7 Best Rice for Risotto: What Kind of Rice is Used?

7 Best Rice for Risotto: What Kind of Rice is Used?

The risotto will always come out creamy and delicious, and it is also easy to prepare. What matters the most is the kind of rice you use when making it. Not all types of rice qualify to make risotto rice, and if you fail to use the correct one, you end up with something completely different.

You should make your expectations come true by using the best and right kind of rice when making risotto.

This article discusses some of the best rice you should use when making it and much more. Let’s look at them!

What Kind of Rice is used for risotto?

What Kind of Rice is used for risotto

Your aim when making risotto is to end up with something comforting, and of course, it needs to taste heavenly. To get here, you need to consider the main ingredient, the kind of rice to use. Risotto requires rice that will give it some excellent starch amount.

Also, the kind of rice you use will determine whether you will get the creaminess risotto requires. Usually, this creamy texture will come out as you rub the starch out of the rice when stirring. Once the starch is out, it will dissolve and thicken the liquid to cook risotto.

Of course, not all types of rice will have the starch required to make risotto.

Therefore, if the rice you have does not have enough starch, the creamy texture will not be there. For this reason, you should look into rice whose grains are medium or short-sized.

Usually, the short-grain and medium-grain will be a bit plump just by looking at it. Also, the starch levels are pretty high, unlike that in other types. When making risotto with such kinds of rice, they will be able to remain intact as you stir.

Remember, risotto requires you to stir to release the starch constantly. Therefore you will need something that will hold up well. The aftermath after this constant stirring will be a very soft texture.

There are tons of rice available for making risotto, such as brown and white risotto rice. While these two are great alternatives, the brown one may not give you the creamy feeling you require. So white rice is better when making it. Also, such rice will finally give you a slight chew at the center of the grain after cooking is done.

The Best Type of Rice for Risotto: 7 Excellent Alternatives

The Best Type of Rice for Risotto

The kind of rice you select when making your risotto matters so much. There are many brands available that you may opt for, but it is essential always to ensure they maintain some things. First, the kind you select needs to be short or medium grain.

Also, you need to ensure that the rice has good starch levels. Starch makes risotto rice come out tremendous, so do not compromise. With this in mind, here are some of the seven best rice for risotto!

1) Arborio

Of course, you have to start your list with this prevalent rice for risotto. It is usually medium-grain and is pretty wider than other rice for risotto. Even if you lack other brands for making risotto, you will always find this one

Even though it is widely known, it may not be as starchy as other brands such as carnaroli but will still make your desired risotto. It can absorb considerable amounts of liquid, therefore great for producing the creamy texture you need in your risotto. You, however, need to be there while it’s cooking since it can quickly become so soft.

2) Carnaroli

This type of rice will give you super flavorful risotto. This rice is short-grain and has high levels of amylopectin (starch), so it is ideal for risotto. It is one of the best rice to use when making it and carries the “cavier or king” rice nicknames.

Due to the high starch levels, it can produce very creamy risotto, unlike other rice options. It will give you easy cooking since it does not overcook easily, unlike Arborio. It also tends to be a bit plumper, and once you cook it, each grain will retain its shape.

3) Vialone Nano

Vialone nano rice is also a great alternative when making risotto. It is usually sticky, meaning it has quite a good amount of starch. The Vialone Nano rice is the go-to option to people from Veneto, and undeniably, it produces good-tasting risotto.

It will give you a creamy risotto which is what you always aim for, and also, it tends to cook at a faster rate than other brands. This rice option will absorb liquid well; therefore a good choice when making risottos with lots of soup. Unlike other brands, it features a shorter grain, so it is ideal for risotto.

4) Baldo

You may also opt for this rice to make risotto, which will still turn out great. Its features are almost the same as Arborio, such that it has medium and wide grains. Its starch levels are pretty high, making it a great alternative to produce a creamy risotto.

When you cook it, the rice will still maintain its texture. Also, it is rich in flavor therefore worth trying. It is, however, less popular but still qualifies to make delicious risotto.

5) Farro

Farro rice grain has been there for a long, and it is best known for its health benefit. It comes from three wheat varieties from India, namely einkorn, spelt, and emmer. With these three varieties, it creates modern risotto rice.

It may not be as creamy as other rice for risotto since it still contains bran that traps the starch. It is still, however, a good option when making risotto. All you need to do is ensure the grain cooks evenly by adding most of your liquid upfront.

6) Calriso

This rice is a hybrid of Italian and California rice. It is almost the same as Arborio and will give you nearly the same feeling after cooking it. The only difference with it may be that it tends to expand quite more.

7) Pearled Barley

This rice can be one of the best substitutes if you do not have Arborio rice. Therefore, it has a high starch level, making it perfect for making risotto. If you use it to make risotto, you need first to remove the bran and then polish it.

Once this is done, the cooking time will be much faster. You will also not need first to soak it, so you save on time.


The best variety of rice to use when making risotto has to be medium or short grain and, most notably, has high starch content. Another thing you have to consider is how plum the grain is. This kind of rice needs to give you well-tasting and creamy risotto.

Arborio rice takes the lead in being one of the most popular rice for risotto. Even though short-grain rice is recommended, its medium-grain size also does well when making this delicacy. Also, it is pretty ideal since its grains usually are pretty vast.

This rice will give you a pretty thick and soft risotto. It will also be creamy, and this is the right texture you always look for when making risotto. One fantastic thing about Arborio is that you can find it everywhere.

You can always be sure that even when the other rice brands are not available in the stores, this one will most times be there. It is pretty reliable and convenient when making risotto.

Other types of rice that may be popular for making risotto include the Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. Carnival will give you one of the creamiest risotto.

The Grain Used in Risotto

Long and short grain rice

Your grains need to be short or medium to get well-tasting and creamy risotto. Also, they need to be pretty thick and hold on well. Usually, risotto needs constant stirring when making it to release the starch in the grain.

Therefore, your grain needs to be able to release the starch in it and maintain the chewable feature in it. Short and medium grains can support this and have high starch levels. They are therefore able to produce the creamy texture needed when making risotto. 

As you purchase the rice for making this meal, ensure you do not end up with long-grain rice. It usually does not have enough starch to make risotto.

Is Arborio Rice Really Good for Risotto?

Arborio Rice
Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is the go-to option for many when making risotto. It is excellent due to its ability to create a creamy texture in the risotto. It does this due to its high starch levels.

Also, Arborio features medium-grain and wide grain rice, which are ideal for risotto. It can also absorb large amounts of liquid, and the best thing about it is that you can find it in almost all stores. So it is a good one for risotto.

Final Words

Risotto is one of the best meals you can ever make, and the most significant contribution to its flavor is the kind of rice you use.

You have to ensure you select the best rice when making it Arborio and other alternatives such as carnaroli topping the list. Once the rice is proper, you will get the right texture of risotto you require, and it will, of course, taste well.

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