Tips and techniques

The seven different types of rice you need to know and how to use them

With more than 40,000 varieties of rice in the world, it can be tricky to know which grain is best for which dish. Here, we look at the types of rice you should always have on hand in your pantry.
types of rice

When making the perfect rice dish, it is important to know which of the different types of rice you can use. Choosing the correct variety for your meal can make a world of difference to the final result.

A rice pilaf, for example, traditionally requires basmati rice, whereas an Italian risotto just wouldn’t be the same without the classic creamy arborio.

So, to make sure we get it right every time, we sat down with the experts at Sunrice for the long and short of the Italian and Asian types of rice you need to know.


Originating from Arborio in Italy’s Po Valley, this short and plump variety is widely known as the risotto rice. However, it also makes a great addition to healthy rice salads, rice cakes and traditional Italian arancini.

To cook arborio rice, sauté 1 cup of rice in olive oil and onion, then add 1 cup stock and bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat, stirring, until liquid absorbs. Add 3 cups water, 1 at a time, ensuring stock is absorbed.

Baked pumpkin and spinach risotto

To try: Baked pumpkin and spinach risotto


Similar to arborio rice, carnaroli is an Italian native that is used for risotto. The difference between arborio and carnaroli, however, is seen in both its appearance and taste. It is slightly longer and thinner than its cousin, with a higher starch content and firmer texture.

You can cook carnaroli rice as easily as arborio, but you will instead end up with a more flavoursome rice that has absorbed more liquid.


To try: carnaroli rice risotto with salmon and spinach.


A Southeast Asian variety, the long-grain jasmine rice is most commonly associated with Thai cuisine. Coming in both brown and white varieties, it is a type of aromatic rice known for its nutty fragrance and taste and is the perfect base for fried rice.

To cook jasmine rice, you’ll need 1 cup of rice to 1 ½ cups of water. Rinse before cooking and cook without salt to preserve its fragrance.


Native to India and Pakistan, basmati rice is similar to jasmine rice in that is it long, slim and fragrant. Its delicate aroma and light, fluffy texture works wonderfully alongside curry-based dishes

To cook basmati rice, you’ll need 1 cup of rice to 1 ½ cups of water. Rinse and soak for 30 minutes prior to cooking.


To try: chana masala with basmati rice recipe.


Known as the go-to sushi rice, koshihikari is native to Japan and is essential for turning out authentic Japanese cuisine. Short, plump and sticky enough to hold its shape, koshihikari rice is perfect for all types of sushi, rice desserts and other Japanese dishes.

Other short-grain varieties, often marked as ‘sushi rice’ are also available as a substitute if koshihikari is unavailable. However, for a premium dish, koshi is always the top pick.

To cook koshihikari rice, you’ll need 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water. Stir with hands, drain, and repeat 2-3 times. Use rice cooker or bring to boil, covered. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes or until absorbed.

oyako donburi

To try: a koshihikari rice recipe known as oyako donburi.


Though there are a few types of red rice varieties grown globally, including the famous Bhutanese variety and France’s Camargue rice, it is the Thai native that is most commonly found in Australia. The long-grain rice makes a colourful addition to meals and has a beautiful nutty flavour.

A nutritional winner, red rice also known for its high fibre content and is cholesterol free.

To cook red rice, you’ll need approximately ½ cup of rice to 1 cup of water. Rinse and soak for 30 minutes before cooking. This rice takes longer to cook than white rice but is quicker than brown, so should be ready within 15 minutes.


It’s known as the forbidden rice of China, but black (or purple, when cooked) rice is rapidly growing in Australia as the go-to dessert rice for its unique flavour and chewy texture.

Nutritionally, the health benefits of black rice are outstanding. High in fibre and vitamins B and E, black rice is a great alternative to white rice. It is also high in antioxidants.

To cook black rice, you’ll need 1 cup of rice to two cups of water. Rinse and soak for 30 minutes before cooking for 25-30 minutes. Without soaking, black rice will take around one hour to cook.

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