The Top 9 Basmati Rice Substitutes for Delicious and Flavorful Meals

The 9 Best Basmati Rice Substitutes

Basmati rice is a popular long-grain rice variety that is prized for its light flavor and beautiful texture. However, there may be times when you run out of Basmati rice and need a suitable substitute. In this article, we will explore the nine best alternatives to Basmati rice and how to use them effectively.

1. American Long Grain White Rice

American long-grain white rice is the closest substitute for Basmati rice in terms of texture and cooking method. Although it lacks the fragrant aroma of Basmati rice, it works well in flavorful dishes such as curries and chili con carne. It can also be used in rice salads that require cold cooked rice. This substitute is widely available in grocery stores and is less expensive than some other types of rice.

2. Long Grain Jasmine Rice

Long grain Jasmine rice is another excellent substitute for Basmati rice. It has a similar flavor profile to Basmati rice, but becomes more moist and sticky when cooked. This rice is great for Asian-inspired dishes such as Thai green curry or vegetable stir-fry. Jasmine rice requires slightly less water to cook than other long-grain rice varieties, but the cooking method is the same as for Basmati rice.

3. Popcorn Rice

Popcorn rice, also known as wild pecan rice or Louisiana pecan rice, is a hybrid of Basmati rice. It shares a rich and nutty flavor with Basmati rice, but has a milder aroma. Like Basmati rice, popcorn rice grains do not stick together when properly cooked. This substitute can be found in many grocery stores and works well in a variety of dishes.

4. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice has gained popularity as a low-carb and keto-friendly alternative to rice. It is made by shredding or processing cauliflower into small pieces that resemble rice grains. Cauliflower rice adds a touch of lightness to dishes and can be used as a substitute for basmati rice when you’re looking for a low-calorie option. It is important to note that cauliflower rice requires a different cooking method, usually sautéing in a skillet, to preserve its texture and flavor.

5. Long Grain Brown Rice

Long-grain brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice and can be used as a substitute for Basmati rice. Brown rice retains the germ and bran, making it more nutritious, but also giving it a stronger nutty flavor. It pairs well with thick, rich sauces, but may not work as well in light, fragrant dishes. Brown rice takes longer to cook and requires more water absorption than Basmati rice.

6. Couscous

Couscous is a type of pasta commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. While not a direct substitute for Basmati rice, couscous can absorb flavors and work well in a variety of dishes. It has a subtle flavor and can be paired with stronger sauces and spices. Couscous is quick and easy to make, requiring only boiling water and a brief simmer before allowing it to absorb the water. Fluffing it with a fork before serving helps maintain its light texture.

7. Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been broken into small pieces. It is commonly used in Mediterranean salads such as tabbouleh, but can also serve as a suitable substitute for Basmati rice in hot and cold dishes. Bulgur wheat has a chewy texture and takes longer to cook than white rice. It is cooked until tender and then drained before serving.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious seed that can be used as a substitute for Basmati rice. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than rice, making it an excellent option for vegetarians. Quinoa cooks quickly in boiling water and absorbs any remaining liquid when left to stand. It is important to lightly fluff cooked quinoa with a fork before serving to preserve its delicate texture.

9. Orzo

Orzo is a pasta that resembles rice in shape, size, and texture. It can be a nice substitute for Basmati rice, although it lacks the nutty and fragrant flavor of Basmati rice. Orzo is higher in calories than rice, so adjusting the serving size is recommended. Orzo is prepared by cooking it in water until al dente, which usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Fluffing it with a fork after cooking helps to keep the grains separate.
In conclusion, while Basmati rice is a popular ingredient, there are several alternatives that can be used as substitutes. American long-grain white rice, long-grain jasmine rice, popcorn rice, cauliflower rice, long-grain brown rice, couscous, bulgur wheat, quinoa, and orzo all offer unique flavors and textures that can enhance a variety of dishes. Whether you’re looking for a similar texture, a lower-carb option, or a different flavor profile, these substitutes can help you create delicious meals even when basmati rice isn’t available. Experimenting with these substitutes will open up new culinary possibilities and add variety to your cooking repertoire. So the next time you find yourself without Basmati rice, don’t panic. Take the opportunity to explore these nine fantastic alternatives and discover new flavors and textures in your favorite recipes.


Can I substitute other long grain rice for Basmati rice?

Yes, you can substitute Basmati rice with other long-grain rice varieties, such as American long-grain or jasmine rice. While they may have slightly different flavors and textures, they can still work well in a variety of dishes.

Are there any non-rice alternatives that can be used to replace Basmati rice?

Yes, there are non-rice alternatives that can be used to replace Basmati rice. Some popular options include orzo, bulgur wheat, cauliflower rice, couscous, and quinoa. These alternatives offer different textures and flavors to suit different culinary preferences.

How do I cook basmati rice substitutes?

Cooking methods for Basmati rice substitutes can vary depending on the specific substitute. In general, follow the cooking instructions provided with each alternative. Some substitutes may require boiling, simmering, sautéing, or steaming. It’s important to follow the specific cooking instructions for best results.

Can I use basmati rice substitutes in all types of dishes?

Basmati rice substitutes can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including curries, stir-fries, salads, and more. However, it’s important to note that each substitute has its own unique characteristics that can affect the overall taste and texture of the dish. It’s recommended that you experiment and adjust recipes accordingly to achieve the desired results.

Where can I find substitutes for basmati rice?

Basmati rice substitutes, such as American long-grain rice, jasmine rice, orzo, bulgur wheat, cauliflower rice, couscous, and quinoa, are typically available in grocery stores, specialty food stores, and online retailers. They are usually found in the rice or grains section of the store.