Brown Rice vs Basmati Rice, Which is Better and Why

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Brown Rice vs Basmati Rice

Hi Everyone! Today we will discover which is better between brown rice vs basmati rice and why you should choose. We will also learn great rice recipes from both.

So What is Rice?

Rice, in all of it’s forms, is one of the most grown and consumed foods in the world. While many people think of rice in its white, short-grain form, there are hundreds of sub-species of the genus Oryza grown consumed all over the world.

However, apart from the white rice, there are more varieties too that provide better and healthier benefits. Brown rice and basmati rice are two of the most popular types where people tend to compare with.

The basmati species of Oryza is grown and exported from India or Pakistan.  There are two things that separate Basmati from other variety of rice.

This first is grain length.  As a long grain variety, Basmati rice tends to be firmer and drier when cooked than its shorter cousins.  This allows it to work perfectly as a side dish or in salads.  The second important element of Basmati rice boils down to chemistry.

While people typically think of brown rice as a counter part to the common short-grained white rice, brown rice is available in every variety, including Basmati.

Brown Rice vs Basmati Rice

There has been a long running debate about brown rice vs basmati rice.  The answer depends on what you are using to define as “better.”

Brown Rice

Brown rice still has the edible hull, bran and cereal germ attached. Think of it like white and brown bread, white rice has been stripped of everything but the starchy inner grain, while brown rice is a whole grain.

It has more nutritional value than white rice as it is a whole grain.  It is higher in fiber, B vitamins and important dietary minerals like selenium and manganese.

Brown rice also has a lower glycemic index and glycemic load that white rice, on average about 20 points lower.  This is a critical factor for those with blood sugar issues such as diabetes and hypoglycemia.

Nutrition may not be the only factor when deciding which is “better.”  Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, averaging about 50% longer.  Generally, I need to cook 1-2 cups of white rice for 20 minutes, with brown rice, it is closer to 30+ minutes.  Not great when you are in a hurry!

Brown rice also does not fit the standard rice to water ratio (1 cup of uncooked rice and 2 cups of water gives you 3 cups of cooked rice).  Brown rice requires approximately 25% more water depending on the batch size.

Basmati Rice

Brown rice

Basmati rice has its own goodness too. If you have previously read the post on the best basmati rice brand, you will discover that this grain has amazing health benefits. This rice is way healthier compared to regular white rice brands.

We only hear about the white basmati rice which is frequently use in Middle Eastern cuisines however there is actually a brown basmati variety. Brown basmati has the same health benefits that of brown rice because of the bran and germ intact.

Basmati rice naturally contains up to 12 times more  2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (natural savoury baking aroma) than other varieties; these two factors provide a unique and delicious variety of rice. Basmati rice is a long-grained, aromatic variety traditionally grown and eaten on the Indian Sub-Continent.

The Winner Is

Basmati Side Dish

At the end of the day, I cannot declare which is better in brown rice vs basmati rice. While they can be the same grain, there are too many differences to call one the overall winner.

Each one is suited to a different dish but if you are looking for a grain that can keep up with your healthy lifestyle then why not choose brown rice or brown basmati rice.

Rather than make a decision about which variety of grain is better than the other, I’m going to share my favorite recipes for both!

Basmati Side Dish

This dish is a great way to show off how delicious Basmati rice is without drowning it in sauce. You will need:

  • 1 cup of Basmati Rice
  • 1 ¾ cups of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or oil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 1 tablespoon shredded ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick

How to Cook

  1. Rinse the rice with cold water by submerging rice in a bowl and gently agitate with your hand.
  2. Drain the rice and rinse, then soak again in clean water for about 30 minutes.
  3. While the rice is soaking, heat your pot to medium heat and add the ghee (or oil).
  4. Once the ghee is hot, add the salt, onion, garlic and ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent but still firm.
  5. Add the cumin and cinnamon stick and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the soaked rice and toss gently in the spice mixture.
  7. Add the mixture and water to your rice cooker and set for the recommended amount of time. Make 4 servings.

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 ¼ cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon shredded ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 stalks chopped green onion
  • 1 lb diced skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup diced pineapple

How to Cook

  1. Rinse rice thoroughly and add with water to your rice cooker.  Make sure to check the manufactures recommended cooking time for brown rice as it will be different than white rice.
  2. While the rice is cooking, mix soy sauce and oil in a large frying pan or wok on medium high heat.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and cook for 5-10 minutes until mostly cooked.
  5. Add the carrots and cook another five minutes and remove from heat.
  6. Once the rice is finished, reheat the chicken and vegetables, and add rice, remaining vegetables and pineapple. Cook until heated through.
  7.  Add additional soy sauce to taste.  Makes 2-4 servings.

Rice on the Go

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker

Being kitchen-smart is now trendy especially in preparing good food in shorter periods of time. To better cook these recipes, you can use a rice cooker.

You will get the same rich flavor in a very convenient and space saving manner. Most rice cookers today are using modern technologies where you can cook several rice dishes.

There are also rice cookers with different grain settings so you don’t have to worry about the correct amount of water or getting your rice uncooked.


Every rice variety is a winner on its own right. We all have different choices and needs so we only need to discover which type of rice will work for us.

But of course, it certainly pays off when you discover mind-blowing rice recipes like those I gave above. If you also have some great rice dishes, share it with us in the comments below.