20 Popular Rice Brands Ranked Worst To Best

Rice is an everyday staple in many cultures worldwide, and for good reason. Rice is cost-friendly, easy to prepare, and versatile, making it the perfect go-to side dish in any home. In fact, Americans eat more than 20 pounds of rice per year, via Food and Wine. And when it comes to this popular grain, there's no shortage of options to choose from, including grain size, color, whole or refined, and seasoned or plain, to name a few. As a result of its widespread acceptance, food companies are finding new and innovative ways to stand out in the market, including spiced versions, multi-grain varieties, easy preparation, and more. Who knew there were so many different variations of rice to choose from? 

Of course, we had to know which rice brands had us drooling for more and which ones left us pushing our plates away. Here's which brands made our list.

20. 365 Organic

Whole Foods has done wonders for the food industry, including offering their line of store brand products at a fraction of the cost of competitive name brands. But not all their products are deemed winners. Unfortunately for their rice brand, there are several unsavory things to say. For one, you may run into quality issues. Of course, you always want to rinse your rice ahead of time to remove extra starch, but you don't necessarily want to have to rinse it for bugs, which is what you may wind up doing with this brand. 

Additionally, the rice can smell stale or rancid, leading you to discard the entire thing. And when it came to taste, we hoped things would get better. Unfortunately, the rice was bland and chewy rather than imparting a nutty taste and tender mouthfeel. We had to rank this brand as our least favorite for these reasons.

19. 817 Elephant

The 817 Elephant brand of rice has some of the most gorgeous packagings around. But does the flavor live up to the eye-popping branding the rice is bagged in? We found the rice fell short in several ways. We hoped the brand's Jasmine rice would smell the way this great varietal is supposed to: lightly floral. Instead, it smelled more like the plastic packaging it came in, even after cooking it. Unfortunately, it wasn't just the aroma that was lacking, but the taste as well. 

Instead of the lovely, complex tasting notes we expected, it tasted as it smelled — like the packaging it came in. While the smell and flavor were off-putting, the texture was on-point and slightly stickier than good basmati. The brand promises a "melt in your mouth" experience, which it seemed to be able to deliver on, at a minimum. But you have to get past the intense manufactured smell and taste first.

18. Lundberg Family Farms

Lundberg Family Farms is one of the rice brands stepping up its game on the ingenuity front. Not only do they offer over 15 different rice varietals, but they also offer rice cakes and thin stackers for those who love crunchy snacks. With a brand doing so many different things, you'd think quality control would be an issue. But we found no evidence of this, and the end product has been consistently good from cook-to-cook and varietal-to-varietal. While the variety is perfect for those who get flavor-bored quickly, note that you will have to develop your own seasoning strategy

That said, the inherent taste and texture of the rice is balanced and perfectly starchy. We particularly love the Organic White Calrose rice with a light, floral scent and buttery texture. Think of those perfect kinds of rice that essentially melt in your mouth. One thing to note about this product is the cooking time. We noticed the rice needs a little longer to cook than what's indicated on the instructions to get the perfect, buttery-soft texture.

17. 4 Sisters

What's not to love about this female-owned, family-run business that puts high emphasis on the quality of its products? Well, for one thing, we found one rather big flaw during the cooking process. The rice was overly starchy even after rinsing it several times, and as a result, the end product turned out to be a little milky. Upon another cook, after rinsing it a little more thoroughly, it yielded much cleaner cooked rice. Despite this glaring negative, there were still plenty of positive points about this brand we did love. 

They offer six different rice options: white, brown, sushi, jasmine, parboiled white, and instant white. The branding and packaging are clean and simple, just like the rice inside. For instance, the organic white rice was perfectly balanced in taste and texture. While some rice can yield an overly firm texture, this rice had the perfect bite all the way through. No soggy rice here!

16. Lotus Foods

Lotus Foods is one of the more exotic brands on our list, including offerings such as forbidden black rice, heirloom forbidden rice, Jade pearl rice, red rice, and tricolor rice. These are in addition to the more well-known kinds of rice such as jasmine and basmati they offer. While we love that they appeal to the gourmet foodie, it seems they may have issues with quality, including some reviewers stating they found small pebbles in their bags of rice. Despite the potential quality issues Lotus Foods may have, we still found other reasons to love this brand. 

