Rice vs Potatoes: Differences in Nutritional Values and Best Ways to Cook Them

Rice vs Potatoes

Rice vs Potatoes: Differences in Nutritional Values and Best Ways to Cook Them

Rice and potatoes are both a staple in the American diet. If you’ve ever included rice, potatoes, or both in a recipe, you might have wondered about the difference between their nutritional values. Even though rice and potatoes may not be the best choices for those on a low-carb diet, they are a delicious addition to any meal.

While potatoes are a type of starchy vegetable called a tuber, rice is a grain that comes from the Oryza Sativa plant. Although both rice and potatoes contain a lot of starch, rice is higher in carbs and calories while potatoes have a higher glycemic index.

Whether you choose rice or potatoes for your next meal will depend on your preferences and what you’re craving, but they can both be a healthy part of any diet when cooked and implemented properly. Keep reading to find out more about the difference in nutritional values of rice vs. potatoes.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Baby Carrots: Sliced pork medallions surrounded with vegetables on a platter
Both rice and potatoes make an excellent side dish for any meal.

©Candice Bell/Shutterstock.com

Rice vs Potatoes: What Is the Difference?

Rice and potatoes are some of the most popular foods in the U.S. Whether they’re fried, baked, or mashed, potatoes are consistently listed as one of the most frequently purchased vegetables. Rice is also a popular side dish and base for many meals in the U.S. and across the globe. There are also thousands of types of rice such as white rice, brown rice, and wild rice.

Much like rice, potatoes come in many different varieties such as russet, red, or even purple potatoes. Rice and potatoes may be most similar when the potatoes are mashed, but even in this form, they’re incredibly different.

The nutritional value of rice vs potatoes varies widely depending on how they’re cooked. Generally, when you compare a serving of rice to a medium size potato, rice is higher in carbs and calories while potatoes are higher in fiber. White rice is relatively low in dietary fiber, but you will find higher amounts of fiber in brown rice.

What is Rice?

Rice is a grain that comes from the Oryza Sativa plant and this type of grain is known as a cereal grain. Some of the other popular cereal grains are wheat, oats, and corn. While long-grain white rice is the most common type of rice, there are over 120,000 varieties of rice in the world. Brown rice, for example, is unrefined rice that doesn’t have the bran and germ removed.

Rice has been a staple food for thousands of years, especially in many Asian countries. About half of the population uses rice as a staple in their diet and long-grain white rice is the most popular type of rice used across the globe.

To eat rice as part of a meal, you can cook it by boiling it in water. You can also grind rice to make rice flour. Aside from using it as a base for savory meals such as fried rice or paella, rice is also the star of many desserts such as rice pudding.

White rice doesn’t have as many nutrients as brown rice, but it still contains numerous vitamins and minerals including folic acid, iron, and zinc.

What Are Potatoes?

Potatoes are a starchy type of vegetable that grows underground. This type of vegetable is known as a tuber and is different than a root vegetable. Although root vegetables and tubers both grow underground, tubers grow “eyes” and when cut apart, the tubers can be replanted to grow into a new plant.

Potatoes come in many different varieties and unlike some vegetables, you don't typically eat potatoes raw. Even though there is some evidence for the benefits of raw potatoes, they can contain toxic compounds that could make you sick. Boiling, baking, or microwaving your potatoes can reduce the amount of harmful chemicals.

Like many vegetables, potatoes contain a lot of necessary nutrients. Regular potatoes often get a bad rap because they’re high in carbs, but they are also high in nutrients such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

You can eat potatoes alone, as a side dish, or even add them to various recipes such as roasts or stews. There are many ways to cook potatoes from frying them to baking them, but no matter how you cook them, they’re a delicious addition to any meal.

Nutritional Values of Rice vs Potatoes

Rice vs Potatoes Nutritional Facts


Can You Substitute Rice for Potatoes?

When you’re cooking a meal in the kitchen or looking for a new recipe, you might consider substituting rice for potatoes or vice versa. You might consider having chicken with a side of baked potato or even mashed potatoes instead of a side of rice.

When it comes to substituting rice for potatoes, they’re never going to be a one-to-one substitution since they’re different foods with different cooking requirements. Even without the addition of seasoning, sauce, or other ingredients, they also have a much different flavor.

However, you certainly can substitute rice for potatoes in your next meal if that’s your preference. Make sure you pay attention to the cooking times and adjust your ingredients if necessary.

How Do You Cook Rice?

Finding the right recipe or ratio for cooking rice can sometimes be tricky. The right ratio of water to rice depends on how you cook the rice and how much rice you use. The general rule of thumb is to use 1 cup of water for every 2 cups of rice.

One of the most common ways to make rice is on the stove. To use this method, bring the right amount of water to a boil and then add your rice and salt. After letting the rice come to a boil again, quickly reduce the heat to low and simmer it for at least 15 minutes. Sometimes it may take longer, but it’s best to check the rice at 15-18 minutes to avoid burning it.

Once you find the right ratio and cooking time for your stove, you can easily duplicate the recipe. You can also easily make rice in an Instant Pot or rice cooker. The cooking time will vary based on your recipe, but remember to pay attention to the ratio of water to rice.

How Do You Cook Potatoes?

Potatoes are an incredibly versatile vegetable that you can cook using various methods. You can boil, fry, or mash your potatoes. You can also change up the flavor by adding different seasonings or other ingredients.

To make baked potatoes, start by scrubbing the outside of the potatoes and seasoning them. Then, place them on a baking sheet and cook them for about 45 to 60 minutes. Oven temperatures will vary, but generally, 425 degrees is a good place to start. You can tell the potatoes are done when they become soft enough to eat and you can easily pierce them with a fork.

Although baked potatoes can be one of the most delicious and healthy ways to enjoy a potato, there are numerous other ways to enjoy a potato as well.

Rice vs Potatoes: Which To Include in Your Next Meal

Infographic comparing rice and potatoes.
Rice is a grain, while potatoes are a starchy vegetable.
  • Rice is higher in calories and carbs compared to potatoes, while potatoes have more fiber than rice.
  • A potato is a starchy vegetable, while rice is a grain.
  • Rice is generally cooked in boiling water, while potatoes can be baked, boiled, or microwaved.

Both rice and potatoes are a delicious addition to any meal. They’re both incredibly versatile and you can use them as a side dish or even as the main event in your next meal. Despite their versatility, there are many differences between rice and potatoes including how you cook them and their nutritional values.

While a potato is a starchy vegetable, rice is a grain that comes in a variety of forms. Both rice and potatoes need to be cooked before eating. Although you can boil them in water, there are many other delicious ways to cook potatoes as well. Whether you choose rice or potatoes for your next dish, consider the nutritional values of both foods to ensure a balanced meal.

Rice Recipes

Potato Recipes

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Bacon Cheese Loaded Grilled Potatoes

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  • Author: Moms Who Think


Non-stick foil
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Steamed fresh asparagus
Fresh tomato wedges


1. Preheat grill to medium-high or oven to 450°F. Cook bacon in skillet, drain then crumble.

2. Center potatoes and onion on large sheet of non-stick Foil with non-stick (dull) side toward food.

3. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, seasoned salt, chives and cheese.

4. Bring sides of foil up to form packet. Double fold top and ends to seal, making one large foil packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.

5. Grill 18 to 20 minutes in covered grill OR bake 30 to 35 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven.

6. While potatoes are cooking, prepare fresh asparagus. Lightly butter and drizzle with lemon juice.

7. Serve potatoes with sour cream if desired. Serve asparagus and tomato wedges on the side.

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