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The 10 Best Substitutes for White Rice

White rice is a staple in many cuisines around the world, but it’s not always the healthiest option.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative or just want to try something new, there are plenty of substitutes for white rice that can add flavor and nutrition to your meals.

From quinoa to cauliflower rice, we’ll explore the top ten best substitutes for white rice and how to cook with them.

Whether you’re looking to add more protein, fiber, or vegetables to your diet, these alternatives are sure to satisfy your taste buds and your health goals.

What is White Rice?

Long Grain White Rice

White rice is a type of rice that has had its bran and germ removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This process results in a milder flavor and softer texture than brown rice, which retains its bran and germ.

White rice is a staple food in many cultures and is commonly used as a side dish or base for dishes such as stir-fries, curries, and sushi. It is also a good source of carbohydrates and provides small amounts of protein and various B vitamins.

However, it is lower in fiber and other nutrients than brown rice, which is why some people prefer to choose brown rice over white rice for its added nutritional benefits.

The 10 Best Substitutes for White Rice

White rice is a staple in many cuisines, but it can be difficult to find and not always the healthiest option.

If you’re looking for an alternative, here are ten substitutes that will still provide the same delicious flavor and texture:

  1. Quinoa: A plant-based grain that is a great substitute for white rice due to its similar texture and mild taste. Quinoa is also high in protein and fiber, making it a healthier option.
  2. Cauliflower Rice: Made by pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains, cauliflower rice has become increasingly popular as a low-carb alternative to white rice.
  3. Brown Rice: A whole grain that retains the bran and germ layers of the rice kernel, brown rice is higher in nutrients than white rice and has a nuttier flavor.
  4. Wild Rice: Not actually a type of rice but rather an aquatic grass seed, wild rice has a chewy texture and earthy flavor that pairs well with savory dishes.
  5. Barley: Another whole grain, barley has a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavor that makes it an excellent substitute for white rice in soups or stews.
  6. Couscous: Made from semolina flour or wheat flour, couscous has small granules that have a similar texture to white rice but with more flavor depth.
  7. Bulgur Wheat: A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, bulgur wheat is made from cracked wheat berries that are parboiled before being dried and ground into coarse grains. It has a slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture.
  8. Sweet Potato Rice: Made by spiralizing sweet potatoes into thin strands resembling long-grain white rice, this alternative is not only healthy but also adds color to your dish.
  9. Lentils: These legumes can be cooked similarly to how you would cook white rice and provide added protein, fiber, and iron while still maintaining the same fluffy texture as traditional white rice.
  10. Farro: An ancient grain with origins dating back thousands of years ago in Egypt, farro has grown increasingly popular due to its unique taste profile – nutty and slightly sweet. It’s also high in fiber and protein, making it a nutritious substitute for white rice.

How To Choose A Substitute

When choosing a substitute for any ingredient, including white rice, there are a few things to consider.

  • First, think about the flavor profile of the dish you’re making and which substitute will complement it best. For example, if you’re making a spicy dish, you might want to choose a substitute with a milder flavor, such as cauliflower rice or quinoa, to balance out the heat.
  • Next, consider the texture of the substitute. Some substitutes, like quinoa or bulgur, have a similar texture to rice and will work well in dishes where the texture is important. Others, like cauliflower rice, may have a slightly different texture but can still add depth and flavor to a dish.
  • Finally, think about any dietary restrictions or preferences. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, quinoa, cauliflower rice, and buckwheat are all great choices. If you’re trying to reduce your carbohydrate intake, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles might be a better option than brown rice.

It’s also worth experimenting with different substitutes to see which ones you like best. Don’t be afraid to try something new and see how it works in your favorite recipes. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the flavor and texture of a substitute you’ve never tried before.


In conclusion, there are countless substitutes for white rice that can add variety, flavor, and nutrition to your meals. Whether you’re looking to reduce carbohydrates, increase fiber, or simply try something new, there’s a perfect option for every taste and dietary need.

From quinoa and cauliflower rice to farro and bulgur, each alternative offers a unique set of benefits that can elevate your dishes to new heights. Some of these options are gluten-free, while others are rich in protein or vitamins and minerals.

It’s also worth mentioning that many of these substitutes are easy to prepare and can be used in a variety of recipes, from stir-fries and salads to soups and stews. They can be seasoned with herbs, spices, and sauces to create endless flavor combinations that will keep your taste buds happy and satisfied.

So, whether you’re looking to switch up your meal routine or simply want to experiment with new ingredients, these 10 substitutes for white rice are a great place to start. Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen and try out different combinations until you find your perfect match. Your body and taste buds will thank you for it.

Long Grain White Rice

The 10 Best Substitutes for White Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 350 kcal


  • Quinoa
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Barley
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur Wheat
  • Sweet Potato Rice
  • Lentils
  • Farro


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.