For one, the cooking time is a mere 30 minutes for rice that tastes and looks so hearty and gorgeous. It has a subtle sweetness and soft texture. While it has a striking dark color, its flavor profile and consistency can go with various dishes. From Mexican to Thai and Japanese to Chinese, this rice holds its own.

15. Botan Musenmai Calrose Rice

Botan keeps its options simple by offering consumers the choice between brown and white Calrose rice. And if you're in the market, you may breeze right past the bag on the shelf if you're not paying attention. The brand has opted to put its energy into doing simple things well versus offering a plethora of options or fancy branding. But don't let the simplicity fool you, Botan has been known to excel in quality and authenticity. So if you're on the market for sushi or poke bowl rice, Botan may be just the thing you're looking for. It offers authentic, Japanese-style sticky rice, perfect for Asian-inspired dishes. For best results, rinse the rice thoroughly with cold water, stirring with your fingers, drain, and rinse again until the water runs clear. If this rice isn't rinsed well before cooking, it can become overly sticky and even gummy in its consistency. While this rice takes a little more work to prepare it well, it's worth the effort.

14. Quaker's Rice a Roni

Rice a Roni is a classic American brand that's donned most of our dinner plates growing up. With 17 different rice flavors to choose from, it's hard to get bored. Because it cooks in 15 minutes, the convenience factor is also hard to beat. Fortunately, if flavoring poses an issue because of high-salt content, not to worry. The brand also has a low-sodium option as well. We also love that the product remains consistent from box to box, and the overall textures seem consistent as well, offering a rich, firm bite. While this brand seems to hit high marks with consumers who love low-maintenance cooking (no rinsing required) and the flavor-packed taste, it's unlikely to get the same rave reviews from authentic, Japanese-style rice enthusiasts. Because it comes with its own seasonings, it won't be as versatile as those you can flavor yourself. This leaves the guesswork out but can limit your pairing options.

13. Near East

If you love Rice a Roni, you'll probably also enjoy Near East. The rice can be prepared either on the stovetop or in the microwave and comes with its own delicious seasoning packets. The brand offers a wide variety of flavors to choose from, so mealtime never gets boring, and you have something to pair with a variety of cuisine styles. We were surprised to find that the rice cooked well and was tender throughout. We noticed that it can be hard to find this line in grocery stores, so availability can be somewhat hit or miss. If you're looking for a recommendation on the best Near East option to choose, we love the rice pilaf. It's buttery and simple enough to pair with any protein. Just make sure to stock up if you find it in the grocery store, in case your market ever decides to stop carrying it.

12. Minute Rice

Minute rice is convenience in a package, partly because the most challenging work is done for you — the cooking. Fully precooked and ready in five minutes, all that's left for the consumer to do is, well, heat it and eat it. Just be sure you don't overcook it — something we found can be easy to do with this ready-made rice since cooking times can vary between microwaves. We love that this brand has an extensive range of rice, including Jasmine, white, brown, basmati, chicken-flavored, multi-grain, and more. 

It's clear the Minute brand has stepped up its rice game and offered more than just plain white rice, which used to be one of the biggest pitfalls of the previously bland brand. However, you'll still need a little ingenuity to spice it up as there remain far fewer flavor options than other instant rice competitors. But we still love the ease of cooking and convenient single-cook packaging Minute offers, making this rice one of the higher-ranked rice brands on our list.

11. McCormick Rice

McCormick is well-known for its famous seasoning line. Perhaps then it seemed like a natural transition for them to include other pantry staples within their brand, like seasoned rice mixes. These rice mixes are so convenient; you simply heat them in the packaging it comes in. Just tear the bag to vent, put it in the microwave, and heat for 90 seconds. While few other brands can match the convenience of McCormick, we wished it offered more options other than Garden Vegetable, Cilantro Lime, and White Basmati, especially considering they've dominated the spice aisle at the grocery store. Another unfortunate miss for this product line is that the seasonings can clump and are not consistently mixed throughout. This can translate into taking a bite of rice and a clump of spice dissolving in your mouth, leaving your tongue numb with the taste of pure salt. If you opt for this product, be sure to mix thoroughly after heating to ensure equal distribution of spice.

