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What Is the Best Tasting Rice? (4 Types Compared)

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While this topic is a matter of personal preference, there is a reasonably strong consensus as to which rice is most pleasing to the taste buds.

Jasmine rice is the best-tasting rice. It’s nutty and sweet, has a floral aroma, and its distinctive scent is similar to pandan leaves and buttered popcorn. Basmati is another contender for the crown. Nuttier than jasmine, it has a stronger, spicier flavor and a similar, less pronounced aroma.

However, this is just one of many options available to you. There are other types that taste really good as well. So, let’s compare a few different varieties of rice and see why jasmine and basmati are so popular. We’ll also cover the best rice brands according to taste and answer some other questions you may have about rice.

Comparing the Top 4 Best-Tasting Types of Rice

Of the many types of rice, there are four that are particularly popular if you’re looking for a flavorful option to cook with: jasmine, basmati, arborio, and bomba. Let’s take a look at each of these varieties to understand their similarities and differences.

1. Jasmine Rice

Jasmine Rice Bag

Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice primarily grown in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Specifically, it’s a variety of Oryza sativa or Asian rice.

The three main varieties of jasmine rice are white, brown, and black. White is by far the most common, and black is the rarest. As mentioned above, it has a nutty and sweet flavor, with a floral aroma reminiscent of pandan leaves and buttered popcorn. It’s most commonly included in Asian dishes local to the areas where it’s grown, such as stir fry, fried rice, and as an accompaniment to curries. 

2. Basmati Rice

Uncle Ben's Basmati Rice Bag

Another long-grain rice, basmati is primarily grown in India and Pakistan. It’s available in two main varieties, brown and white, with white being the more common.

Basmati is more flavorful than jasmine rice and has a nuttier taste. Other flavor notes include floral and spicy (compared to other types of rice, rather than other ingredients). On the other hand, while they have a similar aroma, jasmine is the more fragrant of the two. Basmati is most commonly used to make saffron rice, rice pilaf, and as an accompaniment to curries and dals.

3. Arborio Rice

Several Arborio Rice Bags

Arborio rice is short-grain rice from Italy. It’s named after the commune of Arborio in Piedmont, Italy. It’s white rice, though it undergoes less milling than other white rice and retains more starch. 

This rice has a creamy texture and starchy taste. After cooking, it becomes chewy and sticky and absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it is cooked with well. This rice is traditionally used to make risottos, and other recipes it can be used in include rice pudding and arancini. It also serves as an accompaniment to soups and can be used to make paellas (though bomba is the better option).

4. Bomba Rice

As you might’ve guessed, bomba is a Spanish rice variety. It’s a short grain rice that’s primarily grown in eastern Spain. 

Bomba is popular due to its water absorption capabilities. Specifically, it can absorb three times its own weight in water, and the grains don’t stick together. It also has a naturally mild taste, and absorbs the flavor and aroma of the ingredients and stock it’s cooked with, making it extremely popular with chefs. This variety is most commonly used to make paella; however, you can also use it to make other Mediterranean dishes and, in a pinch, risotto.

Basmati is the most flavorful of these four types of rice, with jasmine a close second. However, jasmine is the best option because some people dislike the stronger taste of basmati, while jasmine offers the perfect balance of flavor and aroma.

Top 4 Brands of Rice for Taste

Looking to try the rice options mentioned above? Here are the 4 best brands of rice, based on their taste. They’ll serve as the perfect introduction to a new type of rice. (Note: All options can be purchased from Amazon).

1. Best Jasmine Rice Brand: Pride of India

The Pride of India Jasmine Rice is a special variety of jasmine rice known as Thai Hom Mali rice. Like all rice, it’s gluten-free and vegan, as well as GMO-free. Reviewers rave about the taste and aroma, and it’s sweet and silky when cooked. However, this is a premium product, which means it’s more expensive than many other jasmine rice brands.

2. Best Basmati Rice Brand: Royal

Authentic Royal Royal Basmati Rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains and aged for at least one year (12 months) after harvesting. This gives the rice a richer, fuller flavor, making it popular with customers. It also has a relatively fast cook time – it will be ready in 20 minutes at most – making it the perfect option if you’re starving and need to make something quickly.

3. Best Arborio Rice Brand: Molinella

Molinella Italian Arborio Rice is grown in Po Valley, Italy, which is the original home of arborio rice. The high starch and protein content means you can cook it for longer, and it has a sticky and creamy texture when cooked.

Reviewers rave about the flavor, and when cooked properly, this rice is nicely chewy. Additionally, it’s also among the more affordable arborio options, which means you get taste and value for money all at once.

4. Best Bomba Rice Brand: Gourmanity

The Gourmanity Spanish Bomba Rice is grown in Valencia, Spain. It’s excellent at absorbing flavor and aroma from the rest of the ingredients in your dish, and reviewers note its high quality. The rice grains are whole, with no broken grains visible, and it’s very easy to cook, even if you’ve never worked with bomba rice before.

Which Rice Is Sweet in Taste?

Sticky rice is sweet in taste. Also known as glutinous rice, it’s grown in Southeast and East Asia, as well as parts of India and Bhutan. It’s low in starch amylose and high in starch amylopectin. This means that once cooked, it’s very sticky, and the grains stick together.

While its name suggests otherwise, glutinous rice is gluten-free. It’s used in numerous desserts, including mochi and tang yuan (a Chinese sweet). Yet, it’s also great to use in savory dishes, such as savory dumplings, dim sum, and stir fry. Sticky rice is also used to stuff duck and as a side dish in Thai and Lao cuisines.

What Type of Rice Do Indian Restaurants Use?

Basmati is the type of rice that Indian restaurants use and serve with traditional Indian meals. However, they may also serve other varieties depending on the dish. Some restaurants may substitute regular white rice or jasmine rice for basmati since they cost less. 

What Rice Does Chipotle Use? 

Chipotle uses both brown and white rice. Their rice is made with bay leaves, lemon and lime juices, and cilantro. However, it’s possible to order plain rice without cilantro, lemon, and other flavorings.

Plain white and brown rice is prepared separately from Chipotle’s regular rice. One reason some customers prefer plain rice over the cilantro-lime flavor is that they dislike the taste of cilantro. This dislike is a by-product of a gene variation (the gene cluster OR6A2) which makes the plant taste like soap.

Final Bite

Of the many different varieties of rice, jasmine is the best. Other flavorful varieties include basmati, bomba, arborio, and sticky rice. Jasmine is a nutty, sweet, and aromatic rice. Basmati is nuttier in flavor and slightly less fragrant than jasmine.

Bomba and arborio rice are relatively mild in flavor and absorb the taste of the other ingredients very well. Arborio is also starchy and creamy in texture. Sticky rice is the sweetest of these varieties and is commonly used in both savory and sweet dishes.

For more, don’t miss How To Make Rice Less Sticky (7 Steps to Take).

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