Rice is one of the most popular side dishes in the world. Most grains like wheat and barley are not gluten-free, but does every grain have gluten? Since there are multiple types of rice worldwide, let's look at all of the types of rice. Is rice gluten free?
What Is Rice?
The answer to "what is rice" can be a bit complicated. There are so many types of rice out there. Rice is a grain that comes from the Oryza sativa grass and is grown all over the world. These grains can come in various sizes and colors, depending on where they are grown.
These days there are both wild and domesticated rice varieties, adding to the long list of types of rice! Rice can be cooked, turned into flour or milk, or made into alcohol (i.e., sake). It has a relatively plain taste but can take on the flavors of any seasoning added.
Many enjoy rice as a side dish, but it can also be used as a main dish, as in this Cajun Rice with Beans recipe. It is considered a staple flour in gluten-free recipes.
Answer: Is Rice Gluten Free?
Most rice varieties are naturally gluten-free, but not all. Plain, unprocessed rice will probably be gluten-free as the grain is naturally free from gluten.
There are some potential issues with rice that can occur. First, some rice brands are processed or have other added ingredients. This is because they usually have flavorings and preservatives that have gluten. The second is cross-contamination. Sometimes rice is grown near other gluten-containing crops, and sometimes it is stored in bins that may contain non-gluten-free items. A good example would be a grocery store's bulk food bin. (Always avoid these bins!)
Eating rice away from home is the main issue with rice because you don't know much about the rice or what was added at the restaurant. You know exactly what is being cooked into the rice at home. But, restaurants may add gluten seasonings, so it's a bit hard to know. It may be best to ask the waiter to ensure that the seasonings used are gluten-free if you're at a restaurant.
Most bags of unprocessed rice won't be labeled gluten-free as they don't have gluten-containing ingredients. If you are celiac or very sensitive, you may want to purchase a brand that does test their rice for gluten contamination.
Check out all of my research on meal ingredients to know what is gluten free.
Types Of Rice:
Is brown rice gluten-free? Plain, unprocessed brown rice should be gluten-free. It probably won't have a gluten-free label as it's naturally free from any gluten products unless it is sold by one of the three brands listed below.
As with any rice, there is a cross-contamination risk that I discussed above.
Is white rice gluten-free? Just like brown rice, unprocessed and plain white rice is safe to eat for those in the celiac community. As with brown rice, there is a cross-contamination risk, so it can be best to use a certified gluten-free rice brand.
Is jasmine rice gluten-free? Jasmine rice has the same risk as white rice. Use the certified gluten-free brands listed below if you worry about cross-contact with wheat ingredients.
Is wild rice gluten-free? If wild rice is not processed with added flavoring and preservatives, it should fall under the same safety category as white rice.
Since there is a cross-contamination risk that I discussed above, always check the ingredients label.
Is basmati rice gluten-free? Basmati rice is gluten free, but as with the other types of rice, you can read the ingredients list and look on the brand website for more information.
Is arborio rice gluten-free? Plain and unprocessed arborio rice should be gluten-free and safe to consume for those on a gluten-free diet. Be sure to check the ingredients label or use a certified gluten-free brand.
Is glutinous rice gluten-free? This type of rice is actually gluten-free despite its name. The name "glutinous" comes from the fact that it gets sticky, not from having gluten.
Glutinous rice flour is what I use to make my incredible Gluten-Free Mochi Waffles recipe.
Is sushi rice gluten-free? If you buy sushi rice, it should be gluten-free. Lundberg makes certified gluten-free sushi rice.
It may not be gluten-free if you get sushi rice at a restaurant. To get the sushi rice to stick to itself, it must be seasoned with wheat vinegar. As you can guess, wheat vinegar contains wheat and can cause issues for those who don't eat gluten.
That said, if the sushi rice is seasoned with gluten-free rice vinegar, it is safe to eat. However, you should always ask what kind of vinegar is used in your sushi rice to prevent mishaps.
You can read my write-up to see whether sushi is gluten free.
Is rice pilaf gluten-free? Unfortunately, rice pilaf is not gluten-free. It's usually made with orzo, an ingredient containing gluten. This is not safe rice to eat if you have gluten intolerance or gluten allergies.
Is instant rice gluten-free? Instant rice includes processed rice mixes and quick boil rice. Unfortunately, these processed instant rice kits are generally not gluten-free. Not only are they more susceptible to cross-contamination, but instant rice is also usually mixed with ingredients derived from wheat.
So if you really want a box of instant rice, make sure it's labeled gluten-free.
Brands of Certified Gluten Free Rice:
- Lundberg Family Farm - This includes their rice and their rice cakes snacks.
- Thrive Market Rice - All of their private label varieties are certified gluten free.
- Lotus Foods Rice - All varieties, including their rice pasta.
Most rice varieties are gluten-free, but some contain gluten. The best way to enjoy gluten-free rice is to buy unprocessed, plain rice. It takes a bit longer to cook than instant rice, but you won't be consuming any gluten that way.
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