10. Birds Eye

We love Birds Eye for its ability to keep rice super simple, thoroughly cooking their rice and flash-freezing in a pouch you can reheat the product in. There's no need to wonder about artificial ingredients or a product with too much salt due to the fact that it only has two simple ingredients: rice and water. However, some may see this as an inconvenience in which they'd need to figure out how to spice up the rice themselves. One other downside is the rice can turn out a little mushy after cooking. This may be due to the freezing process, as we hadn't run into this problem with the pre-cooked kinds of rice that weren't frozen. Additionally, you'll need a little more patience for the reheating process — 3 ½ – 4 ½ minutes, to be exact. Aside from that, we love that it's convenient to store, can last long in the freezer, and is essentially a blank canvas for any style of cooking we could imagine.

9. RiceSelect

RiceSelect has one of the best tastes and textures of all the rice brands we tried. While this rice line doesn't come pre-cooked and requires a little effort to cook up, it can be well worth the effort. RiceSelect offers 12 options ranging from Jasmatic and Royal Blend to Orborio, Sushi, and more. Be sure to follow the directions exactly as indicated. We noticed that the rice can turn out a little mushy if too much water is used, and the fluffiness of the end product can be compromised if you don't let it set for a few minutes after cooking. However, we love that this brand goes well with any protein, has inherent nutty flavors, and chewy, tender textures, yielding perfectly cooked grains of rice. We appreciated that it came in a resealable, plastic jar with a twist-top lid to help preserve freshness and make storing the rice simple.

8. Seeds of Change

Seeds of Change may be a dream come true for superfood foodies. This brand elevates plain old bagged rice to a whole new level by offering mixes of brown rice with flaxseed, brown rice with quinoa, and red rice with chia and kale, to name a few. If it sounds complicated, don't worry. The brand offers simple flavors for rice purists as well, including brown, jasmine, and basmati. Its whole line is packaged in a convenient tear pack in which you can heat the rice in the microwave or add it to a skillet with protein and have a one-pan meal ready in a pinch. As with most of the pre-cooked rice packages, you want to make sure you cook the Seeds of Change products enough without overcooking them. Unfortunately, it may require a concentrated effort while you're cooking it to get it just right. The good news is, it doesn't take long!

7. Goya

Goya Spanish Style Yellow Rice is a cult favorite. Seasoned with onion, garlic, chicken flavor, coriander, and other Latin spices, it's easy to see why this rice is such a flavor bomb. For many, it's the only way to do a one-skillet dinner, adding proteins like chicken and shrimp to the mix. The yellow coloring gives it its iconic appearance, a generational staple for families who refuse to buy any other brand. While it's relatively easy to prepare on the stove, it doesn't offer any other cooking methods -– like microwaving. 

Once you've committed to cooking this brand of rice, you're in it for the full 25 minutes, which can seem like an eternity compared to other instant rice brands. Long cook-times aside, we love that we don't have to think too hard about flavoring it. That hard work has been done for you. Additionally, Goya has over 15 other flavored rice mixes to choose from if you ever want to veer away from the tried and true.

6. Knorr

Knorr is another one of our favorite quick-to-prepare brands. Some of the favorites include savory cheddar broccoli and creamy chicken. These pouches are pure comfort on a plate, and eating this rice feels like you're getting wrapped in a warm, tender bear hug. Like other rice brand favorites, Knorr helps take the guesswork out of making it delicious by pre-seasoning its rice. 

For those who prefer their packaged foods to be free of artificial ingredients, Knorr claims the packets of rice have none (via Amazon). Additionally, its line is free of preservatives and MSG. Impressive! Knorr also gives you the option to cook the rice on the stove or microwave, with cook times ranging from 7-12 minutes. So, this brand will take longer to cook than other packaged, instant rice, but not as long as rice you'll make from scratch. While the cooking time may be longer than some, we still love the ease of cooking and the comfort food qualities of this brand.

