Things That Are Grainy

Welcome to our list of things that are grainy!

In our list we’ve included as many categories of things we could think of as possible, including food, drinks, textiles and more. We hope we’ve covered what you’re after in our list of things that are grainy.

Here’s a visual list of things that are grainy:

Hopefully that visual list of grainy things was useful! If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a longer and more informative list of things that are grainy, separated into handy categories:


These foods are celebrated for their grainy textures, adding unique mouthfeels and flavors to a variety of dishes across different cuisines.

  • Couscous: A staple in North African cuisine, couscous consists of tiny granules of durum wheat semolina. When steamed, it offers a light, fluffy texture with a slight graininess. It’s commonly served as a base for stews or tagines, absorbing the flavorful liquids of the dish.
  • Grits: Grits, particularly associated with the American South, are made from ground corn, typically dried hominy. When cooked, they transform into a soft, porridge-like consistency but retain a distinctive grainy texture. They’re often served with butter, cheese, shrimp, or gravy, providing a hearty base for various toppings.
  • Polenta: An Italian dish, polenta is made from ground yellow or white cornmeal. When cooked with water or stock, it becomes a creamy, grainy dish. Depending on the preparation, it can be soft and porridge-like or allowed to set and then grilled or fried.
  • Quinoa: An ancient grain native to South America, quinoa has become widely popular as a health food. When cooked, its tiny seeds become translucent and display a characteristic ‘tail’. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a unique grainy yet fluffy texture.
  • Bulgar Wheat: Often found in Middle Eastern dishes, bulgur wheat is made from whole wheat grains that have been boiled, dried, and then cracked. It’s the main ingredient in dishes like tabbouleh and kibbeh, offering a chewy and grainy consistency.
  • Chia Seed Pudding: Made by soaking chia seeds in liquid (like almond milk or coconut milk), this pudding takes on a gelatinous and grainy texture. The seeds swell and absorb the liquid, creating a dish that’s both creamy and grainy.
  • Millet: A small-seeded grass, millet is a staple in many parts of the world, including Asia and Africa. When cooked, it takes on a fluffy, slightly grainy consistency and is often used in porridges, bread, and other dishes.
  • Tapioca: Originating from the cassava root, tapioca pearls are often used in dishes like pudding or the popular beverage “bubble tea.” When cooked, these pearls become translucent and gelatinous, but each pearl maintains a slightly grainy texture.
  • Farro: An ancient grain hailing from the Mediterranean, farro has a chewy and grainy texture when cooked. It’s often added to salads, soups, and pilafs, imparting a hearty and nutty flavor.
  • Rye Bread: Different from standard white or wheat bread, rye bread has a denser, grainier texture. Its flavor profile is also distinctive, often described as slightly sour and earthy.
  • Whole Grain Mustard: Unlike the smooth Dijon or yellow mustards, whole grain mustard contains partially ground mustard seeds, which give the condiment a pronounced grainy texture and a burst of spicy flavor with each seed.
  • Amaranth: A pseudo-grain that’s been cultivated for millennia, amaranth seeds are tiny and lend a slightly crunchy, grainy texture to dishes. Rich in protein and other nutrients, it can be cooked as porridge or added to salads.
  • Buckwheat: Not a true cereal grain, buckwheat kernels—called groats—have a distinctive triangular shape. When cooked, they offer a unique grainy texture. It’s also ground into flour for pancakes and noodles.
  • Masa Harina: Used to make corn tortillas and tamales, this flour is made from dried maize kernels that have been cooked in lime water. The resulting tortillas have a soft, pliable, and slightly grainy texture.
  • Pearled Barley: The grains have been polished to remove the bran, giving them a distinctive “pearly” appearance. When cooked, it offers a chewy and somewhat grainy texture, often found in soups and stews.
  • Black Pudding: Also known as blood sausage, this dish often contains oatmeal or barley, giving it a grainy texture amidst the rich flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Ricotta Cheese: This Italian whey cheese has a distinctive grainy texture, often used in dishes like lasagna, ravioli, and desserts like cheesecake.
  • Sorghum: A cereal grain that’s gluten-free, when cooked, sorghum grains have a chewy exterior and a grainy interior. They’re versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.
  • Sesame Seeds: Commonly found sprinkled on bread or incorporated into dishes, these tiny seeds offer a crunchy and grainy texture.
  • Poppy Seeds: Often used in baking and on bread rolls, poppy seeds introduce a pleasant graininess to dishes.
  • Flaxseeds: These nutrient-packed seeds have a hard, shiny exterior. When ground, they have a grainy texture and are often added to smoothies, bread, or cereals.
  • Almond Butter: While it can be smooth, many varieties of almond butter have a grainier texture compared to other nut butters, due to the nature of the almonds.
  • Mung Bean Sprouts: Common in Asian cuisine, these sprouts have a crunchy and grainy texture, often used in stir-fries and salads.
  • Caviar: Fish roe, especially from sturgeons, has a grainy texture with each tiny egg bursting with flavor.
  • Dukkah: An Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds, and spices that’s coarsely ground, offering a grainy texture and rich flavor when sprinkled on dishes.
  • Sunflower Seed Butter: Made from crushed sunflower seeds, this spread is similar to nut butter but with a distinct grainy texture.
  • Coarse Ground Cornmeal: Used in polenta or cornbread, this type of cornmeal has larger, grainier particles than its finely ground counterpart.
  • Chickpea Flour: Common in Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, when combined with liquids, it creates a grainy batter or dough used in various dishes.
  • Teff: The world’s smallest grain, native to Ethiopia. It’s often ground into flour and used to make the sour flatbread injera, which has a spongy and slightly grainy texture.
  • Graham Flour: Coarsely ground whole wheat flour, it’s the main ingredient in graham crackers, lending them their characteristic grainy texture.


