By/ Last Modified On July 31, 2023
From nasi goreng in Indonesia to biryani in India to arancini in Italy, countless cultures rely on rice as a base for many of their traditional meals.
So is rice gluten-free – and can people with celiac disease enjoy these delicious dishes? Here, we talk about the varieties of gluten-free rice, reputable brands, and rice alternatives that the whole family will enjoy!
Is Rice Gluten-Free?
Basmati, jasmine, brown, and wild rice: Plain rice is gluten-free, no matter the type.
The only concern is whether the rice has been cross-contaminated with a glutinous grain (like wheat or barley) during the growing, harvesting, or manufacturing process. Therefore, if you buy rice that has a gluten-free label, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Avoid Bulk Bins
Even if rice has a gluten-free label, we recommend avoiding the bulk bins at your local grocery store or cooperative. While it’s cheaper, there’s a much higher chance that the scoops have come into contact with glutinous grains.
Ask Your Server
Always tell servers about your gluten intolerance when dining out. Ask whether the rice can be prepared separately (and with sanitized equipment) to avoid risk. Obviously, you need to ensure that the ingredients paired with your rice are gluten-free.
Tip: These gluten-free restaurant cards can make ordering much easier!
What Types of Rice Are Gluten-Free?
Here’s an exhaustive list of gluten-free rice varieties.
- Purple Thai
- Red Sprouted
- Sticky (i.e., sweet, glutinous)
Wait, Is Glutinous Rice Gluten-Free?
Funnily enough, despite its name, glutinous rice is gluten-free. Also known as sticky rice or sweet rice, it’s called glutinous rice because of its sticky texture when cooked.
What Brands of Rice Are Gluten-Free?
Here are several brands offering gluten-free rice in all its forms.
Annie Chun’s Cooked White Sticky Rice is microwave-ready in just one minute. It’s also gluten-free, vegan, and low-fat. This is perfect for your next serving of mango sticky rice!
Ben’s Original might have rebranded (from Uncle Ben’s), but it still offers some of the most reliable rice products in the US. According to their official website, their current gluten-free rice varieties include:
- Boil-in-Bag Long Grain Rice
- Boil-in-Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice
- Instant Brown Rice
- Long Grain & Wild Rice Fast Cook
- Parboiled Long Grain White Rice
- Whole Grain Brown Rice
Lundberg Family Farms
Four generations of Lundbergs have been growing rice in Northern California. Thankfully, all of their products are certified gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and organic. Their range offers almost every type of gluten-free rice, from white to brown to jasmine.
Mahatma is “America’s favorite rice.” Fortunately, it’s also gluten-free. Choose from:
- Enriched Extra Long Grain Rice
- Aromatic Thai Jasmine White Rice
- Yellow Seasonings and Long Grain Rice
NOW Foods’ philosophy revolves around high-quality, natural products. This extends from supplements to gluten-free grains (like quinoa and millet). While they only offer one rice product, their sprouted brown rice is a nutritious option.
Reese is in charge of bringing international flavors from all corners of the world to your kitchen in the States. Their Minnesota Wild Rice is famous for its subtle, nutty flavor that goes well with grilled salmon, in cream-based soups, and as a standalone side.
Minus their Royal Blends (which include barley), all of the rice products at Rice Select are certified gluten-free. We love that these large rice containers are incredibly affordable.
Their gluten-free range is substantial and includes the following:
- Arborio Rice
- Jasmine Rice
- Kamalis Intensely Fragrant Jasmine Rice
- Premium Black Rice
- Sweet Sticky Dessert Rice
- Texmati Brown Rice
- Texmati White Rice
Thanks to SmartRice, you can have an environmentally-conscious choice for dinner. The company is at the forefront of sustainability and has the smallest carbon footprint of all commercially grown rice. Choose between long-grain white rice or long-grain brown rice.
Buy a big resealable bag of Tilda Pure Basmati Rice and you’ll keep the entire family happy for many meals. More of an instant rice meal prepper? No worries: Tilda also offers ready-to-heat and gluten-free packets of Bombay rice, pure basmati rice, and peri-peri steamed rice.
What Flavored Rice Mixes Are Gluten-Free?
Flavored rice mixes are hit-and-miss. It all depends on the seasonings and flavorings mixed with the rice. Here are some of our favorite gluten-free flavored rice mixes.
The list of flavored rice mixes at Heritage Select is long, delicious, and 100% gluten-free.
