Did you know that there are probably over 40,000 different types of rice? And you thought it was just a basic cooking staple! We don’t need to delve that deeply into the intricacies of this popular gluten-free grain so we’ll just cover the basics of some common rice varieties and what makes each one special.

If you never paid much attention to the length of your rice, you’re missing out on an important component. Here’s why length matters.

Long Grain • The kernel is about three times longer than it is wide and the grains tend to stay separated when it’s cooked. Long grain is best for dishes like rice and beans, stir-fry or pilaf.

Medium Grain • This is about twice as long as it is wide and cooks up a bit more soft and sticky. Use it for creamier dishes like risotto or rice pudding.

Short Grain • You see where this is going. Short grain rice is nearly round and even softer and stickier than medium grain. It’s perfect for sushi and rice pudding.