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Blanching vs. Parboiling: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 9, 2023
Blanching involves briefly boiling food then cooling it rapidly, often to retain color and texture, while parboiling is partially boiling food to precook it before a final cooking method.

Key Differences

Blanching is a cooking technique where food items, often vegetables or fruits, are briefly boiled and then immediately immersed in ice water. This process helps in preserving the color, reducing the bitterness, and setting the texture. On the other hand, Parboiling is the act of partially cooking food, usually rice or vegetables, in boiling water. This method is employed to shorten the final cooking time or ensure even cooking.
When blanching, the immersion in cold water following the brief boiling is essential. This cold shock stops the cooking process instantly, ensuring the food doesn't get overcooked. Parboiling, in contrast, doesn't necessarily involve an immediate cooling process, as its primary purpose is to give the food a head start in cooking.
Blanching is often used as a preparatory step, especially for foods that are to be frozen, as it can enhance the food's color and texture upon thawing. Parboiling is commonly used to ensure that all components of a dish, especially in mixed meals, finish cooking at the same time.
Both methods involve boiling water as the medium for heat, but their objectives differ. While blanching aims at texture preservation and color enhancement, parboiling is geared towards partial cooking, making the subsequent cooking process quicker or more even.
It's crucial to understand the difference between the two techniques, as using one in place of the other can drastically alter the outcome of a recipe. For example, blanching rice instead of parboiling it will not produce the desired half-cooked texture needed for certain dishes.

Comparison Chart

Main Objective

Preserve color, reduce bitterness, set texture.
Partially precook for a subsequent cooking step.

Cooling Step

Rapidly cooled in ice water after boiling.
Cooling not necessarily immediate or rapid.


Very brief boiling period.
Longer boiling to achieve partial cooking.

Common Foods

Fruits, vegetables, nuts.
Rice, potatoes, and some vegetables.


Brightly colored, slightly softened but still crisp food items.
Partially cooked items, ready for final cooking step.

Blanching and Parboiling Definitions


A method used to enhance the color and texture of foods before freezing.
She always recommends blanching vegetables before freezing them for later use.


Partially cooking food by boiling.
Parboiling the potatoes ensured they were perfectly soft when roasted.


A preliminary step in cooking to set the texture of an ingredient.
Blanching the almonds made them easier to peel.


A method used to shorten the final cooking time of a food item.
By parboiling the rice, the biryani was ready in half the time.


Immersing food in boiling water for a short time, then cooling rapidly.
Through blanching, she was able to peel the tomatoes effortlessly.


Boiling food briefly as a preparatory step for another cooking method.
Parboiling the ribs allowed for a quicker grilling time.


A brief boiling of food followed by rapid cooling.
Blanching the green beans ensured they retained their vibrant color.


A technique ensuring even cooking in dishes with varied ingredients.
She recommended parboiling the carrots so they'd finish cooking at the same time as the peas.


A technique to reduce bitterness in certain foods.
Blanching the kale reduced its bitter taste, making it more palatable.


Achieving partial cooking through immersion in boiling water.
Parboiling the broccoli made it easier to incorporate into the stir-fry.


To take the color from; bleach.


To cook partially by boiling for a brief period
Parboiled and then sautéed the new potatoes.


To whiten (a growing plant or plant part) by covering to cut off direct light.


To subject to intense, often uncomfortable heat.


To whiten (a metal) by soaking in acid or by coating with tin.


Present participle of parboil


To scald (almonds, for example) in order to loosen the skin.


The act by which something is parboiled.


To scald (food) briefly, as before freezing or as a preliminary stage in preparing a dish.


To cause to turn white or become pale.


To turn white or become pale
Their faces blanched in terror.


Present participle of blanch


The act by which something is blanched.


Why is parboiling often used with rice?

Parboiling rice helps in partially cooking it, making subsequent cooking faster or more even.

Does blanching require an ice bath?

Yes, blanching typically involves rapidly cooling the food in ice water after boiling.

What's the main goal of blanching?

Blanching aims to preserve color, reduce bitterness, and set the texture of foods.

Are parboiled foods ready to eat?

Not necessarily. While safer than raw, they're often undercooked and intended for further cooking.

Is parboiling the same as pre-cooking?

Essentially, yes. Parboiling is a method of pre-cooking by partial boiling.

Can you skip the cooling step in parboiling?

Yes, parboiling doesn't necessarily require immediate cooling, as it's about partial cooking.

Can blanching reduce the nutrient content of foods?

Some water-soluble nutrients may leach out, but the rapid process minimizes significant losses.

Why are some rices labeled as 'parboiled'?

These rices underwent parboiling to enhance texture and nutrient retention during processing.

Can you blanch fruits?

Yes, fruits like peaches and tomatoes can be blanched to facilitate skin removal.

Why blanch before freezing?

Blanching helps in retaining the color, texture, and nutritional value of frozen foods.

How long should you blanch vegetables?

The time varies, but usually, it's very brief, ranging from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

How to tell if blanching is done correctly?

Properly blanched food will have enhanced color, slightly softened texture, and reduced bitterness.

Are there foods that shouldn't be blanched?

Most foods can be blanched, but delicate items might become too soft or lose flavor.

Is blanching necessary for all vegetables before freezing?

While beneficial, not all vegetables need blanching before freezing, but it's recommended for many.

Should you season the water for parboiling?

Seasoning can be added for flavor, but it's not mandatory.

Can you over-parboil?

Yes, over-parboiling can lead to a texture that's too soft or unevenly cooked for the final dish.

What's the difference between parboiling and simmering?

While both involve boiling, parboiling is brief and partial, while simmering is gentler and longer.

Can blanching be used to remove skins?

Yes, blanching is often used to make peeling skins from tomatoes, almonds, and peaches easier.

How does parboiling affect the texture of foods?

Parboiling partially softens foods, making them ready for a final cooking method.

Does parboiling enhance flavor?

Parboiling primarily affects texture, but it can also help in reducing strong flavors in some foods.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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