Brown rice flour is one of the more common gluten-free flours made from finely ground whole-grain brown rice kernels.
With a nutty, earthly flavor, brown rice flour is a popular choice in the world of gluten-free baking and cooking, even though it does not provide the same elasticity and structure as wheat-based flours.
So, what do you do when your recipe calls for brown rice flour and you have none on hand? You substitute it with one of these 6 options, of course!
- Oat flour
- White rice flour
- Whole-wheat flour
- Quinoa flour
- Einkorn flour
- Almond flour
Best All-Around Brown Rice Flour Substitute: Oat Flour
Oat flour is a good substitute for brown rice flour, but they have some differences. Oat flour is a little sweeter and finer than brown rice flour, making baked goods with oat flour a bit more delicate, but they both have that similar homey, earthy taste.
Both flours have a similar nutritional profile, rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and both lack the structure provided by gluten, so they may require additional binding agents like eggs or binders like xanthan gum or guar gum in gluten-free recipes.
Both flours are also usually easy to find and are not expensive. Plus, oat flour is really easy to make yourself if you have oats on hand and a good blender!
Best Budget-Friendly Brown Rice Flour Substitute: White Rice Flour
Brown rice flour and white rice flour are both gluten-free flours derived from rice kernels; the difference is that brown rice flour is made from finely ground whole-grain brown rice, which retains the nutrient-rich bran and germ, whereas white rice is made without. As a result, brown rice flour has a higher nutritional value than white rice flour and a more robust flavor and coarser texture. However, if you are looking for a budget replacement for brown rice flour, white rice flour is usually a bit cheaper while still having a similar flavor and similar baking properties.
Best Easy-to-Bake-With Brown Rice Flour Substitute: Whole-Wheat Flour
Brown rice flour and whole wheat flour are both whole grain flours but from very different plants! The main difference between the two is that whole wheat flour contains gluten, which makes it the best easy to bake with substitute for brown rice flour (unless you are gluten intolerant).
Gluten is the protein in wheat that provides elasticity and structure to baked goods, making it an absolute breeze to bake without adding other ingredients like xanthan gum. Both flours have earthy, rustic flavor profiles, though remember that when substituting whole wheat flour for brown rice flour, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid you add to the recipe as whole wheat absorbs more liquid.
Flour Closest in Flavor to Brown Rice Flour: Oat Flour
I was torn between whole wheat flour and oat flour, but I’ve decided that oat flour is the most similar tasting flour to brown rice flour for my palate. Oat flour has a mild, nutty flavor similar to brown rice flour, though brown rice flour is a little more intense.
You may think white rice flour would be the closest flavor substitute, but it isn’t! It seems a lot of rice’s flavour is in the brown part, and once it’s removed, it’s pretty bland.
Best Neutral-Flavor Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: White Rice Flour
White rice flour is brown rice flour’s refined family member. Delicate and light tasting, but lacks the depth and character of brown rice flour. For some people, that is exactly what they want, particularly if making a recipe where you want the flavors of the other ingredients to stand out. For example, I use white rice flour over brown rice flour to bread my fish so it doesn’t overpower the delicate fish flavor.
Best Healthy Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour is a unique alternative to brown rice flour if you want something that packs a nutritional punch. Quinoa flour is made from ground whole quinoa seeds, which are technically a seed but are considered a pseudocereal as they have a lot of grain-like properties. The flavor of quinoa flour is relatively mild and slightly nutty and earthy, similar to brown rice flour.
Quinoa flour boasts a higher overall nutritional value than brown rice flour, as it is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of protein, containing all essential amino acids, including lysine, which is typically scarce in plant-based protein sources.
Quinoa flour has a higher protein and fat content than brown rice flour, which can make it different to work with, and you may need to play with liquid ratios and binding ingredients. One cool thing about quinoa flour is that it seems to keep baked goods moist for a longer period of time!
Best High-Fiber Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: Whole-Wheat Flour
The best high-fiber substitute for brown rice flour is whole wheat flour, particularly red whole wheat flour. This boasts 5 grams of fiber per ¼ cup, compared to brown rice’s 1 gram for the same amount—quite the difference, though not the best choice if you need to stick with something gluten-free.
Best Gluten-Free Alternative to Brown Rice Flour: White Rice Flour
White rice flour is probably the best guaranteed gluten-free alternative if you can’t find brown rice flour. Why not oat flour? Oat flour may contain gluten unless it’s specifically labeled as gluten-free!
If you are looking for a comprehensive list of all kinds of flour, gluten-free included, check out this one we made with over 60 kinds!
Best Lower Calorie Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: Einkorn Flour
Brown rice flour and einkorn flour are both whole-grain flours, but differ in their gluten content, baking properties, and caloric value. Brown rice flour has around 150 calories per ¼ cup, while einkorn has just 100 calories per ¼ cup!
Einkorn flour is an ancient wheat variety that contains gluten, albeit at lower levels than modern wheat varieties. It behaves more like traditional wheat flour, although it may produce denser baked goods due to its lower gluten content.
Best High Protein Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: Whole-Wheat Flour
If you want to boost the protein content of your bake, whole wheat flour will give you 6 grams of protein per ¼ cup. Brown rice contains half of that at 3 grams per ¼ cup. If you want flour with a quality source of protein but gluten-free, then quinoa flour contains 4 grams of protein per ¼ cup, and it is a complete protein meaning it contains all essential amino acids, which is cool!
Best Keto/Paleo/Whole30 Substitute for Brown Rice Flour: Almond Flour
Almond flour is one of the few keto-friendly flours, made from finely ground blanched almonds that are naturally low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats and proteins. It has a naturally sweet, nutty flavor and a finer, more delicate texture than brown rice flour. It is also MUCH higher in fat and absorbs more water, so you will need to tweak the ingredients in your recipes a lot if you are substituting it for brown rice flour.
Almond flour is appropriate for gluten-free, keto, paleo, and Whole30 diets, thanks to its low carbohydrate content and the fact that it is grain free.
Brown rice flour is generally considered healthier than white rice flour, as it is richer in fiber and nutrients. Brown rice also contains more antioxidants. However, it depends on the individual, as some people have trouble digesting brown rice flour, and it also contains more antinutrient compounds than white rice flour.
Making your own brown rice flour is quite simple. All you need to do is grind some long-grain brown rice in a blender or food processor until it has the consistency of flour. Alternatively, you can use a coffee grinder! Just make sure whatever you blend it in is pretty powerful.