Drinks with a grainy texture are often characterized by the suspended particles or the ingredients used in them. Here’s a list of drinks that can exhibit a grainy texture, each with a detailed description:

  • Smoothies with Seeds: Especially those made with chia, flaxseed, or hemp seeds. While the fruit purée is smooth, the tiny seeds can give the drink a grainy mouthfeel.
  • Traditional Horchata: A sweetened drink made from rice, almonds, and cinnamon. It’s originally from Spain but popular in many Latin American countries. The ground rice can give it a subtly grainy texture.
  • Pulque: An ancient Mesoamerican alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. It has a naturally milky, slightly viscous, and grainy consistency.
  • Protein Shakes: Especially those that aren’t well-mixed. Some protein powders, particularly plant-based ones, can leave a residual graininess in the drink.
  • Tigernut Milk (Chufa): This is another version of Horchata, especially popular in Valencia, Spain. Made from tigernuts, it has a distinctive sweet, nutty flavor with a slight grainy texture.
  • Matcha Tea: When not whisked properly, the fine matcha powder can settle at the bottom, giving the drink a grainy texture.
  • Homemade Nut Milks: Almond, cashew, or hazelnut milks that are homemade and not finely strained can have a residual nut pulp, giving the drink a grainy feel.
  • Soy Milk: Especially the homemade variety or certain brands that retain more of the soybean’s natural texture, can have a slightly grainy mouthfeel.
  • Cacao Drinks: Traditional or artisanal cacao beverages, especially those where the cacao isn’t fully dissolved, can have a grainy texture.
  • Kombucha with Pulp: Some kombuchas, especially those flavored with fruit purees or juices, can have a grainy texture if the pulp isn’t filtered out.
  • Atole: A traditional hot drink from Mexico made from masa (corn dough), sweetened with sugar, and sometimes flavored with chocolate or fruits. The masa gives it a characteristic grainy texture.
  • Thandai: An Indian cold beverage made with a mix of spices, seeds, and nuts. When the blend isn’t finely ground, the drink can retain a grainy texture.
  • Champurrado: A warm, thick Mexican drink made from masa harina (corn flour), piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), water or milk, and flavored with cinnamon and chocolate. The masa harina provides its grainy texture.
  • Barley Water: Sometimes consumed as a health beverage, barley water made from boiled barley can have a slightly grainy consistency, especially if not strained thoroughly.
  • Suspended Gel Drinks: Some beverages have bits of aloe vera, basil seeds, or other gel-like suspensions which can give a grainy or textured mouthfeel.

