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How To Use a Japanese Rice Cooker


Traditional rice cookers are quite straightforward, but a Japanese rice cooker may be a bit more of a learning curve for the average person. Japanese people eat more rice than a lot of other cultures, so it’s no wonder they’ve created an upgraded machine that can cook all sorts of rice grains in a manner of ways.

While this kind of rice cooker made in Japan may look intimidating at first glance, don’t let its appearance discourage you from learning how to maximize its many other features. By learning how to properly use a Japanese rice cooker, you can cook and taste so many different and delicious styles of cooked rice, from white rice and brown rice to porridge.

Here’s an easy guide that will help you start cooking the best rice with your Japanese rice cooker.

What is the Difference Between a Rice Cooker and a Japanese Rice Cooker?

A traditional rice cooker is very straightforward, with just one button that cooks rice the same way every time. On the other hand, the version created in Japan was made with the understanding that you may want to cook rice in different ways or even use your rice cooker to cook and steam other foods like porridge and even vegetables like mushrooms. This is why these types of rice cookers come with a menu with different functions and purposes.

Additionally, the physical designs of each rice cooker are quite different. Traditional rice cookers feature a simple bucket heater with a metal pot inside and a tight-fitting lid, while the Japanese versions feature a pressurized pot that traps steam, requiring less water as you’re cooking rice.

How to Cook with a Japanese Rice Cooker

  1.  Place the desired amount of rice into the rice cooker’s bowl. 
  2. Depending on whether the rice you’re using is pre-washed, you may not have to wash the rice. To wash the rice, run the rice under water and drain it until the water is clear. 
  3. Afterward, add water. The exact amount is marked inside the bowl for white rice, mixed rice grains, and brown rice. The amount of water necessary varies, so add just enough water as specified.
  4. Using the menu button, scroll through the options in accordance with the kind of rice you’ll be cooking, whether it’s regular, sticky, porridge, or other, as the cooking time will be different for each. These options should pop up on the small screen. 
  5. Lastly, click on either the standard cook button, which takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 hour to cook, or press the fast cook button which can take up to 30 minutes, and wait until you hear a beep.

How Much Water Do You Use to Cook Japanese Rice in a Rice Cooker?

Japanese rice is a type of short-grain rice that is sticky, firm, and slightly sweet. These cooked grains can easily be picked up by chopsticks and molded into all sorts of traditional Japanese dishes.

When cooking rice traditional rice cookers, follow the golden rule for the rice-to-water ratio which is 1 to 1.1 (or 1.2). Because Japanese rice cookers come with a menu with different options for cooking rice, simply search for the option for this rice type on the menu.   

Final Note

Many people around the world eat rice in the same way others do bread. It’s an everyday part of life and important to many different cuisines. Learning how to use a Japanese rice cooker can benefit people outside of Japan who love a delicious bowl of rice.

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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