HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Does anyone still eat rice cakes?

And, if so, why?

Just curious, not meant to be derogatory or anything.

But I remember about 15 or so years ago when they were all the rage amongst dieters because they were supposedly low in calories. and low or fat free.

But nowadays with the rage being low carb, high protein, are rice cakes still popular?

And even if you aren't dieting, are rice cakes tasty enough to stand on its own merits?

Well, let's see.

Taste. Sure, I think some of those flavored ones like bbq or sea salt might be a decent facsimile of potato chips, but after a few discs can you really ignore that faux Styrofoam mouthfeel?

Texture. Styrofoam. 'Nuff said.

Nutrition. Major fail. Hopefully we've all moved beyond the point where empty calories can somehow be justified simply because those calories are "fat free".

Convenience. Yeah, I suppose they are convenient ... as coasters.

Which brings me back to my original question ... does anyone still eat rice cakes? And, if so, why?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Yes, sometimes, it's a phase thing; I buy a couple of bags and snack on them during the day.

    I like the lightly salted ones; all other are overly flavoured (cheddar, popcorn, ... ) .

    Max.

    1. Yup. My family likes them. We get the smaller ones, chip-sized, which I think are much less styrafoamy than the larger, thicker ones that I remember my mother buying years ago (and sitting in the cabinet, uneaten). The cheddar cheese, chocolate, and salt & cracked pepper are favorites. It works as a snack for my kids, particularly one of whom has recently developed food allergies & is finding her snack choices dwindling. They also are great when I want a small handful of something salty. We don't look at them as health foods, just an alternative snack.

      2 Replies
      1. re: elfcook

        + 1 on everything you said, elfcook. I don't look at them as a healthy snack, but more as a not-so-unhealthy snack. I buy the mini-cheddar ones mostly and on some days will put a few in my daughter's lunch bag. She likes them, so why not. It's another thing to keep in the rotation of snacks. And sometimes I buy the caramel or chocolate ones for a "dessert".

        1. re: elfcook

          Another +1 too.

          It makes a huge difference whether they are the smaller, thinner ones that stay crispy and tasty, or the big, fat, styrofoamy ones that are soggy right off the bat even when the packaging was opened. In fact, there is still a big bag of that sitting around here that I don't know what to do with.

          We go through the good ones quickly in our household, and I also see it as an alternative to saltine crackers and other salty snacks that is not laden with so many chemicals, for kids and adults alike.

        2. i just had some rice cakes yesterday actually. some of the flavored ones are really good. ill normally top them with some cheese and pop them under the broiler, or smear some peanut butter and honey on top. mmmm

          1. I like them and buy them. Low carbs? That's so over. Well, it was never in with me anyway.

            "Nutrition. Major fail. Hopefully we've all moved beyond the point where empty calories can somehow be justified simply because those calories are "fat free"."

            Guess I'm slow then. I haven't moved beyond that point.

            1. Your right, I remember when they were the thing to eat if you were dieting. My mom would buy them, but I don't remember actually seeing her eat them. I enjoy the texture, but I can't eat the plain ones without a topping. As a teenager I loved them with some cream cheese topped with a sliced of ham. In college I bought the caramel ones and the bite sized flavor ones to snack on. I haven't bought them in years. Probably better than my current snacking by eating sleeves of saltines or bags of pretzels. Thanks for reminding me.

              1. I do once in a while. I like the taste and the texture. They are a nice, easy, crispy snack. I like them with tuna salad or with a laughing cow cheese spread on it. Some of the flavored ones are yummy, esp. butter (although that might be a popcorn cake which is similar) and white cheddar.

                1. Yup, still eat them. I like the plain ones from Trader Joe's with peanut butter on top; they also have an apple cinnamon one that is really good with peanut butter as well.

                  Strangely... I sort of like the styrofoamy mouth feel.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mcap

                    mmmmmm.... rice cakes with peanut butter....

                    I have to say that I love the styrofoamy mouth feel - basically any food with that weird texture I am guaranteed to love.

                    Rice cakes are one of those foods that I almost can't buy because I will sit down at eat the entire bag at once if I'm not careful. I just love them!

                  2. Periodically. I like the small, cheddar ones. My kids like them in their lunches too.

                    Basically I view them as a cheddar vehicle, plus I like the crunchiness.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tcamp

                      Using them as a crunchy cheddar vehicle is the major point for me too! I actually like to top the plain ones with cheddar cheese powder, and sometimes with the addition of chili pepper or paprika.

                    2. I found that the Lundberg brand (available at TJ's, WF, and some supermarkets) are much tastier. Just bought a pack of TJ's brand and they were so much more styrofoamy in texture, I realized that Lundberg's cakes are more densely packed and that's the difference. I like them with cottage cheese and salsa on top.

                      1. And don't forget the giant Korean style rice cakes that get popped from the machine right in front of your eyes. They are quite popular with kids and adults in my area.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: vil

                          Love those. Great with peanut butter smeared on them.

                        2. I tried them before, but I prefer straight Styrofoam as opposed to faux Styrofoam.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: raytamsgv

                            Do you have a favorite brand of straight Styrofoam?

