24 Best Substitutes for Rice

Substitutes for Rice
Photo by Pille R. Priske

Rice is the third most-produced food crop in the world, after sugar and wheat. And has been a staple of human diets since ancient times.

Also, it has been called the staff of life because it provides many nutrients essential to our health and well-being. But did you know there are substitutes for rice? It can be substituted with other grains.

That’s right—if you want to eat healthier but still want to enjoy dishes like sushi and jambalaya, consider switching out some of your white rice with these great substitutes!

Table of Contents

  1. Avocado
  2. Quinoa
  3. Zucchini Noodles 
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Adlai
  6. Brown rice
  7. Cauliflower Rice
  8. Wild Rice
  9. Barley
  10. Couscous
  11. Cabbage
  12. Orzo
  13. Mashed Potatoes
  14. Freekeh
  15. Bulgur Wheat 
  16. Whole Wheat Bread
  17. Veggies
  18. Roast Nuts
  19. Farro 
  20. Risoni
  21. Corn Grits
  22. Sweet Potato 
  23. Chickpea Rice
  24. Shirataki Rice


Avocado is a substitutes for rice. If you’re looking for a nutritious and delicious replacement, look no further than the avocado. This versatile fruit can be used in various dishes, from sushi to salads to wraps.

 Plus, it’s packed with healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. Here’s how to use avocado as a rice substitute 1) Mash 1/2 an avocado (peeled or unpeeled) with one tablespoon lime juice, two tablespoons olive oil, and one teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir together until all ingredients are mixed well. 

2) Serve over salad greens or wrap some chicken or steak in tortillas with cheese and other veggies for a hearty meal-time snack.


Quinoa is a delicious, nutrient-rich grain that makes a great substitutes for rice. It’s quick and easy to cook and can be used in various dishes. 

Quinoa is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins and is gluten-free. Try using quinoa in place of rice in your next meal! 

One favorite dish is fried rice with veggies and other meatless ingredients such as tofu or eggs. Start by cooking the rice in boiling water with salt and oil, Then set it aside while you make the stir fry. 

Also, you’ll need 1/2 cup each cooked quinoa, cooked vegetables like carrots or onions, garlic, ginger, green onions or scallions (green part only), soy sauce (or tamari), sesame oil, chili paste, or sriracha sauce (optional) and olive oil. 

Lastly, cook the vegetables first until they are almost done; this will give them time to brown before adding any other ingredients that would make them burn.

Zucchini Noodles

One popular substitute for rice is zucchini noodles. Zucchini noodles are a great option if you’re looking for a low-carbohydrate and gluten-free alternative to rice. 

Plus, they’re super easy to make! Use a spiralizer to create long, thin strands of zucchini. Then sauté them in a pan with your favorite sauce or seasonings.

Yum! If you don’t have a spiralizer on hand, an inexpensive mandolin slicer will do the trick just as well. You can substitute these noodles with carrots or cucumbers to suit your taste buds and dietary needs. 


Another grain-free option is cauliflower rice. While it doesn’t offer all of the nutritional benefits of brown rice, cauliflower has many benefits, like being high in vitamin C and containing some B vitamins such as folate. 

The texture isn’t like white or brown rice, but it works nicely when combined with other ingredients. Like garlic powder, salt, pepper, ginger powder, and nutritional yeast for those who want more flavor


Try Adlai if you’re looking for a substitute for rice similar in texture and flavor. This grain is native to India and has a nutty flavor that goes well with savory dishes. Adlai is also a good source of fiber and minerals like iron and magnesium.

Brown rice

 Brown rice can be used as a substitute for white or brown basmati rice in many recipes. While brown basmati rice can be used as a replacement, you’ll need to adjust cooking times accordingly. 

Though, it takes longer than other rice varieties because it’s whole-grain and contains more fiber than white or brown varieties.

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a great substitute for rice. It’s low in calories and carbs, and it’s a good source of fiber. 

Plus, it’s easy to make at home. Grate a head of cauliflower using a cheese grater or food processor, then cook it in a pan with olive oil or butter. Season it with salt, pepper, and other spices you like, and you’re good to go! 

In addition, If you have leftover veggies in the fridge, chop them up and add them to the mix for added flavor. If you don’t have time to make cauliflower rice from scratch, store-bought riced cauliflower is also an option. 

In a pinch, quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice: Quinoa has more protein than rice and contains all nine essential amino acids.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is an excellent substitute for rice in any dish. It has a nutty flavor that pairs well with savory or sweet dishes and is packed with nutrients. Plus, it’s easy to cook and can be found in most grocery stores. 


Barley is a delicious, nutty grain that makes one great substitute for rice. It’s easy to cook and can be used in various dishes. In addition, it’s a good source of fiber and protein. 


