Every Rice A Roni Flavor Ranked From Worst To Best

The first Rice-A-Roni product dates back to 1958, when the San Francisco-based Golden Grain Company (more specifically, the founder Domenico DeDomenico's son) felt inspired to mix rice and pasta in a box with dry seasoning mix. The result was a quick and easy dish mimicking an Armenian-style rice pilaf. Little did the company just know how this combination would forever transform the way Americans enjoyed rice and pasta. Rice-A-Roni's name comes from the blend of half rice and half pasta that made up the original recipe, which quickly became one of America's favorite side dishes. In 1986, the DeDomenico family sold their company to The Quaker Oats Company, and today, you can still pick up your favorite Rice-A-Roni flavor in grocery stores across the country.

Rice-A-Roni is always a great option because it goes with just about anything. But choosing which flavor will complement your dinner poses a challenge with so many delicious offerings. In order to make your meal planning easier, we're breaking down all 17 flavors, ranked worst to best. And the most talked about, and flavorsome boxes may surprise you.

17. Buffalo Chicken

When we think of Buffalo wings, many imagine tailgating, barbecued meats, and tons of chips and dips to accompany the spread. Buffalo sauce can do it all — it coats wings, combines with chicken to make a dip, and now it also is used to spice up a box of Rice-A-Roni. But should it be?

Buffalo Chicken Rice-A-Roni takes flavored rice and seasons it with spicy cayenne pepper sauce and chicken broth with natural flavors. The package's photo sort of looks like a plate of dark cheddar macaroni, which may provoke some appetizing anticipation, but unfortunately, it will likely fizzle out quickly. Reviews on the website show the rice mix appears hot pink after adding the sauce. The texture as well did not meet expectations. As for the taste, reviewers say the chicken flavor is totally lost, leaving you with what tastes like a bowl of rice and hot sauce. 

Clearly, buffalo best belongs on a chicken wing or in a dip, and maybe not mixed in rice and pasta. We'll pass on Buffalo Chicken Rice-A-Roni and suggest you do the same.

16. Herb & Butter

Rice-A-Roni's Herb & Butter variation is made with buttery rice and herb seasoning. Rice-A-Roni suggests that it makes the perfect side dish for pairing with their Buttery Herb Chicken recipe. It sounds like a pretty simple and delicious meal, right? So we grabbed forks and dove in ourselves to see if this side dish met our standards for rice.

This Rice-A-Roni flavor appears to be a rich, delectable dish on the box. But after a few bites, we found the taste to be bland and the herbs not easily identifiable. Which isn't too surprising after looking at the ingredients list — which only name parsley, onion, and garlic specifically as the herbs and spices used. And apparently we're not the only ones who weren't pleased with the Herb & Butter blend. After taste-testing several flavors, a popular YouTube channel suggested Rice-A-Roni discontinue this flavor because it does not live up to any other ones in the lineup. Thankfully, there are so many other Rice-A-Roni options that are more packed with flavor. 

15. Cheddar Broccoli

Commonly enjoyed in the form of soup, the combination of cheddar and broccoli creates a creamy, rich comfort food. You would hope that Rice-A-Roni's Cheddar Broccoli flavor would live up, and that this winning combination would taste decadent in rice form.

Rice-A-Roni's Cheddar Broccoli flavor combines rice and pasta with cheddar cheese, broccoli, and other natural flavors. And we're happy to report that this dinner side does offer a hearty, cheesy side that pairs with main courses like turkey or grilled chicken — really any protein can complement this Rice-A-Roni variation.

However, the reason for this flavor's lower ranking comes from the overwhelming complaints on the website about the product's color. Multiple reviews claim that the seasoning packet turned the rice a neon pink or red color, not the intended orange and green you would imagine for cheddar and broccoli. While it tasted fine, we found it hard to get past the bright hue as well. 

