Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Which is Healthier?

In this most detailed guide, I’ll compare 2 rice types, black rice, and wild rice, for their taste, texture, cooking methods, price, and healthiness (above all). This comparison will help you better choose between black rice and wild rice. 

Key Takeaways

  • Black rice and wild rice are both nutritious and gluten-free grains.
  • Black rice has a slightly sticky texture and a nutty flavor, whereas wild rice has a chewy texture and a nutty, earthy flavor.
  • Black rice is a good source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which are linked to several health benefits.
  • Wild rice is a good source of fiber and protein.
  • Black rice is more affordable than wild rice.
  • Black rice makes a better choice.

Wild Rice vs. Black Rice: A Quick Comparison

CriteriaWild RiceBlack Rice
Scientific NameOryza sativaZizania
OriginNative to North America, mainly in the Great LakesOriginated in China, but has also grown in other countries
Grain AppearanceLong, slender grainsMedium to short grains
ColorDark brown to blackDeep purple to black
TextureChewyChewy and slightly sticky
Nutritional ContentHigh in protein, fiber, and antioxidantsHigh in antioxidants, fiber, and essential minerals
Gluten-FreeYesYes
Cooking TimeUp to 1 hour30-40 minutes
Flavor ProfileEarthy, nutty flavor similar to riceA nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness, similar to brown rice
Culinary UsesSalads, side dishes, stuffing, pilafsDesserts, rice bowls, sushi, salads, and side dishes
Health BenefitsRich in antioxidants, vitamins, and mineralsSupports heart health, aids digestion, and controls blood sugar levels
AvailabilityWidely available in supermarketsAvailable in specialty stores or online
PriceUsually more expensive than other rice typesModerately priced, but can be more expensive in specialty varieties

Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: What’s the Primary Difference?

Let’s begin by knowing and comparing black rice and wild rice, in general.

What is Black Rice?

Does Black Rice Glycemic Index Make it Low Carb?

Black rice is a low GI, special type of rice with a deep black (purple-black) color, which turns purple when cooked. It’s also called forbidden rice or purple rice. It got the name “forbidden rice” because only the Chinese emperor and royal family could eat it in the past. This rice was rare and had great nutritional value.

Black rice is mainly grown in Asia, particularly in China, India, and Indonesia. It has a unique nutty taste and a slightly chewy texture. 

The rice’s dark color comes from anthocyanin, also found in other purple or dark foods like blueberries and blackberries. The presence of anthocyanin gives black rice its unique nutritional value and associated health benefits.

In cooking, black rice can be used in various dishes like salads, stir-fries, and desserts. Even after cooking, it retains its dark color, which adds visual appeal to meals. 

What is Wild Rice?

Wild rice, not actually a type of rice, but the seed of a grass species called Zizania, is a low GI food. It’s native to North America and is commonly found in regions with freshwater lakes, rivers, and marshes. 

Unlike regular rice, wild rice has a long, leaner grain. It has a dark brown or black external layer. When cooked, the grains become tender, with a slightly chewy texture. It has a rich, nutty flavor that sets it apart from other grains. 

Wild rice has been a major food for Native American tribes’ diets for centuries. It’s still enjoyed today for its unique flavor and nutritional benefits.

Wild rice has a long, slender grain with a dark brown or black outer layer. When cooked, the grains become tender, with a slightly chewy texture. It has a rich, nutty flavor that sets it apart from other grains. 

Wild rice is also a nutritious and antioxidant-rich food. It’s often used in salads, side dishes, soups, and stuffing.  

Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Taste and Texture

They might seem similar, yet black and wild rice differ in taste.

Black Rice

Black rice has a nutty flavor with a slightly sweet undertone. Its rich, earthy taste resembles brown rice with a more pronounced flavor. The texture is slightly chewy, adding to the overall eating experience.

Wild Rice

Wild rice offers a distinct and rich flavor profile that can be described as smoky, nutty, and sometimes similar to roasted nuts or popcorn. Its taste is more pronounced and intricate than conventional white or brown rice. 

Wild rice maintains a firm and chewy texture when cooked, providing a gratifying sensation while eating. 

