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Quinoa vs Wild rice: How Are They Different?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between quinoa and wild rice, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the quinoa vs wild rice comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on January 22, 2023.

Quinoa and wild rice belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare quinoa and wild rice and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds.

It is a good source of complete protein, providing all essential amino acids, and also rich in dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.

Quinoa also contains antioxidants, flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which have been linked to various health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and weight management.

It is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked and eaten as a side dish, added to soups and stews, or ground into flour to make breads, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Quinoa is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin E.

Wild rice

Wild rice (Zizania aquatica) is a type of cereal grain that is native to North America, specifically the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence River area.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, and B vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Wild rice has a nutty and slightly earthy flavor and is often used as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads, soups, and stuffings. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Wild rice is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also considered a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in various habitats, including shallow water, and doesn’t require chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Wild rice is an excellent source of Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin E.

Quinoa vs Wild rice Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing quinoa vs wild rice.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of quinoa and wild rice and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

QuinoaWild rice
Energy368 kcal357 kcal
Carbs64.2 g74.9 g
Sugar1.45 g2.5 g
Fiber7 g6.2 g
Protein14.1 g14.7 g
Fat6.07 g1.08 g
Saturated Fat0.706 g0.156 g

Quinoa vs Wild rice Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing wild rice vs quinoa for weight loss, wild rice is slightly lower in calories, with 357 calories per 100 grams, compared to 368 calories per 100 grams of quinoa.

However, both quinoa and wild rice can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Quinoa vs Wild rice Protein

Grains and most grain products, including quinoa and wild rice, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Wild rice offers around 4% more protein than quinoa.

Wild rice has 14.7 grams of protein per 100 grams, while quinoa has 14.1 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Quinoa vs Wild rice Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in quinoa and wild rice.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 14% higher in wild rice than in quinoa. It has 74.9 grams per 100 grams, compared to 64.2 grams in quinoa.

There’s less sugar in quinoa than in wild rice, 40% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of quinoa contains 1.5 grams of sugar, while the same amount of wild rice contains 2.5 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in quinoa and wild rice.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, quinoa is a better source of fiber than wild rice which quinoa offers 6.2 grams per 100 gram portion.

Quinoa vs Wild rice Fats

Like most other grains, quinoa and wild rice are low in fat.

Fats in quinoa and wild rice are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in quinoa and wild rice:

  • Quinoa: 6.1 grams per 100 grams
  • Wild rice: 1.1 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, wild rice is 71% lower in saturated fats.

Wild rice and quinoa contain 0.2 grams and 0.7 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Quinoa vs Wild rice Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of quinoa and wild rice.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Quinoa has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin K.

However, wild rice has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin E.

Quinoa and wild rice contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins quinoa and wild rice contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

QuinoaWild rice
Vitamin A14 IU19 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.36 mg0.115 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.318 mg0.262 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.52 mg6.73 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.772 mg1.07 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.487 mg0.391 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)184 µg95 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E2.44 mg0.82 mg
Vitamin K01.9 µg

Quinoa vs Wild rice Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the quinoa and wild rice comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Quinoa is a better source of sodium, and zinc than wild rice.

On the other hand, wild rice is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.

Quinoa and wild rice contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how quinoa and wild rice compare when it comes to mineral content.

QuinoaWild rice
Calcium47 mg21 mg
Copper0.59 mg0.524 mg
Iron4.57 mg1.96 mg
Magnesium197 mg177 mg
Manganese2.03 mg1.33 mg
Phosphorus457 mg433 mg
Potassium563 mg427 mg
Selenium8.5 µg2.8 µg
Sodium5 mg7 mg
Zinc3.1 mg5.96 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between quinoa and wild rice.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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