Difference Between White Rice and Quinoa
By Andrew Parker - January 17, 2022

We all know rice and quinoa are not the same thing – but most of us would not be able to explain the difference between the two. While rice has been commonly consumed for millennia, quinoa has just recently become popular. But what is the difference between them?

Table Summary

White RiceQuinoa
Refined starch with high glycemic indexFewer calories, twice the protein and more fiber than rice
Rice in a wooden bowl on wooden table

Getty Images / Moment / Pakin Songmor


White rice is a carbohydrate base for numerous dishes all around the world. However, it is a refined starch with a high glycemic index, which means its nutritional value is not that impressive.

Quinoa is actually not even a grain. It is a seed related to spinach and beets. Unlike most plants, it is a complete protein source. It is a great source of minerals and fiber and contains all nine essential amino acids.

Rice VS Quinoa

Quinoa is a better source of protein and fiber, and also fills you up faster than rice. However, white rice is still an important part of world cuisine and a popular base for several dishes such as risotto, pudding, pilaf, biryani, paella, and even sushi.