What is Arborio Rice Used For?(6 Best Uses of Arborio)

Arborio rice is a short-grain rice type named for the location in Italy where it was first farmed; currently, the rice is also grown in the United States in states such as California and Texas.

However, we know you’re curious about what is Arborio rice used for? Arborio rice is used in stir-fried rice, sushi, pudding, and recipes in which rice is molded into forms, such as paella, porridge, and soup.

What is Arborio Rice?

Arborio rice is short, fat, and slightly oval-shaped, with a pearly white exterior belonging to Oryza sativa japonica. Because Arborio undergoes less milling than ordinary long-grain rice, Arborio retains more of its natural starch content. This particular rice can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy.

Arborio rice releases this starch while cooking, resulting in firmer, chewier, and creamier rice than other kinds. Starch is essential for creating creamy dishes, such as risotto, so it is important not to rinse the rice before cooking, or else much of the starch can be washed away.

It is available in well-stocked food stores and Italian markets. Arborio rice is a little less than double the cost of regular long-grain white rice. Read on to clear your head on what is Arborio rice used for?

What is Arborio Rice Used For?

1. Risotto

In the well-known Italian dish risotto, arborio rice is frequently used. When making risotto, combine the cooked rice with additional items like meat, cheese, and veggies in a big pot of liquid.

When Arborio rice is cooked, a large amount of amylopectin starch is released; this starch makes Arborio rice perfect for producing risotto since it thickens and creamifies the cooking liquid.

Of course, risotto is at the top of the list. The secret is to rinse the Arborio rice for a few minutes under cold running water; the surface starches will wash down the drain if you want to make risotto that is not too starchy.

You may achieve the ideal creamy bite by perfecting the techniques of gently adding stock while stirring your risotto. Both a main meal and a side dish can be made with risotto.

2. Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a unique dessert choice, and rice pudding can be served hot or cold. The starchiness of Arborio rice makes it an ideal option for this creamy dish.

Rice pudding is a comforting dish made of cooked Arborio rice mixed with milk or water and often includes sugar and spices, such as cinnamon, giving the pudding an extra velvety. Rice pudding is found worldwide; it may be sweet, savory, boiled, baked, and served warm or cold.

While many types of rice pudding varieties are thickened only by the starches from the rice, others may include eggs. Raisins can be added to your pudding, butter, or a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

3. Paella

Paella is a Spanish dish that is different from risotto. Paella doesn’t need as much liquid as risotto and isn’t stirred as much. This cooking style results in a crunchier grain versus risotto’s creaminess. Arborio rice is also a good choice for making Paella.

The most beloved of all Spanish dishes, Paella is an impressive combination of saffron-infused short-grain rice mixed with meat, seafood, and vegetables.

Traditionally, the most widely used ingredients for making Paella include– short-grain rice like Arborio, chicken, snails, duck, rabbit, green beans, tomatoes, great northern beans, runner beans, artichoke (a substitute for beans in the winter), fresh rosemary, paprika, saffron, garlic, olive oil, and water.

Today, there are several variations of Paella as different cultures put their spin on the dish. Other types of meat or seafood are used with various vegetables and seasonings, most commonly poultry and seafood.

4. Arancini

These delicious rice balls are the perfect choice when you have leftover risotto; arancini make great appetizers or snacks! Arancini is an Italian street food star with sticky balls of risotto filled with gooey mozzarella, grounded beef, and tomato sauce.

The name arancini come from the Sicilian word for orange since the finished product resembles the fruit’s shape and color. The filling is stuffed inside a rice ball, then breaded and lightly fried until crisp and golden. Green peas are also often added, making a satisfying snack anytime.

While arancini are most frequently round, they can also be cone-shaped. To make these tasty morsels, you’ll want your leftover risotto to be cooled. Take about 1/4 cup of the risotto and flatten it into a patty.

Place a tablespoon or two of your filling on top, then fold up the sides of the patty to form a ball. Next, dredge the balls in flour, then dip them in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off.

You can either deep-fry arancini for a more traditional flavor or bake them in the oven for a healthier version. When your arancini are ready, serve them with a bowl of extra tomato-meat sauce for dipping! Roll in breadcrumbs or panko.

5. Porridge

A unique breakfast dish, porridge is often made with oats, but you can also use rice! The starchiness of Arborio rice makes the porridge nice and creamy. Rice porridge is traditionally served at Christmas in some Scandinavian countries.

While you can cook your rice in water, using a mixture of milk and water makes it extra creamy and filling. Any milk can be used, including dairy, coconut, nut, or soy. Porridge is a versatile dish; you can switch up the flavors daily by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the rice as it cooks.

Add freshness to your porridge with fruits like berries or sliced bananas. Dates are a great option, and they add a lot of sweetness. If you want some crunch, throw in some chopped walnuts or pecans. A dash of vanilla extract is another excellent choice.

6. Soup

Soup is a beautiful way to use all sorts of leftovers or bits and pieces from your fridge. Vegetables, beans, meats, and rice are all great additions to the soup pot. You can use already-cooked Arborio rice for your soup or start with dried rice. Arborio rice works particularly well with the Italian soup minestrone.

This soup usually includes some pasta or rice along with beans, tomatoes, and vegetables like carrots, onion, and cabbage. The starch in the Arborio rice will help to thicken the soup.


You probably don’t know what to use Arborio rice for, but this starchy rice is more versatile than you might think. Here’s all you need to know about the grain and cooking ideas beyond the classic Italian dish.

However, because of its tendency toward creaminess, Arborio isn’t typically cooked on its own as a side dish. However, it is still most often used for dishes, such as risotto or rice pudding, where its texture is welcome. 

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