Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Who doesn’t like rice? This cereal is one of the most consumed foods in the world due to its pleasant flavour and the gastronomic versatility it offers, as it can be used to prepare an infinite number of savoury and sweet dishes. Have you tried all its variations? Have a look at them!

Rice is the second most cultivated cereal on the planet after maize. Countries such as China, Japan, India and other Asian powers have been harvesting this grain for thousands of years, not only for personal consumption, but also as a central product of their economy.

Throughout this article we will tell you about the most important characteristics of rice, so that you can get to know its main characteristics and choose the variant you like the most among the numerous options of flavours, textures, aromas, shapes and colours offered by this food. Don’t miss it!


  • Rice is the second most consumed cereal in the world (after corn) due to its exquisite taste and culinary versatility. There are countless variations of this food used to prepare various savoury dishes, as well as delicious desserts.
  • Among the many varieties of this rice, the traditional white rice, brown rice and wild rice stand out. These varieties differ from each other in their flavours, aromas, colours, nutritional properties, texture, cooking time, etc.
  • When purchasing rice, it is important that you take into account certain relevant factors, such as different varieties, grain sizes and shapes, colours and aromas, among other determining aspects at the time of purchase.

The Best Rice: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you should know about rice

In this buying guide you will find useful and relevant information about the product you are interested in buying. We will tell you about the main characteristics of rice, including its advantages and those aspects of this popular food that are not so favourable or positive.

Easterners incorporate rice into their meals on a daily basis, as they consider it a basic and fundamental food in their diet. (Photo: Wang Tom /

What is rice and what are its benefits?

Rice is one of the most widely consumed cereals in the world due to its many nutritional properties and its culinary versatility. On the market you can find numerous varieties of this grain adapted to dozens of dishes, both savoury and sweet.

Rice is a very easy and quick food to cook and is not usually expensive

Rice is also a very easy and quick food to cook and is not usually expensive (except for the gourmet variants), making it a practical, simple and economical alternative for tasty and healthy food. It also has vitamins, minerals and fibre that are essential for the body to function properly.

Rice always has a pleasant taste for most palates

Among its many benefits, rice is a product with a taste that is very pleasant to almost every palate. Moreover, it can be combined with an infinite number of ingredients, so you will always find a delicious option to prepare any of its varieties.

  • There are numerous varieties
  • It has vitamins, minerals and fibre
  • Its flavour is very pleasant
  • It adapts to many dishes
  • It combines with a large number of ingredients
  • It is easy and quick to cook
  • White rice has a high percentage of carbohydrates and calories
  • White rice also has high amounts of starch and glucose

White rice, brown rice or wild rice – what should you pay attention to?

There are many varieties of rice on the market, including white rice, brown rice and wild rice. Below, we will detail the main characteristics of each of them so that you can choose the variant that best suits your tastes and gastronomic uses.

White rice. White rice, which is the most common and most consumed variant of this cereal, comes in different grain sizes (short, medium or long) and can be combined with an infinite number of dishes, such as soups, risottos, salads, stews, etc., or sweet desserts such as rice pudding.

Brown rice. This is rice from which the inedible outer husk has been removed, and the bran layer that surrounds it has been preserved, making it darker and requiring more cooking. This variant has more nutritional value, fibre, vitamins and protein than white rice.

Wild rice. Unlike the other variants, wild rice comes from the seed of an aquatic plant called water oats. This type of rice, which is dark brown in colour and has an intense flavour (similar to walnut or hazelnut), has a low fat content and requires considerable cooking time (approximately 40 minutes).

White Wholemeal Wild
Main properties Vitamin D, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, iron, etc. High in fibre and vegetable proteins Provides fibre and minerals. Low fat content
Colouring White Yellowish, brownish Dark greenish brown
Comparative comparison time Approximately 10-20 minutes Approximately 20-25 minutes Approximately 40 minutes
Similar variants Glutinous rice, bomba, bahia, carnaroli, arborio, etc. Yamani rice Black rice (venere)
Texture Mainly soft Harder Harder

What industrial treatments is rice subjected to?

Rice is subjected to industrial treatment that affects its nutritional properties and texture. Below, we will mention the two most common processes so that you can get to know their characteristics and choose the most suitable variant for you, depending on your dietary preferences.

Parboiled rice. The bran has been removed from the steamed rice by lightly cooking it in water. This variant, which can be found in yamaní, red, wild, venere (or black) rice, among others, has more nutritional properties than the other types and does not break down after cooking.

