What Is The Best Rice For Paella, Top 3 Best Types of Rice

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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What Is The Best Rice For Paella

On our tables you can meet more and more dishes from various places around the world. However, each of these dishes needs appropriate and well-prepared contributions. In this post you will learn what is the best rice for paella. But first what is paella?

When you think of Paella, what comes to your mind? It’s the colorful culture and exotic flavor of Spain isn’t it? The beauty of this dish is that it isn’t just a simple food on its own, but you can also have a taste of the interesting culture of how it evolved in its country of origin.

Why Many People Love Paella

There have been a lot of combinations when it comes to paella and you may have tasted more than one version. This is why a lot of people can easily find a Paella that could easily suit their tastes.

In order to know more about Paella and how it got its unique blend of taste, learning a little bit of history about it and where it originated from can help you appreciate this dish even more. If you want to learn more about the history of rice, click this link.

These simple information won’t only give you knowledge about where it came from or who were the people that usually ate the dish before, but it also makes you understand how it became the Paella dish that everyone likes to eat nowadays.

Jump Back In Time On How Paella Originated

Paella is an original dish that came from Valencia, located in Eastern Spain. It was not called Paella at first but was more commonly known as Baqiyah which meant leftovers in Arabic.

Paella was then the dish that people would make by using various leftover foods combined together and cooked in a pan.

This delicious dish is also popularly known as the union of two cultures which are of Spaniards and the Arabs respectively. It has become one of the most popular Spanish dishes even until today.

In other versions of its origin, Paella is said to come from the word Patella which is Latin in this case and it is what you call a flat plate that is often used for religious offerings. A lot of the reasons why this was associated with Paella is because of how close the words sound.

Early Versions Of Paella

paella in a large dish

Originally, Paella was said to be cooked by servants who would get the leftover food from banquets of royalties. They would then mix these leftovers together to be able to form an entirely new delicious dish.

The way that they cooked this was through open fires, as there were many and they want the food to the cooked thoroughly. The servants would then take the food home to their families.

Then you also have the version where Valencian farmers were said to have foods made out of rice for lunch. With their rice, they would look around the rice fields for things that they could add to the rice dish. This meant that they would look for snails, tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables that could be found around them.

In some cases, the farmers would even add beans so that there is more flavor to the rice dish. Apart from snails, chicken and rabbits were also used for cooing Paella when it was meant for special occasions.

How To Know That You Are Using The Best Rice For Paella

arborio rice

Rice is one of the key ingredients of Paella and the overall taste of the dish will highly depend on the quality of rice that you use. Rice is special on its own as it is not the same with all its species. Bear in mind that there are various types of lengths of rice that are suitable for some dishes such as Paella.

The best type of rice that you should use for Paella would be medium-grain and round Spanish rice. This type of rice is characterized by its short and round shape. Rice like these has better absorption power when it comes to the liquid which they are brewed in. You can also expect that this kind of rice stays firm while cooking and after you have cooked it.

For dishes like Paella, it is important that the rice stays firm and it is able to absorb the flavor that is mixed with the liquid. The rice should also separate easily and not stick together as some rice species actually do when you cook them.

In some cases, there are those who use other rice species but make do by washing the rice over and over again to make sure that they would not stick together while cooking Paella. This technique, however, would depend on your cooking technique and the quality of rice you are using.

List of Best Rice For Paella

Want to cook the best Paella to impress your loved ones? Make sure that you choose only the best ingredients when cooking it so that you can also be sure that the end result is something unforgettable, flavorful, and scrumptious.

1. Bomba Rice

This is the most widely used rice in making Paella. It is also known as Valencian rice and is actually a short grain rice species. The appearance of this rice is usually small, round, and has a pearl-like color. It is similar to arborio rice, which is also short-grained.

What makes this type of rice a particular favorite is because of how effective it is in absorbing water when cooked. The rice also doesn’t easily stick with each other and that the rice grains expand beautifully giving that rounded rice look that Paella is known for.

When using this type of rice for Paella, you will need to add three cups of water for every cup of rice that you use. However, this can also change depending on what your preferences are when it comes to the final texture of the rice.

