All About Rice Noodles

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Let’s dive into the world of rice noodles! What they are, how to use them, the best rice noodle brands, rice noodle recipes, and more!

Dry white rice noodles resting on a wooden table.
White rice noodles.
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We are no strangers to rice noodles over here on MOON and spoon and yum! Not only are rice noodles a wonderful staple to have on hand for use with a wide variety of ingredients, but they are also a super budget-friendly item, too. You need little more than a good condiment, a protein, and maybe some veggies, and you are all set! Bonus: rice noodles can accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences and need. So, let’s dive into the world of rice noodles now, shall we?

What Are Rice Noodles?

Rice noodles are noodles made from little more than rice flour and water. Rice noodles can be made from different varieties of rice and also come in various shapes and sizes. Rice noodles are more commonly used in Asian cuisine and Asian Fusion cuisines.

The Thai dish Pad Thai on a white ceramic plate.
Pad Thai.

What Do Rice Noodles Taste Like?

Rice noodles have a very neutral flavor much like plain cooked rice, making it a highly versatile ingredient that picks up the other flavors used in dishes.

Are Rice Noodles Gluten Free?

Yes. Rice noodles are usually made from nothing more than rice flour and water. However, you do want to check the packaging carefully for any notes about the potential of cross-contamination or seek a certified gluten-free label.

Types of Rice Noodles

Pad Thai Rice Noodles

These are the most common type of rice noodles. They are flat rice noodles that come in both white rice and brown rice varieties. They are most commonly used in the Thai dish Pad Thai. Sometimes they are called stir-fry noodles.

Ramen Rice Noodles

While ramen noodles are traditionally made with wheat flour, these days you can find quite a variety of ramen noodles made with rice instead. They are a great choice for noodle soup dishes.

Maifun Noodles

Maifun noodles are very thin rice noodles also known as rice vermicelli noodles or rice stick noodles. They are delicate, cook quickly, and really sop up any sauces you use in a dish. You can find Maifun noodles in both white rice and brown rice varieties. Maifun is usually the first choice for a Chinese dish known as Singapore Noodles.

Rice Flake Noodles

Rice flake noodles are wide, flat, thick-cut rice noodles in the shape of flakes that are commonly used in a Thai dish called Pad Kee Mao aka Drunken Noodles.

Specialty Rice Noodles

Black rice noodles, red rice noodles, and extra-wide rice noodles are just a few fun varieties of rice noodles that can be found.

Singapore Noodles in a black wok.
Singapore noodles.

How to Cook Rice Noodles

Cook time will vary based on the shape and size of the rice noodles, but most rice noodles require very little cooking time. In fact, the best way to cook rice noodles is to cover them in boiling water and allow them to sit for a few minutes until softened. Simmering over the stove will more often than not result in over-cooked rice noodles.

Ways to Use Rice Noodles

Warm Dishes

  • Stir-fries: Rice noodles are quick to prepare and use in a hot skillet or wok alongside some protein, veggies, and a favorite sauce like soy sauce or sriracha.
  • Singapore Rice Noodles: This dish, created in Hong Kong, features thin rice noodles stir-fried with curry powder, meat, eggs, and fish sauce.
  • Pad Thai: A traditional Thai dish made with regular white rice noodles, shrimp, peanuts, egg, bean sprouts, tofu, lime juice, and tamarind juice.
  • Rice noodle soup: There are lots of traditional noodle soup dishes, as well as rice noodle soups spawned from Asian Fusion cuisine. This is an easy dish to get creative with — just think of any soup you fancy, but with rice noodles thrown in.
  • Ramen: While traditional ramen is made with noodles made with wheat flour, rice ramen noodles have really risen in popularity. You can make any ramen recipe you prefer, but with rice ramen noodles instead.
  • Laksa: Laksa is a Southeast Asian noodle soup dish made with rice noodles, chicken, fish, or prawns, and chiles, all in a spicy coconut soup base.
  • Pho: Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of rice noodles in a rich broth filled with fresh herbs, spices, fish sauce, and meat such as beef, fresh ginger, and garlic.

Cold Dishes

  • Spring rolls: Vietnamese spring rolls usually contain thin cold rice noodles alongside fresh Thai basil, snow peas, carrots, shrimp, chili garlic sauce, and fish sauce all wrapped up in rice paper.
  • Rice noodle salad: Cold rice noodle salads are common in Southeast Asia. They usually contain ingredients such as soy sauce, fish sauce, lime, garlic, Thai chile, bell peppers, cilantro, and a protein such as tofu or chicken.

Best Rice Noodle Recipes

Here are 22 amazing Rice Noodle Recipes!

A small white ceramic bowl filled with Laksa, Southeast Asian noodle soup.

Best Rice Noodle Brands

Frequently Asked Questions

Are rice noodles healthier than pasta?

Rice noodles are considered healthier due to being a simple two-ingredient whole foods-based pasta with no added fats or preservatives.

Are rice noodles lower in carbs?

While rice noodles are lower in carbohydrates than most conventional pasta, they are not low enough in carbs to be considered keto.

Are rice noodles vegan?

Yes. While it is always a good idea to read the ingredients list on a package of rice noodles, most rice noodles are nothing more than rice flour and water, and are therefore considered vegan.

More Rice Noodle Resources

Spicy Baked Tofu Noodles

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