9 Paella Rice Substitute

When you think of Spanish food, one of the first things that comes to mind is paella. It’s a lovely combination of bomba rice, veggies, and meat, as well as lemons and herbs, resulting in a protein-rich meal.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a gourmet living on the Spanish coast to prepare a wonderful paella; all you need are the right ingredients.

As previously said, bomba rice is without a doubt the best rice for paella, but finding it outside of Spain will be difficult.

So, can this dish be recreated with various rice substitutes? Thankfully, it can and will taste just as fantastic! Black rice, sticky rice, jasmine rice, carnaroli rice, rosematta rice, Carolina Gold rice, basmati rice, koshihikari rice, and Himalayan red rice are the finest paella rice replacements.

So, let’s take a closer look at the finest paella rice replacements.

Paella Rice Substitutes: Cooking Ratio & Nutritional Value

100 grams of Calories Fat Carb Protein Fiber Ratio
Black Rice 130 0.3g 28g 2.7g 0.4g 1:1
Sticky Rice 97 0.19g 21.09g 2.02g 1g 1:1
Jasmine Rice 170 2.5gg 32.14g 3.81g 0.5g 1:1
Carnaroli Rice 347 0.9g 76.3g 7.4g 2.2g 1:1
Rosematta Rice 84 0.14g 18.54g 1.51g 0.6g 1:1
Basmati Rice 360 0.9g 77.07g 8.51g 1.4g 1:1
Koshihikari Rice 356 0.1g 79.6g 6g 0.1g 1:1
Himalayan Red Rice 378 3g 78g 8.9g 4.4g 1:1

What Does Paella Rice Taste Like?

Paella is almost generally made with fixed protein (seafood, chicken, pork, cow), veggies, broth, lemon, herbs, and bomba rice.

Paella’s flavor is difficult to define since it contains so many distinct tastes and has so many varied varieties. A typical seafood paella, for example, will have a pronounced shrimp, clam, or lobster flavor. Chicken paella, on the other hand, will be considerably lighter.

The rice, on the other hand, is the secret element that keeps it all together, and its texture complements each paella type wonderfully. Bomba rice is the preferred option owing to its extraordinary ability to absorb water without becoming mushy.

Fortunately, bomba is not particularly unusual in this sense, and you can find alternatives no matter where you go.

Paella Rice Nutritional Value

One serving of paella rice consists of:

  • 355 calories
  • 0.8g fat
  • 78.9 carbs
  • 6.3g protein
  • 1.5g fiber

Substitutes for Paella Rice

  1. Black rice
  2. Sticky rice
  3. Jasmine rice
  4. Carnaroli rice
  5. Rosematta rice
  6. Carolina Gold rice
  7. Basmati Rice
  8. Koshihikari rice
  9. Himalayan red rice

Black Rice

Our first option is very unique, so unique that it will dramatically transform your paella!

Black rice, often known as forbidden rice or Emperor’s rice in China, is a popular kind. This replacement contains small, thin kernels and, contrary to its name, comes in a variety of colors, including black, purple, and red.

The presence of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant also found in blueberries and blackberries, is responsible for the fruit’s unique black color.

In addition to its unusual look, black rice is very healthy. However, because of its distinctiveness and health advantages, it is more expensive.

When cooked, black rice turns a light purple color. Because the texture is fluffy and the grains are suitably sticky, you may eat it with chopsticks.

Black rice has a lovely, slightly crunchy texture and a strongly nutty, almost caramel-like flavor.

Sticky Rice

Sticky rice, also known as sticky rice, is mostly farmed in Southeast and East Asia.

The term glutinous rice refers to the sticky, glue-like texture of cooked rice rather than the presence of gluten.

It has a highly powdery texture when uncooked, indicating that it will be exceedingly starchy and sticky.

When cooked, sticky rice becomes chewy and has a virtually sweet taste, making it immensely satisfying to the tongue.

