Barley Vs Rice: Which Is Better?

Today, we’ll be debating yet another controversial topic: barley vs rice; which one is better?

This question always comes up, especially concerning people concerned with their health.

And if you surf the internet, there are tides of content about these two grains, but most of it is just personal opinion and hearsay without much scientific backing.

However, on this page, you’ll be getting the real deal.

First off, rice is NOTHING close to the nutritional value of barley. But rice is lower in calories. And this could mean everything to someone.

But let’s wait to conclude, as there are many things to unveil about these two grains. 

What Is Barley? 

What Is Barley

Barley, scientifically known as Hordeum vulgare, is a cereal grain that is part of the grass family.

This grain has a chewy texture with a mild and nutty flavor. It is best grown in temperate climates globally.

Archeological claims that barley was one of the first grains cultivated in Egypt thousands of years ago.

Barley can be consumed as whole grain or hulled, with hulls removed by soaking them in water or grinding them into flour.

But 70% of barley production worldwide is used as animal fodder.

Meanwhile, 30% goes to the various food-making and Brewery companies producing beer and distilled beverages.

Barley is one of the most versatile grains I’ve ever seen. They come in different types of barley like 

  • Whole Grain or Hulled Barley
  • Hull-less Barley
  • Pot Barley
  • Pearl Barley
  • Quick Cooking Barley
  • Barley Grits
  • Barley Flakes
  • Barley Flour

All of these variations of barley have a slight change of taste and texture. 

But you can use most of them interchangeably. You can use it in a stew, soups, baked goods, Mushroom Khichda, Barley Risotto, bell pepper stuffing with Barley, rice salad, pair it with spinach risotto, or pomegranate and Avocado.

The list keeps going. 

What Is Rice? 

Rice, is the seed of a swamp grass called Oryza glaberrima (African rice) or Oryza sativa (Asian rice).

It is grown in warm parts of the world, especially Asia and Africa. It is also grown in Italy and on the west coast of North America.

Rice is one of or if not the most widely consumed staple on the planet, especially in Africa and Asia. It is the third most extensively cultivated plant in the world, after sugarcane and maize.

This shows how extraordinarily versatile and resourceful it is as food. It can be eaten whole or ground into flour, then used to make pastries, cakes, cookies, and bread.

In addition, you can be used to make pasta and other foods that require little effort to cook.

However, we can’t point out its taste because there are different variations such as

  • Arborio Rice
  • Basmati Rice
  • Black Rice
  • Bomba Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Long Grain White Rice
  • Parboiled Rice

All these rice are different in flavor, color, and shape.

On the bright side, most of them can be used interchangeably in your recipe. 

Barley Vs Rice

Which is more healthy, barley or rice?

Nutritionally, barley is richer in proteins, magnesium, iron, potassium B complex vitamins, and chiefly in fibers. 

Also, it is higher in carbohydrates. 

However, barley is lower in glycemic index and three times higher in calories. 

Rice, on the other hand, is folate rich. But when compared to barley on the nutritional scale, rice does not stand a chance. 

Let’s dive into the complete comparison below! 

Parameters of ComparisonBarleyRice
Scientific name Hordeum vulgareOryza sativa
Mass ProductionRajasthan India and Russia are the primary producers of barley.China and West Bengal, in India, are the chief producers of rice.

Barley is most commonly used in bread, soups, and stews. It is also addictive to many alcoholic beverages.Rice grain is used as food; its flour can be used to make baked goods and as a thickener for other meals.
CaloriesBarley has 354 calories.Rice has 130 calories.
Nutrition contentBarley has 51 times more dietary fiber than rice.Rice has low fiber.
Cooking Time Barley takes longer to cook than rice: it usually takes around 30-40 minutes.Rice only takes about 20 minutes or less.
AppearanceBarley is yellowish-brown and shaped like a straw.The Barley’s smooth, long, and sharp-pointed auricles (outgrowths on seedheads) clasp over one another.Rice is about 1.2 m and 4 feet long. It is usually white after the seedcoat removal. It also has spikelets that bear flowers.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Are The Most Nutritious Grains In The World?

The most nutritionally dense grains in the world are less than you’ve imagined.

But these grains are all great options if you want to add more grains to your diet.

Here is our list of the leading grains on the nutritional scale:

1. Whole Oats

2. Whole Wheat

3. Whole-Grain Rye

4. Buckwheat

5. Bulgur Wheat (Cracked Wheat)

6. Millet

7. Whole Barley

8. Spelt

9. Quinoa

10. Brown Rice

11. Corn

12. Popcorn

13. Whole-Grain Breads

14. Whole-Grain and Whole-Wheat Pastas

What Is The Most Nutritious Rice

Most of you would argue wild rice and red rice. It is not even black rice.

That title falls to Brown rice.

The most nutritious rice is brown rice since it contains more nutrients than black rice. Also, brown rice is higher in antioxidants than other types of rice. 

What Is The Unhealthiest Type Of Rice?

The unhealthiest type of rice is white rice. This one is a no-brainer.

White rice is processed in ways that it misses its bran, hull, and germ, which is the nutrient-rich core.

It contains less protein, fiber, and other key essential nutrients.

It’s only high in carbohydrates, increasing your risk for weight gain and diabetes.


In conclusion, the evidence presented here overwhelmingly demonstrates that rice yields a significantly lower amount of fiber, protein, and other vital nutrients than barley, despite being equally or more expensive in many cases.

Based on all this evidence and the research, barley is a better choice for those looking to increase their protein and fiber intake from a food source.