Did you know there are over 40,000 varieties of rice worldwide?! Today we are going to explore two very different types of rice: wild rice vs brown rice.
In this article, we'll look at how wild rice and brown rice compare in a variety of ways: from taste and appearance to nutritional value, cook time, and cost. We'll learn different types of ways to prepare each grain. Plus, I'll share some great recipes for both types of rice.
Brown rice is primarily grown in Asia and is eaten all around the world. It fits seamlessly into many different types of cuisines. Brown rice is very similar to white rice, in fact, white rice IS brown rice, just with an extra layer of the grain removed!
Wild rice, on the other hand, is less popular worldwide. It is primarily grown in North America. Wild rice is more of a cousin to the other types of rice. Although shaped the same, it has a different taste and texture than pretty much every other type of rice.
Let's get started with the comparisons!
Wild rice and brown rice look quite different from each other, both before and after being cooked.
Wild rice is very dark in color, while brown rice is a light tan. Wild rice is also thinner and longer than brown rice.
Once cooked, both grains remain the same color. The wild rice grains sometimes split open, revealing a lighter inside. Brown rice does not split open but keeps its same shape.
Wild rice has a much stronger taste than brown rice. It tastes grainy or grassy. Comparatively, brown rice is a much milder flavor, similar to white rice.
Both wild rice and brown rice have a chewier texture than white rice.
Can I use wild rice as a substitute for brown rice?
Technically you can substitute wild rice for brown rice as they are both rice and will perform the same way in a recipe. However, I would do so cautiously. Wild rice has a much stronger flavor than brown rice and will change the flavor of a dish.
I would only use wild rice as a substitute for brown rice if I really liked how wild rice tasted, or if I knew its flavor would pair well with the flavors in the recipe I'm making.
For example, I think wild rice would work great in a vegetable soup, but not with an Asian recipe, like Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Can I use brown rice as a substitute for wild rice?
Because of its mild flavor, it's much easier to substitute brown rice for wild rice than vice versa. I think brown rice would work for almost any recipe that calls for wild rice, the flavor would just be milder.
I often am asked which type of rice is the healthiest. This is a tricky question because the term "healthy" can mean different things to so many people. Brown rice and wild rice are both whole grains that have different characteristics that people would classify as healthy. Let's check some of them out.
Wild rice has a glycemic index of 45, which is considered low.
Brown rice's score is a bit higher but still considered low. It has a GI of 50.
Wild rice has fewer calories than brown rice.
- 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories.
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 248 calories.
Wild rice has a bit more protein.
- 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 6.5 grams of protein.
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5.5 grams of protein.
Both kinds of rice have similar fiber content.
- 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 3 grams of fiber.
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 3 grams of fiber.
So as you can see, it's hard to say which rice is better for you, because they are both healthy in different ways. That is why a diet with a variety of foods is the healthiest type of diet.
⏲️ Cook Time
Both types of rice can be prepared in various ways. Brown rice has a bit of a faster cook time for most of the different methods. Check out the different cook times, as well as links to a tutorial for each method below.
1 cup wild rice cook times:
1 cup brown rice cook times:
- Instant Pot: ~25 minutes
- Rice Cooker: ~45 minutes
- Stove Top: ~45 minutes
Because of its unique harvesting needs (learn more about it here), wild rice is significantly more expensive than brown rice. In fact, it's one of the most expensive grains.
In Washington State, as of January 2023, wild rice costs $5.16 per pound and brown rice costs 80 cents a pound.
Here are some of my favorite wild rice and brown rice from around the web
Here are some top-rated rice cookers that will definitely come in handy when preparing either brown or wild rice.
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If you'd like to read further about either of these healthy whole grains you can check out:
Everything you need to know about Brown Rice
Well, is there anything we didn't cover? Drop any questions you have about brown or wild rice in the comments and I'd love to figure them out together! Also, let me know which type of rice you prefer, wild rice vs brown rice!