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How to Use a Rice Cooker: Tips and Tricks

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A rice cooker is a great kitchen tool to have, particularly if you or your household consumes a lot of rice. While rice cookers cook rice to perfection automatically, they aren’t simply for rice as their name implies. 

When it comes to the numerous ways to prepare your food, the rice cooker is perhaps as flexible as a pot on the stove. These cookers are highly valued since they can be used for a variety of purposes.

In this guide, we’ll teach you how to use a rice cooker, as well as tips and tricks to get the best out of your unit.

Different Uses of A Rice Cooker

One of the major benefits of using a rice cooker to cook anything is that you’re less likely to burn yourself. The rice cooker’s heating element is located within the device, which means the heat is retained and it is safe for you to hold the exterior portions of the rice cooker. This is extremely useful in times where you need to move your cooker to make more space on the kitchen counter.

Modern rice cookers come in different types, and it is ideal to read through rice cooker guides to see which cooker fits your household if you don’t have your own unit yet.

Due to its multi-functionality, there are plenty of ways you can use your rice cooker.

As Boiler and Steamer

One of the rice cooker’s most basic features, aside from cooking rice, is boiling food. Simply add water and set the rice cooker to the cooked setting to start the boiling process. From there, you can cook a variety of meals like eggs, vegetables, meat, and instant meals like ramen and other noodles.

Boiling in a rice cooker will save you the time and trouble of continually watching a pot on a stove and worrying that it might boil over. Some rice cookers include a separate steaming tray that can be used to either steam your side dish while you’re cooking meals or to steam foods separately. All you have to do is set the steaming tray on top of the cooker and leave it for a few minutes.

For Baking

Although rice cookers don’t necessarily function as ovens, you can still use them to make bread, pancakes, and different types of cakes. However, the result depends heavily on your unit’s model as some units have closed lids that completely seal the inner pot, which is more ideal for baking. 

It is particularly ideal to use a rice cooker with the same functions as pressure cookers for baking recipes.

t’s crucial to keep an eye on the rice cooker while it’s baking since it might automatically switch from the “cook” to the “keep warm” menu option. If this happens, just switch it back until your recipe is thoroughly cooked.

As a Hotpot

Rice cookers can create soups and stews in addition to cooking perfect rice every time. When compared to cooking soup in a conventional pot, using a rice cooker is far easier.

You can make a variety of soups right in the rice cooker pot. You can even saute some ingredients on the non-stick pot and add on the ingredients later.

You won’t have to worry about the cooking process slowing down or speeding up as long as the rice cooker is set to “cook” because rice cookers reach a certain temperature and maintain that heat throughout the cooking process.

As a Slow Cooker

Many people believe that rice cookers and slow cookers work in the same way. While that may or may not be true, you can use a rice cooker to gently prepare your food during a busy day.

A word of caution: you have to be careful of slow cooking in a rice cooker. A slow cooker transfers heat slowly and evenly while a rice cooker works by quickly bringing liquids to a boil.

Slow cooking often takes more than one hour. If you’re going to use your rice cooker as a slow cooker, you’ll need to know how hot the “cook” and “keep warm” settings are. To protect your food from burning, maintain it in the “keep warm” setting and check frequently.

For Cooking Rice

Rice cooker rice is exceptionally easier to prepare than stovetop rice. A rice cooker cooks the rice automatically, sensing when it has reached the correct temperature and switching from cooking to warming mode. 

When the rice is done, rice cookers work to keep rice warm for hours. You can also use it to reheat leftover rice.

How to Make Perfectly Cooked Rice in Rice Cookers

Making a flawless pot of fluffy cooked rice with excellent consistency, in contrast to mushy rice, appears to be the most basic culinary skill, yet even skilled cooks can make mistakes in making rice. 

However, it’s not impossible if you know a few tricks, like using the proper quantity of water, keeping the lid closed to keep in excess moisture, and allowing a certain resting period after you cook rice.

How Much Water Do You Put in a Rice Cooker?

A rice cooker is an excellent addition to any family since it makes the process of preparing rice easier. However, if you don’t use enough water, the rice will come out undercooked, with crunchy grains clinging to the sides of the inner pot. 

Using too much water, on the other hand, can lead to mushy rice. Either result is unappealing, therefore it is important to know how much rice and water you need to add to your cooking pot.

