Sweet rice, glutinous rice, or sticky rice flour are all the names of the same product that we are often using in baking goods and preparing Asian food such as kimchi, Mochi, or other rice cakes, etc.
Rice flour is a commonly found ingredient in our grocery stores, so people often confuse sweet rice flour with it. But let me tell you! They both are altogether different, and I will share those details in a bit. But sweet rice flour is an entirely different powder; it has substitutes of its own.
I like to categorize the sweet rice flour alternatives as per their uses. The substitute for sweet rice flour in Mochi can be almond, coconut, or tapioca flour. To replace it as a thickening agent and substitute sweet rice flour in kimchi, you can try cornstarch or potato starch.
But wait a minute! You can not simply replace sweet rice flour with those substitutes; there is a conversion ratio that we must understand first before making use of its replacements. So, let’s find out!
What is Sweet Rice Flour?
Sweet rice flour is a starchy flour made from glutinous ‘sticky’ short-grain rice. Although it contains no gluten, it is sometimes referred to as glutinous because of its ‘glue-like or sticky texture. It’s also known as ‘mochiko flour’ because it is the perfect flour for making Mochi, a delightful Japanese rice cake. Don’t let the fact that it’s named “sweet” fool you because it is not sweet; it’s only because of the name of the rice it is processed from, this flour is named ‘sweet.’
Sweet rice is sticky with a high starch content, ideal for gluten-free baking since it helps bind ingredients together. In some gluten-free baked items, sweet rice flour’s sticky, starchy texture makes all the difference. It’s also a little finer than conventional rice flour, so it will work nicely in cakes and biscuits and is tasteless grainy.
Is Sweet Rice Flour Gluten-free?
The name alone gives most people the impression that it sweet rice flour or the glutinous rice flour has gluten. This is deceptive because the flour does not contain any gluten. It gets its name from the fact that when rice is cooked, it becomes sticky. This raises the question of why it takes on a sticky texture.
Amylose and amylopectin are two types of starch generally found in rice. Unlike other types of rice with amylose starch, glutinous rice has a higher concentration of amylopectin. It is because of this that it gets sticky and moist upon cooking. Furthermore, as rice is cooked, it utilizes the water in its surroundings to create it chewy and delicious.
Therefore, the flour obtained from this rice is also sticky but does not contain any gluten.
How do you use sweet rice flour?
Sweet rice flour has a lot of carbohydrates, which helps the proteins in the flour stick together. If you have ever had Mochi, you will notice that it has a distinct chewiness. Sweet rice flour also has a good absorption quality, making it ideal for gluten-free baking, sauces, and gravies.
- You can use it to prepare infant food or geriatric meals, in addition to acting as a thickening agent and cooking dumplings. This flour is easy to eat and metabolize, which is why it is so popular.
- Sweet rice flour is suitable for people who cannot consume wheat or gluten.
- This flour can give your lactose-free ice creams a sticky texture.
- The sweet rice flour can help keep the moisture in all those things that need to be frozen and thawed because the product loses moisture throughout the freezing and thawing process.
- Egg rolls and mooncakes are made using sweet rice flour.
- It is also used to produce rice cakes called Mochi, which is famous among Asians.
What is the difference between sweet rice flour and rice flour?
Rice flour and sweet rice flour are not the same things. Rice flour is an easy-to-find item that we all can get from in the gluten-free section of most shops, so naturally, we all are more familiar with it. It is entirely different from the sweet rice flour, and the two flours can not be used interchangeably in a recipe because they have different textures and tastes.
Rice flour is made from long or medium-grain rice, which is the type of rice that most of us have on hand. It has some thickening characteristics, but it is best utilized in gluten-free baking flour mixes. Both white and brown rice flours have a similar texture and usage.
Short-grain glutinous rice, often known as “sticky rice,” is used to make sweet rice flour. It is far stickier than rice flour, and it is not only good for baking purposes, but it is equally good for the thickening of soup, stews, and other recipes. It has a high starch content until plain rice flour, so it is great for making delights like Mochi or rice cakes, etc.
6 Best Substitutes for Sweet Rice Flour
Now that you know that sweet rice flour is different from rice flour, and it has uses of its own, you can turn towards other flours to use as its substitutes. While I was looking for its alternatives in Mochi, I came across different flours which could cause similar stickiness, texture, and taste. So, I tested all of them in different recipes, and here is my personal finding:
1. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour, also known as tapioca starch, is the greatest substitute for sweet rice flour since it shares many of the same qualities and may be used in the same amount. Tapioca flour, like sweet rice flour, is manufactured by drying and grinding yuca, or cassava, plants. It is inherently sticky and starchy.
