The Best Type of Rice for Risotto

Which is the best rice for making risotto? What's the difference between Arborio and Carnaroli rice?

What type of rice is used for risotto? What's the difference between Arborio and Carnaroli rice?

The best rice varieties for risotto have plump, short- to medium-grains, with a high-starch content. This is what gives risotto its trademark creamy texture. While Italians have several varieties of risotto rice to choose from, here in the States, Arborio is the most widely used. But there are a couple of other varieties you can buy, like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano, which are just as good and some say better.

Arborio is wider and longer, and not quite as starchy as the other two varieties. This makes for a slightly thicker, softer risotto. Its widespread availability makes it the go-to variety.

Carnaroli, known as the “king” or “caviar” of risotto rice, is said to produce the creamiest risotto. It’s the preferred rice in most regions of Italy.

Vialone Nano hails from the Veneto where it’s the prized variety. Slightly less “sticky,” it produces the desirable wavy risotto texture.

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