Rice Flour vs Sweet Rice Flour, Which is Better and Why

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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Rice Flour vs Sweet Rice Flour

Hi There! The next battle we have is rice flour vs sweet rice flour. We’ll discover which one is better and why so read along!

Which Flour?

What’s up? The last time we compared two of the most popular flours when it comes to baking and cooking – rice flour and wheat flour.

This time we will talk even more about rice flour, the popular and widely used gluten-free flour. Do you know that there are different kinds of rice flour? Or, have you ever wondered whether or not sweet rice flour really tastes sweet?

What is Rice Flour?

rice grain flour

Are you suffering from gluten allergies or Celiac disease? Then rice flour, or komeko in Japanese, is for you. Rice flour is made from finely milled rice and is a popular choice by many because it is completely gluten-free.

Rice flour can either come from white or brown rice. It also comes in two basic forms – the glutinous rice also called as sweet rice and the non-glutinous rice flour.

A wonderful addition to your kitchen ingredient staples, rice flour can be used in a variety of dishes.

Taste the Difference

In terms of baking, the outcome will typically be light yet crumbly and will have a somewhat grainy or gritty texture. Due to its ability to prevent liquid separation, rice flour is widely used as a thickening agent.

It works great in gravies, sauces and soups. It is excellent for breading fried dishes as well, such as fried chicken and prawn fritters. They are also often used as base for noodles in various Asian cuisines and in making crackers, muffins, cookies, and cakes.

What is Sweet Rice Flour?

What is Sweet Rice Flour

Despite its name, sweet rice flour does not taste sweet nor does it contain gluten. Sweet rice flour, also known as glutinous rice flour, is made from grounded special variety of short-grained rice called sticky rice.

Sticky or sweet rice is sticky when cooked and has a much higher starch content compared to other types of rice.

It is the main ingredient used in making mochi, a Japanese traditional dessert. It also works perfect for dumplings, cakes, cookies, muffins and pastries.

Sweet Rice Flour vs Rice Flour

Gluten refers to the family of proteins found in various cereal grains such as wheat, which are known to cause irritations in the digestive system particularly for those who have gluten intolerance.

Rice flour comes from the usual rice that we eat, which is a transparent grain while sweet rice flour comes from the sticky rice which is opaque. The starch from the rice is primarily composed of amylose and amylopectin.

Sticky rice is composed of mostly pure amylopectin which is responsible for its uniquely chewy or viscous consistency when heated.

Sticky Sweet

Sweet rice flour is finer than the regular rice flour, so it works good in baking cookies and cakes which produces a less crumbly taste. It also has a superb binding and thickening qualities.

Its sticky and high starch quality can make a lot of difference in some baked products. Rice flour’s characteristics is closer to the wheat flour which can give form or structure to the baked product.

Nutritional Value Comparison

rice flour cake

 Now that you know the differences between the components, texture, and characteristics of rice flour and sweet rice flour, let’s talk about how the two significantly varies when we talk about their nutritional value. Sweet rice flour contains more calories at 180 per ¼ cup serving size compared to white rice flour at just 150. Likewise, it has more carbohydrates at 40g per ¼ cup while white rice flour only has 32g.

Sweet rice flour has a slightly higher protein content at 3g per ¼ cup compared to just 2g found in white rice flour. Rice flour has more iron at 17% per 1 cup serving while sweet rice flour only has 16%. Rice flour contains more dietary fiber content compared to the glutinous rice flour. One cup of rice flour has 7g fiber. Meanwhile, sweet rice flour only contains 4g.

All Gluten-free

If you have a strictly no-gluten-products-allowed kitchen, then both rice flour and sweet rice flour are the perfect flours for you. Both flours are absolutely gluten-free which makes them ideal for people who are gluten intolerant.

On the other hand, you might want to choose rice flour compared to sweet rice flour when you are trying to reduce weight, as sweet rice flour contains more carbohydrates and calories compared to rice flour.

Although both flours came from the same rice grains, the two are completely distinct from each other. Rice flour comes from the regular rice we commonly eat, while sweet rice flour is made from a special rice variety called sticky rice.


Both flours are great alternatives to your diet if you are considering it gluten-free. Despite having closely related names, rice flour and sweet rice flour serve different purposes and yields different results.

As such, the two cannot be used interchangeably, unless mentioned in the recipe. In other words, you cannot just simply use rice flour as a substitute ingredient for sweet rice flour and, vice versa.

You may also try out this rice ball recipe!

Final Thoughts

Hence, rice flour works best as gluten-free flour mixes for baked goods with crumbly texture and sweet rice flour fits for sweet, sticky desserts or when you will need flour with exceptional binding capabilities.

How about you? Have you tried using both rice flour and sweet rice flour in any of your dishes? We’d like to hear more suggestions too, so, why not share with us how you use these two types of flours.

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