Glass Noodles vs Rice Noodles: 9 Differences You Need to Know

There are a lot of types of noodles available in the market today.

While some people may be familiar with the more common pasta noodles, there are also other varieties, such as glass noodles and rice noodles.

Perhaps you are already aware of glass and rice noodles from your favorite Asian dishes, but do you know what they are?

Glass and Rice noodles are two of the most popular types used in Asian cuisine.

Glass noodles, also known as cellophane noodles or bean thread noodles, are made from mung bean starch.

As you might have guessed, rice flour makes rice noodles.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at glass and rice noodleswhat they’re made of, and how they differ

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these two popular types of noodles! 

Glass Noodles vs Rice Noodles
The main differences between glass noodles and rice noodles are color, appearance, texture, flavor, absorbency, cooking time, uses, and nutritionGlass noodles are made from starches and have a slightly chewy texture, while rice noodles are made from rice flour and are more delicate.

What are Glass Noodles?

Glass noodles, called cellophane noodles or bean threads, are a type of transparent noodle made from starches like mung bean flour or potato starch.

These noodles are very popular in ChineseJapanese, and Korean cuisine. 

When cooked, glass noodles are translucent, which is why they’re sometimes called “clear noodles.” 

They are often used in Asian cooking, are incredibly versatile, and can be used in soupssalads, and stir-fries.

Glass noodles have a chewy texture.

When cooking, you should soak them in water beforehand to become softer.

What are Rice Noodles?

Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water. 

They’re popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos

Rice noodles come in various widths, from vermicelli (thin) to pho noodles (wide).

Rice noodles come in different thicknesses and can be either flat or round.

They’re wider and flatter than glass noodles and have a slightly sweet flavor.

The most popular type of rice noodle is vermicelli, which is used in dishes such as pho soup and pad thai.

Like glass noodles, rice noodles should also be soaked in water before cooking to become softer. 

Rice noodles have a chewy texture, and their flavor is pretty neutral, which makes them the perfect blank canvas for other ingredients. 

What are the differences between Glass Noodles and Rice Noodles

Both glass and rice noodles make excellent additions to a variety of Asian dishes, but there are some differences between them.

1. Origins

Glass noodles are made from starches like mung bean flour or potato starch, while rice noodles are made from rice flour and water.

2. Color

Glass noodles are translucent and can range in color from white to yellow, while rice noodles are opaque and usually off-white or light brown.

3. Appearance

One of the most obvious differences between glass noodles and rice noodles is their appearance

Glass noodles are made from mung bean starch and are very thin and translucent

On the other hand, rice noodles are made from rice flour and water.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from very thin to quite thick, but they are always opaque.

4. Texture

Another key difference between glass noodles and rice noodles is their texture.

Glass noodles have a chewy and jelly-like texture similar to cellophane or clear vermicelli noodles.

They are much thinner than rice noodles and have a brittle, delicate texture. 

They need to be cooked briefly, so they don’t become mushy.

On the other hand, rice noodles are smoother than glass ones, have a slightly firmer texture that is easy to break, and can be cooked for longer without becoming overcooked.

They are also more likely to stick together than glass noodles.

5. Flavor

When it comes to flavor, glass noodles are relatively flavorless on their own, so they absorb the flavors of the dish they’re in and will take on the flavors of the other ingredients in a dish.

Rice noodles also have a neutral flavor, but they have a slightly sweet taste due to the rice flour they are made from and a somewhat nutty flavor, and they can hold their own in a dish.

6. Absorbency

Another difference between these two types of noodles is their absorbency.

Glass noodles absorb less liquid than rice noodles, so they’re often used in soups or stir-fries where you want the sauce or broth to be the show’s star.

On the other hand, rice noodles are more likely to soak up too much liquid if they’re not cooked properly.

This makes them better suited for dishes where you want the noodle to absorb some flavors from the sauce or broth.

7. Traditional uses

Glass noodles are famous in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine and can be used in soups, salads, and stir-fries

On the other hand, rice noodles are famous in Southeast Asian cuisine and are often used in dishes such as pho soup and pad thai.

8. Cooking time

Another difference between these two types of noodles is their cooking time

Glass noodles only need to be soaked in hot water for about 3-5 minutes before they’re ready to eat.

On the other hand, rice noodles need to be cooked in boiling water for 4-6 minutes before they’re ready to eat. 

9. Nutrition

Glass noodles and rice noodles differ slightly in terms of nutrition.

Glass noodles are lower in calories than rice noodles but have less protein and fiber.

Rice noodles contain more vitamins and minerals than glass noodles, but they are also higher in carbs. 

Glass Noodles vs Rice Noodles: Are they the same?

No, glass noodles and rice noodles are not the same. 

They differ in terms of their origins, appearance, texture, flavor, and nutrition.

Glass noodles get their name and texture from starches like mung bean flour or potato starch, while rice noodles are made from rice flour and water.

Glass noodles are thinner than rice noodles and have a chewy, jelly-like texture. 

Rice noodles have a slightly sweet taste due to the rice flour they’re made from and the firmer texture. 

They are also more likely to absorb too much liquid if not cooked properly.

Regarding traditional uses, glass noodles are popular in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine, while rice noodles are famous in Southeast Asian cuisine.

Finally, Glass noodles are lower in calories than rice noodles but have less protein and fiber. 

Rice noodles contain more vitamins and minerals than glass noodles but are also higher in carbs.

Now that you know the difference between glass noodles and rice noodles, you can decide which type of noodle is better for your dish

If you’re looking for a neutral-flavored noodleglass noodles are a good choice.

If you want a sweeter flavor, go for rice noodles

And if you’re unsure which to choose, why not try both? 

Glass noodles and rice noodles are delicious and versatile, so there’s no wrong answer!

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( Former Private Chef )

After acquiring a professional culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America, Andrew honed his culinary expertise by working in some of the most prestigious restaurants and catering companies, where he gained valuable experience in crafting delicious and visually stunning gourmet dishes.

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