Is Brown Rice Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

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Key Takeaways

  • Brown rice is a great source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
  • Natural, brown rice is gluten-free
  • You should ensure you check the labels before you buy brown rice
  • Only buy brown rice from reputable brands

Brown rice offers numerous health benefits. It also goes well with a wide range of cuisines. But, is brown rice gluten free? This post has the answers.

Pure, natural brown rice is gluten-free. But, there are some instances where it may not be gluten-free. For instance, it may be cross-contaminated during harvesting, storing and transporting or processed with gluten-based seasonings. So, ensure you read product labels carefully.

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Table of contents


About Brown Rice

Rice has been a staple grain for humans for thousands of years. In fact, studies show that rice farming dates back 10,000 years ago.

Today, there are over 40,000 different varieties of rice, grown in different parts of the world. And, brown rice is one of the most common varieties.

Brown rice simply means whole grain rice. And due to the minimal processing, it retains most of the nutrients, as opposed to other types of rice such as white rice.

This type of rice is rich in fiber, carbohydrates, magnesium, protein, and a host of other essential minerals. Also, this brown rice may help with weight loss, improve heart health, and manage diabetes, among other benefits.

Does Brown Rice Have Gluten?

Without a doubt, brown rice is one of the healthy food options and is packed with numerous vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, and this is more so if it's a rice mix. But, if you live without gluten due to celiac disease or you follow a gluten free diet, you have to be careful of all the foods that you consume, including brown rice, white rice,short grain, and whole grains.

And this brings us to the question, does brown rice have gluten? Is brown rice gluten-free? Is brown rice naturally gluten free? Is brown rice safe for people who follow a gluten free diet? Can brown rice be considered gluten-free food? Is plain brown rice gluten free?

The good news is that all natural forms and types of rice are gluten free food. And this also includes brown rice. Uncle Ben's rice products do not contain gluten and their clients can enjoy gluten free diet eats and rice gluten free products,and one can check in its food labels.

So, brown rice is one of the best gluten free foods for people allergic or sensitive to gluten. Whether you have celiac disease or you are just sensitive to gluten, brown rice gluten free food can form an important part of your diet, since it’s gluten-free.

Again, some people live with non celiac gluten sensitivity, and this group too should not eat wheat and should follow a gluten free lifestyle.

Which Types of Brown Rice May Have Gluten?

Brown rice is one of the best options for people with celiac disease or those sensitive to gluten protein, since it's gluten-free. Some people have wheat allergies and should avoid eating gluten.

But, some types of brown rice may contain gluten or they may be formulated using ingredients that have gluten,and this gluten exposure could have far-reaching health consequences. Some of the types of brown rice that may contain gluten include:

Instant Rice Mixes

Pre-seasoned brown rice sold in grocery stores and supermarkets may contain gluten. During the pre-seasoning process, some ingredients such as wheat-based thickeners and soy sauce may be added to the rice.

And, unfortunately, these ingredients may contain gluten. So, if you are looking to purchase pre-seasoned brown rice, you should ensure you read the packaging or check the store’s gluten free section.

Parboiled Rice

The parboiled rice sold in supermarkets and grocery stores may also contain gluten. As you may expect, the company preparing these types of rice may use the same pot used to prepare other types of foods or the product was transported together with wheat flour.

And, these other types of food may contain gluten, leading to the contamination of brown rice.

Rice Pilaf Mix

Rice pilaf contains various ingredients, including brown rice and macaroni, which is a wheat-based product. And as you may probably know, all wheat-based products contain gluten.

So, if you were to buy and eat this type of rice, it’s almost certain it will contain gluten, which will immediately trigger your allergies.

Evidently, almost all brown rice mixes contain some form of gluten or are contaminated with gluten.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy gluten-free rice, then you should always go for pure, natural brown rice. Any other iteration may contain gluten.

How To Buy Gluten-Free Brown Rice

As we pointed out earlier, pure, natural brown rice is gluten-free,and these include varieties such as brown basmati rice and jasmine rice.

However, brown rice can sometimes be cross-contaminated with gluten. And, this can happen during growing, harvesting, processing, storing or transportation.

For instance, if brown rice is processed using the same facilities used to process wheat and barley, there’s a high chance it will be cross-contaminated with gluten.

Also, if it’s transported or shipped together with wheat-based products, the chances of contamination are extremely high.

So, while brown rice may be pure or natural, it doesn’t mean it’s 100% gluten-free. And this begs the question, how do you ensure that you buy 100% gluten-free brown rice?

Well, there are a couple of tips to guide you, to ensure you only buy pure and natural gluten-free rice.

First, make sure you read the product’s label carefully to see if the product you want to use is a gluten free diet.

If the label says that the rice is gluten-free, then there’s a high chance you are buying gluten-free brown rice and you will be eating rice which is healthy. Also, ensure you only buy brown rice that has been certified gluten-free, and rice flour too.

Second, avoid buying brown rice that you find in bulk bins in supermarkets and grocery stores.

There’s a high possibility that this rice has already been cross-contaminated with gluten by other shoppers, considering that most will use one scoop for all grains, including the gluten-contaminated ones.

Third, check where the brown rice has been stored in the supermarket or grocery store. If the rice has been stored near wheat-containing products or foods, it’s almost certain it has been cross-contaminated with gluten due to the effect of gluten containing grains.

In light of this, you shouldn’t purchase such rice, regardless of whether the label says it’s gluten-free certified.

Fourth, avoid buying seasoned brown rice. As we highlighted earlier, the seasonings used in brown rice may contain gluten.

So, if you want 100% gluten-free rice, then you should stay away from any type of seasoned rice.

Safest Brands of Brown Rice When Avoiding Gluten

Most manufacturers of brown rice will claim that their product is gluten-free. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. As we’ve mentioned above, there’s always the risk of cross-contamination.

So, to be on the safe side, it’s always advisable with certain reputable brands. Some of the safest brands when it comes to gluten-free brown, natural rice include:


Gerb specializes in various types of rice and rice products, including brown rice and white rice powder. And, all the types of rice that it sells have been certified 100%, gluten-free. It’s one of the most reputable, certified gluten-free rice sellers.

Lundberg Family Farms

Lundberg Family Farms is yet another reputable brand for someone looking for safe, pure and 100% gluten-free natural rice.

Unlike some of the other grain sellers out here, Lundberg Family Farms only produces rice products. Therefore, there’s no risk of cross-contamination for its long grain rice with gluten during the production process.

Other Notable Brands

In case you can’t find Lundberg or Alter Eco brown rice in your local store, you aren’t out of options. There are other notable brands out there, which also sell brown rice that’s gluten free.

And while they are not as popular as Lundberg or Alter Eco, you are also assured of buying a safe product. These brands include Bob’s Red Mill, NOW Foods, Thousand Lakes, Minnesota Grown, Seeds of Change, Reese, Nishiki, Mahatma, and Plant Rice, just to name a few.

Gluten-Free Alternatives to Brown Rice

Pure, natural brown rice is gluten-free. And, this makes it a great option for those sensitive to gluten. But, if you fall in this category, you may sometimes want to mix things up a bit, especially if you’ve been eating brown rice almost every day.

Fortunately, there are several gluten-free grains out there for people with wheat allergy and related conditions, which you can alternate with brown rice. Some of these gluten-free grains include quinoa, millet, riced cauliflower, and lentils, just to name a few.