5 of the Best Pudding Rice Substitutes

Pudding rice is a general name for white rice that is short-grained. It’s called pudding rice because it’s commonly used to make pudding. Its grains are usually round and it softens quickly compared to other types of rice. When making recipes that call for pudding rice, it’s important to know what exactly to use so your rice doesn’t stay hard when cooked.

Pudding rice isn’t typically very hard to find and is available in most grocery stores. However, there is a price difference when compared to these substitutes. 

If no pudding rice is available to you, there are a few other options. Jasmine, Arborio Rice, Carnaroli rice, Basmati, and converted white rice are all suitable replacements. They have similar properties to pudding rice so they won’t make much difference in your recipe.

1. Jasmine

Jasmine rice is a scented type of rice grown in Vietnam and Thailand. In Thai cuisine, it’s used to accompany spicy dishes because its fragrance rounds out the intense taste of chili pepper. When cooked, jasmine rice becomes translucent. It has a more defined taste and smell compared to other types of rice.

Jasmine is a versatile ingredient for many recipes because it’s known to take on the flavors of other ingredients. It has a creamy texture and mildly chewy consistency, making it perfect for rice pudding and other rice desserts. Its flavor is delicate and it’s aromatic so it’s a good option for both sweet and savory recipes.

When uncooked, it has rounded edges which make it soft and moist when jasmine rice is cooked. It is also good for making clumpy rice. The scent of jasmine rice is described as popcorn like, with some floral notes. It’s sweeter than most types of rice, and is most comparable to basmati rice.

2. Arborio Rice

Arborio has grains that are medium-length and the rice has a high starch content. Because of its high starch content, it becomes creamy when cooked. This also makes it better at absorbing flavors from other ingredients and sauces, like milk and sugar.

It is sticker than other types of rice which makes for a delightfully creamy result. It also goes through less milling than regular long-grain rice, so the starch in it is natural. When cooked, this starch is released, giving an end result of creamy and firm rice. 

3. Carnaroli Rice

Carnaroli rice is thinner and shorter than arborio. It’s also widely available, so it’s many people’s first choice. It’s most commonly used to make risotto. Despite the smaller grains, it has a very high starch content. This means that it can absorb large amounts of liquid without being overcooked. 

It can be stored almost indefinitely in your pantry, and when cooked it has a super creamy texture. Many chefs worldwide prefer carnaroli over other types of rice because of its versatility.

4. Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a type of white rice that has long grains. It has a high oil content and is described as “pandan,” which is just a type of plant. But when used in the context of scent and flavor, pandan is best described as sweet like vanilla. It has a distinctive floral and nutty scent.

It’s grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and is often referred to as “royal rice.” This is because it’s carefully aged for periods up to one year to catalyze the best development of its rich smell and taste. It has a texture that is not sticky and a sweet flavor, making it a good addition to any meal.

When translated, Basmati literally means “the queen of fragrance.” Unlike many types of rice, the grain of Basmati can expand up to two times its size when cooked. It needs to be rinsed meticulously before cooking to remove any starches that might make it feel gluey.

5. Converted Rice

Turning regular white rice to converted rice will help to make rice pudding creamier. Converted white rice will also make cleanup easier, as it won’t stick to the pan the way white rice does. It is a bit more of a process than just buying rice, though. But it pays off when you see how creamy your pudding is and how swiftly you can clean the pan afterwards.

To make converted white rice, add 1 1/2 cups of water for every one cup of uncooked rice. Boil a pot of water, and once it gets boiling, lower the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool for another five minutes.


If you’re making a recipe that calls for pudding rice, any of these replacements will be suitable for it. These options are all creamy and relatively sweet, making for a good rice pudding. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also mix different types of rice and experiment with texture.