Japanese With Ease: For a limited time free: Get cookbook

Best substitute for (sweet) rice flour | What to use instead of mochiko

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  July 5, 2022

17 easy recipes anyone can make...

All the tips you'll need to get started in Japanese cooking with, FOR A LIMITED TIME, FREE as our first email: the complete Japanese with ease cookbook.

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Sweet rice flour is also known as glutinous rice flour or mochiko flour and it’s a popular gluten-free flour used in many Asian bakeries and households.

It has a higher starch content than regular rice flour and gives baked goods a chewy texture. You’ll need it if you plan on making homemade mochi.

But, chances are you don’t have sweet rice flour on hand and are wondering what the best substitute is.

Best substitute for (sweet) rice flour | What to use instead of mochiko

There are a few substitutes you can use that will work just as well in your recipe.

Tapioca flour, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour, and almond flour are all great substitutes for sweet rice flour.

Tapioca flour is my first choice as a substitute for mochiko flour because it has a similar sticky texture to sweet rice flour and it’s also gluten-free and very starchy.

If you’re looking for another flour to use as a substitute for (sweet) rice flour, I’m sharing the top alternatives.

17 Easy Recipes Anyone Can Make

All the tips you'll need to get started in Japanese cooking with, FOR A LIMITED TIME, FREE as our first email: The Complete Japanese With Ease Cookbook.

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

What is sweet rice flour & what to look for in a substitute

Short grain glutinous “sticky” rice is used to make sweet rice flour, a starchy flour.

Although it does not contain gluten, the term “glutinous rice flour” is frequently used to describe this product because it is sticky or “glue-like.”

Contrary to what the name implies, sweet rice flour is actually not very sweet. It’s mild, delicate, and has a slightly sweet flavor but you can use it for both sweet and savory recipes.

The flour is very fine and powdery, similar to cornstarch.

Due to the fact that it is the best flour for making mochi, the delectable Japanese rice cake, you can also see it labeled as “mochiko flour”.

Mochiko or sweet rice flour to use for making mochi

(view more images)

Sweet rice flour is popular because it’s gluten-free so almost everyone can enjoy it. Sweet rice flour works best for sweet recipes when and for gluten-free baking.

When looking for a sweet rice flour substitute, you should choose another gluten-free flour if you are baking for someone with celiac disease, gluten allergy, or gluten intolerance.

The best substitutes for sweet rice flour have a similar starch content and will produce baked goods with a chewy texture.

Starchy flours are good substitutes because they will absorb moisture in the same way as sweet rice flour.

Sticky rice flour has a similar texture to the regular white rice flour and the color can range from white to light brown.

Sweet rice flour recipes include a variety of different desserts like mochi, cakes, cookies, and pies.

Best sweet rice flour substitutes

Now you know what to look for in a good sweet rice flour substitute. Let me show you now which alternative flours fit the bill.

Tapioca flour: best overall substitute for sweet rice flour

The best sweet rice flour substitute is tapioca flour. It’s a gluten-free flour made from cassava root and it has a similar texture to sweet rice flour.

Tapioca flour is one of the most popular gluten-free flours because it’s very versatile. You can use it to make pancakes, waffles, bread, pies, and so much more.

It’s sometimes also called tapioca starch but both terms refer to the exact same thing.

Use tapioca or cassava root starch flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Tapioca flour is very starchy and it’s a great binding agent which makes it ideal for recipes that call for sweet rice flour.

When using tapioca flour as a substitute, use the same amount of flour called for in the recipe, so you can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio.

Sorghum flour: best sweet rice flour substitute for mochi

Sorghum flour has become well-known for its health benefits and adaptability in the kitchen.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about it in the past but sorghum flour is a good substitute for sweet rice flour, especially in mochi recipes.

Super fine sorghum flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour in mochi

(view more images)

Sorghum flour is made from sorghum grain and it’s a good source of fiber.

You might be shocked to learn that sorghum flour is full of nutrients and wonder why you’ve never used it.

Some might even call it a superfood so it’s a great healthy alternative to sweet rice flour.