The nicest thing about this rice is that it doesn’t need any silverware to consume. You could literally mold a bite and scoop up all of the other components of the paella dish with your hands, which enhances the whole experience.

Jasmine Rice

Another fantastic selection of Southeast Asian rice. Jasmine rice is called after the jasmine flower, however the similarity is based on its brilliant, white color rather than its distinctive taste.

While some rice is better aged, the delicate perfume of this kind disappears with time, so if you want to appreciate its particular fragrance, choose a new crop of jasmine rice.

When cooked, jasmine rice is long and fluffy, and it does not get as sticky as the other two options. It has a floral scent with herbal, woodsy, and toasty overtones.

Fortunately, its taste is not as powerful as its scent. In reality, it has a delicate, mild flavor that won’t overpower dishes with strong ingredients, such as paella.

Carnaroli Rice

We’re taking a flight from Southeast Asia to Europe as our next option. Carnaroli rice, the king of risotto rice varieties, comes from the northern Italian provinces of Pavia, Novara, and Vercelli.

Carnaroli rice has bigger grains than the other alternatives on our list. When cooked, they grow broad and virtually flattened. The grains taste somewhat nutty and have a starchy, fuzzy feel.

Carnoli rice does not get sticky or mushy, which makes it ideal for risotto or fried rice.

If you like non-sticky rice, Carnaroli might be the right rice for paella.

Rosematta Rice

Rosematta rice is native to the Indian state of Kerala. It’s a unique kind of parboiled rice.

Soaking, steaming, and drying harvested rice (husk included) before further processing is known as parboiling. This facilitates hand-milling the rice.

Rosematta tastes nutty and earthy. Although it lacks the aroma of jasmine rice, it is nevertheless a good choice for paella.

This type has a distinct brown hue, although it loses a lot of it when cooked. Furthermore, the grains are hard and adhere to one another, so they will not fall off the spoon.

Carolina Gold Rice

Carolina Gold rice is a well-known long-grain rice variety in North America.

Carolina Gold, which was originally brought from Africa, almost went extinct during the Great Depression. However, thankfully for rice lovers, it started to thrive again in the mid-1980s.

Carolina Gold rice comes in a variety of colors and grain sizes. The grains are fragile and easily shattered.

When cooked, this paella rice replacement becomes extremely fluffy, and the broken grains provide some textural diversity to the dish. It will add a ton of flavor to your paella; your taste senses should notice a sweet, almost piney flavor that will not overrun your paella meal.

Basmati Rice

This long-grain rice originated in the Indian subcontinent. Its name means “fragrant” in Sanskrit.

Basmati rice has a unique color and a nutty aroma. It is shorter and healthier than jasmine rice in terms of size.

When cooked, basmati rice is very light and nearly fluffy. The grains are only loosely connected and have a relatively abrasive feel.

Drizzle some saucy sauce on top to keep the grains of basmati rice together. In that aspect, paella broth matches the criteria, making basmati rice an excellent alternative for bomba.

When paired with the vegetables and meats, the basmati grains just melt in your mouth.

Koshihikari Rice

Koshihikari rice is the top short-grain white rice in Japan. Despite its Japanese origins, it is often grown in Northern California’s central valley.

Koshihikari rice has a moderate taste that is somewhat sweet and nutty. Each grain is distinct and independent when cooked, yet they cling to one another loosely enough to be picked up with chopsticks while eating paella.

Himalayan Red Rice

Finally, the last but not least substandard paella rice choice is Himalayan red rice.

This red rice is a staple crop of the eastern Himalayas that originated in Bhutan. It is distinguished by its earthy colour and semi-milled grains.

Himalayan red rice has a lovely, solid texture when cooked. When it comes to taste, this kind is really unique; it almost has an acidic note that we enjoy since it would accompany freshly squeezed lemons in a paella meal.

Paella Rice Recipe

While we normally include popular recipes that incorporate the product we’re discussing, paella rice, or bomba rice, is very one-dimensional; it’s in the name!

With our assistance, you may make the most well-known dinner in Spain, paella, in your own home with a few key items. The greatest part is that you can make it in a regular large skillet rather than a paella pan!

Our basic paella recipe calls for the following ingredients:

  • 900 ml chicken stock;
  • 300g rice;
  • 400g seafood mix;
  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • A handful of roughly chopped parsley (flat-leaf variety);
  • lemon juice;
  • lemon wedges;
  • 1 chopped onion;
  • 3 tbsp white wine (optional);
  • 1 tsp dried thyme;
  • 400g canned tomatoes (chopped);

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, paella pan, or wok over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Then add the rice, thyme, and white wine (if using). After a minute or two, stir the ingredients together and add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock.

Season, then boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Cover with a lid after adding the seafood combination. Allow everything to boil for another 5 minutes to ensure the seafood is cooked and the rice is mushy.

4 cup more water or broth and cook for another ten minutes. When finished, drizzle your paella with lemon juice and garnish with parsley and fresh lemon wedges. Good appetite!If you believe the rice is still uncooked, feel free to add extra 1 cup.


Even while bomba rice may be found in bigger markets, getting high-quality bomba rice can be difficult for many individuals.

The rice’s role in a paella is to contribute texture, flavor, and volume. All of these characteristics may be found in various varieties of rice.

Bomba rice is a short-grain rice, and the substitutions we supplied have identical qualities and give a comparable, if not superior, texture and flavor. Finally, in a pinch, you can make paella with nearly any kind of rice.


What can I substitute for bomba rice?

Because Arborio rice is commonly accessible in this nation, it is often used as a replacement for Bomba. If you use this kind of rice, alter the liquid in your recipe to use two cups of water or stock for every cup of rice.

What is a good substitute for paella?

Fideuà is a fantastic alternative to paella.

What rice can I substitute for paella rice?

The best equivalent for paella rice is risotto rice (arborio rice), which has comparable properties, such as the capacity to absorb a large amount of liquid, but risotto becomes creamy when stirred. The next best option is medium grain rice, which I use for rice pudding.

Can jasmine rice be used for paella?

What Kind of Rice Is Used in Paella? We choose medium grain or jasmine rice. If you can locate it, you can substitute Spanish rice. The small, spherical grains are suitable for Paella and absorb liquid efficiently, making it the best rice for Paella.

Do you need special rice for paella?

Spanish rice (also known as “bomba” rice, calaspara rice, or arroz redonda) is typical in Paella and is what I propose. Short grain rice absorbs more water than conventional rice without becoming mushy. Spanish rice may be purchased via Amazon, World store, or an international food store.

Is arborio rice OK for paella?

Arborio rice – This short-grain rice absorbs flavors well and provides a somewhat crunchy bottom layer in Paella. It may be replaced with other short-grain rice kinds, such as Bomba or Calasparra rice, which are often used in Paella.

What makes paella rice different?

What exactly is paella rice? Bomba rice is the most widely used rice in paella in Spain. It’s a short-grain rice grown in Spain’s eastern regions. It absorbs liquid nicely yet remains solid throughout cooking.

Will sushi rice work for paella?

Two necessities. Short-grain rice, especially Spanish bomba (typically marketed under the geographical designation Calasparra), is clearly required for paella, although Herráiz asserts Italian risotto or Japanese sushi rice are also ideal.

What dish is similar to a paella but uses vermicelli instead of rice?

Fideuà is similar to paella but cooked using pasta instead of rice. It, like paella, needs be cooked in a large paella pan, so if you’re cooking for a large group, it’s almost difficult to prepare paella in a standard kitchen due to the size of the pan.

Can you substitute paella rice with risotto rice?

Risotto rice is completely enough for Paella if it is barely stirred and not too seasoned with stock.

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