As long as there’s no cross contamination, rice is A-OK for those on a gluten free diet.
If you’re gluten free, you can breathe a sigh of relief that rice is completely devoid of gluten. Of course, even though plain rice is safe, that doesn’t mean you can eat whatever rice dish you want when you’re out and about. Take a look below for some helpful tips to help you find out whether that rice-based dish is okay to eat as well as info on the rice we use in our own mixes.
Before we move on, here’s a tip: Understanding exactly what gluten even is will help you decide in the future whether a food is naturally GF or not. Check out our blog post What is Gluten? for some help. Want to learn more about what flours we use in our mixes? Peruse What Healthy Gluten-Free Flours Do We Use?
Is Rice Gluten Free? You Bet!
Let’s set the record straight: all types of rice are naturally gluten free. This includes whole grain, brown, white, sticky and all the other 40,000 varieties as well!
Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm (the part of the seed that’s ground up for flour) of certain grains. In wheat, the gluten proteins are called gliadin and glutenin. The gluten protein in rye is secalins. Barley has hordeins. Thankfully, there’s no gluten protein anywhere within rice seeds!
And just to really drive this point home, here’s a short list of the most popular types of rice, all of which are gluten free. Yes, even glutinous rice is gluten free!
- Arborio – A short, fat rice from Italy commonly used in risotto.
- Basmati – The long, aromatic rice from India and Pakistan with a delicious, nutty flavor. Yum!
- Black Rice – Also known as forbidden rice, this was once reserved only for Chinese royalty. Fast forward to today though, and the secret’s out. Black rice has as much fiber as brown rice with a nutty taste. It’s often used in desserts, noodles, and porridge.
- Brown Rice – Brown rice is simply whole grain white rice and is, like all the other rices here, naturally gluten free. Brown rice is chock full of healthy stuff, with vitamins, minerals, no cholesterol and a low glycemic index.
- Jasmine Rice – Aromatic rice from Thailand. Yup, still gluten free.
- Glutinous Rice – Also known as sticky rice, glutinous rice is confusingly gluten free! This variety takes its name from its sticky characteristic. It doesn’t have the gluten proteins that wheat, barley, or rye have and therefore is still completely safe for those with Celiac.
- Wild Rice – Not technically a rice, this grass is native to North America and grown in paddies around Minnesota and California. Wild rice is filled with minerals, vitamins, protein, and fiber and is naturally low in fat. And gluten free to boot!
- White Rice – We’ve all probably eaten more white rice than any other type on this list. And yes, it’s gluten free.
Watch Out for Cross-Contamination
While rice is naturally gluten free, cross contamination while processing the grain can still occur, as some producers process rice in the same facilities as wheat or barley. How do you know if it’s safe? Easy! Before buying any plain rice at the grocery store, look for the gluten free label or certification!
And Watch Out for Flavored Rice
And of course, just because rice is gluten free doesn’t mean that prepackaged seasoned rice mix is inherently gluten free as well. Unless it says gluten free, you can’t assume! Instant and seasoned rice can have gluten-containing thickeners, soy sauce, or other grains mixed in. Always check the package and read the ingredients to be 100% sure.
What About at Restaurants?
Hopefully by now you’ve figured out that, just because rice is gluten free, doesn’t mean you automatically assume every rice dish is safe to eat. When dining out and about, the same rules you use in the grocery store apply.
Restaurants add soy sauce, wheat-containing chicken stock, and thickeners to rice dishes like paella, risotto, fried rice, and soups. And just because sushi rice looks like plain old rice, doesn’t mean it is. Sushi rice is actually mixed with sugar and vinegar – which can have gluten.
If you’re concerned at all, always ask your server what items are/can be made gluten free before ordering. These days, most restaurants even have a special GF menu.
What Types of Rice Do We Use in Our GF Mixes?
At Magnolia Mixes, we only use the healthiest ingredients we can find, and that includes our rice flours. All our rice flours are certified gluten free (so you don’t have to worry about cross-contamination) and grown right here in the US.
First up is our brown rice flour, which we use in our High Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix and our Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. The flour comes from California-grown brown rice, is certified gluten-free and is non-GMO as well. Our ‘standard’ rice flour, found in our Lemon Pound Cake, Banana Bread, and Sugar Cookie mixes, is also certified gluten free and comes from a farmer-owned business in Arkansas.
For those of us avoiding gluten, there’s a reason rice is our go-to substitute for wheat. It’s extremely versatile and healthy. Just be sure to read those labels before chowing down!