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Rice Cooker Maintenance and Safety Tips

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Like every other kitchen appliance, your rice cooker needs to be looked after if it’s supposed to last for years. Rice cooker maintenance and safety tips regarding its use may vary depending on the model and the instructions set in its user manual, but most tips are universally applicable to all units.

If you’re new to owning a rice cooker, don’t fret. Just like using it for cooking, cleaning a rice cooker doesn’t involve rocket science.

Maintenance and Safety Tips

Rice Cooker Maintenance and Safety Tips

A rice cooker is a multi-purpose kitchen appliance you can easily maintain. Unlike some appliances that may require special cleaning services, you can clean a rice cooker by yourself, and it usually wouldn’t take you more than an hour.  

Below are steps you can take to ensure your rice cooker can be properly cleaned and maintained.

1. Read the User Guide of Your Rice Cooker Thoroughly

While simpler models are pretty straightforward and don’t need much instruction to cook rice, more advanced models are equipped with a variety of functions you’re probably not familiar with. It’s best to read through the manual provided with the unit to see how it works.

2. Always Keep The Interior of the Rice Cooker Clean and Dry

Conventional rice cookers have a heating plate located at the bottom, while advanced rice cookers generally heat the food from all sides in the from of induction cooking. Regardless of where the heating plate is located, it is important to keep the inside of a rice cooker clean and dry.

After each meal, completely cool down your unit and wipe the heating plate with a dry cloth. Make sure you remove any dirt and starchy residue.

3. Clean the Exterior with a Damp Cloth

Sometimes the rice cooker overflows when it’s cooking rice and you’re left with a mess. Unlike the inner bowl, you can’t run the rest of the cooker in a dishwasher unless you want to damage the components inside. 

To clean your rice cooker, simply use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, grime, and starch from the exterior.

4. Don’t Turn on the Rice Cooker When Empty

When a rice cooker is empty or not yet ready to cook, you should avoid plugging it in or turning it on. This is to avoid house fires and other electric incidents.

5. Always Check for a Faulty Power Chord

The power cord may come loose after continuously pulling it out of the socket, so make sure it is intact before you plug the rice cooker in.

6. Use a Wooden or Plastic Spoon

This is a no-brainer, but using a wooden or plastic spoon protects the coating of the inner pot. A metal spoon can easily scratch the non-stick coating.

7. Place Your Rice Cooker in a Flat and Stable Surface

Again, this is a no-brainer. Placing the rice cooker on an even surface prevents it from sliding off the counter and spilling all of its contents on the floor.

8. Clean the Inner Pot of the Rice Cooker Thoroughly

After cooking, let the inner pot cool down before you wash it with warm water and soap. Never use abrasive cleaners during the cleaning process. Another thing to keep in mind while cleaning a rice cooker is to remove any residual particles of burnt rice from the rice cooker pot — the longer you leave these grains alone, the more difficult they will be to remove.

Using a spoon, fork, or a wooden ladle, gently pry off the burnt rice. Be careful not to scrape too hard so as not to damage the pot’s non-stick coating. Having a hard time removing the grains? Fill the bowl with soapy water and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Wash thoroughly afterward.

9. Always Follow the Recommended Capacity of Your Rice Cooker

If your model is made for 6 cups of rice, you should only use it for a maximum of 6 cups. The same can be said about the water line inside the inner pot.

Never put food or ingredients in the inner bowl/cooking pan over the waterline etched in the pot. Keep the water level below or just slightly over the limit to avoid overflowing during the cooking process.

10. Wait for The Rice Cooker to Cool Down Before Cleaning

It’s always a bad idea to touch hot surfaces — and the inside of rice cookers are no exception. A rice cooker’s cooling time usually takes only about 30-40 minutes, so it’s best to wait until it’s cool to the touch before you do any cleaning. Once you’re done, wait for the entire unit to completely dry before you plug it back in to cook rice.

From keeping away from hot surfaces to making sure the power cord is intact, constant checking and cleaning can keep your cooker in great condition. Taking great care of this multi-functional kitchen appliance can only benefit you in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to clean a rice cooker?

Definitely! A rice cooker is an electronic device, and like all electronic devices it needs to be clean to function properly. Not properly cleaning the unit can lead to grime and bacteria build-up, which causes your food to spoil faster. 

How often should I clean my rice cooker?

Ideally, you should clean your rice cooker after every meal. You can simply clean the inner pot and lid using a dishwasher and deep clean inside the rice cooker once every week or so if you’re busy.

How long can you leave rice in a rice cooker before it goes bad?

It depends on the unit and if you have the “keep warm” function. Grains usually go bad for a few hours on a rice cooker that’s been unplugged from the power source, while it may last days on the “keep warm” setting. Try to read the user manual and look for reviews online to determine how long cooked rice keeps in your specific unit.

Ideally, leftover rice and other food should be removed from the rice cooker as soon as mealtime is over. Place the leftover in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to two days.  You can also use this leftover to cook other dishes.

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Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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