What's the Difference Between Long- and Short-Grain Rice?

Before the water starts to boil, learn which type of rice is right for your recipe.

cooked brown rice in pot
Photo: Bryan Gardner

Rice is a versatile, easy to prepare, and healthy ingredient that can be eaten at every meal. Rice porridge is delicious with fruit and nuts for breakfast, long-grain rice can be the base of a rice pilaf for lunch or dinner, and starchy arborio rice is perfect for a sweet rice pudding for dessert. There are dozens of different varieties of rice that usually fall into two categories: short- or long-grain rice. Basmati, jasmine, and black rice are types of long-grain rice. Sushi rice and arborio rice are two varieties of short-grain rice. Below, we're explaining the differences between long- and short-grain rice and share our favorite recipes that put each type to deliciously good use.

Long-Grain Rice

Basmati rice and jasmine rice are both examples of long-grain rice. Like the regular white and brown rice found in every grocery store, long-grain rice is approximately three to five times the length that it is wide. Long-grain rice is typically a bit drier than short-grain rice and it's considered to be the most forgiving kind of rice to cook because the grains are less likely to stick to each othe or the pan. Try cooking with basmati rice in our recipe for Wild Salmon and Romanesco Pilaf or Albaloo Polo, a traditional Persian side dish. Or keep it simple by mastering our recipe for Perfect White Rice.

Short-Grain Rice

Starchier, stickier, and shorter (just under 5.5 millimeters) than long-grain rice, short-grain rice has both sweet and savory applications. The starches from short-grain rice are what creates the super creamy texture found in some rice-based recipes. Arborio rice and carnaroli rice are two varieties of short-grain white rice that are used to make risotto. In addition to these varieties, you can also find regular white and brown short-grain rice in the grocery store, which can be used for stir-fries or just cooked and served as a healthy side dish. Short-grain rice can also be used for creamy rice pudding, such as this Rice Pudding with Sea Salt-Caramel Sauce. Sushi rice is another variety of short-grain rice that is particularly sticky, which makes it perfect for filling sheets of nori along with fish and vegetables.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles