White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: What’s The Difference?


White and black quinoa are two popular quinoa colors. In addition to the colors, many people ask how they’re different. Therefore, what’s the difference between white quinoa and black quinoa?

Black quinoa has a stronger, nuttier flavor, is crunchier and takes more time to cook than white quinoa. Black quinoa is colored black and retains its color when cooked. White quinoa is colored an off white and turns partly opaque when cooked. White quinoa is more common and easier to find.

This article will cover all the differences between the two quinoas starting with a side-by-side nutrient comparison. In addition, I’ll compare their textures, tastes, glycemic index, satiety index, prices and health benefits.

Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: Nutrient Comparison

White and black quinoa have similar nutritional profiles. The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in 100-grams of raw white quinoa and black quinoa.

To keep things as equal as possible, both are organic and from the same brand, Inca’s Gold.

  Black Quinoa (100 g) White Quinoa (100 g)
Calories 378 376
Protein 15.6 g 13.3 g
Carbohydrates 71.1 g 68.9 g
Fiber 8.2 g 7.1 g
Fat 6.67 g 5.56 g
Sugar 0 g 0 g
Vitamin A 0 IU 0 IU
Vitamin C 0 mg 0 mg
Iron 4.8 mg 6.0 mg
Calcium 67 mg 67 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2

White and black quinoa contain the same types of nutrients. At first it’s difficult to determine which one provides a higher percentage of nutrients than the other. This causes many people to ask, which is more healthier white quinoa or black quinoa?

White quinoa and black quinoa offer similar health benefits due to their similar nutrient profiles. Black quinoa provides a higher percentage of fiber and protein while white quinoa provides a higher percentage of iron. White and black quinoa provide a similar amount of calories, carbohydrates and calcium.

White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: Which to Choose

Both are considered healthy, and you really can’t go wrong choosing either one. Some people will alternate between the two to avoid boredom. They even sell a tricolor version containing white, red and black.

Some people have different goals which may sway your decision. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Weight Loss

The most popular goal may be weight loss. If you want to shed some extra pounds, you may ask, which quinoa is better for weight loss, white quinoa or black quinoa?

White quinoa and black quinoa are similar for weight loss due to their similar amount of calories per serving. White quinoa contains 169 calories per 1/4 cup dry. Black quinoa contains 170 calories per 1/4 cup dry.

The one calorie difference between the two isn’t large enough to make a difference when the goal is weight loss.

Including white or black quinoa as part of a well-balanced nutrition plan will help gain the maximum weight loss benefits.

Low-carb or Keto Diet

If your goal is a Keto or low-carb diet then carbohydrates are your number one concern. If you’re on a low-carb diet, you may ask which has more carbohydrates, white quinoa or black quinoa?

White and black quinoa is similar for a Keto or low-carb diet due to their similar amount of carbohydrates per serving. White quinoa contains 31 grams of carbohydrates per 1/4 cup dry. Black quinoa contains 32 grams of carbohydrates per 1/4 cup dry. 

Another consideration for Keto diets is the amount of fat. White quinoa provides 2.5 grams of fat per 1/4 cup dry and black quinoa 3.0 grams.

Bodybuilding

If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass there’s a good chance you’re lifting weights in the gym or home. Which is better for bodybuilding, white quinoa or black quinoa?

White quinoa and black quinoa are similar for bodybuilding due to their similar number of protein, carbohydrates and calories. White quinoa contains 5.98 grams per 1/4 cup dry. Black quinoa contains 7.0 grams of protein per 1/4 dry.

The one gram difference per serving between the two aren’t going to make a huge difference for building muscle.

Supplements for bodybuilding are expensive, and the costs add up pretty fast. Considering the price of both, black quinoa is more expensive and difficult to find.

The higher priced black quinoa which is also more difficult to find may sway your decision to white quinoa for bodybuilding.

For more details about the prices check out the price section below.

Gluten Free

White and black quinoa are naturally gluten free. In addition, both quinoas can be made into flour and used as a substitute for regular flour in gluten free recipes.

My Vitamix blender I use at home can make quinoa, cashew, almond or any nut flour in seconds. Check out my blender review here, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review.

white quinoa and black quinoa comparison

White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: Price

It seems every day at the supermarket the price is higher than the last. The price of food certainly matters to most, especially with the rising costs of everything.

The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, which costs more, white quinoa or black quinoa?

Black quinoa costs more than white quinoa per serving. The average price for black quinoa is $15.49 per 1 pound bag. The average cost for white quinoa is $10.99 per 1 pound bag.

There didn’t seem to be a difference in price between white or tri-color quinoa in every store I checked. Therefore, you can get a mixture of black, red and white for the same price of white alone.

