What’s The Difference: Rice Flour Vs. Glutinous Rice Flour Vs. Galapong

Two you can buy at the store and one you can easily make at home!

Rice flour is the essential ingredient for a lot of kakanin! Whether you’re thinking of making cheese puto, sapin-sapin, or an easy bibingka recipe for Christmas, you’ll be needing some rice flour to make these delicious local dessserts. 

Did you know that there are different kinds of rice flour on the market? There are! There are two kinds and if you happen to not find rice flour in stores, you can even make it at home! The homemade version may even be more delicious than the ones you buy at the store! 

Here are the two kinds of rice flour: 

  1. 1 regular rice flour
  2. 2 glutinous rice flour

The third homemade rice flour is known as galapong and if you have a blender and a little time on your hands, you can easily make this every time you crave some kakanin

Here’s what makes these three kinds of rice flour different from the other: 

1 Rice flour is made from regular rice, glutinous rice flour from malagkit, and galapong can be made with either kind of rice.  

Rice flour is basically just made from the usual everyday rice that you steam and served with your meals. This can be dinorado, sinandomeng, angelica, or the other kinds of rice variants that are available. The biggest difference is whether the rice is sticky or not. 

You’ll also find glutinous rice flour labeled as “glutinous rice flour” versus “rice flour”. This is an important distinction in many recipes, and it can mean the difference between a kakanin that is sticky and chewy and one that is not. You can usually tell what kind it is by the label or you can take a look at the ingredients list to check that it’s malagkit that used for this kind of flour. 


If you’re living in the west where either kind of rice flour is only available in the Asian section or specialty grocery stores, you might have a hard time finding “glutinous rice flour”. That’s because it might be under a different name. Glutinous rice flour is also known as “mochiko” in Japan and might be translated and labeled as “sweet rice flour” on some Western labels. (This flour is not actually sweetened although it’s described to be so.) Both are flours made from a kind of sticky or malagkit rice, and it’s this kind of rice that is used to make mochi. If that’s the texture you want, this is the bag of flour to get. 

Just watch out for rice flour that actually contains sugar in the ingredients list so that you are not surprised that your sticky rice recipe has become sweeter than you originally intended. 

Using a blender to blend together water, eggs, sugar, and overnight-soaked rice or galapong is an easy way of making kakanin batter.

Galapong meanwhile is not exactly rice flour such as the dry versions you’ll find in the stores but it is rice that is ground up after being soaked. This is because it’s commonly fermented. It begins with rice, soaked overnight to soften the grains. This is then ground and made into a batter for the kakanin. The soaked rice is usually set aside to ferment, usually overnight to as long as a few days, and it’s this fermentation that gives rise to fluffy kakanin such as puto and bibingka.


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Fermenting the galapong is no longer necessary, especially since chemical leaveners can be used in the batter, unless you want the flavor that develops when it is fermented. This is what you want when you make puto Calasiao

2 Rice flour is not as sticky as glutinous rice flour. 

If you have ever tried to make puto recipe and discovered that it’s super sticky rather than fluffy? Did you perhaps make a sapin-sapin or kutsinta that was not as chewy as you like? You might have used the wrong kind of rice flour. 

For fluffy, risen kakanin such as puto and bibingka, the kind of rice flour you use should be the regular rice flour. 

For sticky, chewy kakanin such as sapin-sapin, kalamay, and soft palitaw, you’ll want to use glutinous rice flour. You can even use glutinous rice flour for the chewy bilo-bilo of your ginataang halo-halo


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