Best Rice for Burritos: Taste and Health-wise

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Close up image of burrito.

I’m a huge Mexican-inspired foodie. So when I say I’ve tried dozens of burrito recipes over the last decade – that’s no overstatement.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: many burrito recipes consider “rice” as an afterthought.

It seems like everyone has very specific instructions for the meat, filling, and toppings. 

But when it comes to choosing the type of rice… it’s a guessing game. 

Tell you what, though, there’s always a clear winner. 

Or, I guess, winners, as we’ll talk about two types of the best rice for burritos in this post.

Why There’s No “Authentic” Rice for Burritos 

Burritos wrapped in a foil.

Many dishes require a very specific type of rice in order to achieve the desired texture and flavor.

Sushi, for example, needs short-grain Japanese sushi rice. Similarly, you’ll need Arborio or Carnaroli rice to make sure your risotto doesn’t turn into a mushy disaster.

But that’s not the case with burritos. 

Nobody says, “Hey, use this rice for burritos or else–” 

The reason? 

Simple. Traditional burritos (the ones that are made in Mexico) don’t actually require rice. Most of them, at least. 

Rice is considered a “common addition” in the burrito lingo. AKA, an optional touch. 

When I tried burritos in Mexico, all the stores I went to (except for one) didn’t add rice to their burrito wraps. 

So the bottom line is, yup– when it comes to burritos, it’s a use-whichever-rice-you-love type of cooking situation. 

That doesn’t mean every rice is equal, though. 

Some definitely taste and feel better than others. So, let’s now cover the best types of rice for burritos. 

Crowned Rice Varieties for Burritos 

Long Grain White Rice 

I like to think of long grain white rice as the classic option for burritos. It’s what most recipes use (at least those that I’ve tried) and even good-old Chipotle uses long grain white rice for their wraps as well. 

The best part about this rice is pretty much every supermarket has it! 

So, no need to hit up Asian marts specifically if you’re not near one. 

Reasons to Use Long-Grain White Rice for Burritos 

Balanced texture: Unlike shorter rice varieties that are on the stickier side, long grain white rice is fluffy and light. Perfect for that balanced texture of each burrito bite. No flavorless rice clumps to worry about either.  

Popular option: Most burrito recipes use this type of rice (or similar ones). So, you don’t have to research how to “substitute” the recipe’s rice with a different variety. 

Adaptable: My personal-favorite part about using long-grain white rice. You can season or transform it to more complex variations of burrito rice! Turn it into Mexican rice, or cilantro lime rice, which are popular options for burritos.

Brown Rice 

Brown rice in a bowl.

If I’m not using long grain white rice for my burrito wraps, you can expect to taste brown rice instead. 

I love using this alternative when I want to make a healthier version of my go-to breakfast burrito. 

Brown rice tastes nuttier and is slightly chewier than long grain white rice. Not in a bad way, really, but that may depend on your preferences. 

I often use long grain or medium grain brown rice. 

Reasons to Use Brown Rice for Burritos

Nutritional benefits: Brown rice provides more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white rice. So health-wise, it’s the better option. 

Unique flavor: As mentioned, brown rice has that particular earthy and nutty flavor. I prefer these additional notes (over that of plain white rice) when I’m making spicy burritos as they mellow the spiciness of each bite. 

Very freezer-friendly: I found that brown rice freezes better than white rice. So, if you’re the type of freeze “burrito batches” like me, this rice may be your best bet. 

How to Cook Rice Properly

Woman's hand holding the cover of the pan with rice.

Regardless of the type of rice you use for your burrito… 

Uncooked or overcooked rice will never make your dish taste as delicious as it deserves to be. 

So, the most important tip when using rice is to ensure you’re cooking it properly. 

That said, skip the microwavable rice alternatives as well. They simply don’t taste good. At least by my standards. 

How to Cook Long-Grain White Rice

Long grain white rice typically needs a 1.5:1 water-to-rice ratio. I usually use my good-old, Asian-household staple appliance rice cooker to cook rice. 

But, every now and then, here’s how I cook white rice on the stovetop:

  1. Place the rice in a saucepan. 
  2. Rinse the rise two to three times and drain (optional, I guess). 
  3. Add the right water ratio.
  4. On medium high heat, bring the rice to a simmer (without the lid). 
  5. Cover the saucepan. Turn the heat to low, and cook for 13 more minutes. 
  6. Turn off the heat. 
  7. Let the rice rest for 10 minutes (DO NOT SKIP). 

How to Cook Medium or Long-Grain Brown Rice

For this cooking method, the water-to-rice ratio doesn’t matter (I use 2:1, though). After all, we’ll cook the brown rice using a method similar to cooking pasta. 

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, add your brown rice. 
  3. Let the rice boil for 30 minutes. 
  4. Drain the water out of the rice. 
  5. Add the brown rice to a dry pot. 
  6. Cover the pot with a lid and let it rest for 10 minutes. 
  7. Fluff the rice before adding it to your burrito mixture! 

Unpopular Opinion About Rice for Burritos 

Clearly, my favorite types of rice for burritos are long grain white rice and brown rice.

But emphasis on the word “favorites.”

In other words… these selections are from my own preferences, palate, and experience.

Now, most of my friends and colleagues agree that these two are indeed top choices when it comes to adding rice to burritos as well. 

But don’t let these two suggestions stop you from exploring other rice varieties for burritos! 

Remember– cooking is about having fun. 

So, experiment, taste, and explore different rice for burritos!

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