2. Senia and Bahia Rice

These are almost the same as Bomba rice and they are also frequently used for Paella when Bomba rice is not available. They are short grained as well and have great liquid absorption capabilities. If you are looking for rice that is firm but at the same time creamy, then these are the ones that you should be looking for.

3. Calasparra Rice

There could be people arguing that there is no such thing as Calasparra rice. This is because Calasparra is actually the name of the place where this kind of rice is grown. It’s just that many people have grown accustomed to calling it based on where it was cultivated.

Basically, it is just good quality Spanish rice that you can get from Calasparra, Murcia. It wouldn’t be a surprise to you to find out that the Bomba, Senia, and Bahia varieties are also grown in Calasparra. It just shows how good of a quality the rice is grown there.

Handy Dandy Recipe For Rice Cooker Paella That You Can Try

If you are a fan of Paella and you would want to try and make it, you don’t have to buy a Paella pan or a stove burner when you don’t have them conveniently at home. You may be staying at an apartment or have the limited cooking equipment, you can always use the help of your trusted rice cooker.

Check out the video.

Below are the ingredients used in cooking quick rice cooker Paella:

  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 red pepper, (diced)
  • 1/2 green pepper, (diced)
  • 2 oz. Olive oil
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 1 lbs mixed seafood, you can choose which type of seafood you can use, many would prefer calamari or lobsters. In any case, you can also substitute the seafood for chicken, meat or just plain vegetables
  • 8 oz chorizo, you can use any kind of chorizo that you like, although some would stick to the Spanish chorizo for a more traditional flavor
  • 2 cups white rice, you can use either Bomba, Senia, and Bahia, or other similar rice species available near you
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup of peas

Below is a step by step description of how to make this dish in a rice cooker. If you want to know how to use rice cooker, check out this guide.


Zojirushi NP-HCC, the best rice cooker
Zojirushi NP-HCC XH Rice Cooker
  • Start up your rice cooker.
  • Add olive oil to the heated rice cooker inner pan and let it heat up.
  • While the oil is being heated, you can start putting cracked black pepper on the seafood plate that you have prepared. You can then add the salt afterward. This would vary depending on if you use seafood, meat, chicken, or vegetables.
  • Once the oil is hot enough, add the onions and peppers and begin to saute, this would only take a couple of seconds to do once the oil is ready.
  • Now it’s time to put in the chorizo to get the spicy, hot, and smoky taste.
  • Once the chorizo has settled in, put in your seafood mix, for this you can use fresh seafood or frozen seafood, you can use whatever works for you (it also goes with meat, chicken, vegetables and so on).
  • Add the rice, you don’t have to worry about adding the rice together with the ingredients because it will still turn out amazing.
  • You can then add the chicken stock.
  • Gently sprinkle a pinch of saffron.
  • Pour your tomato puree into the rice cooker.
  • Stir the mixture thoroughly so that all ingredients can come together well.
  • Once done, close the rice cooker lid on and make sure that it is in pressure mode for pressure rice cookers.
  • Your pressure cooker will notify you once the time is up and you can now take off the lid thus releasing the pressure.
  • You can now add the peas, they are added in the last part because they won’t be overcooked this way.
  • Stir again all the ingredients in the rice cooker while letting the peas heat up for about a minute.
  • You’re done! You can now start plating your Paella.


There are many types of rice cookers that you can use when you don’t have a specific pressure cooker. There is the Zojirushi NP-HCC XH Rice Cooker that you can try out. It has a large size which is perfect for Paella cooking and you can even choose the type of hardness of the rice grains you cook with it.

Rice cookers can be tricky to choose from which is why it matters that you know how to choose the best rice cooker for the meals you want to make. It also helps when you know what is the difference between a rice cooker and a pressure cooker, especially when cooking Paella.

If you want to know more about rice and how it can be cooked with Paella or other types of rice dishes you can check out the history of rice just so that you can have an idea on what possible dishes you can do.

Don’t Forget To Enjoy Your Paella!

Even though it may look difficult to do at first, practice is the key! Learn how you can use your kitchen equipment well to cook the most delicious meals that you have always wanted to try making.

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Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Relatively small kitchen-counter footprint, an attractive exterior, and a number of different cooking presets,