The recipes recommend calasparra or bomba rice. Neither is easy to find. My pantry has long grain Basmati, short grain Kokuho, and some Arborio. Which one is the best substitute?

  • For what it's worth, Calasparra is a geographical designation (Calasparra rice is an EU protected designation of origin): there are two varieties of rice which the DO permits, and bomba is one of them. In Valencia, which is the home of paella, the three varieties of rice which have DO status are bomba, bahía, and senia. Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


The best substitute from the three rice you have on hand would be the short-grain Arborio rice. Both of the recommended rice are also short grain rice from the same general area geographically.

Basmati would be the worst choice as the it will result in the most difference in the texture of the rice and you would have to change the liquid content in your recipe to accommodate the Basmati rice.


Arboria is the worst rice to use in my experience - it takes much longer to cook and the starch content is too high. I can't buy Spanish rice where I live but any normal short grain should be OK. I have also used Basmati and produced good, if less authentic, results.


Yes, the best substitute is the Arborio rice. The Spaniards have paella, the Italians have risotto!

  • Bad, bad, bad answer. (Valencian here - a typical saying is that if you do wrong your paella, like stirring when you shouldn't, you end up with a risotto-like mess :P)
    – hmijail
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 9:15

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