What Is Parboiled Rice? (Uses, Substitutes + More)

Rice is a staple in meals all over the world. When switching to healthier diets or exploring delicious food alternatives, you will find there is no shortage of rice variants to choose from.

In browsing through your options, it is likely that you have come across parboiled rice and wondered what parboiled rice could be. I looked into it, and here is what I found!

What Is Parboiled Rice?

Parboiled rice originated in India and is commonly produced in Asian and African countries. Contrary to popular belief, parboiled rice is not a naturally growing grain. Rather, parboiled rice is just treated whole grain rice that is known for its yellow hue, soft texture, and health benefits. Additionally, parboiled rice is considered better than brown and white rice.

In case you are interested to learn more about how parboiled rice compares to other rice variants and what the best way to prepare parboiled rice is, keep reading!

What Is The Difference Between Rice And Parboiled Rice?

Parboiled rice is a type of rice that distinguishes itself from other rice variants due to how parboiled rice is processed. 

Unlike rice variants like red, brown, and white rice which are milled to a degree, parboiled rice is soaked, steamed, and dried without removing the indelible husk of the rice.

As a result, parboiled rice develops a yellow hue and can retain most of the nutrients that are lost when the rice is partially or wholly refined.

What Is Parboiled Rice Used For?

Traditionally, parboiled rice is used in India for making kanji, dosas, and idlis because parboiled rice is easier to cook and digest.

Other popular ways of incorporating parboiled rice in meals are rice pilafs, rice salads, oven-baked casserole, and all kinds of paella dishes.

Is Basmati Rice Parboiled?

While Basmati rice is a type of aromatic rice, parboiled rice is rice that has undergone the process of parboiling or partial cooking.

Consequently, Basmati rice can be parboiled, but whether or not Basmati is parboiled depends on the seller.

Generally, Basmati rice comes in multiple grades and can be bought as raw, steamed, or parboiled.

What Can I Substitute For Parboiled Rice?

Some of the best substitutes for parboiled rice are couscous, quinoa, farro, brown rice, and buckwheat groats. If you are looking for a quick-cooking parboiled rice alternative, couscous is the best choice.

Meanwhile, brown rice is the top alternative to parboiled rice in terms of nutritional value.

Are Boiled Rice And Parboiled Rice The Same?

Commercially, parboiled rice is labeled as boiled rice and as the name implies, parboiled rice is only partially boiled.

Therefore, boiled rice and parboiled rice are technically not the same. Additionally, parboiling rice is produced in a three-step process and is not simply boiled.

Does Parboiled Rice Taste The Same As White Rice?

Parboiled rice tastes vary since some variations taste almost the same as white rice while others tend to replicate the taste of brown rice.

Since parboiling makes the rice nutrient-dense, some parboiled rice tends to have a wheatier and nuttier taste.

Nevertheless, if you do not have sharp taste buds or the parboiled rice is mixed with rich-tasting ingredients, it is possible to mistake parboiled rice for white rice.

Can I Use Parboiled Rice For Fried Rice?

Parboiled rice can be used for fried rice and you will find that parboiled rice is a great choice for fried rice because parboiled rice does not stick to one another as white rice does.

Can I Cook Parboiled Rice In A Rice Cooker?

Can I Cook Parboiled Rice In A Rice Cooker?

A rice cooker can be used to cook parboiled rice. However, you have to add around two and a half cups of water for every cup of parboiled rice to cook the parboiled rice properly.

Additionally, you do not have to wash the parboiled rice before cooking parboiled rice because parboiled rice is already half-cooked.

What Brands Of Rice Are Parboiled?

Several rice brands sell parboiled rice and here is a list of some of the popular parboiled rice brands for your reference:

  • Riceland Gold Parboiled Long Grain Rice
  • Uncle Ben’s Brand Instant Rice
  • Zatarain’s Extra Long Grain Parboiled Rice
  • Iberia Long Grain Parboiled Rice.
  • Laxmi Natural Idli Rice
  • Par Excellence Parboiled Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • India Gate Parboiled Basmati Rice Bag, Golden Sella
  • Goya Foods Golden Canilla Parboiled Rice
  • Blue Ribbon Enriched Golden Parboiled Rice
  • Dunar Elonga Sella Basmati Rice Parboiled
  • Carolina Gold Parboiled Rice
  • Ben’s Original Long Grain White Original Enriched Parboiled Rice
  • Royal Chef’s Secret Parboiled Sella Extra Long Basmati Rice
  • Kusha Royal Brown Basmati Rice
  • Khazana Premium Ultra Long Parboiled Basmati Rice

Is Idli Rice Parboiled?

Idli is a popular Indian rice cake that traditionally uses parboiled rice. While you can use other types of rice, the results might not be the same as the original Idli.

Is Minute Rice Parboiled Rice?

Minute Instant Premium White Rice is parboiled long grain rice that can be prepared in five minutes. Like traditional parboiled rice, Minute Rice has a golden color.

Is Ponni Boiled Rice The Same As Parboiled Rice?

Ponni Boiled Rice is the same as parboiled rice and ponni boiled rice is not a brand, but ponni boiled rice is a type of rice grown in India.

Is Parboiled Rice As Good As Brown Rice?

Technically, brown rice is more nutritious than parboiled rice but the difference between brown rice and parboiled rice nutrition-wise is small.

Additionally, there is parboiled brown rice, but being parboiled does not make the rice better than brown rice.

On the palate, the traditional white parboiled rice tastes better to a lot of people. However, whether brown rice tastes better than parboiled rice ultimately depends on the person.

If you want to learn what Basmati rice is, what jasmine rice tastes like, and what cauliflower rice tastes like, read our related articles.


Parboiling is a way of processing rice that allows the nutrients from the inedible husk to seep into the starchy core of the rice.

Consequently, any rice can be parboiled to different effects but that does not technically mean that parboiled versions of rice are healthier.

This is especially true when it comes to brown rice, which has been proven to be more nutritious than most parboiled rice variants.

Nevertheless, parboiled rice is still considered a healthy alternative to white rice and a great choice for making traditional Indian food and other recipes that require quality rice.

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