Zojirushi Blog

A Guide to Different Types of Rice

Zojirushi: Types of RiceYou might be familiar with white and brown rice, and perhaps even a few others, but did you know there are thousands of types of rice found around all corners of the world? From basmati, wild, long-grain, and short-grain rice, there are countless families of rice that you can explore to broaden your culinary horizons. Today, we’ll be looking at the main families of rice that you should know about, as well as the types of rice you can cook in our Zojirushi rice cookers. So, are you ready to become a rice expert? Then, let’s get to it!

Bowls of Rice - Zojirushi

Two Main Families of Rice

Though rice comes in many unique shapes, colors, and flavors, there are two main families of rice that you should familiarize yourself with: Indica and Japonica.

Indica is long-grained and aromatic rice that grows near the equator, so you’ll see them in countries like India, Indonesia, Southern China, and Africa. Japonica rice is short to medium-grained, which, unlike Indica, has little to no aromas. They also tend to stick together, whereas Indica grains will remain separated. You can find this type of rice in East Asia, like Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. Fun fact: Indica is more widely consumed than Japonica!

Two Bowls of Different Rice Grains

Here are some of the most popular rice varieties that we recommend you try if you haven’t already.

Popular Rice Varieties

  1. Arborio Rice: This short to medium-grain rice from Italy has a high starch content. Arborio rice becomes firm yet creamy when cooked. They are often used for risottos and can be easily identified by their short and round grains.
  2. Basmati Rice: This rice is known for its pandan leaf-like aromatics and soft and fluffy texture.
  3. Black Rice: Commonly referred to as “forbidden rice,” this purple to black-hued rice boasts a wide range of health benefits and antioxidants. It has a mild nutty flavor and is harder to grow than other rice varieties.
  4. GABA Rice: The brown rice version of sushi rice is “GABA,” which means that the rice has been germinated to increase its nutritional value. Look for this labeling on your rice if you are looking for this particular type of rice. Or if your Zojirushi rice cooker has the GABA brown rice setting you can use that instead of buying it!
  5. Jasmine Rice: this rice is widely consumed in Thailand and is beautifully aromatic. It is slightly shorter and plumper than Basmati.
  6. Sweet/Sticky/Glutinous Rice: Also known as “sticky rice,” sweet rice has a sweeter flavor because of its higher starch content. As the name suggests, it also becomes very sticky when cooked. You cannot cook sweet rice like regular white rice and must use less water and controlled temperatures to get it to its ideal texture.
  7. Sushi Rice: polished short to medium-grain Japanese rice that is highly desired for its stickiness and fluffiness. It is almost always consumed as a white rice variety.
  8. Wild Rice: Wild rice is long-grain rice native to North America and is almost always brown or black in color. It is high in nutritional value and has a distinctly earthy and smoky flavor when cooked.

How to Cook Rice in Your Zojirushi Rice Cooker

Zojirushi Rice Cooker in a Kitchen

If you read this month’s Product of the Month blog, you’ll see that the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A can cook up to five different rice categories (white/sushi, mixed, quick, long grain white, and brown). Now that you understand the difference between Indica and Japonica rice, can you guess why these different types of rice cooking settings matter? Here are some Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A settings explained:

  • Mixed – though this setting doesn’t specify a type of rice, it is useful for cooking Takikomi-Gohan, a popular menu item in Japan. These “mixed rice” one-pot meals are made by adding seasonal ingredients and rice into the rice cooker and pressing start.
  • Long grain white – this rice setting will make sure that your long grain white rice is always loose and fluffy. You can also add a few seasonings to level it up like this “Buttered Lobster Rice” recipe.
  • Brown rice – we tested tons and tons of brown rice to carefully fine tune the cooking flow for this setting to ensure that the brown rice is always perfectly cooked. Here are some great and easy recipes that you’ll want to try with your brown rice.

Let’s Cook Some Rice!

Do you want to learn more about how to cook different types of rice in your Zojirushi rice cooker? Take a look at our “Know Your Rice” guide. You can also find tips and tricks to cook perfect rice by visiting our “About Rice” page.

Did you learn anything about rice varieties today? Is there a new type of rice you’re looking forward to trying? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

15 thoughts on “A Guide to Different Types of Rice

  1. My elderly Zojirushi Rice Cooker is still faithfully and perfectly cooking rice, every kind of rice. I love it and trust it. I’ve had it a very long time and worry that one day it may retire from the business of rice cooking!

  2. I fell in love with my 3 cup zojirushi rice cooker when cooking jasmine rice the first time. Best ever!! Want to try steel cut oats and wild rice.

  3. I’d like to cook purple rice in a NS-LGC05.
    I tried the brown rice setting but it came out like glue. Suggestions?

    • Hi Ken, we haven’t tested purple rice in our rice cooker so we don’t have a grain to water ratio for it. If possible, it may be a good idea to reach out to the rice manufacturer to see if they have any recommendations. Otherwise, if you would like to continue testing it, then it’s best to test a small amount like one cup of rice to one cup of water to reduce the risks of an overflow. Since you tried the brown rice and it was overcooked, then the white rice may be a good idea. Just be sure to keep an eye on your rice cooker in case of an overflow. Hope this helps!

      • Considering you are a company who is known for making rice cookers and now marketing rice cookers with “AI”, the fact that you don’t have an answer to Ken’s question blows my mind. Is there no one in Zojirushi Japan who knows this answer??? Does the machine with AI know?

        • We appreciate your concern regarding how to cook purple rice. Our rice cookers are can cook white and brown rice perfectly. However, we have not tested specialty rice like black rice yet. We cook tons and tons of rice to ensure that a cooking setting will yield perfectly cooked rice. The testing process takes many years to accomplish before we are ready to add a new setting. Purple rice is rice that is cooked with beans that give it the purple color. Beans and rice cook at different rates and the settings in the rice cookers are not designed for cooking rice. As we recommended to Ken, it’s best to reach out to the rice manufacturer that sells the rice for cooking instructions. The AI in our rice cookers is an expert at cooking white and brown rice though!

          • No, actually purple rice is a type of rice that is known as ‘forbidden rice’ because in ancient times only the most wealthy and powerful could eat it due to its purported anti-inflammatory and health boosting effects. I would also like to know if you have any cooking recommendations for this specific type of rice. Here is an example of one popular brand: https://www.ralstonfamilyfarms.com/purple-rice

          • Hi Adam, thank you for your comment. Forbidden rice is also known as black rice which cooks much different than the rice we have tested in our rice cookers. Purple rice is also the name given to a type of Korean style rice that is cooked with beans. We thought that the inquiry was regarding this type of rice, we apologize for the confusion. As far as cooking instructions, we haven’t tested forbidden rice in our rice cookers so we don’t have recommended instructions. When testing grains and rice we haven’t tested yet, there is a chance that the rice or grain may cause the rice cooker to boil over and damage the rice cooker. However if you would like to still test it, an option would be to inquire with the rice manufacturer to see if they have recommendations and test one cup to see how it goes in the rice cooker. We highly recommend keeping an eye on the rice cooker just in case. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi we have a NP-NWC10 and are pretty happy with the rice it cooks but recently we have been cooking mixed rice (white, brown, and mixed grains and some beans). Every time we make rice this way the cooker over stems and gooey water oozes out of the steam vent. This leaves a huge and we have to clean the whole machine after.
    We didn’t encounter this problem when cooking just white or brown rice but the mixed rice on the mixed rice setting is giving us this annoying problem. We’re tried adjusting the water levels and rice ratios but no luck. We are generally going by the indicated levels on the cooking bowl and our usual back of the wrist measurement…

    Please help!

    • Hello drchae, we are very sorry to hear you are experiencing difficulties with your rice cookers. The mixed rice setting refers to rice that is cooked with a little bit of protein or veggies. This setting is not able to cook rice mixed with different grains. We actually don’t recommend mixing different kinds of rice and grains since they cook at different rates and will not cook evenly. Each type of rice also cooks using a different rice to water ratio. As you described, you may experience this type of situation if you are mixing grains in the rice cooker.

      If you need further assistance, please reach out to our helpful Customer Service Team: https://www.zojirushi.com/app/customer_service/entry

  5. OK you nice folks at Zo, it’s been several months since your last reply to the questions about black forbidden rice,where you said you had not tested the cooker with that rice. Have you gotten around to testing yet??? If not, what’s taking so long? As a long-time Zo rice cooker user, I’d much rather rely on advice from you as the manufacturer, than from some gossip social media sites. Come-on, let’s do this!!

    • Hello Chris, we completely understand your frustration regarding the absence of official water-to-grain ratios for different rice and grains. We want to assure you that we always forward any requests we receive to our headquarters in Japan. However, please keep in mind that the testing of a new grain can take a few years. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

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