Benedikta Berge

Benedikta Berge

Modified & Updated: 07 Sep 2023


Black rice, also known as forbidden rice, is a type of rice that is gaining popularity for its unique nutritional profile and distinct flavor. It is called “forbidden rice” because, historically, it was reserved exclusively for Chinese emperors due to its exceptional health benefits. Today, black rice has become more accessible and is enjoyed by people around the world.

While black rice may not be as commonly consumed as white or brown rice, it offers numerous advantages that make it worth incorporating into your diet. In this article, we will explore 17 fascinating facts about black rice, ranging from its rich history and cultivation to its health benefits and culinary uses.

Table of Contents

Black Rice is also known as Forbidden Rice.

Black rice gets its name from the ancient Chinese belief that it was so nutritious and delicious that it was reserved exclusively for the emperor and the royal family, making it “forbidden” to the common people.

Black Rice is packed with nutrients.

Considered a superfood, black rice is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and essential minerals like iron and vitamin E. It also contains anthocyanins, which give it its deep black color and are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Black rice has a distinct nutty taste and a slightly chewy texture, making it a delightful addition to various dishes. It adds depth and complexity to both savory and sweet recipes.

Black Rice contains more antioxidants than other rice varieties.

Due to its dark color, black rice contains a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to white or brown rice. These powerful antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

It is a great source of dietary fiber.

Black rice is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy weight, and promotes overall gut health.

Black Rice is gluten-free.

For individuals with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease, black rice is a safe and delicious alternative. It is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for gluten-free diets.

Black Rice has a lower glycemic index.

Compared to white rice, black rice has a lower glycemic index, meaning it has a slower impact on blood sugar levels. This makes it a better choice for those managing diabetes or watching their blood sugar levels.

It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Black rice is versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes. It can be cooked into a savory pilaf, used in stir-fries, or even incorporated into desserts like puddings or rice cakes.

Black Rice is a staple in Asian cuisine.

In many Asian countries, black rice is a traditional staple, often used in various dishes like sushi rolls, porridge, and desserts. It adds both color and flavor to these culinary creations.

It takes longer to cook than white rice.

Due to its outer bran layer, black rice takes longer to cook compared to white rice. It requires slightly more time and water to ensure a tender and fully cooked texture.

Black Rice has a higher nutritional value than white rice.

Black rice retains the outer bran layer, which is removed in the processing of white rice. This bran layer contains higher levels of nutrients, making black rice a more nutritious option.

It has a striking color when cooked.

When cooked, black rice turns a deep purple color, making it visually appealing and a great addition to colorful dishes.

Black Rice is a natural source of anthocyanins.

The vibrant black hue of black rice comes from anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid pigment that acts as a powerful antioxidant and has been associated with various health benefits.

It has a lower calorie content compared to other grains.

Black rice is relatively low in calories compared to other grains, making it a healthy choice for weight management and calorie-conscious diets.

Black Rice can improve heart health.

Studies have shown that consuming black rice may help reduce the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants and fiber present in black rice contribute to improved heart health.

It has a sticky texture when cooked.

Black rice tends to have a sticky texture when cooked, which makes it perfect for dishes that require a stickier consistency, such as sushi or rice balls.

Black Rice is gaining popularity in Western cuisine.

While black rice has long been a staple in Asian cuisine, it is now gaining popularity in Western countries as well, thanks to its unique flavor and nutritional benefits.


Black rice is not only visually striking but also packed with nutritional benefits. From its rich antioxidant content to its potential health-promoting properties, black rice stands out as a superfood worth incorporating into your diet. Whether you’re looking to add variety to your meals or seeking a gluten-free grain alternative, black rice is a versatile ingredient that can enhance both savory and sweet dishes.


1. What gives black rice its distinctive color?

Black rice contains a type of pigment called anthocyanins, which provide its deep purple or black color.

2. Is black rice gluten-free?

Yes, black rice is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable option for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

3. Does black rice have any health benefits?

Absolutely! Black rice is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients. It has been linked to reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and promoting digestive health.

4. Can black rice be used in both savory and sweet dishes?

Yes, black rice is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. It adds a unique flavor and texture to both sweet desserts and savory dishes.

5. How should black rice be cooked?

Black rice can be cooked by combining one cup of rice with two cups of water and simmering it for about 30 minutes, or according to the package instructions.

6. Where can I purchase black rice?

Black rice is readily available at most grocery stores, health food stores, and online retailers. Look for it in the rice or specialty grains section.

7. Are there different varieties of black rice?

Yes, there are various types of black rice, including Thai black rice, Forbidden rice, and Jasmine black rice. Each variety has its own unique characteristics and flavors.

8. Can black rice be substituted for other types of rice?

Absolutely! Black rice can be substituted for other types of rice in most recipes. Just keep in mind that the cooking time and water ratio may vary.

9. How should black rice be stored?

Black rice should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It has a longer shelf life than white rice but is best consumed within a year.

10. Does black rice have a unique taste?

Black rice has a slightly nutty and earthy flavor, which adds a delightful twist to dishes.