Arborio vs Carnaroli Rice: Choosing the Perfect Grain for Risotto

Arborio vs Carnaroli Rice: Choosing the Perfect Grain for Risotto

Mar 01, 2024Federico Milone

Looking for the ideal rice to create a creamy and flavorful risotto?
Deciding between Arborio and Carnaroli rice can be tricky, as both are popular Italian short-grain varieties known for their excellent risotto-making qualities. However, understanding their subtle differences can elevate your dish to new heights.

Arborio rice is the most common type of risotto rice. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Arborio rice has a shorter grain and a higher starch content than Carnaroli rice. It cooks more quickly but this makes it more likely to overcook and become mushy. However, it also makes arborio rice more forgiving, as it is more difficult to undercook.


Carnaroli rice is a higher-quality rice that is prized for its superior texture and flavor. It has a longer grain and a lower starch content than arborio rice. This gives it a firmer bite and a more al dente texture. It cooks more slowly. Carnaroli rice is also more expensive and difficult to find than arborio rice.


Which rice to choose?

The best rice for risotto depends on your personal preferences. If you are looking for a quick and easy risotto, Arborio rice is a good choice. If you prefer a more authentic and flavorful risotto, Carnaroli rice is a better option.

Do you want to try a recipe where it is possible to use these types of rice?
Try an Italian classic dish, saffron risotto.

Saffron risotto is a delicious and versatile dish that can be served as a main course or side dish.

Saffron risotto recipe (serves 4)

This recipe showcases a classic Italian saffron risotto. You can use either Carnaroli or Arborio rice.


Ingredients (4 people):



  1. Infuse saffron threads in water for at least 6 hours (covered).
  2. Prepare and keep vegetable broth warm.
  3. Sauté chopped onion in oil over low heat until softened (about 15 minutes).
  4. Add rice and toast for 2 minutes, stirring constantly over low heat.
  5. Deglaze with white wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
  6. Gradually add hot broth, one ladle at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Maintain a gentle simmer.
  7. When rice is nearly cooked, add saffron and its infusion liquid.
  8. Season with salt, then cook until rice is al dente.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in cold butter and grated cheese.
  10. Add a touch of broth for desired consistency, then mix and shake the pan to create the “wave” effect.
  11. Serve garnished with reserved saffron threads.



  • Use a large saucepan for even cooking.
  • Stir the rice constantly to prevent sticking.
  • Add broth gradually for optimal absorption.
  • Don't overcook the rice. It should be cooked through but still have a slight bite to it.
  • Finish the risotto with butter and Parmigiano cheese for extraflavor.


Enjoy your delicious homemade risotto!

When short on time or lacking the desire to cook, Magnifico Food’s ready to cook risottos offer a delicious alternative!

Enjoy immediately and…  Buon appetito!

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