Couscous is an excellent substitute for rice because it cooks quickly, has a light and fluffy texture, and can absorb flavors well. Plus, it’s easy to find in most grocery stores. 

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to rice, couscous is a great option. Here are some tips for cooking couscous:

  1. Bring water to a boil before adding couscous. The ratio of water to couscous should be 2:1.
  2. Add flavor to the water with bouillon cubes, stock, herbs, or spices.
  3. Stir in the couscous and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes.


When it comes to substitutes for rice, cabbage is a fantastic option. It’s hearty and filling but also low in calories and fat. Plus, it’s incredibly versatile – you can use it in everything from stir-fries to soups. 

Shred or chop it into small pieces to substitute cabbage for rice. Then, cook it in the same way you would cook rice. You can steam it, fry it, or bake it. The possibilities are endless!


Orzo is a type of pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. It can be used in place of rice in most recipes and cooks for about the same time.

Orzo has a slightly different flavor than rice, but it is still delicious. You can find it at most grocery stores in the pasta aisle. 

But, If you don’t want to use store-bought pasta. You can make your own by cooking up some rice noodles (either brown or white) and cutting them into smaller pieces.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are not just an excellent side dish. They also make perfect substitutes for rice when combined with other ingredients. The best part is that mashed potatoes take about half the time to cook as long-grain white rice does.


Freekeh is another excellent substitute for rice because it has a similar texture and flavor. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients like protein and fiber.

Meanwhile, to cook freekeh, simmer it in water or broth for about 20 minutes.

Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur wheat is a delicious, healthy grain that makes an excellent substitute for rice. It’s high in fiber and protein and has a nutty flavor that goes well with almost any dish. To use bulgur wheat as a rice substitute, cook it according to the package directions. 

Then, use it in any recipe that calls for rice. Bulgur wheat is a great way to add more whole grains to your diet, and it’s so versatile that you’ll never get bored of it.

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread is also a great option when finding substitutes for rice. It has a similar texture and can be used in many of the same dishes.

Additionally, it’s packed with nutrients like fiber and protein. To make it work as a substitute, cook it the same way you cook rice.


When it comes to substitutes for rice, veggies are a great option. They can be used as a rice replacement in most dishes and are often more nutrient-dense than grain. Furthermore, they’re usually lower in calories, so they can help you reduce your overall intake.

Roast Nuts

Have you ever had rice that’s been toasted in a dry pan until it’s golden brown and slightly nutty-tasting? Well, that’s a general idea here, but with nuts instead of rice.

You can use any nut, but roasted almonds, cashews, or pistachios would be delicious. Please put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and occasionally stir until they’re browned and fragrant.


Try farro if you’re looking for a rice substitute with a similar texture. This ancient grain is chewy and nutty, making it an excellent option for dishes like risotto or pilaf. 

In addition, it’s packed with fiber and protein, so you’ll stay full and satisfied. To cook farro, simmer it in water or broth until tender.


Risoni, orzo, is a type of Italian pasta shaped like a large grain of rice. These portions of pasta are great substitutes for rice because they have a similar texture and can be used in many of the same dishes. Also, Risoni is a good source of protein and fiber, making it a healthier option than white rice.

Corn Grits

If you find yourself in a bind and without any rice, don’t worry! Plenty of other grains can be used as delicious substitutes for rice. One of our favorites is corn grits. 

Corn grits are made from ground-up corn and have a slightly sweet flavor. They can be used in place of rice in most dishes and are especially good in breakfast dishes like oatmeal or pancakes. Give them a try the next time you’re looking for something new!

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are great substitutes for rice because they are packed with nutrients. They have a lower glycemic index than white rice and are very versatile. 

In addition, you can cook them in a variety of ways, and they go well with many different dishes. Plus, they’re a great source of fiber and antioxidants.

Chickpea Rice

Chickpea rice is an excellent substitute for traditional rice. It has a similar texture and can be used in the same dishes. Plus, it’s packed with protein and fiber, making it a healthier option. 

Meanwhile, to make chickpea rice, cook chickpeas in water until they’re soft. Then mash them up and add them to your dish in place of rice.

Shirataki Rice

Shirataki rice is one of the great substitutes for rice because it is low in calories and carbs. Plus, it has a neutral taste that will take on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. To prepare, rinse shirataki rice in a colander and then cook it like regular rice.


Rice is a dietary staple for many cultures worldwide, but it’s not the only grain. Plenty of delicious rice substitutes are available if you’re looking to switch things up or are simply trying to cut back on your rice intake.

From quinoa to farro, there’s bound to be a grain you’ll love just as much as rice. So next time you’re in the mood for something new, give one of these substitutes a try!

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