Rice Cakes vs Popcorn (Main Differences)

People often confuse rice cakes and popcorn. But when it comes to snacking, is there a healthier option? In this article we will explain the main differences between rice cakes vs popcorn.

Although rice cakes and popcorn have a similar texture, they are made with different ingredients and use different manufacturing methods. 

What are Rice Cakes?

Rice cakes are round patties of puffed rice combined with salt or a sticky, sweet substance, like sugar.

They are readily available at most grocery stores and will stay fresh for a few months as long as the package remains unopened. Place them in your freezer if you’d like to keep them for an extended period.

America’s diet culture and the low-calorie content of rice cakes have made them a popular staple. People who have chosen a low-calorie lifestyle often use them as a substitute for bread or crackers.

Health Benefits

Different types of rice have various nutritional benefits. For example, brown rice is a whole grain. The cakes can be eaten individually as a snack or used as a base for additional ingredients. 

Additionally, they are a great gluten-free option for those with gluten allergies and sensitivities. Food manufacturers create these cakes using different ingredients and may choose white or brown rice.

Although rice cakes are a great quick snack for calorie-conscious consumers, people with diabetes must be careful. Rice cakes mainly contain glucose-elevating carb content and can increase glucose levels quickly. Better snack choices are available if you have or are at risk for diabetes.


A popular way to consume rice cakes is with peanut butter spread on top or between two patties. Adding bananas, strawberries, or apples makes a delicious and nutritious treat.

Hummus, cream cheese, vegetables, and meat are other typical toppings for rice cakes. You can even put a fried egg on top for a breakfast snack. The options are truly endless.

Why Rice Cakes are Better than Popcorn

Rice cakes and popcorn are not only created using different methods; they are entirely different ingredients. Food producers create rice cakes by combining puffed rice.

However, they make popcorn using a specific variety of corn that pops and becomes puffed when heated. The shapes are another distinguishing feature.

Rice cakes are small round discs that can easily stack on top of each other, and popcorn is many separate loose kernels. Although popcorn can be formed into a ball using sugar, usually, it is unconnected kernels scooped into a bag.

Popcorn and Sodium

Popcorn is the perfect snack when watching a movie, and unconcerned about the additional calories some butter or oil would add. Or if you don’t mind a lot of sodium or salt in the popcorn.

But rice cakes are the better option if these items are a concern. The best reason to choose rice cakes over popcorn? Versatility. Due to the flexible flavor of rice cakes, you can add different toppings daily.

If you need more protein, add some meat or nut butter to a rice cake. If you need more fiber, add a bean spread and some vegetables. Want a delectable treat? Melt some chocolate on it.

Final Thoughts

Those are the main differences between rice cakes and popcorn. Now you know why rice cakes are the better choice.

Your taste buds won’t get bored from eating the same snack day after day, and you can create dishes using recipes full of your favorite flavors and customized to your dietary needs.

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