Although you don’t need to memorize every type of rice on the planet (there are thousands), get acquainted with the five basic types of rice common to cooking today:

  • Converted or parboiled rice: Basic white rice used for home cooking in much of the Western world; medium to long grain.

  • Long-grain rice: Includes the Indian basmati.

  • Short-grain rice: The family of Italian Arborio rice, used to make risotto; also used in sushi.

  • Wild rice: Not really rice at all. Wild rice is a remote relative of white rice, actually a long-grain, aquatic grass.

  • Brown rice: Healthful, unrefined rice (that means it still has the bran and germ that are removed from white rice) with a slightly nutty flavor.


Rice is a versatile grain used for main dishes, side dishes, or as a base for other ingredients. Each type has its textural and flavor differences, so experiment with them to find the ones that suit your dishes (and your tastes).