How to Cook Parboiled Rice

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic Updated
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Discover how to cook perfect parboiled rice and learn how to give your rice a unique twist of flavor

If you struggle to cook regular rice perfectly, you'll be pleased to hear that parboiled rice is much easier to work with!

Whereas regular rice can go from 'just cooked' to 'mushy' in a matter of moments, parboiled rice holds its shape a lot better and the grains tend to stay separate.

Parboiled rice isn't just easier to cook than regular rice - it's healthier too.

Gluten Free Turkey Fried Rice Photo

Once the grains are harvested, they are soaked, steamed and dried right in their husks. This means that the grains absorb some of the valuable nutrients from the husks, so even though they are removed later, you still get some of their benefits!

Different varieties of parboiled rice tend to call for different cooking times and ratios of rice to liquid, so check the packaging for best results. But the good news is that parboiled rice cooks more quickly than regular rice, because it's partly cooked already!

Onigiri Picture

The traditional method

This method allows the grains of rice to absorb the water they are cooked in, which 'fluffs' them up.

1 cup uncooked parboiled long grain rice

1 tsp salt

2 cups of water

  1. Pour the water into the saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add the rice, stir well and lower the heat.
  3. Cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes, until the grains have absorbed the water.
  4. Turn off the heat, leave covered for 5 minutes and serve.
Dolma Rice Bowl Image

The boil and drain method

With this technique, you boil the rice in a lot more water than usual, then drain off the excess. It works well with parboiled rice and gives you perfect, individual grains.

1 cup uncooked parboiled long grain rice

1 tsp salt

6 cups of water

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the salt.
  2. Rinse the rice, then add it to the boiling water. 
  3. Allow the water to return to the boil.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the rice thoroughly, then return to the pan and leave covered for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Your rice is now ready to serve!
Harvest Wild Rice Salad Pic

Tasty variations

There are lots of easy ways to add extra flavor to your parboiled rice. 

  • Cook it in a meat or vegetable broth, instead of water.
  • Replace the cooking water with coconut water.
  • Cook the rice in a 50/50 mixture of apple juice and water, or tomato juice and water.
  • Add a pinch of ground nutmeg or cinnamon to your cooked rice.
  • Stir grated parmesan cheese into warm rice for a rich, savory flavor.
Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup Photo

Storing cooked parboiled rice

You can keep cooked parboiled rice in the fridge for around 3 to 4 days, but it's important to refrigerate it as soon as possible after cooking it (ideally within an hour).

To cool your cooked rice quickly, spread it out in a shallow container.

You can also store cooked rice in the freezer for up to a month without any loss of flavor, so it's a great idea to make a large batch ahead of time and freeze it in portions. This means you'll always have rice available for those busy weeknights, ready to accompany dishes like this delicious Air Fryer Honey Garlic Shrimp or our Quick Chicken Curry.

Parboil Recipes

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