice flour in an even ratio of 1:1.  

Almond Flour

Flour tends to describe a ground grain, but almond flour is increasing in popularity as a gluten-free flour substitute that has a nutty flavor, which complements most recipes. 

While you can technically use almond flour for all purposes where you’d use rice flour, it’s recommended to stick to baked goods as almond flour doesn’t fry well, and it tends to sift to the bottom of saucepans and casseroles where it burns. 

A simple 1:1 substitution for almond and rice flour works.

All Purpose Flour

Regular all-purpose flour also makes a good substitute for rice flour. Best of all, you can use it in every recipe that calls for rice flour. 

A straight substitution of 1:1 is ideal, but with sauces, you should make a slurry before adding it to the sauce to prevent lumping and burning. 

Oat Flour

In a pinch, you can make your own oat flour to substitute for rice flour. Simply process raw oats in a food processor until you have a fine powder, and voila. 

Substitute one part oat flour for one part rice flour. 

Millet Flour

While not something that’s commonly available, millet flour does provide a good taste match to brown rice flour. 

The slightly nutty taste of millet flour makes a nice addition when baking, and you can substitute rice flour with equal parts millet flour. 

Coconut Flour

For a sweeter substitution, consider coconut flour. It’s an ideal substitution for rice flour in baked goods, but remember, it’s highly absorbent. 

When you bake with coconut flour, only use a ratio of ½:1 and slowly increase if you see the dough needs more flour. 

You may need to consider increasing the eggs, oil, or water in your recipe to counter the drying properties of coconut flour.  

Tapioca Flour

When baking, substitute rice flour with two parts tapioca flour to one part rice flour. The result is a slightly sweet-tasting flour that’s gluten-free; ideal for baked goods. 

Potato Starch 

A substitute that’s ideal to thicken sauces where rice flour is called for is potato starch. However, use it sparingly as it thickens much more than rice flour. 

Make a slurry before adding to sauces. 

For coating food before deep frying, you can substitute at a ratio of 1:1.  

Can You Use Normal Flour Instead of Rice Flour?

Normal flour, while not gluten-free, can substitute for rice flour in most recipes. You can use normal or all-purpose flour in baking, casseroles, sauces, and other uses where rice flour is called for. 

Can I Use Rice Flour Instead of Cornstarch?

When thickening sauces and soups with cornstarch, you would need to make a slurry to prevent lumping. However, when you use rice flour, you can simply stir a spoonful of flour into the sauce and achieve an even thickening. 

My Last Foodie Thoughts 

Rice flour is a great gluten-free flour to have at home, and it can be used in sauces, bread, casseroles, deep frying, and more. If you run out of rice flour, it’s nice to know there are alternatives to consider. 

Keep some alternative gluten-free flour on hand, such as oat flour, almond flour, and tapioca flour. In a pinch, you can use normal flour. 

Happy baking!

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