Does Rice Have Gluten

In most cases, rice is gluten-free. Plain rice—regardless of whether it’s whole-grain brown rice, polished white rice, long-grained basmati rice, or even exotic black rice—is always considered gluten-free, assuming it’s been protected from gluten cross-contamination in processing and cooking.

Types of Gluten-Free Rice

Rice is a very nutritious grain and a staple food in more than 100 countries around the world. It’s high in starch, a type of carbohydrate that is a main source of the body’s energy, and low in cost, which makes it a good base for many meals. Natural forms of rice are all gluten-free.

Does Rice Have Gluten?

All natural forms of rice — white, brown, or wild — are gluten-free. Natural rice is a great option for people who are sensitive to or allergic to gluten, a protein usually found in wheat, barley, and rye, and for people who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten.

Some rice dishes may not be gluten-free, though, usually because they’re made with other ingredients that have gluten. Rice dishes that have gluten may include:

  • Rice pilaf (often made with orzo, which has gluten)
  • Rice Krispies cereal (made with malt, which comes from barley and contains gluten)
  • Preseasoned packaged rice
  • Rice cooked with sauces
  • Rice made with added seasoning or ingredients such as soy sauce

Sometimes, rice can be cross-contaminated with gluten, meaning that it’s been grown, harvested, or processed near or in the same facilities as wheat, barley, or rye. Rice sold in bulk bins, such as at a grocery store, may also be cross-contaminated. This may happen when customers mix the scoops between bins. For example, a shopper might use the flour scoop in the rice bin, which could contaminate all the rice with gluten.

Many sauces have “hidden” gluten. Sauces are often made with flour, which acts as a thickener. Seasonings may be processed around other grains and be cross-contaminated with gluten.

Types of Rice

There are thousands of types of rice, with a wide variety of sizes, colors, stickiness, flavors, and aromas.

Rice is mainly separated into five categories:

  • Short grain. Its grain is twice as long as it is wide, and it becomes sticky when cooked.
  • Medium grain. It has a shorter and wider grain, which becomes tender and semi-sticky when cooked.
  • Long grain. It is four times longer than it is wide. Its grains separate and become fluffy when cooked.
  • Whole grain. It’s rice that hasn’t been milled and polished. The grain is intact and contains bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole-grain rice is usually called brown rice.
  • Refined. This is rice that has been milled and polished. The bran layers have been removed so that only the white, starchy endosperm is left. Refined rice is usually called white rice.

There are many individual varieties of rice that fall into these categories, such as basmati, jasmine, and Texmati. All are gluten-free, but generally, whole-grain rice is more nutritious. The bran layers are rich in:

  • Minerals
  • Phytochemicals
  • Fiber
  • B vitamins

When the bran layers are removed, the rice loses most of its nutrients. These nutrients are usually added back to the rice, which is then labeled as “enriched” or “fortified,” but only a small portion of the original nutrients are replaced.

Rice Varieties

You can find the more popular types of rice in most grocery stores.

Basmati rice. This is a long-grain rice that separates and becomes fluffy when cooked. It’s fragrant, and you can find it in white and brown varieties. Brown basmati rice has more fiber and a stronger fragrance than white basmati.

Jasmine rice. This is another fragrant long-grain rice. When cooked, jasmine rice becomes soft and slightly sticky.

Sweet brown rice. This is a short-grain rice with a chalky white opaque kernel. When cooked, sweet brown rice becomes very sticky and loses its shape.

Aborio rice. Aborio rice is used mostly for risotto and rice puddings. It is a medium-grain rice that has more starch because it isn’t milled as much as long grain rice. The starch is released when it is cooked, which makes the rice creamy but not mushy. You can find both white and brown arborio.

Black, red, or purple rice. These types of rice are usually short-grain or medium-grain. Their color comes from a phytochemical called anthocyanins, which are also found in blueberries and blackberries.

Glutinous rice. Although it sounds like glutinous rice has gluten, it doesn’t. The term “glutinous” refers to the glue-like, sticky texture of the rice after it’s cooked. This type of rice can be white, brown, or black.

Rice and Gluten Safety

If you have celiac disease, even a little gluten can damage your intestines and cause other health problems. It’s important to follow a strict gluten-free diet.