14. Mexican Style

Get ready for taco night –the next flavor in the ranking is Mexican Style Rice-A-Roni. This iteration intends to add spice to your next Mexican meal with a rice and pasta blend that includes tomatoes, green chili peppers, red bell pepper, and paprika (although we do wish it had some jalapeño to add more kick to it). According to the product page, it pairs nicely with tacos or fajitas

If you're laying out a Mexican-inspired spread, this Rice-A-Roni works when time is tight. It comes in handy when you're in a rush and want something easy yet flavorful. One reviewer notes it's "high in sodium," but it does the trick as an alternative to creating the dish from scratch. However, if you're big on bold flavors, the Mexican Style Rice-A-Roni lacks the spice and punch you might expect. If you've got the time, we might suggest taking a few extra minutes while making dinner would be worth it to create a rice blend with your own spices. 

13. Long Grain & Wild Rice

Next on our Rice-A-Roni roundup comes the Long Grain & Wild Rice flavor. While the description leaves us wondering what flavors are in here, we know from the name you can expect long grain and wild rice seasoned with spices. The ingredient list alludes that some of these spices are onions, salt, sugar, parsley, garlic, and a handful of artificial ingredients we can't pronounce easily.

Our taste test concluded that this variety could use more seasoning. We understand Rice-A-Roni shoots to make an easy-to-make side dish, but we expected more with this flavor as it includes two different types of grains. One reviewer on the site suggested she uses the Long Grain & Wild Rice flavor as a side dish for most meals, including steak, burgers, and chicken. We hope the meats provide enough flavor for the entire meal because this rice did not impress our taste buds. Continue reading for more flavorful rice options.

12. Chicken & Broccoli

Chicken and broccoli will forever remind us of low-carb diets and post-gym clean meals. Sure, it's healthy and filling, but quite honestly, it's a little boring. This Rice-A-Roni flavor combines rice and vermicelli noodles with chicken broth, broccoli, and carrots. If the ingredients and lack of spices listed did not give it away, you can only imagine the taste of this Rice-A-Roni — or should we say lack thereof.

Needless to say, we find the chicken and broccoli Rice-A-Roni to be bland and unexciting. It needs extra salt, pepper, or garlic powder to give it some more flavor. While this box contains chicken broth, it does not include any actual chicken. Perhaps try elevating this side dish to a main dish, and mix in some real chicken for added protein. Maybe even some more broccoli too, along with some additional seasoning. However, even with the upgrade, we think other Rice-A-Roni flavors trump the chicken and broccoli flavor.

11. Rustic Recipes: Long Grain & Wild Rice

Pulling ahead of the Long Grain & Wild Rice flavor, we have Rice-A-Roni's Rustic Recipes Long Grain and Wild Rice. The Rustic Recipes version provides a heartier meal. This one also contains long, tender grains and wild rice blended with a seasoning that's a lot more flavorful than its predecessor. And ironically, this flavor pulled away from its non-rustic counterpart because its ingredient list had fewer items listed altogether, and of those, we can pronounce most.

We love the versatility of the long grain and wild rice combo that it works as a side dish and in recipes like salads and bowls. Rice-A-Roni provides some inspiration with recipes like the Citrus Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Salad to showcase this very point. This flavor serves as a Rice-A-Roni pantry staple. We suggest keeping this variety around for a side dish with meals like chicken, steak, or fish.

10. Cilantro Lime

The next Rice-A-Roni flavor on our list will help you elevate your next Taco Tuesday spread. The Cilantro Lime variety contains rice with zesty cilantro lime seasoning, which could be great for adding to your tacos, fajitas, or quesadilla plate. 

But while this flavor complements many classic and beloved Mexican dishes, it did not rank higher on our list because the taste was just plain unimpressive. Rice-A-Roni Cilantro Lime does not contain a lengthy ingredient list, but of the ingredients shown, we unfortunately found many of them to be artificial. And while the lime seasoning boosts the overall flavor of this rice without overpowering the side, the lime extract does not compare to the flavor that freshly squeezed lime juice adds to rice, especially in Tex-Mex and Mexican-inspired dishes. Additionally, this rice could use additional cilantro and salt, which is something rare for packaged food. Would we buy it again? Perhaps, but there are definitely other more enjoyable flavors in the lineup.

