What Is Vermicelli Rice? (Ingredients, Taste, Appearance + More)

Rice-based dishes are not only popular in Asian countries like China, Vietnam, and India. Middle Eastern countries have popular rice dishes that are beloved all over the world, and one of these is vermicelli rice.

Whether you’ve eaten vermicelli rice before or not, it’s worth understanding what exactly vermicelli rice is. I looked into it, and here’s what I found!

What Is Vermicelli Rice?

Vermicelli rice is a dish that uses a combination of long-grain rice and vermicelli noodles. Typically, vermicelli rice is cooked only in olive oil and seasoned with salt. As such, vermicelli rice is the ideal side dish for a wide variety of Middle Eastern stews. Moreover, vermicelli rice can be turned vegan if you use rice vermicelli.

In case you’re interested to learn more about the qualities of vermicelli rice and what makes vermicelli rice a popular rice dish, keep reading!

Where Is Vermicelli Rice From?

Vermicelli rice is originally a Middle Eastern cuisine, although it’s not confirmed which specific country invented vermicelli rice.

However, there’s reason to believe that vermicelli rice is an Arabic dish. Interestingly, vermicelli itself is Italian, and rice vermicelli is originally Chinese.

What Is Vermicelli Rice Made Of?

Vermicelli rice is traditionally made of vermicelli, rice, olive oil, and salt. However, you can also make vermicelli rice using butter, chicken broth, pepper, and fresh chives.

For vegans, rice vermicelli and vegetable stock are options that will give you a similarly delicious vermicelli rice dish.

What Does Vermicelli Rice Look Like?

Vermicelli rice generally has a light yellowish color and appears dry. As per the rice and the noodles, they should be easy to separate, not mushy.

However, vermicelli rice can have minute nuances in appearance depending on the recipe you follow.

What Does Vermicelli Rice Taste Like?

Vermicelli rice’s taste depends on the type of vermicelli and rice you use as well as any additional ingredients listed in the recipe you follow.

Generally, however, vermicelli rice has a slightly sweet, floral taste. When you use Basmati rice, the vermicelli rice gives off a mild earthy undertone.

Moreover, mixing vermicelli rice with butter gives the vermicelli rice a rich creaminess that adds depth to the overall flavor of the dish.

How Long To Cook Vermicelli Rice?

Cooking vermicelli rice can take anywhere from forty minutes to an hour.

Soaking the rice alone will take up to fifteen minutes, and sauteing the broken vermicelli can take a couple of minutes.

Bringing the vermicelli and rice together into a pot to boil often takes twenty minutes with an additional ten minutes of rest after the vermicelli rice is cooked.

How To Cook Vermicelli Rice?

To cook vermicelli rice, begin by soaking the rice for fifteen minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can simply rinse the rice until the water is clear.

Set the rice aside and saute the vermicelli in a saucepan. Make sure to use medium heat because vermicelli can burn easily. As such, you have to stir the vermicelli continuously.

Within one to two minutes, the vermicelli rice should be a deep golden brown. Add the rice and stir for another two minutes.

Next, add water and salt. Before covering the saucepan, stir the rice and vermicelli again. Once the water boils, lower the heat and leave the vermicelli rice to simmer.

Remove the vermicelli rice from heat after all the water has been absorbed, and let the rice rest before fluffing and serving.

Is Vermicelli Rice Gluten-Free?

Is Vermicelli Rice Gluten-Free?

Vermicelli rice isn’t gluten-free, since vermicelli is made from wheat. However, you can make vermicelli rice gluten-free by switching from Italian vermicelli to rice vermicelli.

Is Vermicelli Rice Noodles Keto-Friendly?

Since vermicelli rice is made of rice and pasta, which are both high in carbohydrates, vermicelli rice is not suitable for a ketogenic diet.

For keto-friendly, vermicelli rice, you can use rice vermicelli and cauliflower rice as both are pasta and rice alternatives that are low in carbohydrates.

Is Vermicelli Rice Vegan?

Vermicelli rice is traditionally not vegan, since vermicelli noodles are made with eggs. Additionally, butter is often added to vermicelli rice for additional flavoring.

To make vermicelli rice vegan, skip the butter and use rice vermicelli instead of Italian vermicelli.

Apart from rice flour, rice vermicelli may contain corn starch and tapioca flour, but not eggs.

How Many Calories Does Vermicelli Rice Have?

A two-ounce serving of vermicelli rice can have as many as 214 calories. Consequently, vermicelli rice is classified as a high-energy-dense food.

What Rice To Use For Vermicelli Rice?

Basmati rice is generally accepted as the ideal rice for making vermicelli rice. This is because Basmati rice has long, fine grains that have a nutty flavor.

Additionally, Basmati rice is easy to separate, making Basmati rice simpler to mix with vermicelli noodles.

However, in the absence of Basmati rice, you can opt for other types of long-grain rice. Just make sure that the long-grain rice isn’t starchy and that you rinse them properly to avoid stickiness.

Is Vermicelli Rice Real Rice?

Vermicelli rice is not a rice variant, but a dish that is made with rice and vermicelli. When making vermicelli rice, authentic rice grains are often used.

While you can use rice alternatives like wild rice, it’s still best to stick with white, long-grain rice grains like Basmati and Jasmine rice.

Is Vermicelli Rice A Main Dish?

Vermicelli rice is often served as a side dish in Middle Eastern cuisine. You can use vermicelli rice to complement dishes like lamb stew and chicken and chickpea stew.

Is Vermicelli Rice A Pilaf?

Vermicelli rice can be a pilaf when the vermicelli rice is cooked in chicken or vegetable stock.

However, some vermicelli rice recipes simply use water, although they do require toasting the rice and the vermicelli noodles first.

Is Vermicelli Rice Made With Sticky Rice?

Vermicelli rice is not made with sticky rice. Ideally, you’ll use long-grain rice that doesn’t have a lot of starch so that the grains will be easy to separate once cooked.

Read our other articles to discover what veggie rice is, what vegan rice is, and what cauliflower rice is.


Vermicelli rice is not a rice variant. Rather, vermicelli rice is a Middle Eastern rice dish that uses a combination of rice and vermicelli noodles.

Typically, vermicelli rice is made of Basmati rice and wheat vermicelli. However, you can also use other long-grain rice variants and rice vermicelli.

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