The effects of heat–moisture treatment (HMT) (120 °C for 10, 30 and 60 min) on paddy rice grains before parboiling, on head rice yield (HRY), pasting and thermal properties, and colour and cooking characteristics of parboiled rice were studied. The results indicated that the HMT performed intensifies the changes in grains after parboiling, impacting pasting and thermal properties, which results in rice kernels with yellowish colouration and greater cooking time. HMT increased the temperatures of gelatinisation, with increasing HMT time from 10 to 60 min and reduced the gelatinisation enthalpy. HMT also affected the pasting properties of rice flours, reducing setback and viscosity and increased their stability to heat and mechanical agitation. The HMT performed in rice grains before the parboiling process with 60 min of the treatment decreased the HRY and increased the level of metabolic defects only in the treatment with 60 min.