If you’re sensitive to gluten, follow these tips to make sure your rice dish is safe to eat:

  • Don’t buy rice in bulk bins.
  • Call ahead to restaurants and ask whether certain items on the menu are gluten-free.
  • When dining out, ask for plain rice with no seasonings or other ingredients.
  • When shopping, check labels to make sure a food is truly gluten-free.
  • Call the manufacturer of the food brand for more information if it’s not clear from the label whether the product has gluten.
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If you’re allergic to or sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, it’s safe to eat all types of natural rice. If you’re not sure that your dish is fully gluten-free, though, it’s best to avoid it.

Show Sources

Beyond Celiac: “Is Rice Gluten-Free?”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – The Nutrition Source: “Rice.”

NHS: “Celiac disease – Treatment.”

Oldways Whole Grains Council: “Types of Rice.”

Which Types of Rice Are Gluten-Free?

All forms of rice are gluten-free in their pure form. This includes brown rice, white rice, and wild rice. Rice mixes, “wheat-free” rice, and rice from certain manufacturers that produce gluten products may contain gluten.

Does Rice Have Gluten

Living without gluten requires you to be mindful of all the foods you eat. You must read labels to determine whether foods contain gluten or not. Rice is generally gluten-free, unless it’s mixed or processed with other products that contain gluten or is contaminated on equipment that processes gluten products.

You may live a gluten-free lifestyle because you have celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The Mayo Clinic states that 1 in 141 people in the United States have celiac disease. Approximately 1 to 6 percent of the population has non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Another condition, eosinophilic esophagitis or EoE, is a food allergy immune disease that is triggered by a wheat allergy in some people. Any of these conditions require you to avoid consuming products containing gluten.

Rice is generally gluten-free. This includes all varieties, such as white or brown, long or short grain, and fragranced or not fragranced. There are thousands of types of rice, but only about 100 kinds are sold around the world.

As long as you purchase unprocessed rice, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether it’s gluten-free. You need to be aware of products that may contain additional components with gluten or that may be marketed as fast cooking or precooked. These rice products may not be gluten-free. If possible, look for rice packaged with a “gluten-free” label.

Rice can be a staple of a gluten-free diet. However, you should make sure to eat a variety of whole grains to ensure you get important vitamins and minerals in your diet. There are plenty of other grain options you can consume if you are gluten-free.

Another reason to limit eating large amounts of rice is the risk of arsenic consumption. A 2012 report found levels of arsenic in products containing rice. At this time there is no official statement from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration warning consumers to avoid rice and rice products. However, as a precaution, the American Celiac Disease Alliance has issued a statement recommending that those who follow a gluten-free diet eat a variety of whole grains.

Gluten-free rice

  1. brown rice
  2. white rice
  3. wild rice

Rice in its pure form is gluten-free. This whole grain is available in many varieties, all of which differ in nutritional content and health benefits.

You may need to use a specific type of rice to follow a recipe. Some types of rice are better used for certain purposes. If you are picking a rice without a recipe in mind, choose unrefined (brown) rice to increase your meal’s nutritional content.

Here’s some nutritional information about three popular types of gluten-free rice.

Brown rice

Brown rice is packed with nutrition. It contains manganese, selenium, and fiber. Brown rice has more texture because it’s unrefined and still contains the bran and germ. These are both removed when processing white rice. Make sure to store uncooked brown rice in an air-tight container or in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

White rice

White rice is an extremely popular type of rice, but it has been stripped of much of its nutritional value. Fiber and other vitamins and minerals are removed from white rice to create a smoother texture and prolong shelf life.

Wild rice

Technically, wild rice isn’t a rice, even though it’s marketed as one. It’s actually a grass and is gluten-free. Wild rice is more difficult to grow than rice, so it may be more expensive or mixed with brown or white rice to lower the cost. Wild rice has many vitamins and minerals, such as fiber, folate, and vitamin B-6. It’s also considered to be high in antioxidants.

Is Rice Gluten-Free?

Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.

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Brown rice

Rice is a staple for many cultures and families around the world. It’s a nutritious, energy rich food that can supply plenty of nutrients, especially if you choose the whole grain variety. If you are gluten free, you might be curious to know whether rice is safe to eat. Learn more about whether rice is gluten free and how to choose it.

See also  How To Get Rid Of Allergies

Is Rice Gluten Free?

In most cases, rice is gluten-free. Plain rice—regardless of whether it’s whole-grain brown rice, polished white rice, long-grained basmati rice, or even exotic black rice—is always considered gluten-free, assuming it’s been protected from gluten cross-contamination in processing and cooking.