It will absorb water in a similar manner and have a similar somewhat chewy texture. Although sweet rice flour isn’t particularly sweet, it does have a sweeter flavor than tapioca starch, which is tasteless. You can compensate by adding a small bit of sugar, but otherwise, tapioca flour can be used interchangeably!
How to replace sweet rice flour with tapioca flour?
Well, for every cup of sweet rice flour, you can use an equal amount of tapioca flour in any recipe. The 1:1 ratio worked out great for me in a baked cookie recipe.
2. Potato Starch
Potato starch is manufactured from potato starch, as obvious from the name. Potato starch is extracted as a fine powder that has almost little flavor. It is primarily used in recipes to add texture. It is more comparable to sweet rice flour because you can use it as a thickening agent or absorb excessive moisture in baked items.
How to substitute?
Similar to tapioca starch, it can be substituted for sweet rice flour in an equal amount, but due to the lack of flavor, you may need to add a little extra sugar or another sweetener to compensate for the taste.
3. Almond Flour: Healthy Substitute for Sweet Rice Flour
In many aspects, almond flour differs from sweet rice flour, but still, it is gluten-free and low in carbohydrates, making it a good substitute in most sweet rice flour recipes. Almond flour has a higher protein content and a larger range of vitamins and minerals than sweet rice flour, making it a potentially healthier option.
Because almond flour is not nearly as sticky as glutinous rice flour, you may need to add additional ingredients to compensate for the lack of binding ability. On the other hand, almond flour has more flavor than rice flour, so you will notice a difference in flavor, but if you enjoy the nutty flavor of almonds, this will surely be an upgrade, taste-wise.
4. Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour, a gluten-free counterpart to sweet rice flour, is another alternative. It is extremely nutritious, and as a result, it is becoming increasingly popular in the health food industry. Sorghum flour has a lightly sweet flavor, similar to sweet rice flour, although it is milder. Because it isn’t as sticky as the sweet rice flour, so in a recipe, you will need to add some sort of binding agent along with it.
In most recipes, sorghum flour can be used in place of sweet rice flour in equal amounts. To achieve the desired consistency, you may need to add a little bit more sorghum flour, depending on the recipe. Begin with a tablespoon at a time and gradually increase as needed.
5. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is gluten-free and comes in the same lightly flavored fine powder category as sweet white rice flour does, so it can be used in most recipes. Coconut flour has a moderate but detectable coconutty taste and is sweeter than sweet rice flour. Because it isn’t as sticky as sweet rice flour, you may need to add a binding agent or alter the liquid content to achieve the desired sticky texture. You can use 1½ cups of coconut flour to replace 1 cup of sweet rice flour in any recipe.
If you want to replace sweet rice flour as a thickening agent in a recipe, then cornstarch can be a good substitution. To thicken 1 cup of liquid, use around 2 teaspoons of sweet rice flour as a general rule. Start with the same cornstarch ratio and add more only as needed. With or without heat, sweet rice flour will thicken the liquid instantly. Cornstarch thickens as it warms, so don’t add more until you are sure more is needed. Most liquids naturally blend well with cornstarch, but it is better to whisk it into a cold liquid first, then slowly add it to a hot liquid to thicken it without lumps.
How do you make homemade sweet rice flour?
You can produce your own sweet rice flour if you don’t have sweet rice flour but have short-grain glutinous white rice. With this homemade sweet rice flour, you will be able to make around 2 cups of sweet rice flour from a cup of short-grain rice.
To prepared sweet rice flour at home first, rinse and drain your glutinous rice several times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for at least 8 hours or overnight. The rice should have swelled to about double the original size after soaking. Strain the rice thoroughly. Once dried well, grind the rice in a food processor until it makes a fine powder.
Remove any large lumps from the fine powder using a suitable sifter. Add the larger bits to your main batch and grind again to get a fine grain.
Make sure to dry the rice well before grinding; otherwise, they will simply make a paste. When I make the sweet rice flour at home, I leave the rinsed and drained rice in the sunlight for 2 hours until they are completely dried.
Table: Sweet Rice Flour Substitution Table
|Substitute||Best For||Sweet Rice flour: Substitutes
|Tapioca flour||Baked goods||1:1|
|Potato starch||Coatings and batter||1:1|
|Almond flour||Gluten-free baked food||1: 1.5|
|Sorghum flour||Biscuits and Cookies||1:1|
|Coconut flour||Sweet gluten-free baked items||1: 1.5|