Best Rice

Updated December 2020
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Updated December 2020
Written by Rich Gray Authors 's image

Buying guide for Best rice

It is hard to overstate the importance of rice as a food source. First domesticated in China over 7,000 years ago, over half the world’s population now depends on rice as an integral part of their diet. From sushi and stir fry to side dishes and a wide variety of processed foods, the rice consumed by billions of people across the globe on a daily basis has a caloric and nutritional footprint that cannot be ignored. Not bad for a grass seed that is difficult to grow, harvest, process, and store!

This guide will cover everything you need to know to purchase rice that will meet your culinary and nutritional needs. From rice sizes and types to pricing and storage options, we examine all aspects of this staple pantry item. We also offer our recommendations for a variety of rice types and brands and detail why they are some of our favorites.

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While there are no exact figures, it is estimated that there are over 40,000 varieties of rice in the world.

Key considerations

Grain size

Long grain rice: Long grain rice has longer kernels and tends to cook up light and fluffy.

Medium grain rice: The kernels of this rice are shorter and tend to stick together more than long grain rice.

Short grain rice: Short grains usually cook up stickier than other rice sizes, making them ideal for use with foods such as sushi.

Types of rice

In addition to grain size, you will need to decide which type of rice you desire. Different rice types have unique textures, flavors, and colors. In turn, this can affect how you use them. Here are some of the most common rice types.

Basmati: With a nutty flavor, basmati is a long grain rice common in India and Pakistan. This is one type of rice that you should be able to find pretty much anywhere.

Jasmine: Another long grain rice is jasmine rice, also known as Thai fragrant rice. Like basmati, jasmine rice is highly popular and easy to find. It is often prized for the fact that it cooks up a bit on the sticky side.

Brown: Brown rice is less processed and darker in color than white rice. It still contains the germ and bran layers that are typically removed from white rice. Therefore, it is more nutritious than white rice, but it is also a bit more time-consuming to cook. Due to its less-processed nature, brown rice has a much shorter shelf life than white rice.

Wild: Often added to rice blends, wild rice isn’t actually a true rice at all, but rather the seed of marsh grass. Wild rice contains more fiber and protein than white rice, which can be a plus for those seeking to add protein to their diets. Like brown rice, wild rice can take longer to cook than white rice.

Sticky: Also known as sweet rice, this short grain rice sticks together when cooked, making it a must for sushi. Often grown in Asia, sticky rice is a staple in a wide range of Asian dishes.

Forbidden: Also known as black rice due to its color, forbidden rice adds a nutty flavor and high nutrients to Thai and Chinese dishes.

Quantity

Rice is typically sold in quantities of 1 to 10 pounds. Bottom line: give some thought to how much rice you will need and know how much you are buying.

Certified rice

Some sellers state that their rice is certified kosher, which is a bit unnecessary because all legumes and grains, including rice, are considered kosher, so we’re kind of in “water is wet” territory here.

Non-GMO certification is a bit different. While some makers state on the package that the rice is non-GMO certified, other rice varieties are actually genetically modified to enhance or limit certain aspects of the rice, be it taste, texture, or nutritional content. If you are limiting GMO foods in your diet, keep an eye out for a non-GMO statement on a rice listing.

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Did You Know?
Rice is actually an edible seed from one of two different grass species: African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and the more common Asian rice (Oryza sativa).
Staff
BestReviews

Features

Container

Unless you are planning on cooking all the rice at once, the bag or bin that it ships in is likely to become its long-term storage container. These range from simple poly bags to thick bags with zip lock tops to rugged plastic containers with lids. The best storage container for rice is a durable one that holds up over time and seals in freshness via a zip lock, lid, or screw cap. Any bag or container you use should also be BPA-free.

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Did You Know?
Around 75% of the rice consumed in the world is grown in irrigated fields and is known as lowland rice.
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BestReviews

Rice prices

A number of factors may affect the price of rice.  The type of rice can affect how much you pay per ounce. If you buy in bulk, the price tends to be much less per ounce. Everything from weather to global pandemics can affect rice supply, which in turn can impact price. And don’t discount the mark-up that you will find with well-known brands.

That said, here is a rough idea of what you can expect to pay for several different types of rice.

Inexpensive: Basic long grain white and brown rice tends to cost around $0.10 per ounce. Expect to pay a bit more for brown rice than white rice here.

Mid-range: In the mid-range, you will find familiar rice such as jasmine ($0.10 to $0.20 per ounce) and basmati ($0.15 to $0.25 per ounce).

High-end: High-end rice includes forbidden rice, which costs $0.30 to $0.40 per ounce, and wild rice, which costs $0.40 to $0.50 per ounce. Rice mixes that combine several different types of rice will also be in the $0.30 to $0.40 per ounce range.

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Did You Know?
Some rice varieties, such as basmati and sticky rice, turn out better if you soak them in water before cooking them.
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BestReviews

Tips

  • If you buy enriched rice, don’t rinse it. This type of rice is coated with a vitamin/mineral spray that easily washes off in water. All other rice types should be rinsed to remove the starch coating, which can lead to gummy rice if allowed to stay on.
  • To take your dinner or side dish to the next level, try a rice blend. These blends usually combine several different rice types, which can create a more varied taste and texture.
  • If you are in a hurry, try instant rice. Also called quick rice, it can save you a considerable amount of cooking time. However, this type of rice tends to have less flavor and texture than traditional rice.
  • Cook your rice in a pan with the cover tightly sealed. This helps keep the steam in. Failure to do so can result in undercooked rice.
  • For an easier rice-cooking method, try the microwave. Microwaving rice requires less hands-on work and less cleanup. Note that microwaving rice usually requires less water than other methods.
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Seeking to lose weight? Go with brown rice, which is low in calories, has less carb content, and is more nutritious than white rice.

FAQ

Q. What is parboiled rice?

A. Parboiled or converted rice is, in many ways, right in the middle of the spectrum between white and brown rice. Parboiled rice undergoes a steam-pressure treatment that allows it to cook up fluffier than traditional rice while retaining more of the rice kernel nutrients than white rice. It takes a bit longer to cook than white rice, which may allow it to work better in slow cooker recipes that call for rice.

Q. What is the best method for cooking rice?

A. There are a variety of ways to cook rice, and the method you use may be dictated by personal preference or the type of rice you’re cooking. The three most common methods of preparation are absorption, steaming, and boiling.

  • Absorption: Rice is often cooked using absorption. In this method, specific amounts of rice and water are added to a pot. The mixture is then cooked until the water is completely absorbed, and the rice is done.
  • Steaming: In this method, rice (often pre-soaked) is added to a steamer basket over boiling water and steamed until it is done. One plus here: you won’t burn the rice or end up with rice stuck to the bottom of a pot.
  • Boiling: Boiling rice is similar to boiling pasta. Water and rice are added to a large pot, and the rice is allowed to cook for a specific amount of time. The rice is then drained and cooled with cold water to stop the cooking process. This method is often used to cook brown rice.

Q. How long does rice last?

A. This depends on whether it is cooked and what type of rice we are talking about. Uncooked white rice can last for one to three years when stored in a dry, cool, dark area. Note, however, that brown rice has a considerably shorter shelf life of up to six months.

When cooked, rice can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three days. You can also store it in the freezer for up to eight months.

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