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7 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Rice Cooker

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Do you find yourself coming home and already exhausted at thinking how you’ll need to make rice on your stovetop and all the steps that come along with it? Do you ever wish you could just put your rice in a cooker, flip a switch, and be done with it? Or maybe, you just want to be able to make perfect rice and more? Well, you probably need to get yourself a rice cooker. 

A rice cooker can make your mealtimes easier and stress-free. If you’ve decided on buying one of these wonder machines, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before you do. These qualities can make or break your decision when picking out which cooker to buy. Read on to find out what they are and the answers to your questions! 

Is Buying A Rice Cooker Worth It??

Do you cook rice a couple of times in a week? Is it difficult for you to make rice on a stovetop? Is cooking in an effortless way ideal for you? Do you want to make perfect rice every time? If you answered yes to all things, then yes, buying a rice cooker will be absolutely worth it for you. 

Having a rice cooker at home can help you in a lot of things, especially if you make rice numerous times a week. It helps simplify things more in the kitchen. You don’t have to fret anymore about messing up your stovetop rice. With a rice cooker, you can put in your grains, press a button, walk away, and come back once it’s done. When we say you should invest in a rice cooker, we truly mean it. 

Our Advice on What To Know Before Buying a Rice Cooker

Before buying a rice cooker, there are several factors that you have to keep in mind during your search. These factors are important to consider as they can greatly help you in your search to find the right one that will suit your needs and is worth your money.

Capacity

One of the primary aspects of a rice cooker is its volume size or yield. The volume of a rice cooker indicates the amount of cooked rice that can be made in one cycle. If you live alone, you wouldn’t want to buy a rice cooker that has a yield of 10 cups. That would be highly impractical as a 10-yield rice cooker would be way too much for just one person. 

For a one to two person household, a rice cooker with a yield 1 to 3 cups of rice would be enough. For a small family of consumers, a rice cooker with a yield of 3 to 5 cups would be good, while a medium-sized family can acquire a rice cooker that can make 5 to 8 cups. Rice cookers with a yield of 9 to 12 cups are also available for large families. For bigger groups, businesses, or establishments in the food industry, rice cookers with a yield of 16 to as big as 32 cups are available as well.

Bowl Quality

One of the important things people should consider is the material of the inner cooking pot of the product. Most rice cookers offer an inner pot made of aluminum or stainless steel. Tests for aluminum inner pots show that it can cook rice quickly as it heats up fast — although the caveat is that it cooks rice unevenly. Stainless steel pots are the most ideal as it cooks at a more even heat. 

Coating is important as well. Having a durable coating that doesn’t peel off or flake off is ideal as you’re sure the food you’re consuming is safe and non-toxic. A non-stick coating is the most excellent choice as you wouldn’t want your rice to stick against the inner pot. Moreover, a non-stick coat is easy to clean and can also protect the inner pot from scratches, allowing your rice cooker to last long and survive the tests of time. Other popular coating materials include ceramic, charcoal, titanium, and the like.

Types of Rice Cookers

A rice cooker can be basic with just two settings, or it can be a highly-innovative one with a multitude of features. Here are some of the types that people need to consider when buying a rice cooker:

  • Cook/Warm Cooker – Cook and warm rice cookers are the most affordable and most basic of all. As what it implies, they come with only two settings: cook and warm. Most models of this type are only equipped with one switch or one button that automatically switches from cook to warm when the rice is done. Despite the rudimentary function, these rice cookers are highly dependable and can last for a long time.
  • Pressure Multi-Cooker – If you’ve ever heard of or have come across an Instant Pot, then you have an idea of what pressure multi-cookers are like. This is pretty much your slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker in one. From the name, multi-cookers can cook you more than just rice. You can make your soups, stews, and other one-pot dishes in this cooker alone. 
  • Fuzzy Logic or Smart Rice Cookers – The cookers are called fuzzy logic rice cookers as they’re equipped with an artificial intelligence technology that will basically do almost everything for you. You can think of fuzzy logic cookers as the smartphones in the world of rice cookers. These rice cookers can detect the volume of liquid and type of rice to make its adjustments accordingly. These cookers also have pre-programmed functions and dedicated settings for different rice types, such as brown rice, glutinous rice, porridge, mixed rice, and more. 