I decided to conduct a search of various different stores to compare the price of white quinoa and black quinoa.

I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of white and black quinoa:

  • Wholesome Pantry White Quinoa
    • $3.99 per 12 oz bag (7 servings) equaling $0.57 per 1/4 cup serving
  • Wholesome Pantry Tri-Color (White, Red, Black)
    • $3.99 per 12 oz bag (7 servings) equaling $0.57 per 1/4 cup serving

I then checked Walmart for the prices of white quinoa and black quinoa:

  • Food to Live White Quinoa
    • $10.99 per 1 pound bag
  • Food to Live Organic Black Quinoa
    • $15.49 per 1 pound bag 

I then checked Amazon for the prices of white and black quinoa:

  • Bob’s Red Mill White Quinoa
    • $8.49 per 13 oz bag (8 servings) equaling $1.06 per 1/4 cup serving

Check out Amazon for quinoa products. Their prices are often more affordable depending on the seller and the sales.

White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: Taste and Texture

Many times people choose one food over the other because of its taste. Since there are some similarities between the two, many people wonder and ask, does white quinoa taste like black quinoa?

White and black quinoa have a nutty and earthy flavor but the black quinoa is nuttier and a bit sweeter. The main difference between the two is the texture. Although both are fluffy, the black quinoa is crunchier, chewier and less fluffy than white quinoa. If either quinoa isn’t rinsed before cooking, they may taste bitter.

What does quinoa taste like?

Quinoa has a mild flavor and is unsweet and not bitter. It has a slightly nutty flavor, and its texture is fluffy and chewy. Quinoa which isn’t rinsed or pre rinsed prior to cooking may taste bitter. Red and black quinoa is chewier than the white colored quinoa.

I decided to poll my clients, readers and people in food groups I belong to. I asked them, do prefer the taste of white or black quinoa?

  • 63% said they preferred the taste of white quinoa.
  • 34% said they preferred the taste of black quinoa.
  • 3% said they had no preference.

How to Cook Black Quinoa

Most store bought quinoa is pre-rinsed, if it is not pre-rinsed the black quinoa should be rinsed to avoid a bitter taste.

  • In a pot combine 1 cup of black quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is evaporated (about 20-25 minutes).
  • Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Salt or add spices to taste.

How to Cook White Quinoa

Most store bought quinoa is pre-rinsed, if it is not pre-rinsed the white quinoa should be rinsed to avoid a bitter taste.

  • In a pot combine 1 cup of white quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is evaporated (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Let stand 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Salt or add spices to taste.

Quinoa cooking tips:

  • Black quinoa takes longer to cook.
  • Quinoa is done when the liquid is absorbed.
  • If it’s properly cooked, you can see little, curled ends.
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa makes about 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked.
  • Quinoa should be cooked and not eaten raw.
  • For finicky kids, consider adding small amounts of quinoa to cookies, salads, meatballs or even macaroni and cheese.

Substituting White and Black Quinoa

Are black and white quinoa interchangeable?

White and black quinoa are interchangeable with each other in recipes, side dishes, salads and baking. Black quinoa holds its texture better and is used more for salads but is not as good for baked goods. Substitute one quinoa for the other using equal amounts called for in the recipe.

White Quinoa vs Black Quinoa: Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food. This is true for diabetics or anyone worrying about their health 3.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 4. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 5

Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:

  • Low-GI foods: 55 or under
  • Medium-GI foods: 56-69
  • High-GI foods: 70 or over

How blood sugars levels are affected:

  • Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.

Having more knowledge of the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people ask, does white quinoa or black quinoa have a higher glycemic index?

Black quinoa has a higher glycemic index than white quinoa although both are considered low-GI foods. Black quinoa cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes has a glycemic index of 54. White quinoa cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes has a glycemic index of 50.

After boiling for 15 minutes black quinoa has a glycemic load of 24 and white quinoa 23. 

Find out how quinoa compared to oatmeal in my article, Quinoa vs Oatmeal: Which Is Better? Let’s Compare.

The Satiety Index of White Quinoa and Black Quinoa

Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food. 

The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 6.

The table below shows the satiety scores of some grains, oats, rice and a few other filling foods.

Food Satiety Index Score
White bread 100%
Brown rice 132%
White rice 138%
Lentils 133%
Wholemeal Bread 157%
Brown pasta 188%
Oatmeal w/milk 209%

Unfortunately, quinoa was not one of the 38 foods tested. A study in 2005, by the University of Milan, tested the satiety of quinoa, buckwheat and oats compared to eating rice. All three had a higher satiating efficiency than rice 7.

