5 Best White Rice Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There are many reasons for people to seek white rice substitutes, and the good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

White Rice Substitutes

The most popular white rice substitutes, whether you want to spice up a recipe or get more nutrients, include quinoa, brown rice, bulgur wheat, and cauliflower rice, among others.


With a huge amount of protein in every serving, as well as a very high level of fiber, it is increasing in popularity as of late, even though it has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is also naturally gluten-free and offers all of the amino acids the body needs, making it a complete protein. [1]

Cauliflower rice or grated cauliflower with basil leaves, in a bowl

Cauliflower rice is a low-carb option instead of regular white rice. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Wild Rice

Wild rice is high in protein and dietary fiber, as well as magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. This alternative to white rice can give a bit more flavor to your dish, while also helping to increase energy levels and boost bone density. [2]

Brown Rice

Perhaps the most common white rice substitute, brown rice is actually considered healthier than white rice, since it hasn’t been stripped of its outer covering. That means that brown rice delivers more fiber and slows the carbohydrate response in the body, which is good news for diabetic patients. [3]


This doesn’t maintain the same consistency as rice, and may not be appropriate for every dish, but it is very high in fiber and selenium, and can certainly sub in for rice in certain situations. [4]

Bulgur Wheat

With a consistency similar to couscous, bulgur wheat provides a huge amount of your dietary fiber needs for the day, and is one of the best sources for plant protein; it is also easy to cook and can be integrated into various meals. [5]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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