What Is Converted Rice?

The difference is in how it's processed. 

Even if you don't realize it, you've probably eaten converted (parboiled) rice at some point. Although not a whole grain like brown rice, converted white rice has a lot more nutrients than regular white rice. The reason for this all comes down to how it's processed—it's not a variety of rice, but a method for processing rice that results in more nutrients being absorbed into the kernel. Learn all about converted rice, including how to cook it.

Bag of Uncle Ben's converted rice on yellow background

What Is Converted Rice?

Also known as parboiled rice, converted rice is made through the process of parboiling, or blanching, whereby food is cooked in boiling water and then immediately dunked in cold water to stop the cooking process. The parboiled rice is then dried and milled, meaning the outer husk and bran layers are removed.

There are a number of reasons you might choose to cook with converted rice. For one, it has a longer cooking time than ordinary white rice, which makes it preferable for slow cooking, as the rice won't turn soggy as quickly. It's also known for not sticking together quite as much as other types of rice.

But perhaps even more enticing are the nutritional benefits of converted rice: Parboiling rice causes some of the nutrients normally found just in the bran, including several B vitamins and certain plant compounds with antioxidant properties, to absorb into the kernel so these nutrients don't go to waste.

Converted rice comes in a number of varieties including white rice, brown rice, and Basmati rice. But even white converted rice will look slightly brown in appearance, as it has absorbed some of the outer layer.

Where to Buy Converted Rice

You can find converted rice at most major supermarkets. It's also available online from popular producers like Uncle Ben's and Zatarain's.

How to Cook Converted Rice

Cooking parboiled rice is essentially the same as cooking most other types of rice. Use a 2:1 water to rice ratio, just as you would other long-grain rice.


  • 1 cup long-grain converted rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. butter (optional)


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add butter and rice, and briefly stir to break up clumps. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to low.
  3. Allow the rice to simmer for about 20 minutes, or according to package instructions.
  4. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Substitutes for Converted Rice

You can easily substitute regular brown or white rice for converted rice, just keep in mind if you use white rice you won't be getting all the nutrients that you do with converted rice. Couscous, farro, and quinoa all make excellent substitutes for converted rice as well.


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