Jasmine Rice vs. White Rice - Public Goods Blog

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Jasmine Rice vs. White Rice – Which Is Better?

Rice has been a staple food across the world for centuries, with over 40,000 thousand varieties to choose from. In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between two of the most popular types of rice — white and jasmine.

Image of a bowl of white rice

Rice is one of those things you may not think too much about initially. It’s rice. Even for people more dedicated to the culinary arts, distinguishing between the many types of rice for meal preparation can be tricky.

On the most basic level, rice is divided into three categories — short, medium, and long grain. Among these, you can have brown rice, white rice, black rice, red rice… and more, each capable of being prepared in a distinct style depending on where you are in the world and your meal’s flavor palette. You can even mix grains, such as lentils and spelt, together with rice for a hearty and unique dish.

Today we’ll be looking at the differences between jasmine and white rice, and how they compare in terms of flavor, nutritional value, and their use in recipes.

White Rice and Jasmine Rice – What’s the Difference?

So what’s the difference between jasmine rice and white rice? Is one better than the other? On the surface, they’re both fairly alike and come from the same plant — Oryza sativa. However, when it comes time to make dinner, they’re not always so interchangeable. Which type of rice is best will depend on the culinary situation and your flavor preferences.

White Rice

For starters, white rice isn’t technically a type of rice at all. The term “white rice” refers to a broad category of rice and its production method, where the outer bran layer and hull of the rice are removed. White rice is most commonly used in its medium or long grain form; short-grain white rice is usually used to make sushi, as it’s sticker and clumps together easily.

The taste of white rice is slightly sweet, starchy, and bland; short-grain varieties are stickier and gummier than their longer grain counterparts. In general, white rice is a soft, mild-flavored grain that pairs well with many foods.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is a specific type of aromatic long-grain rice. Common types of jasmine rice include white and brown, with brown jasmine rice being healthier and, obviously enough, more distinct compared to general white rice. Technically speaking, white jasmine rice is considered a type of white rice.

The taste of jasmine rice has many of the same characteristics as white rice, though it’s earthier and has a noticeable buttery, nutty aroma. The grains are long and thin, having a lightweight texture when cooked. It’s often considered a healthier option than white rice, though this is primarily the case for brown jasmine rice vs. white rice.

Nutritional Differences Between Jasmine and White Rice

The nutritional profiles between these two categories of rice are subtle. For people with dietary concerns or goals, choosing between jasmine and white rice won’t make a huge difference.

The primary distinction comes from the color of the rice — brown rice, whether jasmine or another type, will be healthier than white rice. This is because brown rice still has its outer germ and bran layers that are otherwise removed for white rice. Compared to white rice, brown jasmine rice has more protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (such as magnesium and phosphate).

Both white rice and white jasmine rice have similar macronutrient breakdowns per 1 cup serving, according to the USDA. Each has just under 40 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. White rice has 160 calories per serving, while white jasmine edges slightly ahead with 181.

It’s worth noting that neither of these types of rice contain significant amounts of vitamins or minerals beyond calcium, and even then that’s only around 2% of your daily value. Brown jasmine rice does have a little more fiber than its white rice counterparts, as well as small amounts of B vitamins, potassium, phosphate, and iron.

Note that specific nutritional breakdowns will vary depending on the type and brand of rice.

Cooking With White Rice vs. Jasmine Rice

Choosing whether to use white or jasmine rice in your meal preparations will largely be a matter of taste. People generally serve rice as a side dish, though it can be incorporated into a variety of recipes and main dishes as well, such as soups, rice bowls, paellas, etc.

In terms of jasmine vs. white rice, the two won’t always work as substitutes owing to their different flavors, aromas, and sometimes differences in grain length or color. Below are a few ideas for cooking with each.

Cooking With Jasmine Rice

People commonly cook jasmine rice by steaming it, which helps highlight its rich, earthy aroma and flavor. Because of its longer, thinner grain profile compared to your average white rice, cooked jasmine rice won’t really stick together or to your utensils.

Jasmine rice goes well as a side to grilled meats, vegetables, vegan proteins, incorporated into soups and curries, in southeast Asian style cuisine, Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, and in stir-fries. Jasmine and other long-grain rices work better than short-grain rice in fried rice recipes, such as Chinese fried rice, since the longer grain will hold together more in the cooking process and won’t clump. Beyond texture, the leafy floral aromas of jasmine rice make it a perfect complement to the spices in these types of culinary creations.

Looking for a little added protein and flavor? Try multi-grain mixtures such as brown & wild rice or garlic & herb rice pilaf. These make for hearty, unique sides that can be eaten on their own or as part of a larger entrée.

Image of Public Goods brand rice & grain packets

Cooking With White Rice

White rice makes a versatile side dish. Medium and long-grain varieties pair well with sautéed or steamed vegetables, poultry, grilled red meats, fish, and vegan proteins. Short-grain white rice, sometimes called sticky rice, is used in sushi and related cuisine.

Because of its texture and starchy sweetness, white rice can also be used in desserts such as rice pudding, horchata, calas (fried rice fritters), and mochi. Regarding rice-based desserts, recipes vary around the world but often incorporate ingredients like cinnamon, coconut or coconut oil, vanilla, nuts, brown sugar, and types of fresh or dried fruit. Yum!

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