Arborio rice is a popular rice variety that has been used in Italy for generations. It’s famous for its ability to absorb more liquid and create a creamy texture when cooked. Arborio rice is most often used in risotto dishes, but it can also be used in other recipes where the goal is a creamy texture.
If you are unable to find arborio rice in your local grocery store or if you simply prefer not to use it, there are several alternatives you can use arborio rice substitute.
What is arborio rice?
Arborio rice is medium-grain rice used in risotto. It’s considered to be the best variety of rice for making risotto because it has a high starch content, which helps to create a creamy texture when cooked.
Arborio rice is grown in the Po Valley region of northern Italy. It’s also known as Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. Arborio rice has a firm but a tender texture that holds up well during cooking and absorbs flavors well, making it ideal for stir-fries, risottos, and other dishes that require a long cooking time.
15 Best Arborio Rice Substitute
1. Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is a long grain rice that is preferred by many of the world’s cultures. It has a nutty flavor and a pleasant aroma.
Since this rice is light in color, it is best paired with dishes containing curry or other yellow or red curry-based sauce. The flavor of basmati rice can be enhanced by simmering it in water with ghee or coconut milk.
2. Baldo Rice
Baldo rice is an aromatic medium grain rice that originates from Italy. It has a delicate flavor and fluffy texture.
Baldo rice can be used in any dish that requires long-grain white rice. However, it should not be cooked with salt since this will make the grains stick together while cooking. Instead, use salt after cooking as per your taste requirement.
3. Calrose Rice (Sushi Rice)
Calrose rice is the most commonly used medium grain rice in the United States and is often used for sushi. It’s also known as sushi rice and Calmati rice. The name calrose comes from California Rose, the strain of rice that originated in California in the early 1960s. It has a sweet flavor and is good for making sushi because it absorbs water easily, cooks quickly, and doesn’t clump together when cooked.
4. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a whole grain that has all three layers of bran intact — the outermost layer (or hull), the middle layer (endosperm), and innermost layer (bran). It takes longer to cook than white rice because it still has its bran layers intact after milling. Brown rices are available in short, medium and long grain varieties; however, all varieties have a nutty flavor and chewy texture that can be hard to adapt to if you’re accustomed to eating plain white rice.
5. Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice that has a nutty flavor and fragrance. It is often used to make Thai and other Asian dishes. Jasmine rice can be substituted for arborio rice in any recipe. It takes longer than arborio rice to get tender, but it makes up for it by producing a light, fluffy texture when cooked.
6. Red cargo Rice
Red cargo rice is an American variety of medium-grain rice that is known for its distinctive red color and robust flavor. It can be used interchangeably with arborio or basmati rice when cooking Italian, Spanish or Moroccan dishes such as paella or paella-style dishes such as jambalaya. Red cargo rice takes longer to cook than arborio or basmati rice because it is less starchy than those rices; however, it does not need soaking before cooking like brown rices do because it does not develop a hard outer coating during milling.
7. Glutinous Rice
Glutinous rice is also called sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice. It’s very similar to long-grain white rice, but it has a higher starch content. It’s a bit more expensive than regular white rice, so you can save money by using it as a substitute for Arborio. If you use glutinous rice, be sure to rinse it thoroughly before cooking it in boiling water until the grains are no longer hard.
8. Carnaroli Rice
Carnaroli is an Italian variety of medium-grain white rice that’s great for risotto. You can use it in place of Arborio if you prefer its nuttier flavor and firmer texture. Just be sure to rinse it well before cooking and don’t overcook it or else its delicate flavor will be lost.
9. Vialone Nano Rice
Vialone Nano Rice is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s a long-grain rice that cooks up soft and creamy. This is a great substitute for Arborio rice in risotto because it absorbs more liquid than other rices, which helps to give your dish that signature creamy texture.
10. Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat is made from wheat berries that have been steamed, dried and crushed into varying textures. It’s often used for tabouli salads or pilafs as it absorbs flavors well and cooks down quickly. You can use bulgur wheat in place of Arborio rice when making soups or risotto dishes where you want a bit more texture than regular white rice provides.
Couscous is a popular grain that’s made from semolina flour, which is a high-protein wheat flour. It’s often used in Mediterranean dishes, including salads and pilafs. The small grains absorb whatever liquid they’re cooked in, so couscous can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta.
12. Farro Wheat
Farro wheat is an ancient variety of wheat that produces nutty-flavored grains. It’s often used in soups and salads because it has a firmer texture than other varieties of wheat. Farro can also be substituted for rice, but it takes about 30 minutes longer to cook than Arborio rice.
13. Orzo Pasta
Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that’s delicious when cooked with vegetables and herbs. A 1/2 cup serving has 4.5 grams of fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. Orzo also contains 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of iron, which is important for energy production and red blood cell formation.
14. Pearled Barley
Pearled barley is an ancient grain that has been around since biblical times. It looks like white rice but has more fiber and protein than brown rice. One cup of pearled barley provides 8 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, making it a great substitute for Arborio rice in many recipes.
Another great substitute for arborio rice is quinoa. Although it’s technically a seed, quinoa is often used as a grain. It’s higher in protein than rice and has a nice, fluffy texture when cooked. Like rice, it can be used in many of your favorite recipes but with a little more nutrition!
Arborio rice is a short-grain rice that’s used in risotto and other dishes. It’s known for its ability to absorb liquid, which is why it’s important to use the right amount of liquid when cooking arborio rice—too much or too little can cause the rice to become mushy or dry, respectively.
If you don’t have arborio rice on hand, you can use arborio rice substitute with basmati rice. Basmati cooks faster than arborio, so if you’re cooking a recipe that calls for basmati and substituting with arborio, be sure to add more liquid and cook it longer than the recipe says.