How to Make Rice Flour Tortillas

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Rice flour, which is made from finely ground rice kernels, doesn't contain gluten and can be used as the base for making flour tortillas that fit into a gluten-free lifestyle. Use either white rice flour, brown rice flour or a combination of the two. The lack of gluten can give baked goods prepared with rice flour a dense, heavy texture. Because of this, you won't be able to simply substitute rice flour for the regular flour in a typical tortilla recipe without some additional ingredients that mimic gluten's action.

How to Make Rice Flour Tortillas
(Pamela Follett/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Rice flour, white or brown
  • Tapioca starch
  • Xanthan gum
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Whisk
  • Lard or vegetable shortening
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Plastic wrap
  • Scissors
  • Large zip-top plastic bag
  • Tortilla press or wide, heavy skillet
  • Large skillet or griddle
  • Spatula
  • Tortilla warmer (optional)
  • Plate
  • Kitchen towel
Step 1

Measure the rice flour into a large mixing bowl. Add tapioca starch, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use one part tapioca starch to three parts rice flour. Use approximately 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every 1 1/2 cups of flour, half of that amount each of salt and baking powder and twice as much sugar. Whisk well.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 2

Add lard or vegetable shortening to the dry ingredients, about 2 tablespoons for every 1 1/2 cups of rice flour. Use your fingers to combine until the mixture has reached an even consistency and no lumps remain.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 3

Pour 1/2 cup of cold water into the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the water has been absorbed into the dough and the mixture appears dry.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 4

Add 1/4 cup of cold water and mix until absorbed. Continue to add water – 1/4 cup at a time – stirring until it is all absorbed and the dough loses its dry appearance and holds together.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 5

Sprinkle some rice flour lightly on a flat surface. Knead the tortilla dough on the flour.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 6

Knead a small amount of additional flour or water into the dough if it feels too dry or too wet. Stop kneading when the dough holds its shape and is not sticky. Put plastic wrap over the dough.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 7

Pinch off a portion of the tortilla dough, covering the remaining dough with the plastic wrap. Roll it into a ball.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 8

Cut along the side seams of a large zip-top plastic bag and spread open. Dust each of the inner sides of the bag with rice flour.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 9

Put the ball of dough on one side of the bag, covering it with the other floured side. Use a tortilla press or a wide, heavy skillet to press the ball into a flat, round circle.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 10

Remove the tortilla from the plastic bag. Work slowly and carefully to avoid tearing the tortilla.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 11

Heat a large skillet or griddle until it just begins to smoke. Put the tortilla onto the skillet.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 12

Cook the tortilla for approximately 3 minutes, or until it has lightly browned. Turn it over with a spatula and cook the other side for several minutes to brown.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 13

Put the finished tortilla inside a tortilla warmer or put it on a plate and cover it with a kitchen towel.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media
Step 14

Continue to roll, press and cook the remaining dough into tortillas.

Pamela Follett/Demand Media

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