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What is Rice Macaroni?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Rice macaroni is macaroni pasta made from rice or rice flour. A wide assortment of pasta shapes can be made with rice flour, with rice macaroni being one of the more readily available pasta shapes, thanks to the enduring popularity of macaroni. Some major supermarkets carry rice macaroni, and it can also be purchased at health food stores and through specialty purveyors who focus on gluten-free or wheat-free offerings.

There are several reasons for people to turn to rice macaroni instead of the more conventional wheat macaroni. Some people avoid wheat in their diets, because they are sensitive to wheat and they would like to avoid upsetting their stomachs and intestinal tracts. Other people are sensitive to gluten, a component of wheat and some other grains, and they avoid wheat pasta along with products which include rye or barley. Other people simply like the taste and texture of rice macaroni.

Just like rice itself, rice macaroni comes in a range of guises. Some companies manufacture it with polished white rice, creating a pale pasta with a relatively simple flavor. Others use brown rice, which generates a more coarse, gritty pasta which can have a slightly nutty flavor and a dark color. Rice macaroni can also be dyed or blended with vegetables to make spinach macaroni, tomato macaroni, and so forth.

Preparing rice macaroni is much like preparing regular pasta: cooks bring a pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until it is tender. However, the pasta will give off a lot of starch during the cooking process, turning the water milky, and it can start to stick together. It's a good idea to use an extra-large pot to cook rice macaroni, and to stir it frequently so that it does not have a chance to adhere. Rice macaroni is also very unforgiving when it comes to cooking time; there's a fine line between resilient, firm pasta and mush.

Once cooked, rice macaroni can be used exactly like regular macaroni. It can be baked in casseroles like the classic macaroni and cheese, added to soups, eaten plain, or served with a variety of sauces. Rice macaroni can also be used in chilled pasta salads and any other dishes the cook might imagine.

For people who purchase rice macaroni for food sensitivity reasons, it is a very good idea to check the package in the store. Sometimes it is manufactured in a company which also processes wheat or gluten-containing grains, which means that it can become contaminated.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Dec 21, 2013

@ddljohn-- Rice macaroni is not tasteless, it tastes good. I love using it instead of Asian rice noodles in soups and cold pasta salads. Rice noodles work great in vegetable soups.

I also make a dish called Koshary with rice macaroni. I learned about this dish from my Egyptian friend. It's made with macaroni, rice, lentils and tomato sauce. It's delicious and also vegetarian!

By SteamLouis — On Dec 20, 2013

@ddljohn-- I have a gluten intolerance, so I can't eat wheat. If I want to eat pasta, rice pasta is one of the few choices I have. So sometimes, people eat rice macaroni because they don't have a choice. But I'm sure that there are people who like the taste of rice macaroni and prefer it for this reason.

I make macaroni and cheese with rice macaroni all the time. I've been gluten intolerant since I was a child, so I can't compare it to regular mac and cheese. But I think it tastes quite good. I also make macaroni casserole with rice macaroni.

By ddljohn — On Dec 20, 2013

Why do people eat rice macaroni? I think that rice is kind of tasteless. Regular macaroni made from wheat is delicious. As far as I know, rice is not very healthy either.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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