Types of Rice

Rice is classified according to the length of its grains. Long grain is the most common type of rice and is interchangeable with medium grain rice. Short grain rice contains more starch than long and medium grains, which makes the grains very sticky when cooked.

The following varieties of rice products can be found in most large supermarkets.

Brown rice is the least processed of all rice varieties. Only the hull is removed. The rice has a natural tan color due to the bran layers that are left on the grain. When cooked, brown rice has a nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture.

White rice is also referred to as polished rice. It is completely milled to remove the hull and bran layers. Always read the label to see if the rice has been enriched. Enriched rice contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Over 90% of milled rice in the United States is enriched. If it has been enriched, you should not rinse it before cooking. Rinsing enriched rice will cause a loss of nutrients. This rice has a mild, delicate flavor.

Precooked (quick-cooking) rice is brown or white long grain rice that has been cooked, rinsed, and dried by a patented process. Precooked rice takes only minutes to prepare because it only needs to be rehydrated during preparation.

Parboiled rice is treated in a steam-pressure process before milling. The steaming process causes the vitamins and minerals found in the outer coats to migrate toward the center of the kernel. This process makes the rice extra fluffy without sacrificing any of its nutrients. It takes longer to cook than regular rice, so be sure to read the package instructions.

Hot Tip!
Why isn't wild rice listed?
Though it is often classified as a rice, wild rice is actually the seed of an aquatic marsh grass native to Minnesota.

Find tips on cooking rice in the next section.

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