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12 Different Types of Rice – What’s Your Favorite?

The different types of rice on a wooden table with wooden spoons.

Did you know that rice comes in several varieties other than white and brown rice? Read this blog to find out about all the major types of rice.

Rice is the one and only crop that has fed millions of people over a longer period of time than any other crop. The history of rice goes as far back as 2500 BC, where historic records show that it has been a great source of tradition and food and continues to be so till this day.

Rice cultivation is believed to have started in China, and from there on, it popularized in India and Sri Lanka. It then moved to Europe, Central, and South America. The cultivation of this crop has seen and experienced great progress in terms of being grown and cultivated in various parts of the world. The main reason behind this is its great versatility, that is; its ability to grow in a variety of different climates and environmental conditions.

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Table of Contents Show

Rice Nutritional Facts Chart

Rice Nutritional Facts Chart

Most Popular Types of Rice

Rice, undoubtedly, is one of the most staple ingredients in almost all households. This has led to a variety of rice recipes and methods of cooking rice.

However, did you know there is a huge array of rice types and kinds, other than the usual white rice?

Each type of rice comes with its own unique qualities, features, texture, smell, flavor, and uses. From the aromatic jasmine rice to the nutty brown rice, every type of rice is simply unique, to say the least.

Here is a list of the most common and popular types of rice.

Arborio Rice

A wooden bowl of uncooked Arborio Rice.

Named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley of Italy, Arborio Rice is an Italian medium-grain rice that is slightly wider in size. While it is native to Italy, it is now also grown in Texas and California. This rice contains high starch content, giving it a very sticky and chewy consistency that turns the rice into a creamy texture when it’s cooked. This makes it ideal for dishes like risotto, soup and rice pudding.

Arborio Rice has a pearly white texture and a slightly fat-oval shape. It comes in a variety of sizes; however, among all of them, superfine which is the longest grain size is the most commonly used in the United States.

This rice has a great ability to hold its shape really well during any cooking process and even absorbs liquids and flavors when cooked slowly.

Basmati Rice

A heap of cooked Basmati Rice with garnish.

This is a fairly long-grained type of rice with a nutty flavor profile. It is commonly found and grown in Pakistan, India and the Himalayas with India producing almost two-thirds of the entire world’s supply. Basmati rice has quite a floral aroma which is why it is the most preferred choice of rice for dishes like saffron rice, curries, pilafs, etc. This distinct flavor and aroma particularly come from its aging process which goes on for almost a year before harvesting.

Basmati rice is basically a skinny and quite long rice that falls in the same category as American and Jasmine long grain. Interestingly, it becomes even longer when it is cooked and turns into a fluffy and lighter kind of rice that doesn’t stick together at all. It comes in both white and brown

color varieties where the latter has a deeper flavor and its color normally should appear to have a golden-like hue than pearly-white.

Brown Rice

A heap of uncooked Brown Rice.

Brown rice is typically associated with healthy eating because it is considered a whole grain and is less processed as compared to white rice. This is due to the fact that during processing, it only has its hull removed, which is the hard protective covering on top of the rice, leaving behind the germ and bran, the two by-products that are packed with key nutrients and proteins.

Brown rice has a chewy texture when it’s cooked and releases a very pleasant and mild nutty flavor in the particular dish. It is often described as a versatile kind of rice because of its ability to become really fluffy and light during cooking which further ensures that the rice doesn’t stick together into a messy lump. It is ideal for dishes like stuffed peppers, rice pilaf, casseroles, and stir-fry dishes. Many people also often use it as a substitute for the average white rice since it retains all its natural minerals and nutrients.

Jasmine Rice

A wooden bowl of freshly-cooked Jasmine Rice.

This is a long-grain rice that was initially cultivated in Thailand, and that’s where it originated from. The name “jasmine” basically is a reference to the color of the rice, the similar to the jasmine flower, which is white.

Jasmine rice is often featured in a variety of dishes in the Caribbean and is also quite often used in Asian cuisine. This popularity essentially stems from the fact that the rice becomes slightly sticky while cooking and gives off a heavenly jasmine aroma and flavor. It also has a super soft and moist texture that allows it to soak up flavors and spices.

An interesting fact about brown rice is that it contains an exceptionally high amount of manganese, a mineral that plays a great role in several bodily processes like wound healing, regulation of blood sugar levels, bone development and nerve function, to name a few.

White Rice

A lovely bowl of white rice on a wooden surface.

This has to be the most common type of rice consumed around the world, particularly famous among Americans. White rice is long-grain rice and is often believed to be a highly versatile kind of rice. It is often compared to brown rice with regards to its nutritional value because it ends up losing a large amount of its nutrients and minerals due to the way it is processed.

