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Is Arborio Rice a Substitute for Risotto?

Making authentic-tasting risotto or rice puddings is simple with the best arborio rice substitutes. This will come in handy when you can’t find this delicious and creamy Italian rice variety anywhere. Another reason you might want to look for arborio rice substitutes is that this Italian rice can be quite pricey. Arborio rice may not always be the best choice for preparing your favorite dish despite its excellent flavor and texture.

To be sure, it may not be easy to replicate the delectable flavor of arborio rice. However, if you know what to look for, you can always find fantastic alternatives to this delicious rice.
Arborio rice is commonly used in the preparation of Italian risotto. If this rice is unavailable, you can still make your favorite risotto with arborio rice substitutes, some discussed here.

What is Arborio Rice?

Arborio rice is named after the town in northwest Italy where it was first cultivated.
Arborio rice, starchy short-grain rice, is the traditional risotto rice. Risotto is a rice dish from northern Italy with a creamy consistency. Arborio rice’s high amylopectin (starch) content contributes to its soft, creamy texture. The grains are oval, and the rice comes in two colors: white and brown. White rice contains more starch than brown rice. As a result, it is commonly used to prepare risottos and rice puddings.

Arborio rice is not widely available in all areas, and it is also more expensive than other varieties of rice. As a result, substituting this rice with other ingredients is a better choice, and ingredients with a high starch content are the best substitutes. Although We can use less starchy ingredients, you will need to add cream or cornstarch to your recipe to achieve a creamy texture.

Top Substitutes of Arborio Rice

Let’s take a look at the best arborio rice alternatives. Because they have similar flavors or textures, these alternatives can all be used in place of arborio rice in a variety of recipes, including your favorites.

There are numerous factors to consider when selecting the best arborio rice substitutes. However, with the suggestions below, you won’t have to think twice about what to substitute for arborio rice.

1. Baldo Rice : Duru Baldo Rice 88.2oz (2500 g), 100% Natural and Certificated, Non-GMO, Great for Vegan Recipes, Gluten Free : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Baldo rice is a hybrid of arborio and Stripe rice. Baldo rice, like arborio rice, is a short-grain, high-starch rice that absorbs water well without becoming soggy or mushy. This allows Baldo rice to become extremely creamy after cooking.
When making creamy dishes with Baldo rice, do not rinse it, as this will cause the rice to lose its starch. Baldo rice loses its chewy and creamy texture without the high starch content, resulting in a lighter and fluffier dish.
Because of the striking similarities between Baldo and arborio rice, you can substitute Baldo rice in risotto, rice puddings, and other creamy dishes that call for arborio rice.

2. Basmati Rice

Daawat Traditional Basmati Rice, 1kg : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Basmati rice is Asian long-grain rice known for its exquisite and distinct fragrance. Basmati rice, commonly found in Indian cuisine, has a subtle nutty flavor that adds complexity to the dish.
We should rinse basmati rice thoroughly before cooking to prevent it from becoming gummy or gluey. You can also soak the grain for 30 minutes to cut down on cooking time and make the rice more tender.
Because basmati rice is relatively inexpensive and widely available, it is one of the most viable alternatives to arborio rice. While it does not taste exactly like arborio rice, it can achieve a similar texture and give your risotto an irresistible flavor when properly cooked.

3. Brown Rice

Daawat Brown, Cooks in 15-minute, Full Bran Intact, Fibre-Rich Basmati Rice, 5 Kg : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Brown rice is whole-grain rice, which means it has three main components: bran, germ, and endosperm. Brown rice becomes extremely chewy, a characteristic shared by arborio rice.
Brown rice has a distinctly earthy and nutty flavor that is difficult to overlook. Although its flavor is not overpowering or unpleasant, brown rice does have a distinct flavor that lends its dishes a distinct and enticing bite.
You may be wondering, “Does brown rice contain gluten?” but don’t worry. This delicious rice, like wide other rice varieties, is gluten-free.
Despite its excellent flavor and similar texture to arborio rice, some people may be hesitant to choose brown rice due to its long cooking time. Brown rice can also be difficult to prepare correctly. However, preparing brown rice will be a breeze with the right instructions.
Another secret to the most delectable brown rice dish is the quality of the rice itself. Low-quality ones may complicate the already difficult cooking process. So, make sure only to buy high-quality brown rice from reputable brands.
If this is your first time cooking brown rice, you’ll need some guidance to avoid accidentally undercooking it.

4. Calrose Rice (Sushi Rice) : Diamond G Calrose Rice 15lb : Everything Else

Calrose rice is medium-grain rice well-known for its ability to retain flavors. Because of its soft and sticky texture, this rice is commonly used to make sushi, a popular Japanese dish that We can find worldwide.
Although preparing sushi is the most common use for Calrose rice, this tasty and chewy grain can also be used as an alternative to arborio rice. Because the rice can absorb moisture and retain its shape after cooking, it can achieve a texture similar to arborio rice.
You may become perplexed by the numerous varieties of rice used in sushi.
We can use Calrose rice to make delicious risotto when combined with various herbs and spices. You can also use it to make filling salads, soups, and stews.

