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How To Parboil

Have you ever wondered how to make the perfect grilled potatoes or home fries? The answer is parboiling and this simple guide will teach you how to parboil in a few easy steps.

Parboiling is a super simple, but very handy cooking technique. Once you start parboiling, you’ll find yourself using this cooking method all of the time.

Greek Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans Photo

What Does Parboiled Mean?

Parboiling is a somewhat fancy cooking term that combines the words “partial” and “boiling.” So what is parboiling? It’s the process of partially boiling an ingredient to then use in another recipe.

Which foods should you parboil? Parboiling potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, mixed vegetables or even grains like rice or brown rice is a very common practice when preparing certain dishes.

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Because these things generally take a long time to cook, parboiling them first helps to reduce cooking time.

Parboiling allows rice, vegetables, such as green beans, peppers and Brussels sprouts, or even meat and poultry like chicken, chicken wings, ribs, brats or sausage, to end up fully and perfectly cooked once they are used in another recipe.

You can also parboil vegetables or meats and freeze them to use at a later time in things like soups or casseroles. It can be a great way to prep meals in advance.

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When it comes to starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or carrots, the high starch content requires longer cooking times.

By boiling out some of the starch, you soften them enough to cook through using other heat methods, without giving up any flavor.

Parboiled vegetables and meats can then be used in a variety of ways including in salads, hash, and stir-fry dishes.

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Knowing how to parboil rice is a great kitchen hack to have in your repertoire. Rice can take a long time to cook, so parboiling rice allows casseroles and stir fry dishes to cook up faster and more evenly.

How Long to Parboil

Determining how long to parboil food depends entirely on what ingredient you are parboiling.

When it comes to root vegetables, you want to parboil them until they are easily pierced with a fork, but still firm in the center.

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When parboiling chicken, ribs, brats or other meats, you want to parboil them until they are mostly cooked through.

You can then grill, roast, fry or smoke the meat to perfection in a fraction of the time without it being dried out.

How to Parboil Potatoes Picture

How to Parboil

The process of parboiling is effectively the same regardless of what you are parboiling. Here is a standard example of how to parboil vegetables.


  • Stockpot
  • Peeler (if required)


  • Root vegetables
  • Cold water
  • Salt


  1. Clean the vegetables. If the recipe requires they be peeled, do that now.
  2. Place the vegetables in the stockpot, and fill with cool water until the vegetables are completely immersed.
  3. Add a large pinch of salt, more or less depending on the quantity of vegetables.
  4. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once water begins to boil, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the hot burner.
  5. Allow the vegetables to sit in the hot water for 8-12 minutes. depending on the size of ingredients.
  6. Test doneness by inserting a fork into one of the whole vegetables. The outer portion should be easily pierced by a fork, while the inner portion remains firm.
  7. Transfer vegetables into a large bowl and rinse.
  8. Allow the vegetables to cool enough to handle, then pat dry.
  9. Slice, chop, etc as required for the recipe and continue cooking by second method.
  10. Common post-parboil cooking methods include grilling, roasting, and frying or stir frying.
Greek Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans Picture

How to Use Parboiled Ingredients

There’s virtually no limit to the number of ways you can use parboiled vegetables, grains or meat! It’s such a versatile cooking technique.

One fun idea is to thinly slice a parboiled potato and place it on top of pizza with cream sauce.

Sprinkle the pizza with bacon for a real treat! And of course, parboiled vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or parsnips are great on the grill too; check out these delicious cilantro lime grilled sweet potatoes for proof!