So RecyclerView was introduced to replace List view and it's optimized to reuse existing views and so it's faster and more efficient as stated in the documentation: https://developer.android.com/training/material/lists-cards.html While using it, I faced the issue of missing a useful functionality that is implemented in ListView. that feature is setting an empty view in case there was no records. In ListView it was as simple as this View emptyView = findViewById(R.id.mylist_empty_view); ListView myList = .... myList.setEmptyView(emptyView); but this method doesn't exist for recycler view so we need a work around until android team fixes this. and here are the screen shots of both list view and recycler view fix List view : Recycler view : here is how I fixed it: here is the content of empty_view, it can be anything. Enjoy.