High levels of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants are among its many nutrients.

It has a slightly sweet flavor and it’s very similar to sweet rice flour in terms of texture.

To get varied colors for your mochi you must add food coloring.

You can substitute sorghum flour for glutinous rice flour at a 1:1 ratio so it’s easy to use for all kinds of baking recipes.

Rice flour: most similar taste to sweet rice flour

If you cannot find glutinous rice flour, regular rice flour is an excellent substitute.

White rice flour will give your baked goods a slightly different flavor but it’s still a good option, especially if you’re looking for gluten-free flour.

Superfine White Rice Flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Honestly, though, it’s extremely similar to the sweet rice flour taste you’re used to.

It’s actually easier to find rice flour than glutinous rice flour so it might be a better option for some people.

Just like tapioca flour, you can substitute ordinary rice flour at a 1:1 ratio for sweet rice flour in any recipe.

However, there’s an issue with the stickiness – the texture is not the same so your recipes might not turn out the same.

You can add a bit more liquid to make up for it but it might still be noticeable.

Would I recommend regular rice flour for mochi? Not really, the texture will be off. But for other recipes, you can substitute these two rice flours.

Potato starch: best thickening agent

Another excellent gluten-free substitute that works well in most circumstances is potato starch.

Potato starch is an excellent thickener for roux, Japanese curry, and gravies or sauces.

Use potato starch as a thickener instead of sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Similar to sweet rice flour, it can be utilized as a thickening agent, but you must be careful not to overcook it.

When used for baking and making mochi, potato starch will produce a chewy texture, making it a good choice as a sweet rice flour substitute.

Like tapioca flour and rice flour, you can use potato starch at a 1:1 ratio when substituting it for sweet rice flour.

Potato starch is quite accessible to most people and thus it’s a good substitute for glutinous rice flour.

Buckwheat flour

Buckwheat flour is one of the best sweet rice flour substitutes because it’s also gluten-free and it has a similar texture.

Buckwheat flour is made from the buckwheat plant and it’s a good source of fiber.

Use buckwheat flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

I like to use buckwheat flour in recipes because it gives baked goods a nutty flavor.

You can use buckwheat flour to make Kushi mochi, a type of Japanese mochi that’s made with buckwheat flour.

To substitute buckwheat flour for sweet rice flour, use the same amount of buckwheat flour as called for in the recipe, so a 1:1 ratio.

Almond flour

Almond flour is a good substitute for sweet rice flour because it’s gluten-free and it will give your baked goods a nutty flavor.

Almond flour is made from ground almonds and it’s a good source of protein.

It’s probably one of the healthiest substitutes on this list because it’s gluten-free, low-carb, and full of beneficial nutrients.

Use almond flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

It’s also very moist so it’s ideal for recipes that call for sweet rice flour.

To substitute almond flour for sweet rice flour, use 1.5 cups of almond flour for every 1 cup of sweet rice flour called for in the recipe.

In terms of texture and flavor, almond flour is one of the best substitutes for sweet rice flour because it’s very similar.

I don’t recommend almond flour for mochi though because the final product will be too dense.

I’ve also made a list of the best substitutes for almond flour in case you want to make macarons and don’t have any

Chickpea flour

Chickpea flour is a good substitute for sweet rice flour because it’s gluten-free and it has a similar texture.

Use chickpea flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Chickpea flour is made from ground chickpeas and it’s a good source of protein.

It has a nutty flavor and it’s very versatile. You can use it to make pancakes, waffles, bread, and so much more.

To substitute chickpea flour for sweet rice flour, use the same amount of chickpea flour as called for in the recipe. So a 1:1 ratio.

Cornflour/cornstarch

Cornflour is a good substitute for sweet rice flour because it has a similar texture.

Cornflour is made from ground corn and it’s very fine. It’s also known as cornstarch in some parts of the world.

Corn flour or corn starch as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Cornflour is gluten-free and it’s very versatile. You can use it to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies.

To substitute cornflour for sweet rice flour, use 2 tablespoons of cornflour for every 1 cup of sweet rice flour called for in the recipe.

