It's not uncommon to associate gluten with all types of carby foods, including rice. But if you're following a gluten-free diet, you'll be relieved to learn that rice is naturally gluten-free.
Assuming your rice isn't prepared with any wheat, rye or barley-based ingredients, you can feel free to add this grain to any dish. But before you buy just any rice product, double-check the packaging for the appropriate labels.
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Is Rice Gluten-Free?
Served plain or in its natural form, rice is a gluten-free grain and safe to eat, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. And that goes for all rice types, such as brown or basmati.
Available in a variety of colors and forms, whole-grain and brown rice are excellent sources of fiber, a nutrient that helps regulate digestion and keep you feeling full. Rice is also one of the most easily digested grains, which makes it an excellent option for those following a gluten-free diet, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Types of Gluten-Free Rice
- White rice
- Basmati rice
- Brown rice
- Jasmine rice
- Sushi rice (not from a restaurant)
- Red rice
- Black rice
- Sprouted rice
Plain and simple rice from the grocery store is safe to eat but that doesn't mean all rice products or dishes get the green light. As with all processed or prepared foods, you'll always want to be cautious of potential cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination happens when foods touch or come in contact with gluten ingredients either through preparation or manufacturing, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
Rice stored in the same container or area as a gluten-containing grain, for instance, can be contaminated, becoming unsafe for those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
How to Buy Gluten-Free Rice Foods
You can prevent and avoid gluten cross-contamination by checking the packaging and reading the nutrition label on rice-based foods. Rice cakes, rice cereal and rice crispy treats are all made with rice but they may not necessarily be gluten-free.
First, check the ingredient label and allergen listing for any wheat, rye or barley. Then, look for a "gluten-free" label on the front of the package. This label is regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and signifies that the food you're eating has less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, which is generally safe for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity.
If you want even higher standards, buy foods that are certified gluten-free by trusted third parties, such as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). The GFCO has especially strict standards, certifying foods that have only 10 ppm of gluten or less, according to the organization's website.
Are Flavored Rice Mixes Gluten-Free?
Although plain rice is naturally gluten-free, the same isn't necessarily true for rice mixes. Pre-packaged rice mixes can be combined with wheat, rye or barley (or these grains' derivatives), making them unsafe for people with gluten sensitivities.
Gluten-Free Rice Brands
These brands offer different kinds of gluten-free rice that are safe to serve with your favorite chicken or veggie dish.
1. RiceSelect Texmati White Rice
Most of RiceSelect's plain rice products are gluten-free and certified by the GFCO.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $31.55 for 4 jars
2. Lundberg Organic Short Grain Brown Rice
Lundberg's brown rice (along with many other rice products) is certified gluten-free.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.11
3. Rani Platinum White Basmati Rice
Rani's basmati rice is free of gluten and is vegan and non-GMO.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.99
4. Lundberg California White Jasmine Rice
Unlike white rice, this gluten-free jasmine rice has a fluffy texture and floral aroma.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $11.89
5. ONETANG Organic Steamed Black Rice
With no additives or other ingredients, ONETANG's black rice is free of wheat, rye or barley.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $12.85
6. Lundberg Red Rice
With its buttery aroma, red rice is the perfect way to upgrade simple dishes.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $9.19
7. Planet Rice Sprouted Brown Gaba Rice
Sprouted rice is gluten-free and offers a chewier texture than other alternatives.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.99
8. RiceSelect Sushi Rice
When you cook plain sushi rice at home, it's usually free of any gluten. But in a sushi restaurant, you'll want to be conscious of potential cross-contamination.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $22.01
Gluten-Free Rice Products to Try
If you're craving a rice-based snack, try these gluten-free options from trusted brands.
1. Friendly Gains Crunchy Rice Rollers
These puffed brown rice snacks are subtly sweet.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $13.48 for 16
2. Good Thins Simply Salt Rice Snacks
Good Thins are a delicious, gluten-free alternative to crackers.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $29.96 for 12
3. Drizzilicious Mini Rice Cake Snacks
For a light dessert that doesn't taste too sweet, try Drizzilicious' line of mini rice cakes.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99 for 10
4. Barbara's Puffins Honey Rice Cereal
Wake up to a bowl of this rice cereal or enjoy it as a nightcap.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $42.40 for 10