However, you need to beware of flavored rice mixes since these can (and often do) contain gluten ingredients. You also need to watch out for rice dishes with additional ingredients, since they may also can contain gluten.

Gluten-Free Rice Types

Plain gluten-free rice types include:

  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Basmati rice
  • Jasmine rice
  • Black rice
  • Red rice
  • Sprouted rice

Surprisingly, the type of rice called glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice or sweet rice, is gluten-free. Despite its name, it doesn’t contain gluten, which is dangerous to those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

The term “glutinous” simply refers to the fact that glutinous rice gets glue-like or sticky when cooked. Glutinous rice is a mainstay in Thai cuisine. When you see the popular dessert mango with sticky rice on the menu of your favorite Thai eatery, it’s likely naturally gluten-free.

Safest Brands of Rice When Avoiding Gluten

While plain rice from most any manufacturer will be fine for you if you’re not particularly sensitive to trace gluten, those who do experience frequent gluten reactions due to cross-contamination may want to stick with certain brands or types.

Lundberg Family Farms

Lundberg Family Farms produces plain rice and a number of varietals, plus rice mixes and different styles of flavored rice. The company specializes in organic, gluten-free, and whole grain rice products, and prominently labels its products gluten-free.

Lundberg produces only rice products. That means there’s no risk of gluten cross-contamination in food production.

Alter Eco

Alter Eco specializes in exotic sustainable foods. The company offers several types of rice that are certified gluten-free, which means special care has been taken to avoid any contact with gluten in farming and production.

Alter Eco produces gluten-free heirloom rice varietals such as Khao Deng Ruby Red Rice, Thai Sticky Purple Rice, and a classic Hom Mali Jasmine Rice as gluten-free options.

Flavored Rice Mixes to Buy (and Avoid)

You’d think something billed as “rice” would be gluten-free no matter what, but flavored rice products sold along with plain rice in supermarkets often contain gluten-based ingredients, generally in the form of a wheat-based thickener such as hydrolyzed wheat protein or a flavor enhancer like wheat-based soy sauce.

Rice Mixes to Buy

Safe gluten-free rice mix options include:

  • Lundberg offers a wide variety of flavored rice mixes, including flavors such as Organic Sesame, Soy & Ginger Rice, and Organic Turmeric Rice. These are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which requires testing to less than 10 parts per million of gluten.
  • Mahatma Rice lists most of its flavored rice varieties as gluten-free, including Spanish Rice, Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix, Cilantro Limón Jasmine Rice, Red Beans and Seasoned Rice, and Yellow Seasoned Rice. If there’s ever any doubt about whether any of the brand’s flavored rice may contain gluten, be sure to double check the label and ingredients first.
  • Zatarain’s (which is owned by the food and spice manufacturer McCormick & Company) produces upwards of 20 flavored rice mixes that are formulated as gluten-free, meaning they contain less than the legal limit (20 ppm) of gluten.   Be careful which package you pick up, though, because some Zatarain’s flavors are not gluten-free and still contain gluten ingredients.

Rice Mixes to Avoid

You should avoid flavored mixes from the following brands, all of which are likely to use gluten ingredients:

  • Uncle Ben’s flavored rice
  • Knorr Rice Sides
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Near East Rice Pilaf (contains wheat-based pasta)

Always check for gluten on food labels when you’re buying flavored rice (or anything else, for that matter) to make sure the product is safe.

Take Care With Sushi Rice

If you’re sensitive to vinegar derived from gluten grains, watch out for the rice used in restaurants that serve sushi—there’s a strong chance it will contain a grain-based vinegar made with corn or wheat. You can ask the restaurant for plain white rice (most will have it ready, especially if they also serve hot Japanese stir-fry dishes).

A Word From Verywell

If you can’t find a prepared rice dish that’s gluten-free and still tasty, you can try making your own. Many forms of Spanish paella are naturally gluten-free—but you’ll need to double-check the ingredients and make substitutions as necessary.

When choosing rice, you can be confident that it’s gluten-free if it’s plain rice and if it comes from a safe brand name. Those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity who are particularly sensitive to trace gluten should stick with those brands, while others may do fine with other brands of plain rice.

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Gluten Intolerance Group. Is it safe to include glutinous rice in a gluten-free diet? What exactly is it?.
  2. National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Gluten-free and flavor-full! A quick guide to eating gluten-free with Zatarain’s. 2011.

Additional Reading

  • Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten-Free Foods.

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.

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