Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding wheat while rice flour is a powder made from the grinding rice. There is a substantial difference between rice flour and wheat flour in terms of their properties, nutritional content and culinary uses.
What is Rice Flour?
Rice flour is a fine flour made from ground flour. The production process of rice flour includes removing the husk of rice and grinding the raw rice. Rice flour has a wide variety of culinary uses; it is especially popular in many Asian cuisines. Japanese mocha, Filipino galapóng, Indian food like dosa and pittu are some examples of dishes made with rice flour.
More importantly, rice flour is completely gluten-free. Thus, this is perfect for people with gluten allergies. Rice also serves as a substitute for wheat flour. Furthermore, there are two types of rice flour as glutinous rice flour and non-glutinous rice flour. Despite their names, none of these contains gluten. The word glutinous in these names indicates the stickiness of the rice when cooked.
It is possible to make flour from both white rice and brown rice. There is a slight difference between white rice flour and brown rice flour in flavour and colour.
What is Wheat Flour?
Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding wheat. There are different varieties of wheat. Wheat varieties with high gluten content are called hard or strong while wheat varieties with low gluten content are called soft or weak. Although some people tend to avoid wheat flour due to its gluten content, it is this comparatively high gluten content that makes wheat dough easy to handle. The elasticity of the dough makes it suitable for many products such as flatbreads, yeast bread, cakes, and cookies.
A grain of wheat has three parts: bran (hard outer shell), germ (nutrient-rich embryo) and endosperm (largest part, which is mainly starch).
White flour is made only from the endosperm while brown flour includes some grains’ germ and bran. Whole grain or wholemeal flour, on the other hand, contains the entire wheat grain – bran, germ and endosperm.
What is the Difference Between Rice Flour and Wheat Flour?
Rice flour is a form of flour made from finely milled rice while wheat flour is a form of flour made from ground wheat. The key difference between rice flour and wheat flour is their gluten content. While rice is completely gluten-free, wheat flour contains gluten. Therefore, people with celiac disease or gluten-related allergies cannot consume wheat flour. However, there are no such restrictions with rice flour. The different types of rice flour glutinous rice flour, non-glutinous rice flour, brown rice flour and white rice flour while some types of wheat flour include all-purpose flour, whole grain flour, bread flour, cake flour, atta flour.
Another difference between rice flour and wheat flour is their calorie content. Rice flour is significantly higher in calories than wheat flour. One more difference between rice flour and wheat flour is their use in baking. The elasticity of the wheat dough makes it suitable for many baked products; however, rice flour is not very good for making bread or cakes.
The below infographic on the difference between rice flour and wheat flour provides additional details on the differences.
Summary – Rice Flour vs Wheat Flour
Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding wheat while rice flour is a powder made from the grinding rice. The key difference between rice flour and wheat flour is that the rice flour is completely gluten-free while the wheat flour contains gluten, which irritates the digestive systems of some people.
1.“What Is Rice Flour?” Baking Bites, 16 June 2013. Available here
2.Ozimek, Sarah. “All You Wanted To Know About Wheat Flour • Curious Cuisiniere.” Curious Cuisiniere, 20 Jan. 2019. Available here
3.“Wheat Flour.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Dec. 2018. Available here
1.”Glutinous rice flour”By Ocomejessian – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Wheat-flour”By هارون يحيى – Own work, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
3.”Wheat-kernel nutrition”By Jkwchuiderivative work: Jon C (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia