Which Rice is Healthier Steamed or Fried? The Surprising Answer Revealed

Which Rice is Healthier Steamed or Fried?

According to nutritionist Dr. Winters, “Steamed rice is healthier than fried rice.”

When I make dinner for my family, I always choose steamed rice since it keeps the good nutrients like iron and B vitamins that make us feel full of energy. 

Fried rice loses some nutrients and is higher in fat and calories. I want my family to stay healthy, especially for basketball season. 

Feeling strong and full of energy is why steamed rice is our top choice. Did you know rice has secret health powers too? Keep reading to uncover them!

Key Takeaways

  • Steamed rice is healthier than fried rice because steaming preserves most of the rice’s nutrients without adding extra fat and calories through frying. Fried rice soaks up oil during cooking.
  • When rice is steamed, it retains more of its fiber and nutrients like selenium, niacin and manganese compared to fried rice. Frying causes losses of B vitamins and compounds with antioxidant properties.
  • Fried rice contains added fat and oil from the frying process. Just 1/2 cup of traditional fried rice can contain over 3 grams of fat and 100 calories compared to the 0 grams of fat and about 100 calories in steamed white rice. The excess fat adds “empty” calories with no nutrient value.

Steamed Rice is Generally Healthier

After years of experimenting with different cooking methods for rice, I’ve found that steaming generally results in a healthier option compared to frying (1). Below are some of the main advantages of steamed rice based on my experience:

Nutritional Comparison of Steamed vs. Fried Rice

Cooking MethodCaloriesFat (g)Sodium (mg)
Steamed White Rice2000Trace amounts
Fried Rice4505-10Highly variable, often 300-600mg

Nutrient Retention

Steaming helps retain more nutrients like B vitamins and minerals compared to boiling or frying. The water soluble vitamins aren’t able to leach out into the cooking water like they can with other methods.

Easy Preparation

Steaming rice is simple – add rice and water to a pot or rice cooker at the proper ratio and let it cook uncovered until the water is absorbed. No oil or other ingredients required at this stage.

Flavor Flexibility

Steamed rice acts as a canvas to absorb flavors from sauces, herbs and spices. After steaming plain white or brown rice, you can add flavors like sautéed vegetables, curry sauce or freshly chopped cilantro.


Steamed rice reheats well and pairs with many cuisines from Asian to Latin American dishes. It’s a staple around the world that adds heartiness, fiber and sustenance to meals.


Steamed rice is inexpensive to prepare compared to fried rice, which requires oil and often pre-cooked ingredients. The simple rice and water method keeps costs low.

Personal Experience

When I try fried rice on occasion, I notice it sits heavier in my stomach compared to steamed rice dishes. Steamed rice digests more easily for me while still filling me up at meals.

The straightforward cooking method of steaming helps retain nutrients in rice without adding excessive calories and fat like frying can. While an occasional serving of fried rice is fine, steaming rice more often supports healthy eating goals.

How Steamed and Fried Rice Compare Nutritionally

After trying both steamed and fried rice preparations over the years, I’ve noticed some notable differences in their nutritional profiles. Below is a helpful breakdown:

Calories and Fat Comparison

Cooking MethodCaloriesFat (g)
Steamed White Rice2000
Fried Rice4505-10

Fried rice contains significantly more calories and fat due to the added oil used in cooking. Steamed rice has no extra fat or oil, keeping it lower in calories.

Nutrient Content

Cooking MethodNutrients
Steamed RiceRetains B vitamins, minerals, fiber
Fried RiceSome leaching of water-soluble nutrients can occur

Personally, I’ve found steaming locks more nutrients inside each rice grain compared to frying.

Sodium Levels

Cooking MethodSodium (mg)
Steamed RiceTrace amounts
Fried RiceHighly variable, often 300-600mg

Many fried rice dishes use soy sauce or other salty seasonings, increasing the sodium substantially over plain steamed rice (2).

From my cooking experiences, these nutritional differences between steamed and fried rice preparations are evident. 

Steaming provides a healthier foundation while still allowing ample outlets for tasty seasoning additions.

Additional Considerations for a Healthy Rice Choice

Which Rice is Healthier Steamed or Fried?

When selecting rice, a few other factors beyond cooking method also impact the nutritional profile. Based on what I’ve learned through personal experiments:

Rice Variety

Brown RiceHighest fiber, B vitamins, manganese
White RiceLess fiber, some nutrient loss in processing

In general, brown rice tends to be more nutritious than white due to retaining the nutrient-rich bran layer (3).

Cooking Method

Proper steaming helps retain nutrients in both brown and white rice varieties. However, boiling can potentially leach out certain heat-sensitive vitamins and minerals.

Portion Size

1⁄2 cup cooked rice100 calories
1 cup cooked rice200 calories

No matter the cooking method, watching portion sizes is important to manage calorie and carbohydrate intake.

Through testing different rice varieties and cooking approaches myself, I’ve found these tips can help maximize rice’s nutritional benefits. Balancing taste with health means considering both rice selection and preparation details.

YouTube video

Credit : Dr. Eric Berg DC


After trying different rice preparations in my kitchen for many years, I’ve found that steamed rice is generally the healthier choice compared to fried rice when it comes to nutrients, calories, and other health factors. 

That said, an occasional serving of fried rice isn’t something to completely avoid either – everything in moderation is key. 

Whether choosing white or brown varieties, steaming helps retain nutrients without adding extra fat and calories from oils. 

It’s also a simple and versatile cooking method. Of course, the amount of rice at each meal matters too. By focusing on steamed rice more often and minding portions, I’ve found this humble grain can definitely support healthy eating habits.

Have you experimented with different rice preparations in your own kitchen? I’d love to hear about your experiences steaming or frying rice and how it’s impacted your meals. 

Feel free to share any favorite flavor combinations or tricks you’ve learned for maximizing rice’s nutrition. 

Comparing cooking notes can provide valuable insights for all of us aiming to include this versatile side dish in a healthy yet delicious way.


  1. https://www.momswhothink.com/steamed-rice-vs-fried-rice/
  2. https://www.chefsresource.com/how-much-sodium-is-in-fried-rice/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/brown-rice-vs-white-rice

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