This ancient grain has been cultivated for centuries and is a food staple for most of the world. Featured prominently in parts of China and South East Asia, this grains popularity has grown and is now commercially grown in parts of the US. With so many types of rice to choose from, there are endless amounts of delicious recipes to enjoy. Rice is cholesterol and gluten-free and rich in nutrients and is perfect for all lifestyles. Here is the ultimate guide to delicious dishes and preparation tips to make the best rice meals at home.

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Garden Paella

Bomba rice is a short-grain rice from Spain traditionally used in paella for the best texture. Choose a carbon steel pan for even distribution of heat while cooking this paella; you’ll be less likely to encounter hot spots and burn the vegetables.

When the World Makes No Sense, I Eat Yogurt Rice

Our restaurant editor finds home and healing in a bowl of this beloved Indian dish.

Yogurt Rice

Tempering the toppings in hot oil, a technique known as making a tadka, brings out their flavors and is the perfect counterpoint to the cooling yogurt in this simple, comforting dish. Be sure to use plain whole-milk yogurt, not a strained, Greek-style yogurt, for the creamiest porridge-like texture. Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah makes this comforting yogurt rice whenever she needs some self-care after a long trip.

Pickled Vegetable Kimbap

To evenly cut the rolls without crushing the kimbap, use a very sharp knife, in a long sawing motion, without pressing straight down on the roll. If your knife sticks to the rice, wet the blade with some of the daikon pickling liquid.

This Sushi Roll-Grain Bowl Combo Is Our New Favorite Comfort Food

Chef Takuya Umeda's California Wappa Rice Bowls are all about perfect ratios and technique—and they're easy to make at home.

California Wappa Rice Bowls

Snow crab, especially the legs of the crab, yields tender, clean chunks of meat, perfect for topping these steamed savory rice bowls. To gently cook the crabs, steam them for 20 to 25 minutes over high heat, let cool slightly, and remove the meat.

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Mixed Vegetable Paella

To develop the socarrat, the crispy crust of rice that’s so integral to classic paella, check the edges with a spoon or offset spatula as it cooks. Once the stock is almost fully absorbed by the rice, begin checking more frequently; it can quickly go from golden brown to scorched. Take a cue from chef Peter Lee and serve the paella with grilled lemon wedges and on-the-vine cherry tomatoes.

Spring Green Paella with Chickpeas and Clams

My borderline obsession with making paella began sometime in the mid-2000s. I was planning my first trip to Spain and pinned Valencia on the itinerary just to try the city’s famed dish. By that time, I had learned to stop ordering paella in most American restaurants, as I’d been served one too many soggy pots of rice with no hint of the fabled socarrat—the caramelized crust that forms on the bottom of a properly made paella—that I’d read about in Spanish cookbooks. While roaming the streets of Valencia, I came across a family cooking an enormous paella in an alleyway. The pan was resting on the uneven rim of an old steel drum with flames from a wood fire rising up around its edges. I noted how thin the layer of rice was; it couldn’t have been more than a finger’s width deep, which I learned is the goal to increase the ratio of socarrat. To that end, the paellera, or paella pan, needs to be as wide as possible. Most of the paella I make is for entertaining. It’s dinner theater, and a fantastic way to serve a crowd. I keep a 22-inch paellera at my parents’ home on the coast of Florida to cook it for our family (and the neighbors … and my sister’s in-laws) when I visit. There I can cook outside on a charcoal grill almost year-round, with a bounty of seafood to choose from. But back home in rainy Oregon, I wanted to stop only associating paella with patio parties. After all, it’s the ultimate one-pan meal suitable for using whatever ingredients are on hand. So I recently bought an 18-inch paellera, which is the right size to serve just four to six and will rest comfortably over two burners on my stovetop. I will make concessions on “authenticity,” but I will not give up the precious socarrat, so I learned how to achieve that on a gas stove. In his book, Catalan Cuisine, author Coleman Andrews ends his manifesto on making paella with this: “Remember that paella is above all a celebration of rice; everything else—seafood or otherwise—is just gravy.” Short-grained Spanish Bomba rice is essential in this paella recipe, as is seasoning it with saffron and cooking it in high-quality (preferably homemade) broth. But the “gravy” in this weeknight paella is just one protein—littleneck clams— and lots of green spring vegetables in the form of asparagus, green peas, and pea shoots. Tomatillos replace out-of-season red tomatoes (and keep with the green color theme!) and they bring a welcome acidity to the dish. Serve this spring greens paella with albariño, a wine from Spain’s Rías Baixas region. Ask for one that’s weighty on the palate, which will match bite-for-sip with the almost excessive amount of olive oil in great paella. Its salinity mimics that briny liquor that absorbs into the rice as the clams open, with a hit of tart lemon bringing it all into check. After the paella, here’s an easy dessert: a splash of Pedro Ximénez sherry poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Buen provecho.