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If you compare the nutrient content of brown rice and white rice, brown rice wins, hands down. It is higher in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, and B6. It’s also gluten-free. But cooking brown rice can be tricky. It isn’t just the color that sets it apart from its cousin, white rice. Brown rice is thicker due to its outer layer of bran, which white rice loses during processing. Cooking times for brown rice are different. However, you can safely substitute brown rice in just about any dish that calls for white rice.

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1. Types of Brown Rice

There are five common types of brown rice. Each has comparable cooking times, yet their textures and flavors vary.

  • Long grain brown rice has an earthy taste. The grains are firm and have no elasticity.
    • The short-grain version has a sweeter taste and a soft and creamy texture that causes the grains to cling together.
    • Medium grain brown rice has a shorter kernel but is two to three times wider than it is long. The cooked grains are tender and are more apt to stick together than the long-grain type.
      • Jasmine brown rice is firm, buttery and nutty in flavor.
        • Basmati rice combines sweetness with a light, clean, nut-and-barley flavor and an aroma that may remind you of popcorn. Its texture is much more elastic and spongy in comparison to the other types.
        • FotografiaBasica / Getty Images
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