Arborio rice has typically been used in Italian cooking. This short-grain rice is one of the significant ingredients in dishes like risotto, rice pudding, arancini, and Italian dishes.
While finding in most grocery stores is possible, it can take time to track down. And even if you find it, it is most likely a bit more expensive than normal short-grain rice.
Top 10 Best Alternatives for Arborio Rice
Fortunately, many arborio rice substitutes are available and will work just as well in your recipes. Here are 10 of the best substitutes for Arborio rice.
1. Basmati Rice
This long-grain rice originates from India. It’s known for its nutty taste and light, fluffy texture. It is a passable substitute in dishes like pilafs and fried rice.
While Basmati rice takes longer to cook than Arborio rice, and the results are worth the wait.
2. Brown Rice
It is a nutritious whole grain that has been less processed. Brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than white rice, which makes it healthier.
Brown rice also takes a bit longer to cook than regular white rice, so it is not ideal for dishes like the risotto recipe, where you need the rice to be tender and have a creamy texture.
However, this is still suitable if you want a healthy alternative to Arborio rice.
3. Carnaroli Rice
Another type of Italian short-grain rice is Carnaroli rice. It is often considered the best rice for making creamy risotto because it has high starch contents, making it creamy and rich when cooked.
Carnaroli rice can be difficult to find outside of Italy, but if you can get your hands on it, it makes an excellent substitute for Arborio rice.
Farro is an ancient grain that was once a staple in the diet of the Roman Empire. It’s full of a nutty taste and a chewy, sticky texture.
Farro can be used as an alternative in dishes like risotto and pilafs. The cooking time for farro is similar to that of Arborio rice, so it is easy to use as a 1:1 replacement.
5. Sushi Rice
Another popular variety of short-grain Japanese rice is sushi rice. It is usually used to make sushi rolls and sushi bowls.
Sushi rice can also substitute for Arborio rice and is one of the best choices for risotto and arancini balls. While the cooking time for sushi race shorter than that of Arborio, so it requires less time to cook.
Quinoa is a nutritious grain that originates from South America. It comes in many colors, including red, black, and white, and is rich in nutty flavor.
Quinoa can be used as an alternative for salads, side dishes, or even breakfast porridge. The cooking time for quinoa is quicker than Arborio, so it may require less cooking time.
7. Bulgur Wheat
Cracked wheat or Bulgur is made from wheat berries that have been parboiled and dried. It’s chewy in texture and nutty flavor. This cracked wheat can be substituted for Arborio rice and other wheat-based products like pasta and pizza dough. Bulgur wheat’s cooking time is similar to Arborio, so it does not require additional cooking time.
8. Israeli Couscous
Israeli couscous (pearl couscous) is made from durum wheat flour and semolina flour. It’s packed with a nutty-sweet flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Israeli couscous can be used as a substitute for Arborio case it is large enough to hold its shape during cooking. The cooking time for Israeli couscous might be slightly longer Arborio depending on the size of the couscous and how long it was cooked before being added dish.
9. Pearled Barley
Barley pearls are barley grains steamed and then rolled flat into flakes before being milled into smaller pieces called ” pearls .” Barley Pearls have a light color and chewy texture, similar to Arborio rice, and can be substituted in most recipes calling Arborio rice, including risotto soups stews. Pearl barley takes a bit longer to cook than Arborioso and requires additional cooking time to be taken into account when using this as a substitute.
10. Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is one of the most popular varieties of long-grain rice. It is a fragrant light color with a fluffy texture.
It is an excellent alternative for Arborio rice when making fried rice and salad dishes that do not require creamy consistency.
Jasmine rice tries to use less water in the dish to absorb the water while cooking, resulting will be fluffier and drier than when using Arborio rice
While many different types of rice can be substituted for Arborio rice, good results in most cases will be achieved using one of the above-mentioned varieties, including Carnaroli rice (caviar of rice), Baldo rice, farro wheat, orzo pasta, and sticky rice.
The significant thing to keep in mind is how long each type cooks and what level of moisture is desired in the final dish will help you choose the best variety for your needs. As always, taste before serving and make necessary adjustments to seasoning quantities according to personal preference.
Remember to have fun experimenting with new things and enjoy learning about food. Happy Cooking!