It is worth noting that despite not technically being a type of rice, wild rice still has the characteristic flavor of rice. This is why it is commonly used as a substitute for traditional rice varieties.

Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Nutrition and Health Benefits

CriteriaWild RiceBlack Rice
Calories in 100 grams uncooked357363
Glycemic Index4542-45
Carbs74.9  grams in 100 grams uncooked78 grams carbs in 100 grams uncooked
Protein14.7 grams in 100 grams uncooked8.5 grams in 100 grams of uncooked rice
Sodium7 mg2 mg
Potassium427 mg190 mg
Calcium2.1% of Daily Value0% of Daily Value
Iron10.6 % of Daily Value8 % of Daily Value
Dietary Fibers6.2 grams4.5 to 5 grams
Fat1.1 grams3.1 grams
Manganese in 100 grams of cooked0.28 mg (7% DV)1.2 mg (28% DV)
Phosphorus in 100 grams of cooked80 mg (14% of the DV)65 mg (11% DV)
Zinc1.3 mg (11% of the DV)1 mg (10% DV)
Vitamin E0.5 mg (5% of the DV)1.5 mg (15% of the DV)
AntioxidantsAlpha-lipoic acid10x more Anthocyanins than white rice
FlavonoidsFlavonoids
TocopherolsCarotenoids
Health BenefitsRich in antioxidants, vitamins, and mineralsSupports heart health, aids digestion, and controls blood sugar levels

Comparing the Antioxidant Profile of Wild Rice vs. Black Rice

Black rice and wild rice share almost the same calories, GI rating, carbs content, and other nutrient ratios like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese. Therefore, for the associated health benefits, both are alike. 

The difference occurs when you compare them for their antioxidant profile.

What are similar antioxidants found in black rice and wild rice?

Both wild and black rice have flavonoids (powerful antioxidants) and manganese.

Flavonoids

 Flavonoids have been studied extensively for their potential health benefits, like:

Manganese

Manganese is an essential trace mineral with various health benefits. 

However, excessive intake of manganese-rich foods can be harmful. It is obtained through a balanced diet. Please consult a healthcare professional is advised for personalized advice.

What are other antioxidants found in wild rice?

Wild rice is a rich source of other 2 types of antioxidants, which have been listed below:

Alpha-lipoic acid

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that safeguards cells against harm caused by free radicals. In addition to its antioxidant characteristics, ALA has demonstrated various other advantageous effects on health, such as:

Tocopherol

Tocopherol, also known as vitamin E, is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in many bodily functions and overall well-being in the following ways. For example,

It’s noticeable that, unlike popular belief, Vitamin E has been studied to show no significant effect on lowering the mortality rate or preventing premature death. Instead, its higher dose supplementation has increased the death risk. 

What are other antioxidants found in black rice?

Anthocyanins  (27.2–3276 µg/g)

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid found in many foods, including black rice. They’re responsible for these foods’ deep purple, blue, and red colors. Anthocyanins have been shown to have several health benefits, including:

Carotenoids

They’re a group of natural pigments that give foods their bright colors. They’re antioxidants.

Here are some of the health benefits of carotenoids:

Thus, the intake of carotenoid-rich food reduces the risk of premature death from all causes.

Wild Rice vs. Black Rice: Other Common Health Benefits

Both black rice and wild rice offer several nutritional benefits, but some are similar because both rice types are good sources of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Here’s a breakdown of their health benefits:

High in fiber

Black and wild, both types of rice, are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, aids in weight management, and helps prevent constipation. It also contributes to a decreasing heart disease risk and can help manage blood glucose levels.

Low glycemic index

Both types of rice have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they have a slower impact on blood sugar levels than refined grains. This makes them suitable for individuals managing diabetes or those looking to stabilize their blood glucose.

It may help in weight loss.

Besides high fiber content, the low-calorie density of black rice and wild rice can promote satiety, helping to control appetite and support healthy weight management goals.

Heart health benefits

Black rice, and wild rice contains compounds that are beneficial for the heart. They have been found helpful for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy blood pressure levels, all of which contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system.

Both black rice and wild rice offer a delightful departure from the milder taste of white rice.

Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Allergies

Black rice and wild rice are both gluten-free and non-allergenic grains. However, some people with allergies to other grains, such as wheat or barley, may also be allergic to black rice or wild rice. So, if you’re intolerant to some foods, please talk to your doctor before trying black rice or wild rice.

Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Cooking Method

Both black rice and wild rice require specific cooking methods to achieve their optimal texture and flavor. Here’s a comparison of the cooking methods for black rice and wild rice:

Black Rice

  • Rinse black rice thoroughly before cooking under cold water to remove any impurities or excess starch.
  • Soak rice in cold water and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. It’ll help in getting soft rice when cooked.
  • Use 2 cups of water for  1 cup of black rice.
  • Cook black rice on the stovetop or use a rice cooker for 30-40 minutes by simmering them on low flame. 
  • When there is little water left, reduce the flame to the minimum possible and let the rice cook covered until all water has dried.
  • After cooking, let the black rice rest for about 5-10 minutes to allow for additional moisture absorption and further softening.
  • Gently fluff the cooked black rice with a fork before serving.

Remember to follow the instructions on the packaging or refer to a specific recipe for precise cooking times.

Wild Rice

  • Rinse wild rice under cold water to remove any debris or impurities.
  • Soak wild rice for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator to reduce the cooking time and soften the grains. 
  • Drain the soaking water before cooking.
  • Use a ratio of 3 cups of water for 1 cup of wild rice.
  • Cook wild rice on the stovetop or using a rice cooker. It typically takes around 45-60 minutes to cook. However, cooking times may vary depending on the specific variety and desired tenderness. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • When the water is dried, let the wild rice sit covered for about 5-10 minutes to allow the grains to absorb any remaining moisture.
  • Gently fluff the cooked wild rice with a fork before serving.

Note 

The cooking times provided are general guidelines. So, it’s essential to follow the instructions on the specific packaging or refer to a trusted recipe for more precise cooking instructions.

By following the appropriate cooking methods, you can achieve properly cooked and flavorful black rice or wild rice for your desired culinary creations.

Which is Expensive, Wild Rice or Black Rice?

Wild rice is more expensive than black rice. They cost you about $10 to 15 per pound*. On the other hand, black rice costs about $5-7 per pound*. (*Sponsored links)

The higher cost of wild rice can be attributed to its limited availability, specific growing conditions, and the perception of it being a specialty or gourmet ingredient. However, the price of wild and black rice can vary depending on the brand, region, and market conditions.

Final Thoughts on Black Rice vs. Wild Rice: Which is Better for You?

Black rice is a better choice over wild rice for the following reasons:

  • Nutrients like zinc, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus are found in higher amounts in black rice.
  • Black rice also has anthocyanins as antioxidants, associated with various health benefits, including reduced inflammation, cancer risk, and improved heart health. 
  • Black rice is also a good source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins, such as iron and vitamin E. 
  • Also, it’s cheaper than wild rice. 

So, you can opt for black rice for the price and overall value.

FAQs

Is Black Rice Sticky?

Black rice has a slightly sticky texture when cooked, similar to other sticky or glutinous rice types.

Is Wild Rice Sticky?

Wild rice (technically rice), but a type of aquatic grass, has a chewy texture when cooked and does not become sticky like some rice varieties. It keeps its individual grains and does not clump together like sticky or glutinous rice.

Why is My Wild Rice Sticky?

Possible reasons for sticky wild rice include using too much water, overcooking, not rinsing the rice before cooking, or using a variety of wild rice with a naturally sticky texture.

Is Wild Rice Glutinous?

No, wild rice is not glutinous. Glutinous rice (sticky rice) is a different rice type that contains a higher amount of amylopectin, a type of starch that gives it its sticky texture when cooked. Wild rice has a different composition and does not possess the same sticky properties as glutinous rice.

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Saba Akbar
Saba Akbar

Hello, I'm a culinary explorer and food writer with 25 years of home kitchen expertise. This blog is a treasure trove of my insights on global cuisine, cooking tips, and expert knowledge of kitchen tools.
Besides this, as a GERD survivor, I've transformed my passion for food into a quest for food's GERD-friendliness and healthiness. I believe what you eat shapes your internal environment—join me on this lifelong journey of taste and healthiness!

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