In a rice cooker, the usual dry rice to water ratio is 1:1, which equates to 1 measuring cup of rice to 1 cup of water. This ratio appears to work best with long-grain white rice. 

Below is the water to rice ratio needed for each type of rice

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup rice to 1 ½ cup water
  • White, Short Grain Rice (Sushi Rice) – 1 cup rice to 1 ¼ cup water
  • White, Long Grain Rice – 1 cup rice to 2 cups water.
  • Brown, Medium Grain Rice and Short Grain Rice –  1 cup rice to 2 cups water. 
  • Brown, Long Grain Rice – 1 cup rice to 1 ¾ cup water.
  • Jasmine Rice – 1 cup rice to 1 ¾ cups water
  • Wild Rice – 1 cup rice to 2 cups water

Cooking rice for the first time might be intimidating, but with experience, you’ll learn how much water to rice ratio you prefer. Personal preference always comes into play as some individuals like a little stodgier rice texture while others may want a fluffy, almost chewy consistency.

How Do You Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Follow the rice recipe below to make your perfect rice.

  1. Measure your rice. Rinse the rice well using a strainer or rice washer
  2. Add the rice and water to the cooker after measuring them. See the guidelines above to determine how much water you need to put in.
  3. Change the setting on the cooker to “Boil” or “cook”. If you’re using a fuzzy logic cooker or a multi-cooker, simply choose the menu function that fits the type of rice you’re cooking.
  4. Allow time for it to cook. Let rice rest in the cooking pot for 5 minutes. Fluff with a rice paddle and serve hot.

How Long Does 1 Cup of Rice Take to Cook in a Rice Cooker?

10-15 minutes for white rice, while the same amount of brown rice may take 60 minutes.

How Long Does it Take to Cook 2 Cups of Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Long or short grain white rice takes 20-25 minutes, while brown rice cooks in about 65-70 minutes.

If you want to serve rice quickly, try using a pressure rice cooker or a multi-cooker to cook rice. White rice can be cooked in as little as 8 minutes using an instant pot and pressure rice cooker, while other types of rice, like brown, can be cooked in as little as 20 minutes. 

More rice means cooking time is longer, just ensure that the same ratio for water and rice is used.

How to Prepare Brown Rice and Other Types of Rice

Brown rice comes in a variety of long-grain and short-grain varieties much like white rice. The distinctions between these two variations are similar to the differences between white rice varieties. Long-grain brown rice, for example, is less sticky and has a more distinct grain consistency when cooked.

Need a healthy brown rice alternative for dinner during a hectic week but not up for the tedious guesswork? Or do you want to try out other rice varieties? Simply follow the steps below.

  1. Place the rice in a sieve after measuring the amount you need. Under cold running water, rinse the rice. Gently stir the rice around with your hands and once the water begins to change color, pour the water out. Repeat the procedure two more times. When you’re finished, make sure to drain all of the water.
  2. Pour rice and water into the rice cooker (use guidelines above). Stir the pot around if required to ensure that the rice grains are level and no grains are sticking to the sides.
  3. Start your rice cooker by pressing the “cook” or “boil” menu function. 
  4. After the rice is finished cooking, shut the cooker for another 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a rice paddle afterward. Serve hot.

Tips

  • Letting the rice rest in the cooker for 5-10 minutes after it stops cooking or switches to the “warm” function leads to plumper grains.
  • To always get the exact measures, use either a regular dry measuring cup, ideally one that came with the unit, or a scale. Not all measuring cups are created with the same dimensions, so adopting a standard like the one above will help you avoid adding too much water.
  • Keeping the lid open isn’t advisable while cooking. If you open the rice cooker too soon, the rice cooker loses steam and you could wind up with uncooked rice.
  • If you have leftover cooked rice, keep it refrigerated in an airtight container. This will last for up to 4-5 days. Simply reheat it in your rice cooker the next time you want to eat rice.
  • Washing the rice is optional, but it does clean out excess starch, resulting in fluffy rice with more distinct grains.
  • As much as possible, avoid using metal utensils when scooping out rice as they tend to damage the nonstick coating of the cooker pot.

A rice cooker is an ideal companion for households of any size, and while it is indeed perfect for making that high-quality rice, it’s also great for other dishes as well. It only needs a bit of experimenting on your side.

Want to try out other rice dishes? You can read them in our site.

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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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