Fabrics and Materials

The tactile sensation of grainy fabrics and materials can be appealing to many, adding depth and dimension to designs and products. Whether chosen for aesthetic reasons or due to the inherent nature of the raw material, these textures enhance the sensory experience. Here’s a list of fabrics and materials that can have a grainy feel, accompanied by a detailed description of each:

  • Bouclé Fabric: Known for its curly, looped appearance, bouclé fabric has a distinctive grainy texture, often used in upscale garments and upholstery.
  • Tweed: A rough, woolen fabric with a mix of colored threads, tweed has a grainy, nubby surface and is often used for outdoor wear due to its durability.
  • Raw Silk: Unlike the smooth finish of most silk fabrics, raw silk retains sericin, which gives it a slightly gritty texture.
  • Slub Cotton: This fabric has intentional lumps in the yarn, which create a grainy texture in the final woven or knitted cloth.
  • Dupioni Silk: Known for its irregular slubs and bumps, Dupioni silk has a grainy texture that contrasts with its luxurious sheen.
  • Linen: Made from the flax plant, linen often retains natural irregularities in the yarn, leading to a slightly grainy texture, especially before it’s washed multiple times.
  • Sandpaper Suede: A treatment of suede leather that gives it a distinctive rough, grainy feel, akin to sandpaper.
  • Crepe: A fabric treatment applied to silk, wool, or synthetic fibers, crepe has a crinkled or granular surface, offering a grainy texture.
  • Faux Fur with a Distressed Finish: Some faux furs are designed to mimic worn, vintage fur, giving them a rougher, grainier finish compared to their plush counterparts.
  • Raw or Unfinished Leather: Leather that hasn’t been sanded, buffed, or polished can have a grainy texture, revealing the natural imperfections of the hide.
  • Handmade Paper: Often infused with natural elements like flower petals, leaves, or fibers, handmade paper has a grainy and uneven texture.
  • Brocade: A rich fabric woven with a raised pattern, brocade often has distinct grainy sections, especially if metallic threads are incorporated.
  • Chenille Fabric: Known for its caterpillar-like tufts, chenille has a soft yet grainy texture, often used in throw blankets and upholstery.
  • Canvas: A sturdy fabric often used for tents, sails, or artist canvases, its rough weave gives it a grainy texture.
  • Felt: Compressed wool or synthetic fibers form this non-woven fabric. While it’s smooth compared to many others on this list, certain types of felt can still have a slightly grainy feel.
  • Astroturf: The synthetic grass used in sports arenas or for landscaping can have a grainy feel due to the plastic fibers and underlying rubber granules.
  • Wool Pile Rugs: The raised fibers in some wool rugs, especially those with a higher pile, can give a grainy texture underfoot.


These substances are recognized and often sought after for their unique textures, serving various functional and sensory purposes across different industries and applications.

