You might be familiar with classic rice varieties like white rice, brown rice or even more fragrant options like basmati or jasmine, but there’s still one highly underestimated rice we think everyone deserves to know about — parboiled rice

If you’ve never tried it, parboiled rice, sometimes also called converted rice, gets its name from partially boiling the rice within its husk, not because it’s precooked. In the past, this made it easier to process by hand, however, nowadays the practice continues as it helps to save more of the original vitamins and minerals found in rice, without the long cooking time of whole grain rice. So, now that you know what its name means, what about its taste and texture? Keep reading to find out. 

Parboiled Rice 101

If you’ve never used parboiled rice before, we’ll break the details down for you! As it’s not technically a variety but rather a form of cooking, it comes in 3 different grain lengths: Extra long grain, long grain, medium grain and short grain, but there are some common characteristics for every length.

green-bean-casserole-with-white-rice-and-pine-nuts
Green Bean Casserole with Oaxaca Cheese and Parboiled Rice
  1. Color: Slightly yellow/gold hue due to the husk and bran layer moving toward the middle of the kernel.
  1. Taste: Subtle nutty flavor somewhere in between the neutral taste of white rice and the nutty flavor of brown rice. 
  1. Texture: This depends on the grain length, as we explain in our guide to different rice varieties, long grains cook up fluffy and separate, medium grains fluffy but slightly more sticky and short grains contain the most starch so they cook up much more sticky and compact.

Parboiled Rice vs White Rice and Brown Rice

When rice is harvested, the inedible hull is removed which produces whole grain brown rice, if the bran layer is also removed, that makes white rice. Parboiled rice begins even before the hull is removed.

This rice is a great happy medium between different varieties because it offers a more subtle flavor than white rice as well as more of the original vitamins and minerals found in rice grains without the nutty flavor of whole grain brown rice. While brown rice has a chewier texture, parboiled rice is firmer, but not as mild and delicate as white rice. 

How to Cook Parboiled Rice

So, now that you know all about this rice, how can you cook with it? Just like most other rice varieties, it can be cooked over the stove, in a rice cooker, Instant Pot or even in a microwave! 

Poblano Strips with Cream and Parboiled Rice

To make traditional extra long grain parboiled rice, you’ll need 2 ¼ cups of water for every 1 cup of rice. However, it’s important to read the directions carefully as medium grain varieties require just 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice. 

We’ll use the traditional stove top method to show you how simple it is:

  1. Bring 2¼ cups of water to a boil in a 2 quart heavy saucepan. Add olive oil and salt, if desired.
  2. Stir in 1 cup rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  3. Enjoy as a side dish, rice bowl, toss it into a wrap, or however else you like your rice!

Only have a microwave available?

  1. In a microwave safe dish, combine 2¼ cups water and 1 cup rice. 
  2. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Reduce setting to 50% power, microwave for 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

*We recommended only cooking one cup of rice in the microwave at a time. Microwave ovens vary so cook times are approximate. 

Recipe Inspiration with Parboiled Rice

Parboiled rice can technically be used anywhere that other rice varieties can, but we’ve put together different recipe ideas based on grain length so you can make amazing rice dishes every time! 

authentic-spanish-paella-with-shripm-mussels-and-red-peppers
Authentic Spanish Paella Recipe with Parboiled Medium Grain Rice

Extra Long Grain Rice 

As the long grains cook up fluffy and separate, they are perfect for adding into rice salads, rice pilafs, fried rice or oven-baked casseroles like a Green Bean Rice Casserole for a holiday event or tasty weeknight dinner side. It’s also great for rice bowls and adding ingredients like this Creamy Rice topped with Poblano Pepper Strips

Specialty Medium Grain Rice 

As parboiled medium grains contain slightly more starch, they are ideal for dishes like an Authentic Spanish Paella with seafood or a Mexican-inspired Paella using spices, chorizo and mussels. As the slightly more starchy rice is cooked in broth and tomatoes, it absorbs the flavor better and makes for a creamier texture.

Next time you head to the grocery store, make sure to pick up a bag of specialty Mahatma® Parboiled Rice to try one of these tasty recipe ideas. There are plenty of different delicious and fun ways to cook with rice, and with Mahatma® Rice you can explore with confidence.