9. Lower Sodium Chicken

Want to lower the sodium in your Rice-A-Roni without sabotaging the flavor? The Lower Sodium Chicken flavor solves this issue using chicken broth and herbs with 33% less sodium. This flavor contains rice, vermicelli noodles, chicken broth, and herbs with other natural flavors. It offers a delectable taste similar to the standard chicken flavor, so don't fret if that particular box holds a special place in your heart (and stomach), but you need to cut down on salt. This can be your new go-to. 

The Original Rice-A-Roni with Chicken contains 960 milligrams of sodium and the reduced version has only 610 milligrams. But while the amount of sodium may be lower, don't assume this option is necessarily your healthiest bet. The ingredient list runs quite long and has several artificial ingredients. However, it is a slightly better-for-you upgrade, and one that contains the perfect amount of salt and chicken flavor to accompany our favorite meals.

8. Creamy Four Cheese

What's better than one type of cheese? Four kinds of cheese, of course. So it's no surprise Rice-A-Roni's Creamy Four Cheese flavor landed in the top half of our ranking. Forget the mac and cheese side dish. The Creamy Four Cheese Rice-A-Roni flavor will satisfy the entire dinner table.

For this version, Rice-A-Roni mixes their tender rice, vermicelli noodles, and four creamy kinds of cheese — including cheddar, parmesan, romano, and blue cheese — to create a decadent, rich blend. It's cheesy but not overly so in a way that will leave you scraping the bowl every time you take a bite. This flavor is creamy and tasty, and it also can serve as a stand in for fans of the now discontinued Country Cheddar Rice-A-Roni flavor. While it may not be the exact same as its predecessor, we still find the Four Cheese Rice-A-Roni to be a savory and delicious side option.

7. Jalapeño Cheddar

Calling all spicy cheese fanatics. Rice-A-Roni's Jalapeño Cheddar packs a flavorful punch. The Jalapeño Cheddar flavor contains the trifecta of cheeses: a blend of parmesan, cheddar, and romano mixed with the perfect amount of spice. Made with jalapeño peppers, it's no surprise this cheesy flavor brings some heat. It's one of the few Rice-A-Roni flavors that will have you refilling your water glass. We appreciate this flavor providing more spice than those previously ranked, as no one likes eating a bland bowl of rice. 

This Rice-A-Roni flavor tastes incredible and only has one major downside for jalapeño cheddar lovers — its limited availability in stores. One reviewer on the site wrote that this flavor disappeared off store shelves after she bought the variation for years. We all know the devastating feeling of not finding one of your favorite products in stores. Rice-A-Roni says its working hard to continue packing this flavor on store shelves so you can all enjoy its deliciousness.

6. Stir Fried Rice

This next Rice-A-Roni flavor takes inspiration from one of our favorite Asian side dishes. The Stir Fried Rice flavor mixes the standard Rice-A-Roni combination of rice and vermicelli noodles with delicious Asian-inspired seasonings. Rice-A-Roni's suggested food pairings include cashew chicken or Asian-style meatballs to round out your meal. We also love adding eggs with chicken or shrimp to the rice to create a protein-packed stir-fried rice dish — if you like fried rice and don't want to start making it from scratch, we highly recommend grabbing a few packets of this Rice-A-Roni flavor. The possibilities are endless with this side — vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and carrots also make excellent additions. 

We enjoyed this flavor overall, as it provided plenty of seasoning to differentiate this variety from the other Rice-A-Roni options. Although flavorful on its own, it's also worth noting that this box plays well with other ingredients, and adding a significant amount of chili paste or stir fry sauce would not hurt this dish. Consider this Rice-A-Roni the base for your next delicious meal, and the more flavor you add, the better. 

5. Spanish Rice

Get ready for a flavorful fiesta in every bite with this next Rice-A-Roni option. The Spanish Rice flavor mixes the classic rice and vermicelli noodles with onions, bell pepper, garlic, and zesty Spanish seasonings to create a seriously delicious dish. And it's one of our favorite flavor variations by Rice-A-Roni.