5. Carnaroli Rice : Colavita Superfine Carnaroli Rice, 1 Pound : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Carnaroli rice is a great substitute for arborio rice because it is rich, creamy, and chewy. This Italian medium-grain rice, known as “the king of rice,” has a much higher starch content than arborio, making it creamier and chewier.
Carnaroli rice is most commonly used in the preparation of risotto. You might never go back to arborio rice after making risotto with carnaroli rice—the unbelievably creamy texture is enough to sway even the pickiest eater. You’ll have a memorable meal with some risotto side dishes.
Carnaroli absorbs and holds flavors from other ingredients extremely well due to its mild flavor. This makes preparing different dishes with carnaroli rice very simple because you don’t have to worry about the rice’s flavors overpowering other ingredients.

6. Glutinous Rice

Nourcery Thai Glutinous Rice, 1 Kg (Waxy Sticky Rice) : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Glutinous rice, also known as sticky rice, gets its name from being today’s chewiest and stickiest rice. Glutinous rice, which is commonly found in Asian cuisines, can be used to make chewy dishes such as Japanese sweet rice balls or Vietnamese sticky rice.
Although glutinous rice is undeniably chewy and tasty, some people may be put off by the lengthy preparation process. You must soak the rice for at least 4 hours before cooking it, and We cannot boil it. To get the best results, you’ll need to steam the rice.
As you might expect, glutinous rice’s incredible consistency makes it an excellent candidate for risotto preparation, especially if you don’t have arborio rice on hand. However, glutinous rice can be much stickier than regular arborio rice.

7. Jasmine Rice

Blue Elephant Thai Premium Jasmine Rice 500g : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

If you’re looking for an arborio rice substitute with a pleasant aroma, you’ll probably enjoy jasmine rice, which has a pleasant aroma that resembles popcorn.
Although jasmine rice isn’t particularly sticky or chewy, its enticing flavors and alluring aroma will make your tastebuds sing with delight. It can also add natural sweetness to your dish for a more complex flavor profile.
Jasmine rice is also very simple to prepare. There is no need to rinse or soak the rice ahead of time, and the rice is usually ready in less than 30 minutes. This makes jasmine rice ideal for people who are unsure of their cooking abilities.
You’ve probably realized that jasmine and basmati rice’s taste and texture are very similar. So, which of the two will make the best arborio rice substitute? To answer this, you must consider the differences between jasmine and basmati rice.

8. Red Cargo Rice : Cock Brand Red Cargo Rice 5 Lbs : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Anyone who wants their food to have a captivating and intriguing appearance should not overlook red cargo rice, which has a stunning color that you can’t help but admire. Red cargo rice, like brown rice, is unpolished and thus takes longer to cook.
In addition to the lengthy cooking time, We must soak red cargo rice for at least 30 minutes before cooking. When the rice is finished, it will have a chewy texture, and red cargo rice has a thicker consistency than white rice, despite not being as chewy as brown rice.
In terms of flavor, red cargo rice has a sweet and nutty flavor. As a result, rice is an excellent choice for making desserts such as rice pudding. Love at first bite will no longer seem like a far-fetched story with red cargo rice.

9. Vialone Nano Rice : Vialone Nano Rice Riseria Gazzani - Veneto, Italy - 2.2 lbs : Rice Produce : Grocery & Gourmet Food

Wait until you try a bite of vialone nano rice if you think arborio rice is already creamy. This Italian rice is so well-known for its creaminess that many people believe it is creamier than arborio rice.
Vialone nano rice, like carnaroli and arborio rice, is a popular choice for making risotto. Even the most discriminating foodie will insist on using only vialone nano rice in their risotto.

Top Wheat and Pasta Substitutes for Arborio Rice

If you think We can only substitute rice with rice, you’ll be surprised to learn that the following wheat, pasta, and grain can also mimic the flavor and texture of arborio rice. The substitutes listed below are worth considering for an exciting flavor adventure.

1. Bulgur Wheat

Duru Fine Bulgur, 1000g : Home & Kitchen

Another healthy arborio rice substitute is bulgur wheat, which is high in fiber while containing little to no fat. Bulgur is thus an excellent arborio rice substitute for people on a strict diet.
Although farro wheat is not the most outstanding or popular substitute for arborio rice, it does have a delicious nutty flavor that complements cheese-based dishes. Bulgur wheat pairs well with salad, adding a savory flavor to the dish.
You can skip the soaking step to make farro wheat more like arborio. Don’t be concerned; bulgur wheat cooks extremely quickly. You won’t have to wait long to make your one-of-a-kind risotto, which you’ll undoubtedly enjoy.

