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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for White Rice

Have you ever wondered what our kitchens would be without white rice?

What would replace the humble ingredients that lie at the heart of so many meals around the world?

Rice isn’t just a staple in some countries; it’s also incredibly versatile, whether cooked as a side dish or part of a main course.

So, how can we substitute white rice to give recipes a nutritional boost?

Or maybe make them even easier to cook than before?

There are multiple options available that come with added health benefits and provide you with more culinary inspiration.

Let’s explore the top five substitutes for white rice and how you can use them in your kitchen.

What is White Rice?

Who would have thought that something as seemingly bland and unimaginative as white rice could have been so profound in its applications? This humble grain has only the most rudimentary flavor and texture, yet over centuries it has emerged as a staple across the world.

Far from being simply an insipid accompaniment to meals, certain creative cooks even transform it into stunning dishes of their own making – for example, incorporating the fluffy grains into a delicious riz au lait dessert or stir-frying them with eggs and vegetables.

If you wish to venture into preparing white rice yourself – you can either boil it until fluffy and tender, fry it in a wok until crunchy or sticky, or bake it until lightly colored.

There is undoubtedly something extra special about sourcing this versatile grain that more than compensates for its basic characteristics.

The 5 Best Substitutes for White Rice

If you’re looking for an alternative to white rice, you may find yourself scratching your head in bewilderment over the sheer variety of options available.

From cauliflower to quinoa and beyond, there are so many choices that it can be hard to know where to begin.

To help you on your journey, let’s take a look at the five best substitutes for white rice.

1 – Brown Rice

Brown rice, where did you come from? Everyone loves white rice – it’s been a staple of Western diets for centuries.

But this flavorful, fiber-rich, whole-grain alternative is quickly making its way onto dinner tables everywhere.

With a slightly nutty taste and chewy texture that pairs so well with savory dishes, it’s no surprise that brown rice has been dubbed one of the healthiest grains out there.

If you want to make the switch but aren’t quite sure how to start off by substituting small amounts of brown rice in your favorite recipes – you’d be surprised at how much flavor it brings to the plate.

2 – Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is an ambiguous food – it looks like regular rice but tastes and cooks differently.

It’s a bit perplexing to me; the texture is much softer compared to white rice, though the flavor is neutral (or barely there).

Cauliflower rice is surprisingly versatile and can be used as a substitute for white rice in almost any meal.

To make it, all you have to do is pulse florets of cauliflower in a food processor until they’ve been broken down into tiny pieces and resemble a grain-like texture.

Then you can turn it into fried rice, use it as a filling for burritos, or incorporate it in homemade veggie burgers.

However you decide to use it, you’ll be sure to love the convenience and health benefits of this rise alternative.

3 – Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most contentiously talked-about foods today.

It’s a superfood; it’s nutritious; it’s vegan – its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years.

It’s no wonder that quinoa has made its way into our lives as a viable substitute for white rice.

Quinoa has a slightly crunchy texture and nutty taste, more complex than white rice but with a subtle flavor that is quite distinct from any other grain.

To use quinoa instead of white rice, simply replace equal parts of the grain when you start cooking.

Rinse and strain the quinoa beforehand so it’s free from any residue; then add twice as much liquid as quinoa – just like with regular rice; wait till all the liquid has been absorbed before happily chowing down.

4 – Broccoli Rice

The very idea of broccoli rice is perplexing.

How does one transform a thick, fibrous vegetable into something resembling the starchy appeal of rice? It turns out you create an experience that yields a delightful surprise.

Broccoli rice, which can be made by pulsing fresh or frozen broccoli florets in a food processor, has a taste and texture that resembles being partway between traditional white rice and couscous.

Both light and substantial at the same time, it can easily be substituted for traditional white rice.

A great boon for anyone looking to add more vegetables to their diet.

5 – Barley

Barley is one of the oldest grains around and a staple food crop throughout history.

It has a nutty, earthy flavor and chewy texture, making it quite different from white rice.

But barley also has some great health benefits: it is packed with fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and many other essential minerals.

The fiber content helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer.

If you’re looking to substitute white rice with barley in your dishes, it can be used just like any other grain – in soups, salads, or as a side dish.

This ancient grain may take some getting used to, but its nutritional value makes it worth the effort.


In conclusion, there are plenty of healthy, tasty alternatives to traditional white rice.

Brown rice may be the most popular substitute, but there’s a world of other options out there – from cauliflower rice to quinoa and even barley.

Each offers its own unique taste and texture, as well as health benefits that make them worth trying.

So go ahead and explore the surprising world of rice alternatives – you won’t be disappointed.

The 5 Best Substitutes for White Rice

Out of white rice? Don't worry, here are five excellent substitutes to keep your meals hearty and satisfying, whether you're looking for similar texture or a healthier alternative.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Brown Rice
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli Rice
  • Barley


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for White Rice
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