Does glutinous rice flour have gluten?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does glutinous rice flour have gluten” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not glutinous rice flour has gluten present in its composition. Moreover, we are going to discuss the difference between rice flour and glutinous rice flour along with the shelf life of the glutinous flour.

A systematic review of the global prevalence of celiac disease found a seroprevalence rate of 1.4%, with prevalence varying by continent from 1.3% (South America, 11 studies) to 1.8% (Asia, 20 studies). Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by dietary gluten (1).

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does glutinous rice flour have gluten?

No, glutinous rice flour does not have gluten present in it. It is gluten-free and thus people with gluten allergies can use the glutinous rice flour without any problem.

The glutinous rice has this name owing to the fact that the rice gets all sticky, mushy, and glue-like when it is cooked.

Commonly known as sticky or waxy rice, glutinous rice is a type of short- or long-grained rice that is especially sticky when cooked. Glutinous rice differs from other types of rice in that the grain starch contains essentially no amylose (0–2% dry basis) and high amounts of amylopectin, which is responsible for the sticky quality of cooked glutinous rice (2).

Is it safe to include glutinous rice in a gluten-free diet?

Yes, it is completely safe to include glutinous rice and glutinous rice flour in the gluten-free diet as they are completely gluten-free. Rice protein is considered as hypoallergenic protein (no gluten) (3).

You can read about gluten intolerance and gluten allergy here.

What is the difference between rice flour and glutinous rice flour?

So when it comes to rice flour and glutinous rice flour, both differ in the size and composition of the rice from which they are made. The rice flour is generally made by grinding or milling the long or medium-grain rice. Glutinous rice flour or waxy rice is made from glutinous rice, which contains practically no amylose, while non-waxy rice flour is produced from non-waxy rice, which contains amylose, varying from about 13% to 32%, depending on the origin (3).

On the other hand, the glutinous rice flour is made by grinding or milling the short-grain rice. Glutinous rice flour is also known as sweet rice flour. The starchiness in sticky rice gives it a distinct opaque whiteness different from the more translucent appearance of regular rice grains. However, sticky rice becomes translucent, while regular rice turns opaque white, when cooked (2).

Apart from this, rice flour and glutinous rice flour have different compositions and therefore different applications. It is worth mentioning that both the flours, the rice flour, and the glutinous rice flour are gluten-free. The amylose content in rice flour plays an important role on the textural properties of rice products. High-amylose non-waxy rice flour showed better pasting properties for the production of gluten-free noodles, compared to low amylose non-waxy rice flour (3). Glutinous rice flour are not used to produce pasta products.

What is the difference between the use of rice flour and glutinous rice flour?

The rice flour adds crunch to your recipes and can be used in shortbread or batters where lightness along with a bit of crunch is needed. Waxy rice flour is utilized in various processed foods such as thickener for sauces and gravies, and as a tenderizing agent in frozen foods (2), while non-waxy rice flour is used to produce gluten-free noodles (3).

On the other hand, glutinous rice flour is used for its sticky, binding ability in different dishes. For instance, glutinous rice is also used in sushi where they serve their purpose of binding quite nicely. By increasing the waxy rice flour in the dough, the stickiness increases and the firmness decreases (3).

Why is glutinous rice sticky?

So when it comes to rice, it has a lot of starch present in it. Now there are two components of starch, amylose, and amylopectin.

When it comes to the long or medium-grain rice, then they have more amylose present in their composition. On the other hand, the short-grain glutinous rice has more amylopectin present in its formulation and 0-2% amylose (2). This amylopectin makes the glutinous rice stickier and moist. Moreover, the glutinous rice also has more dextrin and maltose present in it.

Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.

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How do you cook the glutinous rice?

As the glutinous rice is naturally more moist and stickier than other rice variants, therefore less amount of water is needed to cook them as compared to their counterparts. Owing to their soft nature, they are often soaked in water and afterward steamed instead of being boiled.

Is glutinous rice sweet in taste?

Glutinous rice is also known as sweet rice but they are not sweet in taste. They are called so because of their usage in sweet dishes in Asia.

How long does glutinous rice flour last?

Glutinous rice flour lasts for ages when stored in an air-tight container, jar, or plastic zipper bag in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. But it is recommended to use it within 6-8 months to enjoy its peak quality (4).

Flours have lower shelf stability than their respective grain forms due to the increased surface area available for moisture adsorption and other deteriorative changes often influenced by storage time and environmental conditions. Flours will have decreased shelf life when stored in high moisture and high oxygen environments and at higher temperatures (5).

Moreover, you should never store your glutinous rice flour in a humid environment as moisture, sunlight and heat degrade the quality of the rice flour and shortens its shelf life.

How to tell if the glutinous rice flour has gone bad?

You can tell if your rice flour has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

  1. If you see some insects (weevils) in your rice flour container, then it is better to discard the rice flour. Moreover, if you see the big clumps of mold in your rice flour container then it is the indication that moisture and microbes found their way to your rice flour and have spoiled it.
  2. If you notice that the rice flour has lumps present in it, then it is an indication that your rice flour is past its prime age.
  3. If you notice some off-smell (stale, rancid, or musty smell) or something that does not quite smell like rice flour itself then it means that your rice flour has gone bad and you should discard it.

A food unfit for consumption may not necessarily be spoiled and may contain a high number of food poisoning causing bacteria. Microbial deterioration of food is evidenced by alteration in the appearance (color changes, pockets of gas/ swelling), texture (soft & mushy), color, odor, and flavor or slime formation. In dry food products, microbial growth is reduced due to low water content, and chemical changes not induced by microbial or naturally occurring enzymes may occur. These changes usually involve O2, light and other than microbial spoilage, are the most common cause of spoilage e.g. oxidative rancidity of fats and oils (6).


In this brief guide, we answered the question “does glutinous rice flour have gluten” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not glutinous rice flour has gluten present in its composition. Moreover, we discussed the difference between rice flour and glutinous rice flour along with the shelf life of the glutinous flour.


  1. Lebwohl, Benjamin, and Alberto Rubio-Tapia. Epidemiology, presentation, and diagnosis of celiac disease. Gastroenterol, 2021, 160, 63-75. 
  2. Kang, Mi-Young, Catherine W. Rico, and Sang-Chul Lee. Physicochemical properties of eight popular glutinous rice varieties in Korea. Plant Prod Sci, 2010, 13, 177-184.  
  3. Detchewa, Pakkawat, Masubon Thongngam, and Onanong Naivikul. Physicochemical and thermal properties of non-waxy rice flour as affected by waxy rice flour and its influence on textural and cooking properties of rice spaghetti. Int Proc Chem Biol Environ Eng, 2012, 39, 235-239.  
  4. Garden-Robinson, J. Food Storage Guide. 2013. North Dakota State University.  
  5. Ojo, O. G., et al. Moisture-based shelf life estimation of ambient-stored grain flours. FUTA J Res Sci, 2017, 13, 473-482.
  6. Dilbaghi, Neeraj, and S. Sharma. Food spoilage, food infections and intoxications caused by microorganisms and methods for their detection. 2007.