How Do You Parboil Rice?

Amber Bracegirdle | Bluebonnet Baker Updated

Ever wondered how to parboil rice? If you've ever bought frozen or shelf stable rice, this is how they do it. And it's how you can do it too!

Parboiled rice makes it super easy to add to any dinner as a side, or base for things like stir fry and curries. You can make perfectly measured portions, making it easy to control your intake too. 

Rice is by far the most consumed starch in my house. It’s the bed for our chicken tikka masala and strawberry rhubarb stir fry. I add it to my favorite chicken soup instead of noodles, because my son is anti-pasta.  

But getting out the rice cooker or a separate pot every single meal can make it that much harder for me to get dinner on the table. Having pre-portioned rice that I just need to microwave for a few minutes is a total win.

My grandmother used to make an amazing bacon fried rice, and the secret (besides the bacon) is that she always used “day old” rice. If you have already parboiled rice, you don’t even have to cook ahead of time. You can just pull it from the freezer.

Nora’s Harvest Wild Rice Salad is a pretty popular recipe here on Food Fanatic, and we have plenty of other recipes featuring this ubiquitous grain.

Harvest Wild Rice Salad Photo

Just a quick look at the archives here on Food Fanatic will prove to you just many ways you can enjoy rice in everything from a Sausage and Rice Skillet to Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole.

What is parboiling?

It’s quite simple, really. Parboiling is the act of partially boiling, or precooking, some type of food. You can parboil most any vegetable or grain, be it brown ricebroccoli, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, or even mixed vegetables.

Why do I need to parboil my rice?

How to Parboil Rice 1

We parboil for a few simple reasons:

  • We want to freeze smaller portions, but make it easy to cook from frozen.
  • We’re planning ahead, for meal prep purposes.
  • Portion control for those looking to lose weight.

How is parboiling different from blanching?

When you parboil, you boil the rice in salted water for a few minutes. Blanching is different in that you’d then submerge the rice in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.

How to Parboil Rice:

  1. Rinse uncooked rice in a colander.
  2. Bring a saucepan 3/4 of the way full of clean, cold water to a boil.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Add rice to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Drain and cool.

How do I use my parboiled rice?

Parboiled rice means you have a side dish ready for your family in minutes. When you freeze it in ziptop bags, you’ll be able to pull it out for use in anything from soups and salads to a starchy base for curry or stew.

How to Parboil Rice 2

How to Freeze Parboiled Rice:

  1. Place cooled rice in a ziptop bag.
  2. Press flat to remove air and for more efficient storing.
  3. Make sure to label and use within 2-3 months.

How to Cook with Parboiled Rice:

  1. Remove ziptop bag from the freezer.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the bag.
  3. Microwave for 90 seconds, or until heated through.

Parboil Recipes

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Amber Bracegirdle

About Amber

Amber is a native Texan, born to a family of fabulous cooks. She shares her love of all things Tex-Mex and Southern both on her blog, Bluebonnet Baker, and here on Food Fanatic. She heavily endorses the use of the contraction "y'all".