Is Rice Gluten Free?
Delicious and nutritious, rice is a staple in the gluten-free diet. Just make sure yours is certified gluten-free!
[Updated December 29, 2017]
As editor-in-chief of Gluten Free & More magazine, I’m often asked, “Is rice gluten-free?” The answer is yes! Rice is naturally gluten-free. In fact, rice is the top go-to grain for people who eat gluten-free. This popular grain is ubiquitous in the gluten-free diet. And rice flour, both white and brown, is the standard ingredient in most commercial gluten-free baked goods and gluten-free flour blends.
Unquestionably, rice is the planet’s most important plant. It’s an ancient food staple for billions. Inexpensive, plentiful, and satiating, it appears in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes and colors and continues to inspire delicious culinary creations. Many of our most popular recipes depend on rice as and ingredient.
Wild Rice, Quinoa & Cranberry Stuffing by Rob Landolphi is an ideal dressing for baked chicken or roasted turkey. Chicken Fried Rice by Matthew Kadey, RD, is a quick and flavorful way to enjoy leftover rice. Lisa Stander-Horel’s Spanish Rice Baked Stuffed Tomatoes are an easy, delicious and versatile dish that can be an entrée or side any night of the week.
In 2014, Consumer Reports focused national attention on the arsenic levels in rice, which prompted the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate the matter. People in the gluten-free community who consume rice as their principle grain should be aware that there is some level of arsenic in certain types of rice grown in certain parts of the world. Consumers should understand how they can modify their rice consumption to address these concerns. Based on its analysis of arsenic levels in rice, Consumer Reports issued safety guidelineson November 18, 2014.
Lundberg Farms is a major producer of organic rice in the United States. Gluten Free & More published an informative interview with CEO Grant Lundberg about arsenic in rice in its June/July 2015 issue.
While we’re on the topic of rice in the gluten-free diet, let’s talk about the different types of rice. There are more than 100,000 varieties! Conveniently, most fall into three main categories: long, medium, and short-grain rice.
This is a classification of rice whose body is at least three times as long as it is wide. Long-grain rice generally cooks up light, fluffy and less sticky than other varieties due to higher levels of dry starch amylose. Best in: Savory dishes, salads, stir-fries, pilafs, curries, Indian, Mexican, Caribbean and Thai dishes, stuffing and fried rice.
Typically, medium-grain rice is shorter but plumper than its long-grain kin. When cooked, this rice tends to remain moist and tender and sticks together more than long grain but less than short grain. Best in: Paella, risotto, casseroles, rice and beans, stuffing, meatloaf, rice salads, breads and desserts.
Short-grain rice has a wide, almost round body. When cooked, it tends to be quite moist and viscous due to high levels of waxy starch amylopectin. Because the grains stick together, short-grain rice is a practical choice for eating with chopsticks. Also called glutinous rice (don’t be confused--there is no gluten in it!), short-grain varieties tend to absorb less water and lose their shape during cooking. Best in: Sushi, desserts, puddings, rice balls, croquettes and risotto
Now that we have a definitive answer to the question of rice safety, are you ready to chow down on some delicious rice-based recipes? There are so many creative ways to use rice in every day cooking - from Adzuki Bean Rice Burgers to Chicken Wraps with Coconut Rice, you’ll find tons of tasty recipes right here on Gluten Free & More.
What’s your favorite way to serve naturally gluten-free rice?