2. Couscous

Jiwa Couscous, 750g : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Contrary to popular belief, Couscous is not a grain; rather, it is classified as pasta. Couscous, made from durum wheat semolina, has a pleasantly sweet flavor with a subtle hint of earthy sweetness.
Couscous is an essential component of the cuisines of Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Through Maghreb immigrants, its popularity has also spread to Sicily (Italy) and France.
Moroccan Couscous is the best substitute for arborio rice among the various types of Couscous now available. Although using Couscous to make creamy dishes like risotto may appear unusual, the result will not disappoint.
Another advantage of using Couscous as an arborio rice substitute is its ease of preparation. Cooking couscous usually doesn’t take long, and the process is so simple that you can do it with your eyes closed.

3. Farro Wheat

Urban Platter Farro (Mediterranean Wheat), 1kg : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Farro wheat, one of the oldest grains, has an unmistakable nutty flavor that has allowed it to become a staple ingredient in Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. And, with its chewy and creamy texture, farro wheat can ensure that your dish tastes fantastic.
There is no need to soak farro wheat ahead of time. Place the farro in a pot of boiling water and cook on medium heat. Although cooking times vary depending on the type of farro, the consensus is that farro wheat cooks quickly.
We can use farro wheat to make various dishes, including healthy salads, hearty soups, and savory grain bowls. It’s no surprise that farro wheat is regarded as one of the healthiest rice substitutes.

4. Orzo Pasta

Garofalo Orzo Pasta, 500g : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Orzo is a type of Italian pasta that resembles rice in appearance, and this is why many people confuse orzo with rice. Because orzo is not rice, it does not need to be soaked or rinsed before cooking.
Orzo pasta has a delicate flavor. To make it shine, combine it with various ingredients, herbs, and spices. Because of its neutral flavor, orzo pairs well with a wide range of ingredients, making it one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen.
With its natural chewy texture, We can use orzo pasta in place of arborio rice in various dishes. If you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-make substitute, orzo pasta is a great option.

5. Pearled Barley

Natureland Organics Pearl Barley 500 Gm (Pack of 5) - Organic Barley : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

The inedible outer layer of unhulled barley is removed to produce pearled barley. Pearled barley loses its chewiness when it is not coated. However, its consistency and high starch content are sufficient to resemble arborio rice.
Pearled barley, when cooked, can produce the creamy, luscious bite that arborio is famous for. This grain also holds flavor well, making dishes with pearled barley extremely flavorful.
Pearled barley is also quick to cook and does not require pre-soaking. In other words, you won’t have to spend much time preparing this high-starch grain.

6. Quinoa

Fitness Mantra White Quinoa Seeds Pouch, 1 kg, black, (8J-ZKZF-J4SA) : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

You’ve most likely heard of quinoa if you’re into healthy eating. While this protein-rich pseudocereal lacks the starch content of some of the other substitutes mentioned here, it can still produce an unimaginably creamy flavor when combined with cream or milk.
Cooking quinoa can be difficult, especially if unfamiliar with this grain-like food. And the various recipes available online may further perplex you—what water-to-quinoa ratio should you use for the best results?
To determine the water-to-quinoa ratio, consider your needs or preferences. In this case, you’re looking for an alternative to arborio rice, so use about 1 34 cups of water per quinoa cup to ensure it retains a chewy texture.

What are the Best Arborio Rice Substitutes for Paella?

Paella is typically made with bomba rice, a variety grown in Spain. Because paella rice can be difficult to find outside of Spain, arborio rice is commonly used as a substitute. If arborio rice is unavailable, Calrose rice is the next best option.

What’s the Best Arborio Rice Substitute for Risotto?

Aside from arborio, vialone nano rice is a popular ingredient in risotto. However, vialone nano rice is not always readily available, and Carnaroli rice is another fantastic option to consider in this case.

Which Arborio Rice Substitute is Best for Arancini?

My “secret ingredient” for delicious and irresistible arancini is jasmine rice, which adds a mouthwatering fragrance, a sweet taste, and a fluffy texture to the dish. Jasmine rice, widely available in grocery stores and supermarkets, is the simplest arborio rice substitute for arancini.

Which Arborio Rice Substitute is Best for Rice Pudding?

Basmati and jasmine rice are the best rice to use for rice pudding. These two varieties have a natural sweetness and an enticing fragrance that will elevate your rice pudding to the level of a restaurant dessert.


Cooking has always seemed like an adventure to us. Trying new things will add excitement and discoveries to our adventure, whereas sticking to the same old recipe will quickly become tedious.
Even if you have an abundance of arborio rice on hand, we urge you to try one of these alternatives. As we previously stated, using the same recipe can ensure success, but only by trying new ones can you broaden your culinary horizons.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and family, particularly those who enjoy cooking as much as you do. We are sure they’ll be thrilled to find new ways to use arborio rice.