Parboiled rice, also known as converted rice, is the hidden gem of the rice world! Soft and fluffy like white rice, but more nutritious like brown rice. You've got to add parboiled rice to your rice routine! Making it on the stove is one of the simplest ways to prepare this type of rice.
As you probably know, there are several types of rice. There are different colors (white, black, or brown rice), and different grain lengths (long grain, medium grain, short grain). There are several varieties as well, such as basmati rice, jasmine rice, or wild rice. Each type of rice is delicious in its own unique way. Today we are focusing on one type of rice that I believe often gets overlooked: parboiled rice.
No, parboiled rice is not minute (or instant) rice! Let's learn what it really is.
What is Parboiled Rice?
When any variety of rice is harvested, the first thing that happens is its inedible husk layer is removed. This leaves the rice grain covered in a bran layer and is what we know as whole grain brown rice. If the bran layer is also removed, it becomes white rice. So where does parboiled rice come in?
Parboiled rice is created when the rice grains have been partially boiled in their inedible hull or husk. After boiling, the hull and bran layer are removed and the rice can be dried and stored for later. This was originally done to make it easier to remove the husk of the rice before eating it.
Rice is still parboiled today because it has been discovered that boiling the rice in the outer husk helps preserve many of the vitamins and nutrients that are lost when the outer layers are removed. It also results in very soft and fluffy, separate grains that aren't sticky at all. Basically, it's like getting the nutritional benefits of brown rice, but with the taste and texture of white rice. Sign me up!
Now that we know what parboiled rice is, let's learn how to cook it! Just like all varieties of rice, there are many ways to prepare this type of grain, such as using an Instant Pot, rice cooker, or microwave oven. This guide focuses on the most basic cooking process: cooking rice in a pot on the stove.
If you know me and my blog, you'll know I love shopping in the bulk bins of the grocery store (because it's cheaper and better for the environment). You'll most likely be able to find parboiled rice in the bulk bins. Sometimes it's listed as "converted rice" but it is the same thing. I recommend looking for it there.
Let's get started!
All you need for this easy recipe is just two ingredients!
- parboiled rice
- pinch of salt (optional)
I purposely left this recipe very plain so that you can use your converted rice as a side dish to basically any of your favorite recipes. Check out the substitution section if you'd like some ideas on how to add more flavor to your rice.
Start by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
While the water gets hot, rinse your uncooked rice in cold water under the tap. This removes any extra starch or dust that has built up during storage.
Place 1 cup of rice and salt in the boiling water. Turn to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 20-25* minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
When the water is absorbed, your perfect rice is ready to be served. Enjoy!
*Every stove and pot is different, so the cooking time will vary. You do not want to remove the lid very often while cooking your rice, because you'll lose the steam. But it is important to check on how things are going towards the end of the cooking time.
If all the water is absorbed, the rice will start to burn onto the bottom of the pot. This is super annoying to clean up, and it can make your whole pot of rice taste burned.
Just remove the lid towards the end of cooking (watch out for steam burns), and give the rice a good stir to see if anything is sticking and if there is still liquid. If all the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and the rice is ready to rest and be served. If there is still liquid, let it cook a little longer, but keep your eye on it!
Here are some ideas on how to jazz up your rice.
- Broth - instead of water, you can use vegetable, beef, or chicken broth to add more flavor.
- Spices - you can add a bit of spice, such as garlic or cumin, to the water at the beginning as well. Make sure the spices complement the dish you are serving the rice with.
- Salt, Pepper, and Butter- Once your converted rice is done cooking, adding a tablespoon of butter and a little salt and pepper makes it taste AMAZING! You could use olive oil instead of butter.
- Soy Sauce- drizzle a little on top of your cooked rice for an Asian flavor.
You really don't need a lot of fancy equipment to have success making this rice. Here is the equipment I use to make the best possible rice.
I really like having a pot with a glass lid so I can keep an eye on how much water has been absorbed, without lifting the lid and letting the steam out.
I also recommend using a fine mesh strainer to rinse your uncooked rice. It's great that the holes are too small to let the rice grains slip through. Also, if you are purchasing a new one, buy a metal one if you can! Whenever I've had plastic mesh strainers, they always tear or melt in the dishwasher.
Any leftover parboiled rice should be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. The longer it is stored, the more dried out the grains will become, so I recommend reusing them as soon as possible.
The simplest way to reheat your rice is in the microwave. You'll want to use a microwave-safe container that has a lid. Add the rice and break up any large chunks of rice with a fork. Add a few sprinkles of water to help create steam and rehydrate the grains.
Cover the container and microwave for 1 minute. Remove the lid, (watch out for steam) and test the grains. If they are still cold or dry repeat until you're satisfied.
Compared to traditional white rice, parboiled rice has fewer calories and carbs, while also having more fiber and protein. Studies also show that parboiled rice has a lower impact on blood sugar levels than both white and brown rice. This makes it a great choice for people with diabetes.
Check out the full nutrition label below.
The most important thing to remember when cooking rice on the stove is that once all the water is absorbed, the rice will start to burn onto the bottom of the pan. So keep an eye on it!
Also, good things to remember:
- The water ratio for cooking parboiled rice on the stove is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water.
- One cup of uncooked parboiled rice grains equals about 2 cups of cooked rice.
If you feel like your rice is too mushy you should adjust the amount of water you use. Try using ¼ of a cup less water next time. On the other hand, if your rice has a chewier texture than you would prefer, try adding ¼ of a cup of water more.
2:1, or in other words, 2 cups water to one cup rice.
On the stove, one cup of parboiled rice takes about 25 minutes. Because stove top temps and pots can be different, the cooking time for you may be a bit longer or shorter. If you are cooking more than one cup it may also take longer.
The purpose of soaking any type of grain (or bean) before cooking is to speed up the cooking time. So you could soak converted rice ahead of cooking, but since it already has a pretty quick cooking time, you don't need to.
Parboiled rice does have a different cook time than regular white rice (it's a little bit longer) but otherwise cooks in the same way. All it needs is some time simmering in hot water to become soft. You can make parboiled rice on the stove, in the Instant Pot, in a rice cooker, or in a microwave oven.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with parboiled, aka converted, rice:
Also, check out these from around the web:
I hope this stove-top parboiled rice tutorial was helpful to you! Help me out by giving this recipe a rating!
Thanks for reading!
Stove-Top Parboiled Rice
- 1 cup parboiled rice
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt (Optional)
- Start by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
- While the water gets hot, rinse your uncooked rice in cold water under the tap. This removes any extra starch or dust that has built up during storage.
- Place 1 cup of rice and salt in the boiling water. Turn to low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 20-25* minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
- When the water is absorbed, your perfect rice is ready to be served. Enjoy!