However, despite its low dietary value, it is still quite popular in a variety of traditional American recipes and even in Mexican and Asian cuisines.

White rice has very mild, light flavor and turns out to be quite fluffy in terms of texture when it is cooked. Some famous dishes that feature white rice are stir-fries, casseroles, and rice pilafs.

Wild Rice

A close look at a bowl of uncooked wild rice.

Also referred to as Indian Rice, Canada rice or water oats, wild rice is actually believed to be an aquatic grass instead of rice. This grain is native to North America and is often sold alongside white rice. It is commonly grown in wetland areas that are found near rivers and lakes, particularly near the Great Lakes region in the United States.

When cooking wild rice, they tend to curl and reveal a white interior, a feature that makes wild rice quite unique and different from the other types of rice. Originally though, the grains of wild rice are brown or black in color.

Wild rice contains a smoky and nutty texture with a chewy exterior but is really tender from the inside. They are also rich in antioxidants and proteins which gives the rice a high nutritional value. It is a great option for soups, stuffings and rice pilafs since it provides added taste and substance to the dish.

Black Rice

A wooden bowl filled with black rice.

As the name suggests, black rice is actually black in color. The rich black color comes from the high levels of anthocyanin present in black rice, the same antioxidant that is also present in blueberries. Anthocyanin gives a major boost to your immune system which makes black rice great for all those looking for a healthier type of rice.

Black rice is medium-grain rice and is typically known by a number of other names such as Thai black rice, Venere black rice, forbidden rice, and Nerone Black rice.

It is commonly found in Asian cuisines and in a variety of dishes such as noodles, desserts, porridge, and the traditional Chinese black rice cake.

Interestingly, it is not as popular as the average white or brown rice; however, it is the richest in terms of containing powerful antioxidants that fight disease and also contains anti-inflammatory properties and dietary fiber that thoroughly combat heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Sushi Rice

A close look at a small bowl of sushi rice.

This is short-grain Japanese rice that is famous for its use in sushi, as the name suggests. It consists of extreme stickiness, even more than the sticky rice itself which makes it an ideal choice for sushi rolls.

Sushi rice is available in several varieties, some of which are Akitakomachi, Hitomebore, and Koshihikari. It is basically short-grain rice that gets super dense and tender when cooked which is why sushi rice is ideal for sushi blocks or sushi rolls.

Rosematta Rice

A heap of cooked Rosematta Rice on a banana leaf.

This rice is medium-grain rice that is native to India. A very weird but interesting fact about Rosematta rice is that when you eat it on its own, you are likely to feel like something is really missing. Basically, it is a kind of rice that is meant to be paired and eaten with something like meat or curry.

It is also known as Kerala Red Rice, Kerala Matta rice, and Red parboiled rice. Despite its different and strange earthy taste and flavor, Rosematta rice has gained significant popularity since the olden days where this distinct taste was believed to be quite unique and rich.

Rosematta rice consists of yellowish pink grains and a reddish exterior or outer layer. Even after cooking though, the rice retains its pinkish hue and looks pretty on the plate.

The best way to eat rosematta rice is to serve t alongside your curries and stews which will also help bring out the unique flavor of this rice.

Red Cargo Rice

A bowl of uncooked Red Cargo Rice.

Traditionally found in Thailand, red cargo rice is quite similar to brown rice in terms of its milling process in which the outer husk layer is removed, and the bran layer remains intact, allowing the rice to retain its nutritional value.

It is non-glutinous long-grain rice that comes in a reddish maroon color with a touch of brown. This rice is believed to be a great source of vitamins, calcium, fiber, and iron and contains a nutty, sweet flavor with a very chewy texture.

This rice was given its unique name due to its fascinating origin. It was named“cargo” due to the fact that the red cargo rice was transported by ship to importers who then forward it to different markets in small packages, unlike the normal white rice we eat which was already distributed to exporters in packages.

Parboiled Rice

A close look at a heap of Parboiled Rice with a wooden spoon.

The name of this rice might suggest that it is pre-cooked; however, that is not the case. In actuality, parboiled rice is processed differently from the other types of rice. Due to this difference in processing, this rice provides a large amount of calcium, fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium than the regular rice.

Parboiled rice contains a fuller flavor than the average white rice, owing to its milling process which also hardens the grains of this rice, preventing it from over-cooking. This further helps the rice retain all of its essential nutrients and elements.

This rice is often found in various kinds of salads, curries, vegetable dips, and casseroles.

Valencia Rice

A bowl of Valencia Rice on a white surface.

Are you fond of eating paella? If yes then you have probably heard of, and eaten Valencia rice because that’s what paella is made of. This rice, as the name suggests, is native to Valencia, Spain which is the country’s seaport.