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I, personally, only eat the european brands of straight Styrofoam.

                              Oh, wait. Wrong thread.

                              1. re: tcamp

                                LOL, but are they AUTHENTIC? Were they made in Europe, the way Nona used to make them?

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                I like the ones made with genuine West Texas Intermediate oil. They are light and sweet. I avoid the ones made with Saudi oil--they're a little too sour. :-)

                            2. I love them! Good ones are crunchy, not like styrofoam although i have to confess, I've never eaten styrofoam so I really can't make a valid comparison.
                              I love the popcorn flavored one, helps me deal with a buttered popcorn craving.
                              I can't afford the calories of chips, baked chips, buttered popcorn....so its a nice, crunchy snack in a pinch.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: freia

                                So agree, freia. I can sit and have a brief, all-encompassing and satisfying relationship with a bag of potato chips (which means I'll eat it all, down to the crumbs!) or I can get my salt-and-crunch fix for 80-150 calories of rice cakes and be done.

                                Popcorn, kettle corn, sea salt/pepper, cheddar, mini size for all.

                                1. re: freia

                                  I love the Cheddar Cheese flavor and have two for my snack every night.

                                  At 45 calories for one, I eat two and my salty/chip snacking is fulfilled for the evening.

                                  I don't really care if they are "empty calories", I eat heathy meals all day. At least they aren't bad for me. :)

                                  1. re: mcel215

                                    "I don't really care if they are "empty calories", I eat heathy meals all day. At least they aren't bad for me. :)"

                                    Well put, mcel215

                                2. Not really, the small savoury ones are OK for party snacks, but Ryevita Sesame is my go to cracker.

                                  1. While rice cakes evokes only the most painful memories of never-ending adolescent dieting, my five year old son, only allowed to bring "helfy" (read: healthy) snack to school actually LOVES rice cakes. And not the chocolate or carob ones either. The old school, styrofoam with salt are his fave.

                                    1. I like the Quaker Quakes. They are small, thin, and crunchy; not styrofoamy at all. I especially like the kettle corn ones. They satisfy my salty sweet and crunchy cravings, without the excess calories i'd consume otherwise. I also like the BBQ ones. I also really like soy crisps as well.

                                      1. call them structured foam and we can witness a resurgence in popularity

                                        1. Never been a big fan of the U.S. rice cakes, but the Korean puffed rice cake/cracker is great.

                                          http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/1120...

                                          http://web.tradekorea.com/upload_file...

                                          1. Yes. Still eat them as a perfect crunchy snack. I put jam or Laughing Cow cheese on them and a couple will hold me over.....

                                            1. They're a Godsend for gluten-intolerant or celiac folks. You can get them just about anywhere when you're on the road, even though they are basically edible plates.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. my partner loves to eat them in the car. What a mess!
                                                to me they taste like styrofoam with salt.

                                                1. They are great as a snack for kids. I like them too. As for "empty calories," I see them as a substitute for other snack foods which are also empty calories and probably worse for you (potato chips, pretzels, etc.) I don't think they have tons of carbs since they're mostly air, and they're not addictive enough that you want to eat more than a serving.

                                                  1. I eat a fair amount of them. I enjoy the Ranch and cheddar flavors of the Quaker quakes - the smaller rice cakes. I also enjoy the larger ones in a few flavors once in a while.

                                                    The texture doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I enjoy the texture, which is maybe strange, since I have a lot of weird texture quirks. Being low in calories is a perk, since I've been on steroids for asthma for three months now, and I am hungry all the time - at least the rice cakes aren't doing as much damage as other things.

                                                    1. I like them (well, certain ones anyway) and not for "health" reasons (they are anything but health food actually, although I suppose one could do worse, snack-wise).

                                                      Anyway...the ones I like are made by LUNDBERG (the 'wehani' ones and the 'mochi' ones are particularly good)...LUNDBERG's are slightly denser, and crispier than the average rice cakes, and I enjoy them from time to time with a light schmeer of peanut butter and an even lighter schmeer of apricot conserves.
                                                      I enjoy one of those with coffee or tea far more more than any donut.

                                                      1. Like many foods, they do have their place.

                                                        I like getting the large ones and placing them on a tray. I pan fry pork loins in butter and place each on top of a rice cake. A layer of cooked fries is added and topped with slabs of gruyere or aged swiss cheese. A short time under the broiler and then smoked paprika for a finishing touch..

                                                        The rice cakes are great at soaking up any residual grease. A spatula slips easily under the serving and everything is quite tasty.

                                                        Just don't forget to throw out the grease soaked rice cakes. Best use I have found for them yet.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                          indianriver, that was memorable. ;-).

                                                        2. i like the lightly salted ones, either dipped in salsa instead of chips, or spread with some low-fat cream cheese and jelly.

                                                          1. My SO eats the white cheddar rice cakes as a snack, and the chocolate ones for dessert, usually with peanut butter and a little Cool Whip

                                                            I like plain rice cakes with a spread of butter and a sprinkle of brewers yeast. Mmm.