One of the most popular foods on Earth, rice is part of many people’s diets because it is delicious, nutritious, and filling. It is full of vitamins and minerals and naturally low in sodium. Rice is so versatile that you can use it in hundreds of recipes, eat it by itself, or use it as a side dish to round out a meal.
You probably know about brown rice and white rice, but did you know that there are many other types of rice? The world of rice is quite complex, but you can classify most types as long-grain, medium-grain, or short-grain rice.
Long-grain rice is about four times longer than it is wide, and it is the most commonly used type of rice. Medium-grain rice is twice as long as it is wide, and short-grain rice is short and fat.
Here is a guide to 14 types of rice that you should know.
Brown rice is a healthier rice option, and you can easily replace white rice with brown rice in any recipe. Milled to remove the outer husks but not the bran layers, brown rice comes in short- and long-grain varieties. Cooked brown rice has a nutty flavor, a chewy texture, and is loaded with nutrients like fiber, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B3, B1, and B6.
Not only is brown rice delicious and nutritious, but it is also affordable -- a 16-ounce bag of brown rice costs around $2.75.
The most common type of rice in the United States, white rice is long-grain rice that has been milled to remove the outer husks and the bran layers. This means it has fewer nutrients, but it is extremely versatile and can be used in stir-fry, pilafs, salads, and more.
White rice is affordable, too -- you can buy a 32-ounce bag of it for about $2.50. And it has a much longer shelf life than brown rice.
This long-grain Thai rice is similar to brown rice; it is also milled to remove the outer husks but keep the bran layers. It is reddish-brown in color, is loaded with nutrients, and has a nutty flavor. It is an excellent rice option for curries, fish, and meat. It also works well in stir-fry and salads. However, it needs to be cooked longer than other types of rice, and it has a much chewier texture.
A five-pound bag of red cargo rice costs around $20.
Also known as Thai fragrant rice, jasmine rice comes from Thailand, and it is a long-grain rice with a nutty taste and floral aroma. It comes in both white and whole-grain varieties, and when you cook it, it is soft and a little bit sticky, which makes it a popular choice for Asian and Caribbean dishes.
Jasmine rice is perfect in spicy curry or with Jamaican jerk chicken. And you can easily find it in your local grocery store for about a dollar per pound.
Yes, black rice is a thing. Also known as forbidden rice or emperor’s rice because it was once exclusively fed to Chinese emperors, this type of rice gets its color from its high level of anthocyanin, the same antioxidant that you will find in blueberries, eggplant, and purple corn.
Black rice is a type of medium-grain rice and is often used in Asian dishes. You can also use black rice in other types of cuisine, and you can easily buy it online for $5 per pound.
Grown in India and Pakistan, basmati rice is a type of long-grain rice with a robust flavor and fragrance that come from a one-year-long aging process. Basmati rice comes in both white and whole-grain varieties, and it is a great choice for curry because it complements the aromas of the dish. It has a distinct smell, but the taste is worth it.
You can find basmati rice in your local grocery store or online for about a dollar per pound.
This bold short-grain rice from Italy works well for slow cooking because it can absorb liquid and flavor. Its creamy, chewy texture makes it perfect for risotto.
Since arborio rice holds its shape well, it is definitely worth trying when you are making arancini, minestrone, or fried rice balls. A 36-ounce jar of arborio rice costs $5.98.
Wild rice is actually a type of grass, and it originated in the Upper Great Lakes region of the United States. Commonly grown around lakes and rivers, it is usually sold as dried whole-grain rice. The skin of wild rice splits when you cook it, curling up to reveal its white interior.
The toasty flavor of wild rice makes it a good for vegetable pilaf, or you could mix it with nuts and dried fruit. It is low in fat, gluten-free, and high in protein, lysine, and fiber.
You can easily find wild rice in the grocery store and online, but it is one of the more expensive rice options, costing anywhere from $2 to $10 per pound.
This medium-grain rice is grown in India, and it has a reddish color because the bran layers aren't removed. It is full of nutrients, has an earthy flavor, and is best paired with lamb, beef, or game. Rosematta rice is best when you slow cook it for stews and curries, but it isn’t very tasty when you eat it by itself.
You can buy it online for a dollar per pound.
This type of rice is processed by soaking, steaming, and drying, which means it absorbs all its nutrients before the husks are removed. This process does make parboiled rice less sticky than other types of rice, but the rice absorbs liquid well, which makes it perfect for thick curries.
It has an extremely long shelf life, so don’t be afraid to buy it in bulk. You can also buy it in small quantities; a two-pound bag costs just $1.69.
Also known as glutinous rice, sticky rice is grown in Asia, but it doesn’t actually contain any gluten. However, it does have a high starch content, which is what gives it its sticky texture. Commonly used in sweet and savory recipes, sticky rice is perfect for rice pudding. You can also soak sticky rice in coconut milk or pair it with sesame shrimp.
You can find sticky rice in stores and online for $2 to $5 per pound.
Sushi rice is white or brown Japanese short-grain rice that is very similar to sticky rice. It is high in starch, which makes it perfect for sushi. You can use it the same way you would white rice, or you can eat it with a dipping sauce, use it as a side dish for seafood, or use it in rice pudding.
Sushi rice is a bit difficult to find in the United States, but you can buy it online for $3 per pound.
Valencia rice is Spanish short-grain rice that is usually used for paella. It is another rice variety that is high in starch; it is sticky and can absorb a lot of liquid without making the dish too dry, so it is perfect for soups and stews.
This rice is difficult to find in stores in the United States, but you can buy it online for $5 per pound.
Camargue red rice comes from the wetlands of the Camargue region of France. It is the result of short-grain wild rice cross-pollinating with white rice. Camargue red rice has a nutty taste and chewy texture, making it perfect for salads and jambalaya.
You can find Camargue red rice online for $6 per pound.
There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice, so the possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with this staple. Don't be afraid to try something new!