Do you love rice noodles in your favorite Asian dishes? If so, you may be wondering if these are gluten-free or contain any wheat ingredients. Find out if rice noodles are safe for a gluten-free diet and if you should continue eating your favorite types of rice noodles.
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Rice noodles are a staple in many Asian cultures. These noodles are the foundation of some of the most delicious and popular meals in the US, if not the world. Pad thai and pho are just a few dishes you can make using rice noodles, but that’s not all.
Rice noodles are extremely versatile and are great in soups, stews, noodle bowls, and stir-fries of all kinds. They provide a great neutral flavor for any type of sauce, protein, or vegetable you add to them.
Rice noodles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and depending on the consistency and texture you’re looking for in a dish, you might choose one over the other when making certain dishes.
In this post, we’re going to discuss rice noodles and how they relate to a gluten-free diet. Are they okay to eat? Are there times when you should be wary of enjoying them?
Let’s dig into this ingredient so we can confidently navigate menus and recipes at home.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what rice noodles are made of, if they have gluten, what kinds of rice noodles are gluten-free, how to cook rice noodles, and how to use rice noodles.
We’ll wrap everything up by answering specific questions about your favorite types of rice noodles.
What are rice noodles made of?
Rice noodles are made using rice flour. Sometimes rice noodles have extra starch, like corn starch or tapioca starch, to add texture or keep the noodles together.
Rice noodles come in a variety of shapes and widths, depending on how they are traditionally used in recipes. For example, pad thai noodles are made with rice and are about ¼-inch wide and are used generally in stir-fried noodle dishes with peanut sauce.
You might find in some brands of rice noodles that wheat flour is added to the noodles, which is why it’s important to always check ingredients lists before buying any packaged product at the store.
Read on: Is rice flour gluten-free?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form or gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Are rice noodles gluten-free?
Yes, most rice noodles are gluten-free. There are some types of noodles that are not gluten-free, so if you’re cooking at home, you’ll want to be sure to check ingredients lists before purchasing.
Rice vermicelli, pad thai, rice sticks, or chow fun are great options when it comes to mimicking a similar size and shape of ramen for soups and stir-fries.
Read on: Is rice gluten-free?
Read on: Is white rice gluten-free?
Read on: Gluten-free noodles: options & brands
What kind of rice noodles are gluten-free?
There are a number of rice noodles that come in so many different sizes and shapes that are great for a variety of different Asian dishes. Try one of these with your homemade noodle dishes at home!
Note that just because these noodles are gluten-free doesn’t mean that all dishes that call for them are also gluten-free. Depending on the other ingredients in the dish, including sauces, a dish may have gluten-free noodles but still not be gluten-free. Be aware of soy sauce and other sauces that contain wheat.
- Rice vermicelli
- Kway teow
- Rice sticks
- Chow fun & mi xian
- Chee cheong fun
- Silver needle
- Lai fan
- Pad see ew
Read on: Is Pho Gluten-free?
Read on: Gluten-free Chinese Food
Read on: Gluten-free Thai food
How to cook rice noodles
Rice noodles couldn’t be easier to cook. They cook up in much the same way as pasta noodles, but rice noodles cook much faster. It takes only about 2 to 3 minutes to cook rice noodles, depending on the size and shape of the noodle you’re using.
Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Add the rice noodles and cook while boiling for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold water to keep the noodles from sticking together.
Follow the directions on the package your rice noodles come in for best consistency and results.
How to use rice noodles
You can use rice noodles in a variety of dishes, like stir-fries, noodle soups, and specific noodle dishes, like pad thai.
You can also use rice noodles as a side or base layer to a dish, like you would rice in other recipes, like with curry.
Try some of these delicious gluten-free rice noodle recipes:
- Gluten-free Pad Thai
- Ramen Style Noodle Soup
- Gluten-free Chicken Lo Mein
- Easy Gluten-free Vegan Thai Fried Rice Noodles
- Gluten-free Singapore Noodles
- Thin Flat Rice Noodles with Broccoli, Asparagus, and Mushrooms
Are my favorite rice noodles gluten-free?
You might be wondering if your favorite types of rice noodles are gluten-free, whether they are in dishes you get at restaurants or your favorite meals at home. Let’s go over some of these popular noodles and determine if they are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Are pad thai noodles gluten free?
Yes, pad thai noodles are made with rice sticks which have only rice as an ingredient. They are considered gluten-free.
Although the noodles are gluten-free, pad thai noodle dishes aren’t always gluten-free. Most restaurants use soy sauce, which generally contains wheat unless it is tamari soy sauce. This dish also calls for fish sauce, which can sometimes have gluten as well.
Your best bet for gluten-free pad thai is to make it at home using entirely gluten-free ingredients.
Read on: Is Pad Thai gluten-free?
Read on: Is soy sauce gluten-free?
Read on: Is tamari gluten-free?
Are glass noodles gluten-free?
Glass noodles are also known as “cellophane noodles,” as they are made using starch from mung beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca starch. They are not made from rice and are not considered rice noodles.
They are gluten-free and very versatile for many stir-fried noodle dishes, as well as soups.
Read on: Are glass noodles gluten-free?
Are udon noodles gluten-free?
Udon noodles are made using wheat flour and are therefore not gluten-free. These are not considered rice noodles, as they aren’t made from rice flour. These should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.
Read on: Are udon noodles gluten-free?
Are pho noodles gluten-free?
Pho noodles are flat noodles made from rice flour and are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Just because the noodles are gluten-free doesn’t mean that pho soup is. Oftentimes the soup base for pho contains broth which has gluten. The best way to get a gluten-free bowl of pho is to make your own version at home using entirely gluten-free ingredients.
Read on: Is pho gluten-free?
Is pad see ew gluten-free?
Pad see ew noodles are wide thick rice noodles and are made from only rice flour. These noodles are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Even though the noodles themselves are gluten-free, dishes that use these noodles may not be. Be aware of what sauces and other ingredients are used and if these contain gluten if you’re planning to stick with following a gluten-free diet. Oftentimes these noodles are served with soy sauce, which contains gluten.
Your best bet is to make your own gluten-free pad see ew dishes at home using gluten-free ingredients.
Are ramen noodles gluten-free?
Most ramen noodles contain gluten, however there are some brands that offer brown rice ramen noodles, like Lotus Foods.
Read more about gluten-free ramen noodles.
Where can I buy rice noodles?
There are a variety of different types of rice noodles, and you can find them in a few different places. First, look at your local grocery store. There are often great dried rice noodles available in the Asian or international section of the store.
The next place to find rice noodles is an international market or an Asian food store. There will be many different types of rice noodles to choose from, perfect for any dish you’re planning to make at home.
I hope if you’ve been looking to find out if rice noodles are safe for your diet that you have all the information you need to get started cooking up something amazing or making an informed decision when you’re looking for options at a restaurant.