Valencia is medium-short-grain rice and is also known by various other names including pearl rice or round rice. It contains a high starch content which helps it become very absorbent and tender once cooked. It often acts as a buffer in several dishes that contain a liquid element because of its absorbing qualities, giving the dish the perfect dry-wet ratio.

Be it a black rice cake or a sushi rice roll; you ought to try every single type of rice and pick your favorites.

If anything, most of these are full of flavor, nutrients and essential minerals required by your body so you must have a bite out of each type of rice!

Best Type of Rice for Various Recipes

Fried Rice

Long Grain White Rice

Vegetarian Schezwan fried rice on a black bowl.

For most, long-grain white rice is considered the best rice to use for perfect Fried Rice. Fried Rice is a comfort delicacy that is best when the rice is not sticky but fluffy. Fried Rice should be served with individual grains of rice that are firm and distinct but never clumped.

Rice Pudding

Uncooked Medium Grain Rice

A bowl of creamy rice pudding with cinnamon.

To make the ultimate in a creamy rice pudding – the hallmark of fine dining, it is best to use uncooked medium grain rice. Using medium grain rice makes creamy rice pudding, but it is never too mushy like the consistency of baby food.


Short Grain (Japanese) or Medium Grain (California)

Chopsticks picking a sushi roll.

Sushi is best crafted when made with either short-grain Japanese rice or a Californian medium-grain rice.

“Short-grain rice is essential for making sushi rice because it has the highest starch (called amylopectin) and moisture content.”

Some rice is marketed as Sushi Rice to make your ingredient search easy. The key to sushi is the sticky consistency and the added seasonings– rice vinegar, salt, and sugar, among others.


Arborio Rice, among others

A bowl of risotto beside spices.

The trademark of a fine Risotto is its incredibly creamy texture. The best type of rice for risotto is a rice type with a high-starch content and is plump, short, or medium rice grains. There are several varieties that will create a delicious risotto; however, in the United States, Arborio Rice is the type most often selected.

Rice Cooker

Better Quality Rice – Chef’s Choice

Scooping rice from a rice cooker.

Almost any rice that uses boil/absorb will cook in a rice cooker. The better quality rice you use, the better will be your result. You may have to adjust the cycles on the electronic models to create your perfect rice.

Butter Chicken (Indian Food Generally)

Basmati Rice

A dish of chicken tikka masala with white rice.

Butter Chicken is among the most of popular dishes served in Indian restaurants around the globe.

“Rice is also a great side dish to serve with Indian Butter Chicken because the rice soaks up all of the delicious Butter Chicken Sauce.” 

Because it is grown in India, aromatic Basmati Rice is traditionally the rice that is served with Butter Chicken as well as man other India-based cuisines.


Long Grain Rice

Pork burrito rice.

A Mexico Burrito is one of the favorite street foods in their cuisine. A burrito is often made with long grain rice because it tends to separate (rather than clump) when used. Many enhance the flavor of Long Grain Rice by adding a bit of lime juice and fresh chopped cilantro before rolling your final Burrito delectable.


Long Grain, Basmati, or Jasmine Rice

A dish of seafood gumbo.

The term Gumbo refers to a type of creole stew that has become a beloved favorite in Louisiana. While recipes may vary, the satisfying deliciousness of Gumbo is best served with either a Basmati or Jasmine Rice -mostly because the size of the grain is a perfect complement to most Gumbo recipes.


Long Grain Rice

A dish of jambalaya.

Jambalaya resembles its distant Spanish cousin – paella or a pilaf from the Middle East as  a one-pot wonder. Some specialty restaurants in New Orleans use ‘Broken up long grain rice’ – actual rice broken to imitate the texture and the starchiness of shorter grain rice. Stews, like Jambalaya, cook the rice alongside the other ingredients.

Nasi Goreng

Jasmine Rice & Other Varieties

Nasi goreng on a black plate.

Nasi goreng is Indonesia’s version of Asian fried rice. Nasi Goreng is typically made with Jasmine Rice but is also great with other varieties. The Indonesian Shrimp paste (Terasi) is what makes Nasi Goreng different from other fried rice variations.  

Stuffed Peppers

Any Variety Used – Chef’s Preference

Stuffed peppers

A classic recipe for a Stuffed Pepper includes a few kinds of cheese, some Italian herbs, ground beef, and rice – baked in a classic tomato-based sauce. The result is a tender, gooey and meaty delicious meal. Stuffed peppers are quite versatile, so many cooks and chefs use brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, and even wild rice for something new and different.


Any Variety Used – Chef’s Choice

A bowl of chicken rice soup.

