12 Best Arborio Rice Substitutes

You need arborio rice to make dishes like risotto but also other recipes that might be tempting. But what if you don’t have this type of rice? No worries as you can use plenty of other alternatives.

And we will address each one of these alternatives in this guide.

Your risotto will turn out best with arborio rice. If you don’t have arborio rice, your second choice should be basmati rice followed by carnaroli rice. But ultimately you can use any type of rice or rice alternative from the list below.

Depending on the type of rice or grain you use, you might have to adjust the cooking time as not all of them cook at the same time. Besides this aspect, you can follow your risotto recipe as you normally would, regardless of the rice substitute you use.

Arborio Rice Substitute

Use any of the next arborio rice substitutes to prepare a recipe that asks for arborio rice without compromising its taste.

1. Basmati rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is the best substitute for Arborio rice in a variety of dishes but it will work best in risotto. It is not sticky so you might want to add some pumpkin broth or even eggs to make it stick more.

Basmati rice is healthier as it contains no gluten and it is easy to cook too. You can use it in stir-fry dishes as well as many baked dishes too. You can find this rice fairly easy so there is no need to worry about that either. 

2. Carnaroli rice

uncooked rice

Carnaroli rice can also be a great alternative to many dishes that require arborio rice. This rice has a creamy texture and it is delicious in a wide range of dishes.

It got the nickname the “caviar of rice” thanks to its distinct taste and flavor. Cook this rice as you cook any other rice and follow the rest of the steps in the recipe.

3. Sushi rice 

Sushi rice 

Sushi rice might sound like it is only for sushi but this is not the case. While not all types of rice can replace sushi rice in sushi, you can definitely use this rice in all the other dishes.

Sushi rice is delicious in risotto and many other dishes. However, it is important not to overcook this rice because it loses its flavor. This rice is also creamy and sticky enough to be ideal for your recipes. 

4. Pearled barley


If you want to replace arborio rice with barley, pearled barley is your best option. Barley contains enough starch to replace the arborio rice successfully.

You will love the fact that this doesn’t take so long to cook and you don’t need to soak it either. It is suitable for most dishes that call for arborio rice or any type of rice. 

5. Brown rice 

Brown Rice

Brown rice is another popular arborio rice substitute. Some people prefer this rice because of its dark color while others think it’s not as tasty as other types of white rice.

However, it’s definitely healthier. Cook it the same way you would cook arborio rice according to your recipe. But expect a slightly different taste and a different color of your dish.

6. Farro wheat 


Farro wheat is a less popular alternative to arborio rice but you might be surprised by the taste it offers you. This is a mix of three different wheat types and it originates in Italy.

The best part? You will not have to soak it. And it cooks faster than other types of rice. The taste is different but the texture is similar so you will obtain a great final dish. 

7. Quinoa


Quinoa can replace rice successfully in any recipe. You can use it as a substitute for arborio rice but it will go great instead of any type of rice.

Quinoa is high in protein and easy to cook. Even if it is not as starchy as the arborio rice, it will still work for all your recipes that require rice.

It also contains 8 amino acids so you will enjoy a lot of nutrients too while you eat this grain. If you still want more creamy texture in your recipe, add milk or sour cream to the mix. 

8. Cus-cus


Cus-cus is made of the same flour and water mix as most pasta products. But while it tastes the same, it looks very similar to rice.

Cus-cus can be cooked in less than ten minutes and you can season it just the way you prefer as well. It can suit many recipes that ask for rice and you might even start to prefer cus-cus instead of rice. You can also use cus-cus in salads and even more complex recipes. 

9. Bulgur wheat


Bulgur wheat is similar to cus-cus. It will replace arborio rice successfully in any recipe. You will notice that bulgur wheat cooks faster than rice and it is similar in texture.

Even if the taste can be slightly different, your final dish will still be tasty with this grain. It has a nutty taste and plenty of protein and minerals. The best part? It has no cholesterol which makes it a healthy choice for most recipes.

10. Sticky rice

Sticky Rice

Sticky rice is similar to arborio rice. However, it is also stickier as its name implies. Prepare it the same way you would cook arborio rice.

It will taste fairly similar. Actually, except for the sticky aspect of this rice, you might not even be able to tell the difference if you use it instead of arborio rice. 

11. Jasmine rice

Jasmine rice

You most likely heard about Jasmine rice but did you know that it can be so delicious in recipes that call for arborio rice? This rice has an aromatic, nutty taste which will make your dish unique and tasty. You can use this rice in any type of recipe and even plain as a side dish to your fish or other types of meat. 

12. Red cargo rice 

A different type of rice is red cargo rice. Even if you never tried this rice before, you might want to give it a chance as it has a very rich flavor.

The red color of this rice will look interesting in many of your dishes. At the same time, this rice has a nutty flavor and a creamy texture which makes it perfect for risotto.


Can you use regular rice instead of arborio rice?

You can use any type of rice and even other grain instead of arborio rice. You can use white rice or brown rice and be confident that your dish will taste delicious. Regardless of the rice you use, your cooking process will remain the same. You can keep the same seasonings so that your dish will taste as close to the original recipe as possible. 


If you want to make a tasty risotto, arborio rice should be your first choice. But if you don’t have this type of rice you can use any of the substitutes in this guide. Therefore, don’t hesitate to give these replacements a try and see how your dishes will taste with each one of them.

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