  • Sand: Often associated with beaches and deserts, individual grains of sand are small but collectively give a distinctly grainy feel.
  • Sugar Scrubs: Used as exfoliants, these typically contain granulated sugar mixed with oils, offering a grainy texture to help slough off dead skin cells.
  • Sea Salt: Unlike fine table salt, sea salt can have larger, irregularly shaped crystals, giving it a grainy texture.
  • Cement: When mixed with water, cement can have a grainy texture before it sets and hardens.
  • Wet Clay: Often used in pottery and sculpture, wet clay can have a slightly grainy feel, especially if it contains grit or sand.
  • Grated Coconut: The coarse bits of desiccated coconut have a distinctly grainy texture, often used in baking and cooking.
  • Pumice Stone: Formed from volcanic lava and water, pumice is a light, porous rock that feels grainy. It’s often used for exfoliating skin, particularly callused feet.
  • Coffee Grounds: Especially coarsely ground coffee has a grainy texture, which is why it’s sometimes used as a base for DIY body scrubs.
  • Silt: Found at the bottom of rivers or lakes, silt is finer than sand but coarser than clay, giving it a smooth yet grainy texture.
  • Wet Plaster: Before drying and setting, plaster can have a grainy feel, especially if sand or other aggregates are added.
  • Activated Charcoal Powder: Often used in skincare products or for internal detoxification, this black powder can have a grainy texture.
  • Ground Nuts: Like almond or walnut meal, the coarse ground form has a grainy texture, used in various culinary applications.
  • Grated Hard Cheeses: Cheeses like Parmesan, when freshly grated, can have a grainy feel.
  • Baking Soda: Often used in baking and cleaning, it has tiny, abrasive granules that feel grainy.
  • Ground Limestone: Often used in gardening and construction, this has a distinctively grainy texture.
  • Epsom Salts: Used in baths for relaxation or muscle relief, these magnesium sulfate crystals are grainy in texture.
  • Loose Mineral Makeup: Some cosmetics, particularly loose mineral powders, have a slight grainy texture before application.
  • Chalk: Whether in stick form or ground into powder, chalk has a noticeably grainy feel.
  • Rice Bran: Often used as an ingredient in skincare for its gentle exfoliating properties, it possesses a mild grainy texture.
  • Borax: A common ingredient in cleaning products, its granules have a grainy texture.
  • Zinc Oxide Powder: Often used in sunscreens and cosmetics, this white powder can feel grainy if not finely milled.
  • Raw Sugar: Coarser than regular granulated sugar, its larger crystals offer a more pronounced grainy texture.
  • Pearl Sugar: Used in baking, especially on pastries, it has large, hard sugar crystals.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: A naturally occurring, soft sedimentary rock that crumbles into a fine white to off-white powder, often used as a natural insecticide.
  • Potting Soil: The mix of soil, peat, and small bits of perlite or vermiculite can give it a grainy texture.
  • Oat Bran: The outer layer of the oat grain, often used in cereals and baking for its grainy texture and health benefits.
  • Molasses Sugar: Darker and coarser than regular sugar, it has a distinct grainy texture.
  • Perlite: Often added to potting soil to improve aeration, these tiny white balls have a gritty, grainy texture.
  • Ground Cloves: When not finely ground, this spice can have a grainy feel.
  • Bone Meal: Often used as a fertilizer, this ground-up animal bone has a distinctively grainy texture.
  • Cornstarch: A common thickening agent; when mixed with water, it can sometimes feel slightly grainy until fully dissolved.
  • Gelatin Powder: Before it’s dissolved and set, this substance used for gelling foods feels grainy.
  • Mortar: Used in construction to bind bricks or stones, its mix can feel grainy, especially when sand is a component.
  • Ground Seashells: Often used as a dietary calcium supplement for birds and reptiles, they have a fine, grainy texture.
  • Sawdust: Tiny particles of wood produced by cutting or sanding, it feels dry and grainy.
  • Mustard Seeds: When crushed, they release their oils and exhibit a grainy texture.
  • Crushed Eggshells: Sometimes used as a calcium supplement or as pest deterrent in gardens, they possess a coarse, grainy texture.
  • Steel Cut Oats: Unlike rolled oats, these have a chunkier, grainy texture, especially when cooked.
  • Granulated Garlic: Coarser than garlic powder, it feels grainy and is often used as a seasoning.
  • Cacao Nibs: Bits of crushed cacao beans. They’re crunchy with a slightly grainy texture.
  • Ground Peppercorns: Coarse-ground pepper retains a grainy feel, unlike its finely ground counterpart.
  • Grated Nutmeg: When freshly grated, nutmeg has a fine, grainy texture.
  • Crushed Stone or Gravel: Used in landscaping or construction, these fragmented rocks have a rough, grainy texture.

We hope this list of grainy things was useful and that you found what you needed!

We did our best to cover all of the varied meanings of “grainy” with our visual gallery of grainy things and descriptive list. But if you feel there’s something we missed, please feel free to let us know and leave a comment.

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