Pre-cooked rice. As its name suggests, pre-cooked rice is pre-cooked to reduce cooking time at home. Therefore, unlike the variants mentioned in the previous paragraph that take no less than 25 minutes to cook, this type of rice can be ready in 10 minutes (although it is less nutritious).

How much does rice cost?

The prices of rice depend mainly on the different varieties of rice, as well as their sizes and brands. Below, we will tell you the approximate values of this product so that you can have an estimated reference of the commercial costs.

In the market you can find numerous variants of rice, adapted to different uses and palates. (Photo: Suphakaln Wongcompune /

Buying criteria

In this last section of the article we will discuss the purchasing criteria you should take into account when buying rice, as there is a huge variety and assortment of this product, so you will need to know the characteristics of each variant.


In addition to those mentioned in the comparative table, there are many other types of rice, with characteristics that determine their appearance, texture, properties and types of uses, among other particularities. Here we will mention some variants so that you can take them into account when buying.

Glutinous rice. Also called sweet or sticky rice, it is a variant of white rice that requires little water and is used to prepare various desserts. If you cannot find this variety, you can replace it with the traditional short or medium grain rice, which you will have to let cook longer.

Yamani rice. This is a variant of brown rice, but much more nutritious, as this rice is not subjected to major industrial processing (unlike some types of brown rice). We recommend that you do not over-season it, so as not to mask its delicious natural flavour.

Other varieties

There are also other lesser-known varieties of rice (at least in the West) that are extremely delicious and adaptable to different dishes. Below, we will detail some of them so that you can get to know their main characteristics and peculiarities.

Bomba rice. This type of rice is much more expensive, as it is considered a gourmet product. It is characterised by its easy cooking, as it is not easy to overcook and is ready in just 10 minutes. You can include it in many dishes, but it is particularly delicious in paellas.

Arborio rice. This is one of the most commonly used rices for making sushi, because its grain remains compact after cooking without getting too soft, so you can handle it easily. It is an excellent option if you want to replace the glutinous variant in the preparation of rice pudding.

Carnaroli rice. Like bomba rice, carnaroli is a great variant for making risotto, as it is fluffy on the outside while its grain is al dente; it also excels at absorbing the flavours of the other ingredients. However, this variant can also be a little pricey.

Due to its versatility, rice is used to prepare an infinite number of sweet and savoury dishes. (Photo: Sergii Koval /

Variants according to colour

Although the most common and widely used rice is white, there are also other colour variants that affect not only the appearance, but also the texture, flavour, cooking and uses, among other aspects. Here we will describe the particularities of some of them.

Red rice. The bran that surrounds the grain of red rice has this colour (hence the name). This variant has a special and intense flavour, but bear in mind that it requires more preparation than the classic variants, as it must be left to soak for a few hours before cooking and then boiled for between 30 and 50 minutes.

Black rice. Better known as venere rice, black rice turns purple when cooked. This exotic variety, originally from China, is considered one of the most exquisite, as it has a nutty aroma and taste. You can prepare them in salads with just a few ingredients to take advantage of their delicious taste.

Aromatic varieties

Each variety of rice has a specific aroma that gives it intensity and personality, but there are specific varieties that are characterised by being extremely aromatic. Here are two of them so that you can get to know their particular perfumes.

Basmati rice. Besides being very aromatic, basmati rice is high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, and can be found in white or darker colours. Because its grain is very loose, it is preferable to use it in salads and not so much in paellas, stews, desserts, etc.

Thai or jasmine rice. This rice of Thai origin is extremely aromatic and delicate. Its long grains make it ideal for salads and stir-fries, making it a perfect variant for preparing the classic and characteristic oriental fried rice dishes (delicious!).

Rice can be classified according to its taste, texture, aroma, colour and shape of the grains, which determine its type of gastronomic use. (Photo: ffphoto /

Bean shape

There are different sizes or formats of rice grains that influence not only their appearance but also their cooking time and uses. They are distinguished by their botanical variety or origin, with the long, firm and fine grains being indica, and the coarser and shorter ones being japonica. Here we will introduce them to you:

Long grains. These grains are firmer and remain loose after cooking, which is why they are used more for salads than for brothy and compact dishes. Among these variants you will find basmati, thai or jasmine rice, brown rice, yamani, wild rice, etc.

Medium grains. Medium grains of rice, among which carnaroli and bomba stand out, are usually softer and somewhat sticky after cooking, so they are ideal if you want to make paellas, stews, casseroles and rice pudding, among other delicious dishes.

Short grains. Short-grain rice sticks together easily, giving it a compact consistency. These variants, among which arborio stands out, will be excellent if you want to prepare sushi, as well as risottos or various desserts.

(Featured image source: Tatiana Baibakova /