According to the company, this tender and tangy side pairs perfectly with Spanish pork chops or enchiladas. However, even as the side dish, rice should not be a plain afterthought, but a dish the whole table looks forward to eating along with the main event, whatever that may be. That's why the seasoning blend in this Rice-A-Roni flavor helps put it over the edge, especially when served alongside other spicy favorite. We also love the Spanish Rice-A-Roni because it offers enough flavor in its original form, but still feels customizable. You can add more vegetables, additional spices, or even a protein of your choice to craft it to your preferences, and create an easy dish with a lot more depth of flavor than you'd think. We suggest adding some tomatoes or salsa really bring the heat to your rice side dish.

4. Rice Pilaf

Coming in at number four, we have a Rice-A-Roni crowd favorite, the Rice Pilaf flavor. This variety contains rice, pasta, herbs, and seasonings, providing exceptional taste and texture. In general what sets rice pilaf apart from regular rice is the preparation. he other difference between regular rice and rice pilaf is in the flavor. Normal rice uses plain water for cooking, while rice pilaf is toasted in butter or margarine, giving it a rich, nutty flavor, before chicken broth and additional seasonings are added to really enhance the taste. 

Rice Pilaf provides a hearty side to any meal. Rice-A-Roni suggests pairing it with lamb chops or grilled fish. While these sound delicious, we also know the rice would taste incredible next to a chicken or beef plate. No matter your main dish, keep Rice-A-Roni's Rice Pilaf flavor on hand for a delicious side that's easy to whip up anytime.

3. Beef

Our third place flavor sounds simple but packs a ton of flavor. The Beef flavor contains the standard Rice-A-Roni staples of rice and vermicelli noodles mixed with the savory flavors of onions, carrots, beef broth, and garlic. The best part is that this popular flavor is usually available at most major grocery stores.

The meaty base flavor makes Beef Rice-A-Roni an ideal side dish for any meat plate, such as burgers, ribs, or steaks. You'll want to keep this Rice-A-Roni on hand if you need a quick side for a barbecue or potluck dinner. It's simple but will be a crowd-pleaser every time.

We love the rich umami flavor that the Beef Rice-A-Roni provides and the product's versatility. Rice-A-Roni posted a recipe Beef Porcupine Balls if you're looking for inspiration to have another delicious side dish (or even entree) in our arsenal. With only five ingredients, the prep for this recipe is simple and looks delicious.

2. Chicken & Garlic

The second best flavor has to be Chicken and Garlic. Can you name a more comforting combination? This flavor combines rice and vermicelli noodles with chicken broth and garlic with other natural flavors create one of the most beloved boxes in the Rice-A-Roni lineup.

Although a seemingly simple combination, Rice-A-Roni fans rave over the chicken and garlic duo. The brand suggests this rice side pairs well with roast turkey or grilled chicken breast. But honestly, with such a subtle and light taste, it could go with just about anything. This Rice-A-Roni flavor remains consistent box after box, so you know you'll be enjoying an incredibly delicious rice dish every time.

The hint of garlic in this dish provides a sweet, buttery addition to the rice side. To maximize the flavor in this box, we love adding onion and broccoli after cooking to enhance the garlic flavor and create a more filling rice and pasta dish.

1. Chicken

Last but certainly not least, we ranked the Chicken flavor number one in the Rice-A-Roni flavor roundup. Sometimes it's the simplest things that just hit right every single time. This variety remains a crowd favorite and will forever be the box we always keep on hand 

Chicken Rice-A-Roni contains the standard rice and vermicelli noodle combination along with chicken broth, herbs, and other natural flavors. It provides a subtle flavor that pairs well with various meals without overpowering the main dish. We like to make Chicken Rice-A-Roni to enhance grilled or fried chicken. But go ahead and whip it up alongside a steak, seafood, or even tacos. 

This favorite flavor makes a perfect lunch or dinner side dish, or with some added protein and vegetables could even serve as the main event. Whatever your meal needs, the Chicken Rice-A-Roni makes for a delicious and filling creation any day of the week. Keep your pantry stocked with this variation to ensure you always have a go-to, quick and easy, flavorful rice on hand.