Cooking and Heating Method

Most standard rice cookers utilize a coiled electric heating element under the inner pot. This type of heating method is usually done with an aluminum pot. When the rice makes contact with the heated area, it results in some parts of the cooked rice being browned or burnt.

As for premium models, they utilize either one of the two popular heating methods: induction heating or pressure cooking. Induction heating uses a rapidly alternating magnetic field that uses the entire inner pot as its heating element. The induction heating method heats rice evenly, resulting in perfectly cooked rice without any burnt parts. As for pressure cookers, the rice results in a softer manner and retains its softness than regularly cooked rice.

Consider the Price

This is probably one of the more important things to ruminate on when it comes to choosing a rice cooker. Maybe the rice cooker you’re eyeing is very affordable, but if it breaks down on you not even a year in and you’d have to replace it right away, maybe that rice cooker isn’t the bang for your buck find you had been hoping for.

Or maybe, your preferred rice cooker may have all the features, but if it makes a huge dent in your pocket, it may not be practical. When it comes to buying a rice cooker, it’s best to consider the budget that you have. From there, you can gather your product options and narrow it down.

Features and Accessories

Aside from the basic cook function, a rice cooker can also have more features and accessories that you may want to consider. For example, you may want to regard the type of lid that the cooker has. Most models have a glass lid that allows you to see through and monitor the progress of what you’re cooking. However, there are also ones out there that don’t have a see-through lid. A spatula and a measuring cup are the standard inclusions when you buy a rice cooker, but some models include extra accessories such as a steamer basket. 

We previously mentioned that some models can have other cooking functions apart from the standard cook/warm. These can be things such as a keep warm function, a quick cook function, presets for various rice types, delayed timer, a digital display, menu options, an automatic cleaning mode, and more. Among all the other bells and whistles, a rice cooker function that seems important is the keep warm function. The keep warm mode is usually an automatic setting that retains the quality, temperature, and softness of the rice once it’s down cooking.

Other Aspects

Other things that you need to consider when buying a rice cooker is the counter space in your kitchen. Some rice cookers have a large build even if they only have a 3 to 5 cup yield. You can also consider the appliance’s weight and portability, especially if you’re planning to take it from one place to another. 

How Do You Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker?

If you took our advice and acquired a rice cooker, congratulations! You’re one step into doing some effortless cooking in the kitchen. If you’re just about to buy one, then we’re giving you a primer. You may be wondering, how exactly do you make rice with this machine? Fret not, we’re here to help you out. 

Step 1. Measure your rice with the measuring cup included in the box your product came in. Whether it’s brown rice, basmati rice, black rice, white rice — any type of rice, it’s important to measure the cup yield that you’re going to make. 

Step 2. Put your rice in the inner cooking pot or rice washer and rinse it about two to three times. Drain the water that you used for rinsing.

Step 3. Measure the water and add it to the cooker. To measure the water, it’s vital that you use the cup included with your appliance. The amount of water you’ll use will depend on the kind of rice you’re cooking and the amount of cups you’re making. But if you’ve used a stovetop pot to make rice before, you can just use the same measurements of water to cook. 

Step 4. Set your inner pot inside the cooker and put on the lid. Switch the cooker to cook. If you acquired a smart cooker or a multi-cooking device, do read through the instructions in the manual as the cooking method may not just be your one-flip switch. 

Step 5. Let your rice cook. The length of time will depend on the device that you have and the type of rice that you used.

Step 6. When your rice is done cooking, it will automatically switch to a warm function. You can allow the cooker to keep the rice warm as you go about your other tasks, or dig into your rice after 5 to 10 minutes of it in warm mode. 

How’s that for easy cooking? We hope that this article has helped you, and other people, in thinking about the things you need to consider before buying a rice cooker. Now that you know these things, go out there and get your new cooking companion!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Rice Cooker to Buy?

There are numerous rice cookers out there in the market and they vary in make, size, yield, features, functionality, and price tag. To find which rice cooker suits you the best, check out our guide to the best rice cookers.

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Ji-hyun

Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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