The study, or any other study I was able to find about satiety, didn’t reference whether the quinoa tested was black, white or red. Since rice has satiety scores of 132% and 138%, we may be able to assume quinoa has a higher satiety score than 138%.

High satiety food like white quinoa and black quinoa are likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:

  1. High in protein.
  2. High in fiber.
  3. High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
  4. Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).

Quinoa seems to fit into all four listed above.

  1. Cooked quinoa contains 4.4 grams of protein per 3/4 cup.
  2. Cooked quinoa provides 2.8 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup.
  3. Quinoa absorbs water during cooking and weighs a good amount when prepared in relation to its calories.
  4. Cooked quinoa is 120 calories per 100 grams.

Find out how red quinoa compared to white quinoa in my article, Red Quinoa vs White Quinoa: What’s The Difference?

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The Health Benefits of White Quinoa and Black Quinoa

The nutrients provided by white quinoa and black are similar. For this reason, the health benefits offered are also similar. This section will examine the nutrients and how they benefit health.

Protein

  • Cooked quinoa contains 4.4 grams of protein per 100 grams.

White and black quinoa are good sources of protein. Protein may help benefit the following:

  • Boost metabolism
  • Reduce appetite
  • Build and repair muscle
  • Weight loss

Find out how quinoa compared to lentils in my article, Quinoa vs Lentils: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Fiber

  • Cooked quinoa contains 2.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams.

Both white and black quinoa are high in soluble fiber, which is helpful for many reasons 8. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water. 

Soluble fiber is known for the following:

  • Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
  • Help overall digestive health.
  • Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
  • Decrease the risk of diabetes by managing the blood glucose levels.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins provided by cooked quinoa include the following:

  1. B1 (thiamin/0.10 mg per 100 grams)
  2. B2 (riboflavin/0.11 mg per 100 grams)
  3. B3 (niacin/0.41 mg per 100 grams)
  4. B5 (0.33 mg per 100 grams)
  5. B6 (0.12 mg per 100 grams)
  6. B9 (folate/42 mcg per 100 grams)

B vitamins help support the following:

  • Nerve function.
  • Energy levels.
  • Digestion.
  • Brain function.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Red blood cells.

A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 9.

Calcium

  • Cooked quinoa contains 17 mg of calcium per 100 grams.

Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 10.

Calcium also helps the following:

  • Help the muscles to function properly.
  • Helps nerve function.
  • Build and maintain strong bones.

Magnesium

  • Cooked quinoa contains 64 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.

Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 11.

Magnesium helps control the following:

  • Nerve function
  • Blood pressure
  • Muscle
  • Insomnia
  • Blood sugar

One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.

In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 12.

Find out how quinoa compared to millet in my article, Millet vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Potassium

  • Cooked quinoa contains 172 mg of potassium per 100 grams.

Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 13.

According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 14. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.

Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 15.

white quinoa and black quinoa in a salad
White and black quinoa in a salad

Phosphorus

  • Cooked quinoa contains 152 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.

Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:

  • Muscle recovery and contraction.
  • Help the body store and manage energy.
  • Help the kidneys remove waste.
  • Promote healthy nerve conduction.
  • Promote teeth and bone strength.

Iron

  • Cooked quinoa contains 1.49 mg of iron per 100 grams.

Quinoa is an excellent choice if you need to get your daily value of iron. Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet. 

Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced.

Find out how bulgur compared to quinoa in my article, Bulgur vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Additional Article Resources 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Read Next – More Food vs Food Articles!

Brown Rice vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Couscous vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Barley vs Quinoa: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison

Organic Lentils vs. Conventional Lentils: Which is Better?

Brown Rice vs White Rice: Which is Better for Bodybuilding?

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. USDA: Organic White Quinoa[]
  2. USDA: Organic Black Quinoa, Black[]
  3. The University of Sydney: Your GI Shopping Guide[]
  4. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[]
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods[]
  7. Pub Med: Effect on appetite control of minor cereal and pseudo cereal products[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[]
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial[]
  10. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  12. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  13. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  14. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[]
  15. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[]
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  17. Purdue: Quinoa[]
  18. NC Cooperative Extension: Pass the Quinoa, Please![]
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  24. University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Keen on Quinoa[]
  25. Oxford University: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002[]
  26. Whole Grains Council: Types Of Quinoa[]
  27. Oregon State University Extension: Discovering the Ancient Grain Quinoa[]
  28. Food and Agriculture Organization: Quinoa[]
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  32. Bob’s Red Mill: Organic Quinoa Grain[]
  33. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Production of White, Red and Black Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd Var. Real) Protein Isolates and Its Hydrolysates in Germinated and Non-Germinated Quinoa Samples and Antioxidant Activity Evaluation[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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