Substituting Brown and White Rice: Cooking and Adjustments

As a Certified Health Coach I spend much time informing people about substituting healthy foods like rice. Many people wonder if it’s okay to substitute brown rice and white rice.

White rice and brown rice can substitute for each other in recipes, side dishes or salads. Although expect a change in taste and texture due to the more substantial brown rice.

Since both are gluten free, they can substitute for each other in gluten free recipes. When substituting use equal amounts called for in the recipe.

When substituting one food for the other, three factors are crucial in your decision:

  1. Taste and Texture
  2. Cooking times
  3. Price

Let’s examine each factor in more detail to help you in making your decision.

Cooked white rice and cooked brown rice in bowls.
Cooked white rice left and cooked brown rice right

Comparing the Taste and Texture of Brown and White Rice

Let’s face it, if you’re like me I won’t eat a food considered healthy unless I can tolerate the taste. I think if someone doesn’t like the flavor of a food, they won’t purchase it or substitute one for the other. Therefore, let’s examine how the taste compares.

Brown rice has an earthy, nutty taste compared to the starchier, more mild white rice. It has a medium to firm texture which is chewier than the softer white rice. White rice is fluffier than the denser brown.

I wanted to get the opinion of real people like you by conducting some original research. Therefore, I reached out to some clients, members of food groups and readers. I asked, which one tastes better?

  • 49% said they preferred the taste of brown rice.
  • 39% said they preferred the taste of white rice.
  • 12% said they had no preference.

I also participated in my own blind taste test. I tried a tablespoon of each one with my eyes closed. I picked the spoonful containing the brown rice.

In the taste poll and in my own test, brown rice was found to taste better and was the winner.

cooking rice
Cooking white rice

How Brown Rice and White Rice Cooks

Brown takes longer to cook which may change the cooking time of the recipe. It also requires more water.

Brown Rice vs White Rice Cooking:

Substitutes for brown rice are:

  • White rice
  • Quinoa
  • Farro
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Millet
  • Whole-wheat couscous
  • Riced cauliflower

Substitutes for white rice are:

  • Brown rice
  • Riced broccoli
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Millet
  • Riced cauliflower
This video explains how to cook brown rice.

Substituting Brown and White Rice: Prices

Deciding on whether to substitute one rice for the other, the price may play a factor in your decision.

I checked the price of a common brand for all the comparisons to keep things on an even playing field. I divided the price by the number of pounds. Therefore, let’s examine the prices.

Brown rice costs 6% more than white rice per pound. Brown rice average cost per pound is $1.45 and the average price for white rice is $1.37 per pound.

To conduct my own research, I checked three different supermarkets located in my area. Both supermarkets are on different levels of pricing. Walmart is the most economical and Stop and Shop being more expensive.

Here are my findings, first I visited Walmart:


  • B.R. (Carolina brand) – 2 lb. bag $2.83 ($1.41 per pound)
  • White rice (Carolina brand) – 2 lb. bag $2.83 ($1.41 per pound)


  • B.R. (Carolina brand) – 5 lb. bag $5.99 ($1.20 per pound)
  • White rice (Carolina brand) – 5 lb. bag $5.99 ($1.20 per pound)

Stop and Shop:

  • B.R. (Carolina brand) – 2 lb. bag $3.49 ($1.74 per pound)
  • White rice (Carolina brand) – 2 lb. bag $2.99 ($1.49 per pound)
Kevin Garce checking the prices of brown rice at his local supermarket.
Checking the prices of brown rice at my local supermarket

If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

The following video has five rice alternatives for blood sugar control.

Read More Rice Articles

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Brown Rice vs White Rice: Storage Methods Compared

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