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How to Cook Black Rice in a Rice Cooker


You might have come across black rice in a cooking/food blog or in a random cooking video you’ve binge-watched at 3 AM. You probably even had it once in a restaurant and are curious as to what type of grain it is. While it may appear to be the same thing as wild rice, this variety of rice has a richer, dark purple hue that’s almost purplish black. This grain is a nutritious and gluten-free alternative to other whole grains.

Its cooking time isn’t exactly short, but with a rice cooker, you can easily make some for breakfast. Want to try and serve a black rice dish at a dinner party? Or do you want to try out your culinary skills with a rice cooker and see how well you can cook this certain type of rice? Read below to learn how to cook black rice in a rice cooker.

What is Black Rice?

Black rice, sometimes called purple rice or forbidden rice, is a kind of grain belonging to the Oryza sativa L. species. It comes in a range of shapes and sizes, most commonly the glutinous kind, but there are also black jasmine grain varieties.

An abundance of anthocyanin, a strong antioxidant found in most darkly colored plants, is responsible for the dark hue. This may explain why it is regarded as a particularly nutritious meal in China. However, it’s extremely difficult to grow. In terms of yield, it can go as low as 10% compared to other grain types. For this reason, it’s also referred to as “emperor’s rice”.

History of Black Rice

The origins of the other names of black rice can be traced back to Ancient China, where a black variant of rice was consumed by a large number of Chinese kinsmen for the benefit of their kidneys, stomachs, and livers. This was until a small group of noble Chinese men took possession of every grain and withheld it from the general public. Black rice then was only available to kings and the rich.

Black rice was still grown, but only in small amounts. It was a rice variety meant for the wealthy, and its production is kept under careful supervision. Common people were prohibited from cultivating, consuming, and cooking black rice, earning it the moniker “forbidden rice”.

Although this rice variety is no longer prohibited, it is still grown in limited quantities compared to other grain varieties.

Health Benefits of Cooked Black Rice

How to Cook Black Rice in a Rice Cooker

Black rice is more than just a gorgeous type of rice with a vibrant hue. Its rich amounts of antioxidants, fiber, protein, and iron make it an excellent choice for both special and regular meals. A 1/4 cup (45 grams) of uncooked black rice provides 160 calories, 4 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 6% of your daily iron value, and 1 gram of fiber.

Aside from the above, black rice also has the following benefits:

1. Rich in Antioxidants

The rich black or purple color of black rice indicates its strong antioxidant content. The antioxidant anthocyanin is found in abundance in the grain’s outermost layers called the bran and hull. Black rice, in fact, has more anthocyanin than any other grain, including white or brown rice, red, and other rice types.

Because black rice isn’t refined or processed, it retains all of its antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Anthocyanin can help prevent cardiovascular disease by limiting the flow of free radicals, which can cause a number of illnesses including diabetes and cancer. It can also aid in the improvement of brain function and the reduction of inflammation.

2. Has More Fiber

For every half cup of cooked black rice, there are around 3 grams of fiber. This high fiber content aids in bowel movement regulation which prevents diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. The fiber aids in the binding of toxins and trash within the digestive tract, which is then flushed out of the system at the end of the digestion cycle.

Fiber also offers your body a satisfied sensation after you eat, which helps you lose weight by preventing you from bingeing on other fatty foods.

3. Contains Protein

Proteins are critical for muscle development and weight loss. In comparison to other ‘healthier varieties,’ forbidden rice has a somewhat higher protein level. It has 8.5 grams of protein per 100 grams, whereas brown and red have 8 grams and 7 grams of protein per 100 grams, respectively. Polished white grains, on the other hand, only has 6.8 grams of protein.

Eating black rice may also help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly known as bad cholesterol, which is a frequent contributor to cardiovascular illnesses, is reduced by the anthocyanin phytochemicals present in black rice.