Most rice types work well in simple or hearty soups. The wide varieties include brown, black, and white rice, basmati, or jasmine, and even risotto, sushi, and paella rice can help create a warm, nourishing soup. Most people prefer to add uncooked rice, which soaks up the broth flavor and leaves extra time for brown and wild rice varieties which simply take longer to cook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does rice come from? 

Most of the world’s supply of rice, 90 percent, comes from Asia. Primarily it comes from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, and India. Smaller amounts of rice are grown in Pakistan, Japan, and various countries in Southeast Asia. Rice can also be found in North and South America, Europe, and Australia.

Where are basmati rice and brown rice from?

Basmati rice comes from the Indian subcontinent. It is aromatic with a nutty or spicy aroma. Brown rice is a whole grain that has not been processed to create the white rice most are used to eating. 

How rice is harvested?

Rice is flooded in six to eight inches of water until right before it is harvested. Then, a person or a machine comes through and cuts down the rice. First, the kernels are separated from the stems, and then the husks are separated from the kernels. 

When to plant rice?

The best time to plant rice is after the last frost. This is usually in early spring. Rice prefers a warm and sunny area in soil that is well-draining. 

Is rice good for you?

Yes, rice is low in sodium, cholesterol, and fat. It has fiber and is rich in nutrients. 

Is rice gluten-free?

Yes, all forms of rice in its natural state are gluten-free.

Is rice a carb? 

Yes, rice contains carbohydrates. 

Is rice a starch?

Yes, rice is starch.

Does rice have fiber?

Yes, rice has fiber. For example, one cup of cooked long grain white rice has 0.6 grams of fiber. One cup of long grain brown rice that is cooked has 3.5 grams of fiber. 

Does rice have protein?

Yes, rice is a good source of protein. White rice offers about 4.3 grams per cup of cooked long grain. 

Does rice have sugar?

Rice is low in sugar when prepared as is. However, when ingredients are added to rice, those ingredients may have high sugar content. 

Does rice have iron?

Rice has only small amounts of iron. 

Is rice a vegetable?

No, rice is not a vegetable. It is considered a grain.

Can you eat rice on keto?

Rice is not keto. You cannot eat rice while on the keto diet. 

How much rice is a serving?

One-half cup of rice is considered a serving size. This is the equivalent of a cupcake wrapper. 

How much rice does 1 cup make?

One cup of uncooked rice will make about three cups of cooked rice. 

How much rice to water?

You want to use two parts water to one part rice. However, if you want firmer rice, use one part water for 2/3 part rice. 

Can you cook rice in the microwave? 

Yes, you can quickly cook rice in the microwave. However, you want to ensure you are using the proper ratio of water to rice. You also want to make sure you have a large enough container because rice expands when it cooks. 

Can you cook rice in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can easily cook rice in a slow cooker. 

How long do rice cookers take?

It takes about 25 minutes to 35 minutes to cook rice in a rice cooker. The amount of time it takes depends on how much and the type of rice you are cooking. 

Can you freeze cooked rice?

Yes, you can freeze any leftover cooked rice. 

How long is cooked rice good for?

You can keep cooked rice in your refrigerator for three to four days. Some claim you can keep it for as long as a week. You can keep cooked rice frozen for about eight months. 

Does rice go bad?

Yes, rice can go bad. Dry white rice can last as long as two years. Dry brown rice lasts about six months. You may see water, mold, bugs, or holes in the packaging as indications that the rice is bad. In addition, Brown rice may become discolored, oily, or rancid. 

Can you reheat rice?

Yes, but you should not reheat rice more than one time.

Why do you wash rice?

Washing or rinsing rice can remove excess starch; allowing the grains to be more separated when cooked. 

What rice for sushi?

Japanese short-grain rice is used for sushi. It is seasoned with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar.

Can birds eat rice?

Yes, it is safe for birds to eat rice. 

Can babies have rice?

As long as babies are at least six months of age, it is safe for them to eat rice. It must be pureed so that it is easy to swallow.

Can you eat raw rice?

No, eating raw rice is not safe.

Can rice be composted?

Technically, rice can be composted. However, you really do not want to put it in a compost bin. Cooked rice can cause the growth of unwanted bacteria. In addition, raw rice can attract unwanted rodents. 

Where is rice pudding from?

Rice pudding is made by mixing rice with water or milk. It originated in India, where it is a staple. 

Can you drink rice water?

Yes, you can drink rice water. It can even help digestion and improve constipation. 

Does rice work for wet phones?

Yes, rice can draw moisture out of phones. However, it is not something you really want to do as there are better options for drying out your phone. Placing your phone in rice can also cause starch and dust to get in the phone.