So the substitution ratio is 1:1/2.

Arrowroot powder

Arrowroot powder is also called arrowroot flour but they are the same thing.

It’s a good substitute for sweet rice flour because it has a similar texture, although not as sticky.

Arrowroot powder as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

Arrowroot powder is made from the root of the arrowroot plant and it’s very fine. It’s gluten-free and it’s often used to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies.

It has a pretty neutral flavor so it doesn’t alter the food’s taste too much.

To substitute arrowroot powder for sweet rice flour, use 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder for every 1 cup of sweet rice flour called for in the recipe.

So the substitution ratio is 1:1/2.

Coconut flour

Coconut flour is a good substitute for sweet rice flour because it’s gluten-free and it has a similar texture.

Coconut flour is made from ground coconut and it’s very fine.

Coconut flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

It has a subtle coconut flavor and it’s very versatile. You can use it to make pancakes, waffles, bread, and so much more.

But the reason why it’s so great is that it’s lightly sweet just like the sweet rice flour and the taste is very delicate.

Also, it’s a fine powder similar to sweet rice flour. Coconut flour makes a great substitute for sweet rice flour in any recipe that requires a mild and delicate flavor.

To substitute coconut flour for sweet rice flour, use 1/4 cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of sweet rice flour called for in the recipe.

So the substitution ratio is 1:4.

Wheat flour & all-purpose flour

If you’re planning to use sweet rice flour for a roux or sauce, I recommend swapping it with regular all-purpose flour or wheat flour.

All-purpose wheat flour as a substitute for sweet rice flour

(view more images)

These two types of flour are very common and easy to find. They’ll also give your sauce a slightly different flavor but it shouldn’t be too noticeable.

Just remember that wheat flour and all-purpose flour are not gluten-free so if you’re baking for someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you’ll need to use a different flour (good wheat flour alternatives can be found here).

You can use a 1:1 ratio and the wheat flour will give your roux the perfect thick consistency and it will be almost as sticky as if you use sweet rice flour.

FAQs

Perhaps you still have some unanswered questions about sweet rice flour.

Is sweet rice flour the same as regular flour?

No, sweet rice flour is not the same as regular flour. Regular flour is made from wheat and it doesn’t have the same sticky consistency as sweet rice flour.

Sweet rice flour is made from glutinous rice and it’s very fine. It has a sticky consistency which makes it great for baking and cooking.

Is sweet rice flour gluten-free?

Yes, sweet rice flour is gluten-free. It’s made from ground rice and it doesn’t contain any wheat.

Is sweet rice flour keto-friendly?

Yes, sweet rice flour is keto-friendly. It’s a low-carb flour and it’s also gluten-free.

Can you use cornstarch instead of mochiko flour?

Yes, you can use cornstarch instead of mochiko flour.

The two flours are very similar and they both have a fine texture so they work well if you’re making mochi.

When shouldn’t you substitute sweet rice flour?

There are some recipes where you shouldn’t substitute sweet rice flour.

For example, if a recipe calls for self-rising flour, you can’t use sweet rice flour because it doesn’t have leavening agents.

Another example is if a recipe calls for bread flour, you can’t use sweet rice flour because it doesn’t have the same protein content as bread flour.

But, also, some Japanese recipes are made only with sweet rice flour.

For example, mochi is a Japanese rice cake that’s made with sweet rice flour. You shouldn’t substitute the sweet rice flour for another flour because it won’t taste exactly the same.

That’s unless you don’t mind a bit of a texture and flavor difference.

Takeaway

There are many substitutes for sweet rice flour, both gluten-free and not.

The best substitutes for sweet rice flour are tapioca flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, and potato starch.

These substitutes will work well in most recipes that call for sweet rice flour.

It all comes down to personal preference so feel free to experiment with different flours until you find one that you like.

What’s important is that you adapt your substitute depending on the sweet rice flour recipe you’re planning to use.

Mochiko flour is also used for yummy andagi, or Okinawan doughtnuts, that you can make yourself like this

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.