Long Grain Rice vs Short Grain Rice: What’s the Difference Besides Size?

You might think it would be easy to discern the difference between long grain and short grain rice. One is long and the other not so much, we hear you saying. Well, sure, you have a point. But it isn’t quite so cut and dry. Be sure to take the following into consideration before choosing short grain versus long grain rice.  

Short Grain vs Long Grain Rice: Size

We’ve established that short grain rice is shorter than long grain rice—but how much shorter? To be classified as short grain rice, a grain must be under 5.5 millimeters. Long grain rice is generally longer than 6.5 millimeters. So, if you’ve found a few stray grains and you want to classify them, now you know what to look for when you break out your ruler. 

Long Grain Rice vs Short Grain Rice: Texture

Aside from length disparities, there are a few notable differences when considering long grain vs short grain rice. First of all, long grain rice is typically a fair bit drier than short grain rice when cooked, while short grain rice is stickier. Long grain rice is considered to be the easiest rice to cook because the grains are less likely to stick to each other or worse, the pan. Basmati and jasmine are two heavy hitters in the world of long grain rice, and are less starchy and firmer after cooking than standard short grains like arborio rice. 

Long Grain vs Short Grain Rice: Use

Short grain rice is used to make creamy dishes like rice pudding or risotto or sushi. That’s because short grain rice quickly absorbs any surrounding liquid and becomes moist or sticky. Short grain tends to be a lot chewier after it is cooked, also, which is what you want out of a creamy risotto or rice pudding. Long grain rice, on the other hand, remains separated after it’s cooked, which makes it bad for things like sushi but good for things like rice pilaf or burrito bowls. 

Can You Use Long Grain and Short Grain Rice Interchangeably?

You may have the impulse to swap out one grain for the other…after all, they are both rice. However, recipes call for specific grain length for a reason, and one should expect a different outcome if the incorrect length is used. That being said, fortune favors the bold, so please let us know how long grain rice pudding works out for you! 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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