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Cyndi Allison

What is Parboiling?
And How to Parboil

Kum Ba Ya
Parboiling Potatoes to Grill

If a recipe calls for parboiling, then you need to put the food in boiling water briefly and partially cook the food.

Consider the word parboil, and it will be easier to remember the meaning. Take the first part of the word par and think of part of partial and then boil as cooking. So, you partially cook something when parboiling.

Home Canning

Home canners are familiar with parboiling. They briefly boil vegetables and then dunk in a water bath (cold water) to stop the cooking process. The food retains the natural color and is at a stage good for home canning.

My Grandma did a lot of parboiling with her vegetables out of the garden for canning. I don’t remember her ever using the term, but I know now that she was parboiling.


Some rices are parboiled. This helps remove the tough husk. The rice then cooks faster at home, because the husk is removed and the rice is also partially cooked before being bagged and sold.

If you’ve ever bought rice with the husks on, then you’ll know that the cooking times are greatly increased. I use regular bagged rice (Jasmine is my favorite), and it takes about 25 minutes to cook rice. When I buy the types called wild rice and other names with the husks on, the cooking time goes up to 45 minutes or more.  

Fruit and Vegetables for Recipes

If you want to use peaches, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables in recipes and want to remove the skins, then parboiling makes the skins peel off easily. Just dunk the foods in a pan of hot water for a few minutes. Remove. Run cold water over the vegetables or fruits. The skins then peel off without having to use a knife and waste parts of the food.

My Mom parboils her sweet potatoes for her Sweet Potato Casserole. She can then mash the potatoes and mix up the dish. That’s much easier than shredding the sweet potato and takes much less cooking time.

Recipes with Varied Cooking Times

You may want to parboil some harder vegetables if you’re making a soup, stew, or casserole. For example, many root vegetables take longer to cook. You can, for example, parboil green beans for a while and then start a soup with faster cooking items at the same time, since the beans will be partially cooked. This also works well for recipes like Chicken Pot Pie. You can use frozen vegetables which have been parboiled or use your own and parboil for the same results.

Some Grill Recipes

I do a lot of grilling, and I do parboil some items to go on the grill. It is difficult to grill potatoes and get them done without burning them. I parboil the potatoes and then slice them, season and grill. This works out really well.