How to Cook Black Rice in a Rice Cooker

While you can cook black rice on the stove, it is far trickier to get good results. Rice cookers can make the entire cooking process easier and cleaner. If you don’t have a rice cooker yet, check out the best rice cookers in our guide.  

Remember to wear clothes you don’t mind staining while you cook and quickly clean the excess starch water that escapes the rice cooker with a paper towel whenever it overboils. Forbidden rice has such high amounts of anthocyanin it can actually stain surfaces, clothing, kitchenware, and even rice cookers.

Are you ready to learn how to make black rice? Follow these step-by-step instructions for cooking black rice in a rice cooker. Note that you can also use a pressure cooker or an instant pot using the same steps below. Try to use the “brown rice” setting, if available.


  • Black Rice
  • Water
  • Salt (optional)


In a fine-mesh strainer or rice washer, place 1 cup black rice. Place the strainer under cold running water and gently rinse the rice with your fingers. Purplish/black water will drain from the rice; rinse black rice until the water is less colored or clear. It is important to wash the black rice before cooking to remove all the excess starch.

Turn off the cold water and shake the fine mesh strainer or rice washer. You can also mix the rice with your fingertips or gently tap the handle of the sieve/washer against your hand to remove any excess water.

Transfer the rinsed black rice from the sieve to the inner pot of your rice cooker.

Measure out the water and pour it over the rice in the rice cooker. If you’re using a different recipe that calls for a certain amount you need to cook, make sure to add an extra 1/4 cup of water to the rice cooker. Because black rice still has its hull as opposed to white rice, it takes more water to get the desired texture.

Add salt, if desired. Omit if you’re planning on making a dessert out of the rice.

Plug in your rice cooker, close the cover and cook black rice for 30-40 minutes. You can also use the brown rice mode if your rice cooker has it. Watch for any spills as the rice cooker cooks the rice.

After the rice has finished cooking, turn off the brown rice setting or unplug the rice cooker and leave it to sit for 10 minutes.

Remove the cover from the cooking pot after the rice has set, and let the cooked rice air for a few minutes to allow the excess steam to escape.

Remove the inner pot from the rice cooker. Mix and serve in a large bowl or with a side dish.

Black rice is readily available at most major gourmet stores these days. Cook black rice as it is and you can use it as your staple food and serve it with any side dish. Salt makes the rice even tastier, but if you want to cook a sweet dish, then it’s better to opt it out.

It might seem like it’s a bit hard to cook on the first try. However, with a little bit of trial and error and help from your rice cooker, you’ll be cooking this grain like a pro!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use a rice cooker?

A rice cooker is far more efficient to use in cooking this variety of rice as it is built to cook rice. A conventional rice cooker is sufficient, but if you prefer a more efficient cooking experience use a rice cooker with fuzzy logic.

Looking for a rice cooker and don’t know which one to get? Read through our rice cooker guides and rice cooker reviews in this  website.

How much water do you use per cup of black rice?

Use 2 ¼  cups of water to 1 cup rice (uncooked). You can use the standard cup that comes with a rice cooker.

How much water do you put in a rice cooker for black rice?

The said 2 ¼ cup water to 1 cup of black rice rice ratio stated above is ideal, but it will also depend on your desired consistency. A little bit of experimenting with your rice cooker and you can have cooked black rice that fits your taste. 

If all of the water has evaporated but the rice is still not entirely cooked, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the cooking pot or rice cooker and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Does black rice need to be soaked?

It’s not necessary, but you can soak it overnight. This is because cooking time can be reduced by rinsing and soaking the rice before cooking. Cook black rice for 45 minutes after soaking, or up to 60 minutes if unsoaked rice is used. You can soak your rice in the rice cooker and boil it in the morning.

How to store black rice?

Keep uncooked grains in an airtight container or a ziplock bag and place them in a cool dry area. Try to cook only the necessary amount you need, as this grain can stain your containers.

Does it taste the same as brown rice?

Black rice taste like a more intense version of brown grains. It has an earthy nutty flavor, but its texture, however, is closer to white, especially the sticky varieties.


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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