Which small pasta type looks like rice?

Tiny rice-like 'puntalette' pasta shapes

Tiny rice-like 'puntalette' pasta shapes

Hi Matt,

What is the name of the pasta that looks like small, flat, oval grains of rice?



Well Stan, I'm afraid it's not as simple as just one name!

If you check out my A-Z Types of Pasta page, you'll find a small number of different pasta types that could quality.

So if you're looking to buy this pasta, check out any of the following - they're all a reasonable 'fit':


This small pasta resembles grain (as orzo means barley in Italian), meaning it looks pretty much identical to rice.


This is another tiny rice shaped pasta (see pic above).

Punte d'ago

Meaning ‘needle tops’, these are tiny 'pastina’ that also resemble grains of rice.


Often used interchangeably with orzo, risoni actually means 'big rice' (see the oni explanation on this names of pasta page). However it's pasta, thus rice-like pasta!

Hope that helps. And you were hoping for a simple answer! ;-)


2013 update:

Since we had a baby last year and he's now eating 'normal' meals with us, we've realised that this page's orzo (rice) pasta is actually great for adding into his little mini-meals.

Check out my Easy Pasta Soup For Kids page to learn how their first proper meal needn't be from a jar!


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