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How to Substitute Sweet Rice Flour for Wheat Flour to Thicken Sauces

by Brynne Chandler, studioD

Sweet rice flour is made from glutinous, short-grain rice and it is used exclusively as a thickener for soups, sauces, gravies and stews. Contrary to its name and origins, sweet rice flour is not actually sweet and it contains no gluten. Substituting sweet rice flour for wheat flour is a simple exchange with no recipe adjustments needed. There are several different ways to thicken sauces, but the two that work best with wheat flour are also well-suited for sweet rice flour.

Sweet Rice Flour Slurry

Measure a portion of sweet rice flour that is equal to the wheat flour called for in your recipe. Depending on the volume of liquid you need to thicken, this can be anywhere from 1 tablespoon of each for a small amount or as much as 1/2 cup or more for thickening large quantities of soups or sauces.

Place the portion into a deep bowl or large mug.

Add an equal amount of liquid. You can use a bit of liquid from the soup or sauce you intend to thicken. You can also use water, wine, broth or a mixture.

Whisk the sweet rice flour and liquid together until it forms a smooth paste with no lumps.

Bring the liquid you intend to thicken to a slow boil.

Pour the slurry slowly into the simmering liquid, whisking or stirring it in as you go. Simmer the liquid, stirring it occasionally, until is has reached its desired thickness, usually about 3 to 5 minutes.

Simple Roux

Measure the amount of sweet rice flour called for in your recipe using a dry measuring cup or food scale.

Place an equal amount of fat into your skillet or stock pot. Roux is traditionally made with butter or lard, but you can use your favorite oil, bacon drippings or any combination of fats you prefer.

Heat the fat over medium-low heat until solid fat melts or liquid fat begins to shimmer across its surface.

Sprinkle the sweet rice flour into the fat, stirring and scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Cook roux made with butter until it turns a deep reddish-brown. Set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes if you are making a rice flour roux made with oil, because it won't turn color to tell you that it’s done.

Items you will need
  •  Measuring cups
  •  Water, wine or broth
  •  Bowl or mug
  •  Whisk
  •  Butter or oil
  •  Skillet or stock pot
  •  Wooden spoon
  •  Kitchen timer


  • Make enough roux for several recipes and refrigerate what you don't use to be brought back to room temperature at a later date.


  • Never add sweet rice flour directly to hot liquids because it may clump up.

About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.