What to Know About the Different Types of Rice

Rice has been a staple of diets all over the world for centuries. It is one of the most widely consumed grains and comes in many different types. From short to long-grain, white to brown, each type has its own distinctive flavor and texture. Knowing their characteristics can make all the difference in your cooking. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of rice.

Long-Grain Rice

Long-grain rice is one of the most common types of rice. A long-grain variety has a slender, elongated shape and produces light and fluffy cooked grains. Some of the most popular long-grain varieties include basmati, jasmine, and Carolina.

Basmati Rice

Basmati is a fragrant, long-grain variety cultivated in the Indian subcontinent, but particularly in India and Pakistan. Basmati has a nutty flavor and is used in South Asian cuisine and pilafs. Basmati has a slightly chewy texture that makes it a great option for absorbing flavors from other ingredients.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is a semi-long-grain variety that is popular in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Laos. It has a sweet and delicate flavor, making it ideal for dishes like fried rice and as a side for curries and stews. Jasmine rice has a slightly sticky texture when cooked.

Carolina Rice

Carolina rice is a medium-grain rice native to the U.S. Its grains are slightly shorter in length than the grains of other long-grain varieties and they cook slightly chewy. Carolina rice is great for creamy dishes like risotto.

Medium-Grain Rice

Medium-grain rice is slightly shorter than long-grain and its grains have a rounder and plumper shape. The cooked grains of medium-grain rice are moist, tender and clingy and they are ideal for creamy risottos, paella, and rice salads.

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is an Italian variety that is widely used for making creamy risotto. The grains become sticky and fluffy when cooked, making it a perfect choice for risotto.

Calasparra Rice

Calasparra rice is another Italian variety that is cultivated in Spain. It has large grains with an irregular shape and a nutty flavor. The cooked grains are relatively firm and al dente. Calasparra rice is widely used for paellas.

Short-Grain Rice

Short-grain rice varieties have a rounder shape than long-grain and they often have a softer texture when cooked. Short-grain varieties are great for recipes that require the grains to stick together, such as sushi, paellas, and risottos.

Calrose Rice

Calrose is a short-grain variety that is widely used in Japanese cuisine. It has a smooth, sticky texture and its cooked grains are plump and clingy. It is ideal for making sushi, rice balls, and onigiri.

Bhutanese Red Rice

Bhutanese red rice is an ancient variety that is cultivated in the mountains of Bhutan. This variety has a deep red color that is caused by its high levels of anthocyanin pigments. The cooked grains are nutty and subtly chewy, making them perfect for salads, soups, and stir-fries.

Forbidden Rice

Forbidden rice is an ancient Chinese variety of black rice that was once reserved for emperors. This variety is considered a superfood as it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The cooked grains of forbidden rice have a nutty flavor and a sticky texture, making them great for Chinese-style dishes like fried rice and porridge.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a type of rice with an inedible hull. This variety contains more fiber and essential vitamins and minerals than white rice. Brown rice has a slightly chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it a great option for dishes like curries and stir-fries.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is a type of grass that grows in marshy wetlands. Despite its name, it is not technically a rice, but it can be cooked and eaten like one. Wild rice has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, making it a great addition to soups, salads, and casseroles.

Rice Varieties to Avoid

Parboiled white rice is a variety of white rice that has been steamed, dried and then milled. This variety has a slightly sticky texture when cooked and its grains are usually gummy or mushy. Parboiled rice should be avoided as it lacks the texture of other types of rice.

There are many different varieties of rice, each with its own distinctive flavor, texture and nutritional profile. Knowing their characteristics and which one to choose can make all the difference in your cooking. From long-grain to short-grain varieties, white to brown rice, there is something for everyone. Just make sure to avoid parboiled rice if you want a superior texture and flavor.