What Is Bomba Rice? Bomba Vs Arborio

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Your Ultimate Guide to Bomba Rice

bomba rice in a paella

The secret to making perfect paella is the rice you use. Short and round grain rice is ideal for making this Valencians recipe. Medium grain rice is also acceptable, but long-grain rice is not suitable for paella.

The perfect rice for paella is bomba rice which is cultivated in the Spanish region named Valencia.

This short-grained rice is solely used for making this Valencian dish. One thing that makes it unique is its ability to absorb water without turning it into mush.

If you are non-Spaniards and want to know what is bomba rice, read our guide to learn about this pearly appearance rice which is suitable for typical Mediterranean dishes.

What is Bomba Rice?

bomba rice

Bomba rice is short grain pearl white rice that is cultivated in eastern Spain.

It is commonly used to make Valencian cuisine like paella. In Spanish, bomba is used for a bomb, and this name is given due to its unique quality of water absorption, which is about two to three times more of its weight. Bomba rice has a high content of amylose; that’s why it has non-stick properties.

Due to its amazing properties, it is an ideal variety of rice for making dishes with brothy and frothy bases such as Arroz al Horno and the most popular Valencian cuisine paella.

Why Use it?

Bomba rice is commonly used for Spanish cuisine paella, but you can also use it for Arroz a Banda,

Risotto, and even for table rice. It is one of the rarest types of Spanish rice, like Calasparra Rice. It is a speciality rice that comes with unique characteristics.

It is commonly used in Mediterranean dishes due to its ability to absorb water without bursting. It needs more water to cook as it absorbs more water than other rice varieties. Best of all, rice grains hold their structure well after absorbing too much liquid.

Benefits of using Bomba:

This pearl white rice variety comes with plenty of benefits when you use it. Let’s have a look at the benefits of using bomba rice!


Bomba rice is a type of japonica grain that is round and short. It comes with a pearly appearance and has about 5mm in length. Its chemical composition is so strong that keeps a good proportion between amylopectin and amylase.

That’s why home chefs prefer to use it for cooking. It is a high-quality rice variety with non-stick properties due to its accordion effect that helps avoid sticking during cooking.

When you make paella, stickiness is perhaps the last thing you wish to make perfect paella. These properties make it an ideal rice variety for Mediterranean cuisine.

More water absorption

When it comes to making paella, bomba rice is probably the first name that comes to mind. It’s all because of its absorption properties, high quality and non-sticky nature.

It can absorb thrice liquid its volume but don’t burst. Also, it can absorb the flavours and aroma of your paella stock. As it can absorb a large amount of water, it can keep an intense flavour.

Its size is very regular, but its grains grow to three times their size that is pleasing to the palate.


Superior quality

Due to its superior quality and other properties like absorption and non-stickiness, it is the most sought after rice variety for paella.

Superior quality means bomba rice keeps its shape after cooking. Its grains don’t open while boiling. Moreover, it doesn’t get thick.

Uniform consistency

High amylose content is the key reason behind its non-sticky properties. This short-grained rice expands lengthwise and has a uniform consistency—that’ why experts choose it for traditional Mediterranean dishes.

Where to buy Bomba Rice?

Bomba rice is cultivated in Spain, so it is hard to find it outside of Spain. However, you may find this short-grained rice in an international grocery store. You can also find it online, but it may be more expensive if you purchase it online. Bomba rice may also be available in your local speciality store, but it depends on where you live.

You may be wondering where to buy bomba rice in the UK. Worry not, you can purchase bomba rice UK from Amazon UK, the paella company and others.

Arborio Rice Vs Bomba Rice

Bomba rice is native to Eastern Spain. Unlike traditional rice varieties, bomba rice is short-grained rice that has unique characteristics. It is best known for its ability to absorb moisture up to three times its volume.

In addition, its firm consistency and great taste make it the perfect option for traditional Spanish cuisine paella. On the other hand, Arborio rice is cultivated in the Piedmont region of Italy. This variety of rice is an ideal choice for risotto.

It is also short-grained rice like bomba rice. Arborio rice has a round shape and a high amount of amylopectin content, so it gives you a creamy texture when cooked.

seafood paella


Why is bomba rice so expensive?

It is so expensive due to the length of time that is required for its maturation. Moreover, intense care is needed in its cultivation.

What is special about bomba rice?

Bomba rice is known as the king of paella rice for a good reason. Its unique properties make it special.

The amazing thing about it is that it can absorb as much liquid as possible without getting mushy and bloated. The choice of rice can make or break the paella. You need to avoid sticky inedible mass.

You want every grain of rice to remain distinct and absorb loads of flavours. That’s why; it is the right choice for making paella as it doesn’t lose its integrity despite soaking up a lot of water. If you plan on eating a lot of bomba, we’d recommend storing it in a rice dispenser to maintain freshness. 

What is the difference between Arborio rice and bomba rice?

In Spain, bomba rice is used to make paella. Spaniards use Italian Arborio rice as a substitute for it. Arborio is native to Po Valley in Italy, but it is widely available in Spain. Unlike bomba rice, Arborio is rendered creamy.

So if you are using Arborio in your paella, you’ll need to adjust the quantity of water in it. Bomba rice has a firm consistency, while Arborio has a chewy and sticky consistency, making it ideal for risotto that needs creamy consistency.

Is bomba rice paella rice?

Paella is a Mediterranean dish originally from the Valencian region of Spain. It is a rice-centred recipe that demands short-grain rice variety, which is called bomba rice. It is also called Valencia rice because it is commonly used in Valencian dishes like paella.

Is Bomba rice worth it?

Bomba rice is well-regarded for its distinctive characteristics as compared to other short-grained rice varieties that make it worth trying for making Mediterranean cuisine. It is highly appreciated by cooks due to its absorption capability of liquid and flavours as opposed to the average rice grain.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!