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Rice vs. Paddy: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 7, 2023
Rice is the edible grain harvested from a paddy, while paddy refers to the field where the rice crop is grown.

Key Differences

Rice is a staple food grain consumed worldwide, a primary dietary element for over half the world's population. Paddy refers to the wet field where rice cultivation takes place, often seen with standing water.
Each grain of rice represents the finished product that has been harvested, processed, and cooked. The term paddy is synonymous with rice fields, invoking images of lush greenery and watery landscapes crucial for rice growth.
Rice, as a word, is used when discussing cuisine, nutrition, and the grain itself. Paddy, however, is used in the context of agriculture, describing the environment needed for rice to thrive.
Rice is versatile, found in countless dishes from sushi to risotto. In contrast, paddies are agricultural features, part of the rural landscape, and are not directly related to cooking or food preparation.
When rice is ready for consumption, it has undergone processes like hulling and milling. Paddy never undergoes such processes; it is the raw, initial stage of rice cultivation.

Comparison Chart


Edible grain consumed after processing.
Wetland area where rice is cultivated.


Final product, ready for consumption.
Initial agricultural stage, pre-harvest.


In cooking and food industry.
In agriculture and farming.


Processed grains, white or brown, among others.
Fields with rice plants in waterlogged soil.

Associated Terms

Milling, cooking, steaming.
Planting, harvesting, flooding.

Rice and Paddy Definitions


Grain used in various dishes, from savory to sweet.
They served rice pudding for dessert.


Term used in agriculture specific to rice cultivation.
Farmers spent the day weeding the paddy.


Edible grain from the species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima.
She cooked the rice until it was fluffy and soft.


Environment or ecosystem for rice production.
The paddy requires constant attention to maintain water levels.


Cereal grain that is a major energy source.
Athletes often eat rice for its high carbohydrate content.


Field flooded with water for growing rice.
They irrigated the paddy to prepare for planting season.


Staple food for a large part of the world's population.
Rice is central to the diet in many Asian countries.


Rice in its rawest form, still in the field.
Birds flocked to the paddy to feed.


Seed of a grass, which is harvested and processed for consumption.
The farmer sold his rice harvest at the market.


Wetland on which rice is farmed.
The paddy was lush and green with growing rice plants.


A cereal grass (Oryza sativa) that is cultivated extensively in warm climates for its edible gn.


Used as a disparaging term for a person, especially a man, of Irish birth or ancestry.


Rice, especially in the husk, whether gathered or still in the field.


Is rice available in different varieties?

Yes, there are many varieties of rice, such as basmati, jasmine, and arborio.

Can the term paddy be used for rice that's ready to eat?

No, paddy refers to the field, not the grain for consumption.

How long does rice take to grow in a paddy?

It takes about 3-6 months for rice to grow from planting to harvest.

What is rice?

Rice is the edible grain that is harvested from the rice plant.

What is a paddy?

A paddy is a field where rice is grown, often flooded with water.

What part of the rice plant is eaten?

The seed or grain is the part of the rice plant that is consumed.

Does the quality of rice depend on the paddy?

Yes, the quality can depend on the paddy's soil, water management, and other factors.

Is rice healthy?

Rice can be a healthy part of a diet, especially whole grain varieties.

How is rice processed after being harvested from a paddy?

Rice is threshed, milled, and often polished before it is ready to eat.

Are all paddies flooded?

While most paddies are flooded, there are also rainfed and dryland paddies.

What's the difference between white and brown rice?

Brown rice has the outer hull removed, while white rice is further milled and polished.

Do rice paddies support biodiversity?

Yes, rice paddies can support a range of organisms, from fish to birds.

Are there sustainable ways to cultivate rice?

Yes, methods like the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) promote sustainability.

How much water does a paddy use?

Paddies can use significant amounts of water, up to 5,000 liters for 1 kg of rice.

What is wild rice?

Wild rice is not true rice but the seed of aquatic grasses native to North America.

Can the term 'rice' refer to the plant as well as the grain?

Yes, 'rice' can refer to both the rice plant and the grain.

Is a paddy used for crops other than rice?

Typically, paddy refers specifically to rice cultivation areas.

Can rice be grown in a paddy with fish?

Yes, integrating fish into rice paddies is a practice known as rice-fish culture.

Can rice be grown without a paddy?

Yes, rice can be grown in upland conditions without standing water.

What climate is best for a rice paddy?

Warm and humid climates are ideal for rice paddies.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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