Is White Rice Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

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Key Takeaways

  • White rice is used in a wide range of dishes and foods
  • Pure, natural white rice is gluten-free
  • White rice can sometimes come into contact with gluten
  • Always ensure you buy your white rice from certified, gluten free grains sellers

White rice is a delicacy for hundreds of cultures across the world. But, is white rice gluten-free? This short but informative guide has the answers.

White rice in its natural form is gluten-free. So, if you have gluten intolerance, then white rice should be safe to consume. But, there’s the risk of cross-contact with gluten-based cereals. Therefore, ensure you read the product labels of any white rice that you want to buy.

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Table of contents


A Primer On White Rice

White rice is a highly versatile food, which you can use in a wide range of dishes. While the majority of people use it as a side dish, you can also use it in one-pot meals such as soups, casseroles, rice pudding or breakfast porridge, just to name a few. In some communities in the world, it is a staple food.

Furthermore, white rice is used as flour in various baking recipes. It can be used to make pastries, pancakes, cakes, crepes, noodles, and cakes, among others. Also, you can use white rice flour as a thickening agent for stews, batters and soups. The good thing with rice is that it is affordable and it is easy to prepare.

About Gluten

Gluten is a type of protein mainly found in wheat products, barley, rye, triticale, and various other grains and cereals. It’s the binding agent that helps these cereals to maintain their shape.

And unfortunately, some people tend to have gluten intolerance after taking wheat flour products. For instance, if you have celiac disease, then consuming gluten may trigger an adverse reaction in the small intestine, causing malabsorption or poor absorption of some nutrients. Some individuals do experience severe symptoms after swallowing gluten.

Also, some people tend to have gluten allergies which can be stubborn. And if they consume foods that have gluten, it will trigger various reactions such as stomach cramps, hives, nausea, skin rash, vomiting, runny or stuffy nose and indigestion, just to name a few.

When one is affected by gluten and has celiac disease or non celiac gluten sensitivity, then one must be keen to take a gluten free diet, take gluten free food, and avoid eating gluten. Gluten sensitivity can be a recurring problem and one needs to be careful and have a gluten free diet.

Does White Rice Have Gluten?

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, then you must be extra cautious of the foods you eat and you should take a gluten free diet. And this brings us to the question, does white rice have gluten? Is white rice gluten-free? Are such rice products and whole grain gluten free? Can they be a diet for gluten sensitive people?

Eating rice will not harm your health. Rice, in its natural, pure form, whether medium grain rice or any other type, is gluten-free. Thus, people with gluten problems should be assured that rice is healthy and safe.

And, this includes all varieties of rice, whether it's white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, purple rice, glutinous rice, wild rice, short-grain rice or long-grain rice. Moreover, sushi rice is also a gluten free rice product. Simply put, rice is gluten-free.

As long as you buy unprocessed, natural and pure white rice, then you shouldn’t have any issues, even if you have severe gluten intolerance. These are gluten free foods, and it will work for gluten sensitive people and people with non celiac gluten sensitivity.

So, if you follow a gluten-free diet or lifestyle, then you shouldn’t have any issues adding white rice to your diet, as long as you buy pure, natural white rice.

Risks of Cross Contact

We’ve mentioned that pure, natural white rice is gluten-free. And, it should be safe to consume for people with celiac disease and gluten allergies.

But, we should also point out that white rice may also come into contact with gluten-containing cereals like wheat, barley, and rye, during the growing, harvesting, storage or transportation process.

Most food producers tend to use the same equipment and facilities to process or transport different types of grains – as a means of cutting costs.

And, if rice was processed in the same facilities as wheat, barley and rye, it’s also likely it will contain gluten. The problem is that the consumer may not know about this and may end up consuming gluten even after avoiding it.

Also, cross-contact between white rice and gluten may occur in grocery stores and supermarkets. For instance, other shoppers may use the same scoopers for different types of cereals. In addition to that, the employees in stores may not be careful enough to ensure that rice is not contaminated.

And, if someone were to scoop white rice using the same utensils that they used for gluten-based cereals, the white rice will also end up with traces of gluten. This may trigger symptoms in an individual with gluten sensitivity.

We should also point out that white rice mixes and other products of processed white rice usually contain gluten.

These products and mixes may contain wheat-based flavors, thickeners and enhancers. And as you may expect, the gluten in these white rice mixes may cause serious issues for people with gluten intolerance.

Tips For Buying Gluten-Free White Rice

While natural, white rice is gluten-free, there’s always the risk of cross-contact with gluten-based cereals and grains. Also, some types of processed rice may contain gluten.

So, how do you ensure you only buy gluten-free white rice? And how do you ensure that you do not take rice which is contaminated with gluten?

Well, here are some tips to guarantee that you only end up buying gluten-free rice.

First, always make sure you read white rice product labels. While reading the labels, check out for any allergy warnings. Most jurisdictions require food manufacturers and sellers to disclose any possible contamination or exposure to gluten.

Usually, this warning will be placed immediately below the list of ingredients. If you don’t see such a warning, then it’s highly likely the white rice you are buying doesn’t contain any gluten.

Second, only make sure you buy your white rice from certified, gluten-free rice sellers and manufacturers. Some of the certified, gluten-free rice brands include Thousand Lakes, RiceSelect, Nishiki, Seeds of Change, Reese, Plant Rice and Zatarain.

Third, avoid processed rice or rice mixes. As we mentioned earlier, rice mixes may contain wheat-based enhancers. In light of this, you should only buy pure, natural, unprocessed white rice.

Lastly, when you take soy sauce, be on the lookout for gluten free soy sauce. The most reliable one in this category is tamari soy sauce.