Find out if basmati rice is gluten-free, what it’s used for, and what you need to know about cross contamination.
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If you love Indian food or big bowls of curry, you have probably enjoyed a bowl or two (or a hundred) of basmati rice. This type of rice is fragrant, doesn’t stick together, and goes perfectly with saucy dishes to sop up all the delicious flavors into each bite.
Rice is one of the most popular grains in the world and for good reason. It’s full of fiber, carbohydrates, and is known to help lower high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.
If you’re getting started with a gluten-free diet, it can help to know which grains are safe for you to enjoy and those you’ll want to avoid. That’s why we’re going to talk in depth about basmati rice in this post.
Find out what basmati rice is, what it’s used for, and answer the questions “is basmati rice gluten-free?” We’ll wrap this post up with a list of brands of basmati rice that offer gluten-free labels on their products to help you shop with confidence.
What is basmati rice?
Basmati rice is a long grain rice that can be found in both brown and white varieties. This type of rice is best known for its use in Indian and South Asian cuisines as this is where most basmati rice is grown in the world.
Basmati rice is considered a fragrant rice as it has a unique fragrance. Many people can identify this type of rice by its fragrance and how it isn’t as sticky as other rice varieties when cooked.
Many folks favor basmati rice because it and jasmine rice have the least amount of arsenic across many rice varieties.
Like other varieties of rice, basmati is a great source of fiber, helps lower the risk of heart disease and reduces blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, according to WebMD.
Read on: Is jasmine rice gluten-free?
What is basmati rice used for?
Basmati rice can be used like many other rice varieties. Since it is most popular with Indian and South Asian cuisines, you’re likely to find this served with Indian curries, rice pilafs, and as a side dish plain or with herbs and spices (jeera rice).
Other delicious basmati rice dishes include mutter pulav, a dish with cashews spices, onions, garlic, mint, and peas. Dishes with turmeric, coconut, and saffron are other popular ingredients that are added to basmati rice as well.
Basmati biryani is one more dish you might find at restaurants or decide to make on your own at home. This dish has spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and eggs or chicken.
Read on: Is rice pilaf 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.
Read on: What is gluten in food?
Is basmati rice gluten-free?
Basmati rice is naturally gluten-free and most brands and packages of this type of rice are considered gluten-free.
That said, it’s important to know that basmati rice is like all grains in that it can often be processed on machinery that shares lines with gluten-containing grains. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten, you may consider finding a brand of rice that shows a gluten-free label on the packaging.
A gluten-free label ensures that the product contains no more than 20ppm of gluten in that product.
Another thing to note is that even if basmati rice is gluten-free on its own, what you serve with it and the other ingredients that are added to a rice dish must also be gluten-free. For example, soy sauce or any sauces with flour added will contain gluten.
Be aware of all the ingredients that go into a dish when making recipes at home and ask your server at restaurants to help you make informed decisions on what to order.
Another potential place for cross contamination is bulk bins. If you buy oats from a grocery store that uses scoops, these scoops don’t always stay in their intended bins.
Someone may accidentally move a scoop from a gluten-free bin and put it in a bin with wheat, barley, or other gluten-containing grain, and contaminate the whole bin of rice.
Read on: Is rice gluten-free?
Read on: Is white rice gluten-free?
Read on: Is brown rice gluten-free?
Read on: Which whole grains are gluten-free?
Gluten-free basmati rice brands
Almost all basmati rice is considered safe for a gluten-free diet, but I know that oftentimes knowing that a food is naturally gluten-free is enough to feel safe. Especially if you are celiac, it’s important to know which brands take cross contamination seriously.
This is a list of brands that produce basmati rice that have gluten-free labels on their packaging. Though this list doesn’t have every brand of gluten-free basmati rice available, I hope it gives you a short list of options next time you’re shopping.
- Iberia Basmati Rice
- Khazana Premium Basmati Rice
- Lundberg California White Basmati Rice
- Lundberg California Brown Basmati Rice
- My Skinny White Basmati Rice
- Pride of India Indian Brown Basmati Rice
- Royal White Basmati Rice
- Thrive Market Organic Brown Basmati Rice
- Thrive Market Organic White Basmati Rice
- Tilda Pure Original Basmati Rice
- VeeTee Basmati Rice
If you’ve been wondering if basmati rice works for you on your gluten-free diet, I hope this post has helped you get the answers you’ve been looking for.
Basmati rice is naturally gluten-free, but it never hurts to look for a gluten-free label on a package before buying to ensure the manufacturer has made minimizing cross contamination a priority. Enjoy basmati rice in all your favorite curries and stir-fried dishes, knowing that is safe for you to enjoy.