Rice Powder vs. Rice Flour

Rice is a versatile ingredient used in many cuisines around the world.

Rice Powder vs. Rice Flour

Both rice powder and rice flour are made from rice, but what exactly sets them apart?

Understanding the distinctions can help you determine when to use one over the other.

What is Rice Powder?

Rice powder refers to rice that has been ground into a coarse powder. It typically has some fine powder but also larger grain particles throughout.

Rice powder can be made from white or brown rice. To make it, rice grains are dried and then ground in a blender or coffee grinder. The texture is grittier and coarser compared to rice flour.

Some common uses for rice powder include:

  • Thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and stews
  • Adds texture to desserts and baked goods
  • Breading for frying foods like vegetables, tofu, and fish
  • Can be cooked into a creamy rice porridge

Key Takeaway: Rice powder has a coarse, gritty texture and is often used as a thickener or to add texture to foods.

What is Rice Flour?

Rice flour is more finely ground powder made from rice grains. It has a smooth, fine consistency without large particles.

To make rice flour, the hull and bran layers are first removed from rice grains to produce white rice. The white rice is then ground into a fine powder.

There are a few varieties of rice flour:

  • White rice flour: From white rice grains
  • Brown rice flour: From unpolished brown rice grains
  • Glutinous/sweet rice flour: From glutinous/"sticky" rice

Rice flour is a common ingredient in many Asian dishes and gluten-free baking. Some examples of how it's used:

  • Batters for dishes like okonomiyaki pancakes and tempura
  • Thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and stews
  • Gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in baked goods
  • Dusting desserts like mochi to prevent sticking
  • Rice flour noodles and wrappers

Key Takeaway: Rice flour has an ultra-fine, powdery texture and is used for baking, frying, sauces, and noodles.

Milling Differences Between Rice Powder and Flour

The key difference lies in how finely the rice is ground. Rice powder still contains some coarse grain particles while rice flour is completely pulverized into a smooth powder.

Several factors impact the texture:

Grinding method - Rice powder can be made using a regular blender or coffee grinder. Milling rice flour requires more heavy-duty equipment to finely grind each grain.

Grain size - Larger rice grains generally produce coarser rice powder. Smaller grains can grind down into smoother flour.

Milling time - The longer the rice is ground, the finer and smoother the texture. Rice flour requires extensive milling to reach full fineness.

So milling is what transforms the same original rice into different textures suitable for certain recipes. Knowing whether your dish needs coarse or fine powder makes choosing between rice powder and flour easier.

Nutritional Comparison

Since rice powder contains some intact grains while rice flour is more processed, there are subtle nutritional differences:

NutrientRice PowderWhite Rice Flour

Brown rice flour retains more nutrients since the bran and germ layers are kept. It has extra protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared to white rice flour.

So when possible, utilizing brown rice powder or flour can provide extra nutritional value over white varieties. But for certain recipes needing white rice, the differences are minor.

How to Substitute Between Rice Powder and Rice Flour

While rice powder and flour vary in texture, you can substitute one for the other in some recipes. Here are some tips:

  • For a smooth, fine texture, use 25-50% more rice powder by volume to account for the grain particles
  • For a heartier, crispy texture, use 25% less rice flour than the rice powder amount

Add extra liquid as needed to achieve the right consistency. And adjust cooking times since rice powder may take longer to fully soften.

Doing tests to tweak ingredient ratios is best to perfect the substitution. But in a pinch, the above adjustments can work decently.

Storing Rice Powder and Flour

Proper storage is crucial to preserve freshness and prevent spoilage of rice powder and flour products. Follow these best practices:

  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place
  • For maximal shelf life up to 1 year, store in freezer
  • Check packaging for any specific storage instructions
  • If clumping occurs, sift the powder before use

With open packaging or high humidity environments, expect rice powders and flour to expire faster within several months. Exposure to air and moisture causes quicker degradation.

Checking rice products periodically for stale odors or colors prevents using spoiled batches that could ruin recipes. Catching signs early and discarding aging inventory helps avoid waste.


Is rice powder the same as rice flour?

No. Rice powder contains coarser granules while rice flour has a fine, smooth powder texture. Their different consistencies make them suitable for various uses.

Can I make rice flour at home?

Yes! To DIY rice flour, grind dry rice grains in a high-powered blender or food processor until it becomes a fine powder. Allowing the rice to dry fully first is crucial for grinding into powder instead of paste.

Does rice flour contain gluten?

No. Both rice powder and flour are naturally gluten-free. This makes them useful substitutes for gluten-free cooking and baking.

Which is healthier, rice powder or flour?

When made from brown rice, the rice powder retains slightly more protein, healthy fats and fiber since some bran stays intact. But white rice powder and flour have fairly comparable nutrition.


While it's easy to confuse rice powder and flour as being the same ingredient, understanding their distinct textures and uses makes selecting the right one easier.

Proper grinding and milling transforms whole rice grains into coarse powder or fine flour suitable for different recipes.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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