- Cranberries & Almonds
- Roasted Chicken & Herbs
- Roasted Garlic & Herbs
- Rosemary & Olive Oil
- Spanish-Style With Bell Peppers
- Zesty Lime Cilantro
Lundberg Family Farms
As mentioned, Lundberg Family Farms is one of the most reliable companies for gluten-free rice products. Here are their gluten-free flavored rice mixes:
Based in New Orleans, we’re pleased to report that people with gluten sensitivities can still enjoy the flavorful rice mixes that Zatarain’s is famous for:
- Caribbean Rice Mix
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Dirty Rice Mix
- Spanish Rice
- Wild Brown Rice Mix
- Yellow Rice
Flavored Rice Brands to Avoid
- Ben’s Original: While they have plenty of gluten-free products (above), their flavored rice mixes either contain gluten or are made on shared equipment.
- Knorr’s rice side dishes don’t come with gluten-free labels.
- Rice-A-Roni because the “roni” (i.e., macaroni) contains gluten.
- Seeds of Change: The company is upfront about its rice mixes being made on shared production lines.
Our Recommendations for Gluten-Free Rice Alternatives
If you want to try another gluten-free base with your favorite dinner dish, here are our recommendations.
Quinoa is one of the world’s healthiest foods, with slightly more nutrients than rice. In fact, quinoa is technically an edible seed, although it’s classified as a whole grain. Try it as a pilaf (just like rice, use a 2-to-1 ratio of water to quinoa) or in our gluten-free quinoa soup.
Have you jumped on board the cauliflower rice train yet? It’s finely chopped raw cauliflower (usually made in a food processor) that resembles grains of rice. This is a paleo, low-carb substitute for rice that can be made in just five minutes.
Millet is an ancient gluten-free wholegrain commonly grown in certain Asian, South American, and African countries. It’s richer in protein and fiber than rice – but takes a little getting used to. Here’s how to cook perfect millet every time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Minute Rice Gluten-Free?
Plain minute rice should be gluten-free (after all, it’s just partially cooked rice that’s been dehydrated and packaged). The issue is glutinous seasonings and cross-contamination during the production process or glutinous flavorings. Look for a product with a gluten-free label.
Is Rice Flour Gluten-Free?
Yes, rice flour is gluten-free because the only ingredient is rice. Ensure you buy a package with a gluten-free label to avoid cross-contamination. Alternatively, you can make your own gluten-free rice flour at home!
Is Jasmine Rice Gluten-Free?
Yes, jasmine rice is naturally gluten-free.
Is Brown Rice Gluten-Free?
Brown rice is naturally gluten-free.
Is Wild Rice Gluten-Free?
Yes, wild rice is naturally gluten-free. However, you’ll want to double-check the packaging for a gluten-free label, as some brands add glutinous enhancers to their wild rice mixes.
Is White Rice Gluten-Free?
Plain white rice is naturally gluten-free.
Is Fried Rice Gluten-Free?
Fried rice can be gluten-free if the other ingredients don’t contain gluten. You’ll find that most restaurants use glutinous soy sauce to make their fried rice, so always double-check with the staff.
Is Malted Rice Gluten-Free?
Malted rice can be gluten-free. In this instance, “malted” relates to the cooking process and not malt itself (which is glutinous). To make malted rice, you mix cooked brown rice with natural enzymes to enhance the flavor. The enzymes convert the rice's starch and protein to sugar for a sweeter taste.
If you’re buying malted rice, look for a gluten-free label to be sure that the enzymes don’t contain gluten.
Is Uncle Ben’s Rice Gluten-Free?
Now called Ben’s Original, not every product is gluten-free. Make sure the package contains a gluten-free label. For ease of use, we’ve included the current gluten-free options above.
Is Sushi Rice Gluten-Free?
Naturally gluten-free, sushi rice is usually soaked in rice vinegar to make it easier to roll. However, some establishments might make their sushi rice with glutinous vinegar. We recommend double-checking whether this is the case and asking if you can swap the sushi rice for plain rice instead.
Is Rice Pilaf Gluten-Free?
Rice pilaf isn’t naturally gluten-free. Rice pilaf recipes vary greatly. Some can include glutinous ingredients like bouillion, seasonings, couscous, or vermicelli noodles.
Are Rice Noodles Gluten-Free?
Yes, rice noodles are typically gluten-free. However, some brands use extra ingredients, so be sure to double-check the packaging first.
Ready to Cook Up a Storm?
Because rice is gluten-free, it’s time to cook confidently! For inspiration, some of our favorite rice recipes include:
Gluten-free risotto with arborio rice.
Whether you’ve recently discovered a gluten sensitivity or are an experienced expert, there’s always room to expand your kitchen knowledge. Check out hundreds of gluten-free cooking classes on Skillshare!