Parboiled Rice: Why It’s the Perfect Rice for Food Storage

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In our family, rice, not potatoes, is King of the Starches. This is because my husband grew up in places like Hawaii, Guam, and the Marshall Islands, eating rice every day of his life.

When I started stocking up on various foods, I knew that rice would be a big part of my starches. Potatoes, not so much.

Rice is just as versatile as potatoes and has the added advantage of coming in numerous varieties, each with its own particular flavor, scent, and texture.

Parboiled rice was new to me when I first saw it on a food storage company website. At first, I thought it was somehow pre-cooked rice, maybe similar to instant, but then I bought a #10 can and began cooking it.

Now I’m hooked.

image:  parboiled rice pouring off scoop onto table

What is parboiled rice?

Parboiled rice isn’t actually another variety, like basmati or jasmine. In fact, the same varieties of rice that become brown and white also become parboiled. Its name refers to the manner in which it is cooked. Rice is partially boiled in its husk, hence the term “par” boiled.

Also, if you hear the term ‘converted rice,’ know that it’s just another name for parboiled.

Parboiled rice vs. brown, white, and instant

Let’s compare parboiled with the most common rice varieties.

What’s the difference between rice and parboiled rice?

When rice is harvested, each grain is inside a hull. That hull is removed and brown rice is the result.

We get white rice when the rice is processed even further by removing the bran.

Parboiled rice is processed completely differently.

The parboiling process occurs when the just-harvested rice is soaked, steamed, and then dried with the hull still on each grain. This allows the grain of rice to absorb the nutrients in the hull and bran and it gives the rice a firmer texture.

Once this has been completed, then the hull is removed. The rice ends up having a pretty light yellow color, although once cooked, the color of the rice is more of a creamy white.

Parboiled rice will never be sticky rice. It has a much drier and fluffier consistency.

Is it the same as instant rice?

No. While the parboiled or converted rice is still in its outer husk it is soaked, steamed, and dried.

To make instant rice, on the other hand, the outer husk of rice is removed after which it is cooked and then dried. Thus the term also refers to a cooking method, not a variety.

The process results in a quick-cooking rice, but one that is less flavorful.

Is it healthier than brown rice?

Yes, it’s even healthier than brown rice. The processing method doesn’t strip the hull of the rice that is more nutrient dense with vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in rice.

Is parboiled rice good for long-term storage?

Parboiled rice is an excellent type of rice to store for long-term storage. It has more nutrients than brown rice, but because the bran has been removed, it won’t become rancid as brown rice will.

Parboiled rice is an excellent type of rice to store for long-term storage. Click To Tweet

Store it in air-tight containers with an oxygen absorber. For smaller amounts, canning jars that have had the air removed via a vacuum system like Food Saver work well.

All food, not just parboiled rice, should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark location with the intent of protecting it from the enemies of food storage.

What can I use parboiled rice for?

Although you may find you prefer it for certain dishes over others, it can replace any other rice variety.

I’ve found that parboiled rice is excellent in recipes because it stays firm throughout the cooking process. A couple of years ago I was making a chicken and rice soup and noticed that the rice never got mushy, no matter how long I cooked the soup or warmed up leftovers.

Rice is a great budget-stretcher. There are lots of ideas in this article to help you do that. It was also the main ingredient in the creation of a mini food cache. Read more here about what those are and how to make them.

Also, leftover parboiled rice is nice to have on hand because, again, it doesn’t become mushy and can be added to other recipes or reheated as a side dish.

Using it in a recipe

I created several different recipes using parboiled rice, and this one is extremely simple, filling, and comforting on chilly days. You could also try it in my Macho Mexican Rice dish.

Herbed Chicken & Rice Soup

Ingredients

  • 5 c. water
  • 2 T. chicken soup base or 3 T. chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 c. parboiled rice
  • 1 T. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder, or 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 t. dehydrated chopped onion, or 1/4 c. fresh onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chicken TVP or 1 1/2 c. chopped, cooked chicken

Instructions

In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.

Where to buy it

Costco has several options for buying it in bulk. You could also try smaller, 32-ounce quantities.

Conclusion

If you’ve been hesitant about stocking up on white rice because of its limited nutritional value and on brown rice because of its limited shelf life, perhaps parboiled rice is what you’ve been looking for.

