Food engineering, food chemistry, and consumer segmentation were used to evaluate ready-to-eat rice. The aromatic Louisiana Clearfield Jazzman (CJ) and Thai Jasmine (TJ), and a non-aromatic parboiled (PB) rice were hydrated during the first 10 min of processing with reciprocal agitation followed by static retort processing. The aroma compound, 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP) was more heat-stable in CJ than TJ rice but decreased 15-fold compared to the rice cooker method. Pareto analysis indicated that rice type and agitation had the main effect on amylose and total starch and chroma and hue. Color differences of rice agitated during hydration and between rice cooker or static retort processed rice, indicated only slight differences for each rice variety. Hydration of dry rice during retort cooking and similar starch, color, and aroma quality were achieved with reciprocal compared to static or rice cooker methods. Survey responses categorized consumers into three, mindsets driven by rice consumption, convenience, or packaging.