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What Is Short Grained Rice?

What Is Short Grained Rice?

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When it comes to rice, there are three common categories: short, medium, and long grain. The short grain varieties are easy to spot because they are short and stubby.

What Is Short Grained Rice?

They have a starch-like texture making them perfect for those dishes where you want the rice to be all sticky, such as for sushi.

Short grain also works particularly well in a rice pudding, too.

In this article we shall take a look at short grain rice in more detail, the different varieties, and the simple way to cook them.

So, let’s get to it!

What Actually Is Short Grained Rice?

Short grain rice is very noticeably shorter compared to the likes of long grain rice like basmati, for example.

The rice itself looks quite plump and small, with both the length and width nearly similar in size.

When you go to the grocery store, you are likely to find what is labeled as ‘sushi rice’, otherwise known as Japanese rice.

This type is a really common type to use, making it easy to find.

Short grain types of rice will clump and stick together very easily due to having such a high content of starch. If you are looking for the perfect rice to eat with chopsticks, they are it.

Short grain rice is perfect to be used in sushi or as a side dish in Japanese cuisine. It can even be used as the main ingredient in a rice pudding.

Types Of Short Grain Rice

Here are just a few types of short grain rice:


Also known as either ‘Japanese’ or ‘sushi’ rice, it is a popular variety that is used in creating sushi dishes. Whilst it is available as a brown rice, most of us have eaten the bright white version.

Whilst it is a Japanese style of rice, most of the sticky rice found in America is produced in California. Even so, it makes a delicious addition to any meal.


If you are looking for the perfect short grain rice to use in a risotto, then the Italian arborio is it.

Whilst it does have the same characteristics as sushi rice, the creamy texture that this rice has is perfect for Italian food.

Sweet Rice

A type of japonica rice, sweet rice – also known as glutinous rice – is a sticky grain that is even stickier than Japanese rice (see also ‘Is Rice A Grain Or Seed?‘).

It contains such a high amount of amylopectin (starch) that helps it to be so sticky.

It can be used in its black or purple form, but it can also be found as a white rice.


This Spanish rice is a perfect addition to a paella. There is also the bomba type of rice too which is also Spanish.

The reason this rice is great to use is because it has a low starch content, meaning that it will not stick together once cooked.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Short Grain Rice?

What Is Short Grained Rice?

Short grain rice is really easy to cook, even without a rice cooker. Here is a simple way to do it on the stove top:

  • Using one cup of short grain rice, pour the contents into a small sized saucepan. Fill the saucepan with cold water to cover all of the rice – but only just enough to cover it all. Using your hand (though use a wooden spoon if you prefer), swish the rice around within the water using some force. Pour away the water.
  • Repeat the above step up to 4 to 5 times until the water that you pour away is nearly clear. When it is, put the rice into a sieve or strainer and then put it back inside the saucepan.
  • Once the rice is back in the saucepan, add a cup of water, plus two tablespoons worth of water. If you want the rice to be on the drier side, only add one cup of water. Make sure the lid is on the saucepan, and put it on a high heat and wait until it starts to boil.
  • You will want to avoid removing the lid, so listen out for the sounds of bubbling. Once it does, turn down the heat so it is low and can simmer for around 5 minutes to absorb all of that water. If it needs longer, then let it cook away.
  • Again, refrain from removing the lid, and instead listen out for crackling and hissing sounds. Once you hear it, turn up the heat to high for around 20 to 30 seconds to really dry all of the rice out.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the rice covered in the saucepan for around 10 minutes. Once the tie has passed, remove the lid and use a fork to fluff up all of the rice to serve.

What Is The Best Way To Store Short Grain Rice?

Some people are a little unsure as to how to store rice in general, but one of the best ways is to transfer the rice elsewhere once you have opened the bag.

This could be in a glass jar or an airtight container.

So long as it is put in a dry place with no direct sun like a pantry or cupboard, the rice will be fine to use next time that you need it.

However, if you do not have any storage options, keeping the rice in the original bag is absolutely fine.

Just make sure you seal it well to avoid anything finding its way into the bag, and to avoid the fear of knocking the whole bag onto the floor and the contents spilling everywhere.

Final Thoughts

Short grain rice is easy to spot due to its small size and starchy texture. It is often used in Japanese cuisine (it makes great sushi rice), as well as a rice pudding because of how sticky it is.

It is also really easy to cook, though you will want to drain the rice a few times beforehand to make sure you have the fluffiest and most delicious rice to use.

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