How do you use parboiled rice in recipes?

Updated 5/31/22.

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I'm the original Survival Mom and for more than 11 years, I've been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more with my commonsense prepping advice.

21 thoughts on “Parboiled Rice: Why It’s the Perfect Rice for Food Storage”

  1. i know you can’t can rice, but since it never gets mushy, do you think it would be possible to can parboiled rice? Just curious. Almost makes me want to experiment!

    1. I’ve tried it by just putting in a small amount in some soup that I was canning and it came out great! I usually use pint and a half jars for my soups (difficult to find now). They are the perfect size for my husband to take to work – not too big, yet not too small for his appetite). I added a heaping tablespoon of rice per jar, then the soup, mixing it up a little to distribute throughout the jar. I left a little room for expansion, just in case. It came out great! You’ll just have to experiment with the amount of rice based on different sized jars.

  2. Thanks for the info on parboiled rice. I didn’t know it had the same nutritional value as brown rice. Will definitely be getting some. You could dry can it like other grains, nuts, seeds as is instructed in some older canning books

  3. Another thought – why do you need to can it if it has as long a shelf life as white rice? Just checked costco.com – they have a six gallon bucket with a gamma lid for $59.99 and walmart.com shows bags of it on their site and in the store. Either way, sounds like a great thing to have on hand.

  4. I buy parboiled rice from Sam’s Club. It comes in 25 pound bags for about $12 !!! One of my Great Pyrs is allergic to commercial dog food, so I cook him chicken thighs, parboiled rice and green beans.

  5. Walmart.com has 25lbs for $20.04
    not as cheap as sam’s but for those who can’t spring for the membership fees that’s not a bad price.

  6. you get a little over a pound of parboiled rice in bags form Dollar tree. and if you buy it from the website and send it to their store for pick up, the shipping is free!

  7. When I questioned canning rice on Nov 21, I was thinking more along the lines of canning rice in soup, such as chicken with rice soup, not just the rice alone. Think it’s possible? I made some parboiled rice today along with beef & broccoli, and it was great!

  8. This is a bit misleading. Take as many nutrients from the hull and bran as you want, you’re still missing the most important thing from the bran. FIBER. That is why brown rice is superior to the health conscious.

    1. Rice mostly provides insoluble fiber. It’s the type that helps you poop normal.

      Health benefits are attributed to soluble fiber. Look at other grains for soluble fiber.

      I checked my memory at the Mayo Clinic website before posting.

    2. I used to eat only brown rice, but ended up with kidney stones. As a result I need to avoid food with oxalic acid, which is contained in the bran. (Most of the problem was with other food, and not drinking enough water.) Also I find better results using miraLAX for the fiber and eating parboiled rice, easier to digest and just as nutritious. And easy to cook in the rice cooker. I live in the south, so whole grains go rancid easily. Back in the old days, I helped run an early version of natural food store, so we had a walk-in cooler for grain storage. But parboiled is far easier to keep in good shape, and rancid food is not good to eat.

  9. Pingback: How to Repackage Survival Foods | Survival Life

  10. Here in Texas I’ve found parboiled rice at HEB, two pounds for $1.38. I’ve started storing them with my food saver bags vacuum sealed.

  11. I can’t tell where you live, But in Rochester, NY, every grocery and convenience store has a display of “Parboiled Rice”.

  12. Thank you.
    I found Parboiled rice on sale at our local box store, 8 kg (17.7 lb) for $10 and wasn’t sure about the stuff. I thought it was like instant, or pre-cooked garbage.
    I’m picking up two bags.
    Now I ain’t all fancy with the Mylar, .. all I have is one gallon glass jars with good metal “snap” lids, … and oxygen absorbers.
    I’d vacuum these one gallon jars BUT! they won’t fit into my vacuum chamber so just the oxygen absorber will have to do.
    I stash white flour in the things too with oxygen absorbers of course. I’m hoping for at least a five year shelf life, … we’ll see.
    Thank you for the information.

  13. Had no idea what par boiled rice was until I worked in the kitchen in a Nursing Home. The first time I saw it I threw it out as I thought it was contaminated. Lesson learned. Wont use anything else now.

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