5. Mahatma

Mahatma's slogan is "America's favorite rice," and for the most part, we agree. This rice yields an excellent, firm texture while still being fluffy –- the perfect balance, in our opinion. The extra-long grains make dishes feel hearty and can even be mixed into a salad, soup, or stir-fry. While we love the versatile quality Mahatma offers, it does require prep and cook time, so be sure to block off your calendar for a 20-minute cooking session. If you prefer rice with flavor and seasoning, also be aware you'll need to plan this yourself. This is raw rice with no seasoning. Yet some love that the rice provides a blank canvas to do their own thing, keeping it as simple as adding a little butter and salt. Those who have rice cookers say cooking is super easy, and the rice turns out great every time. All in all, if versatility is your jam, and you don't mind longer cook times, get your hands on a bag of Mahatma.

4. Ben's Original

Ahhh, Ben's Original (you may remember it as Uncle Ben's). Who wouldn't be able to spot this iconic orange packaging from a mile away? So many Americans get the warm and fuzzies just looking at it, flooding them with comforting food memories from childhood. We love that this brand has evolved with the times and knows how busy we all are. 

Did someone say Spanish Rice in 90 seconds?! If butter and garlic or garden flavored rice is more your thing, they have that too. In total, they have eight flavors to choose from, making this brand versatile, delicious, and easy to prepare. In addition to its "Ready Rice" line, it also has the traditional raw rice packages to choose from. Some of these come with seasoning packets, so you can defer the flavor profiling to the experts. And this is why we love Ben's so much — it has something for everyone. However, beware of buying this product online as some reviewers received packets that had already expired. You may want to opt for in-store purchasing instead.

3. Tasty Bite

Tasty Bite is making starchy waves in the cooked rice category. All variations this brand offers are fully cooked. All you have to do is heat and eat. Sound familiar? While we've had several rice brands on our list that make mealtime super easy and convenient, we appreciate that this brand, in particular, has so many global flavor profiles, including Indian, Korean, Szechuan, and Thai. For those looking for plain rice options, Tasty Bite also offers a variety of grains to choose from, like brown rice with quinoa and lentils, basmati, brown rice, and brown rice and lentils. We also love that this brand thinks outside the rice box to offer mixes with beans for a hearty, comforting meal option. One potential problem for buyers has been the salt content. Some claim the sodium content is too high in the seasoned packets and warn consumers to pay attention to the labels if salt is a concern.

2. Nishiki

Our second most popular brand on our list is our favorite raw rice brand of all -– Nishiki. Nishiki has been in the bestseller category for several products and has gotten some rave reviews from self-proclaimed picky eaters. Its top-sellers may seem like the average bag of raw rice, but reviewers have dubbed the rice as easy to cook, authentic, and a great value. The different varieties offered are medium-grain white, sushi, and brown. This brand has mastered the kind of quality and simplicity that keeps its customers coming back for more. Nishiki claims it is the number one choice for sushi experts, and the product is the best choice for those in which the flavor and texture of the rice are "crucial" (via Amazon). Consumers have also raved about the consistency and quality of the rice after cooking –- it comes out the same every time, and the rice is perfectly cooked through.

1. Zatarain's

This brings us to number one on our list of favorite rice brands –- Zatarain's. Zatarain's has amassed over a thousand 5-star reviews on two products: Jambalaya and Black Bean and Rice. While these two are the most popular, it has stellar reviews on other flavor profiles, including cilantro lime, lemon butter herb with white beans, dirty rice, Parmesan garlic, and Spanish. While these rice mixes take 30 minutes to cook, you have a full meal by the time it's done cooking. 

In other words, these boxes of rice don't exist on the side, they live to be the main course. Many reviewers state that they simply add sausage for an authentic New Orleans-style Jambalaya dish (via Amazon). Even those from New Orleans love the authenticity saying the meals are comforting, flavorful, and easy to feed a whole family. And if you manage to have leftovers, the rice is even better the next day, which is hard to say about most cooked rice that tends to get hard and chewy after refrigerating and reheating.