Taste Test: The Best Rice Mixes

We taste-tested dozens of rice mixes from the grocery store and picked our favorites.
rice mixes

Best Chicken
Uncle Ben's Long Grain Rice Herb Roasted Chicken
Tasters went crazy for the nutty flavor and toothsome texture of this mix, made of wheat berries, orzo, and long-grain and wild rice. It's moist and hearty, with flecks of parsley -- there's no fake meat flavor here. "It tastes like it was cooked in real chicken stock," enthused one panelist. ($1.99 for 6 ounces, at grocery stores)


Try it with:

Chicken with Apple Gravy, Rice Pilaf and Green Beans

Best Spanish
Near East Rice Pilaf Spanish Rice
Panelists' taste buds perked up after one bite of this satisfying, paprika spiced blend, laden with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic -- "enough to keep your mouth entertained," as one taster put it. Others described the pilaf as having a "fluffy, chewy" texture and a "rich, buttery taste with a nice kick." ($2.51 for 6.75 ounces, at grocery stores)


Try it with:

Lamb Chops with Spinach Rice Pilaf

Best Asian
A Taste of Thai Yellow Curry Rice
Some curries overpower anything they touch, but this jasmine rice mix with turmeric gets the complex flavors of Thai food just right. "It's gently spiced and well-balanced, with mellow coconut and bright cilantro," one panelist noted. Another said, "So tasty I'd eat it alone -- or use it as a shortcut base for fried rice with shrimp and veggies." ($3.99 for 7 ounces, at grocery stores)


Try it with:

Asian Chicken Cutlets

Best Veggie
Alessi Risotto con Funghi Porcini
Founded in 1947 by Sicilian immigrant Antonino Alessi, the family-owned company stays true to its Italian roots by using chewy, short-grain arborio rice in this outstanding risotto. Sweet, slow-cooked onions and garlic balance the woodsy porcini mushroom bits: "It tastes like caramelized onions," said one taster. ($2.69 for 8 ounces, at grocery stores)


Try it with:

Asparagus and Parsley Pesto Risotto Bake

Best Cheesy
Rice-A-Roni Nature's Way Italian Cheese & Herb
After sampling too many bright orange rice mixes, our tasters were delighted by this naturally flavored blend that packs in plenty of parmesan. The creamy mix has the "perfect al dente texture," said one taster. Another kept her comments brief: "Parmesan power!" ($1.42 for 5 ounces, at grocery stores)


Try it with:

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia