How To Use a Rice Cooker as a Slow Cooker


Find yourself wanting to slow-cook meat but you don’t own a slow cooker? Don’t despair just yet. Even if you don’t own the aforementioned appliances but you own a rice cooker, you’re in luck. Despite the implication in their name, rice cookers have gone further than cooking rice.

Rice cookers are appliances that are capable of achieving more than their intended use and cook numerous food items that don’t even involve rice at all. Read on to know how you can use a rice cooker as a slow cooker and kickstart your cooking success in the kitchen.

What is a Slow Cooker?

A slow cooker is an appliance that simmers food at low cooking temperatures over a long period of time. Slow cookers are great for breaking down and tenderizing large pieces of meat, such as beef stews, pot roasts, or pork belly. A slow cooker is usually made up of three main components: the base (which contains the heating element), the cooking vessel, and the lid.

The base of the slow cooker is what people see the most. It has handles and a temperature knob. The vessel holds the cooked food. It’s usually made of heavy stoneware, which aids in keeping the heat constant and evenly distributed. Lastly, there’s the lid, which is highly important as a slow cooker can’t reach the appropriate cooking temperature without it. Some slow cookers have lid clips to hold the lid in place for easy transportation.

Is a Crock-Pot the Same as a Slow Cooker?

Crock-Pots and slow cookers use moist heat to cook food over several hours. Both devices use the slow cooking method and both produce delicious results, but they are actually not the same thing. Crock-Pot is actually a brand and a type of slow cooker. Most Crock-Pots only have two heat settings and cook continuously. Some models have a time that allows them to cook a dish for a specific amount of time.

On the other hand, a lot of slow cooker models have heat settings that go beyond low, high, and warm. Most have a range of at least five heat settings. There are also slow cooker models that work in cycles, powering on and off during cooking. Some models have a timer as well.

Can a Rice Cooker Be Used Like a Slow Cooker?

A rice cooker is a multi-purpose appliance that can be anyone’s new best friend in the kitchen. Despite its name, a rice cooker does more than its intended tasks of cooking rice and turning dry rice into fluffy rice. You can cook oatmeal, eggs, soups, and bread in a rice cooker.

You can also use a rice cooker as a food steamer and steam vegetables, meat, poultry, and the like. Best of all, you can also use a rice cooker like a slow cooker.

Are Rice Cookers the Same as Slow Cookers?

While it’s possible to slow-cook food in a rice cooker, a slow cooker and a rice cooker are two different things. The main difference between a rice cooker and a slow cooker is that a slow cooker can be left alone for a couple of hours while a rice cooker should be tended to every now and then.

When it comes to cooking food, a slow cooker uses low heat over a long period of time. Rice cookers work by using high heat to quickly boil off the water from rice and then revert to a lower heat setting to keep the dish warm even after it’s cooked. 

Even with those differences, both a rice cooker and a slow cooker can deliver hot and fresh meals for the entire family.

Can You Cook Rice in a Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can. Whether you’re using white rice or brown rice, you can cook rice in a slow cooker. However, since you will be using a slow cooking method, the cooking time of rice in a slow cooker will take around 2 and 1/2 hours to finish.

This is evidently a longer cooking time than rice cookers which can get your rice cooked in around 25 to 35 minutes. To do this, simply add your uncooked rice to the pot along with the correct water-to-rice ratio and let it cook.

How Do You Slow Cook With a Rice Cooker?

Rice cooker basic models do not have variable heat settings; they only tend to have a single high heat mode and a Keep Warm mode. However, thanks to emerging fuzzy-logic technologies, micro-chip technology, and other modern improvements, many rice cookers, such as an Aroma rice cooker or an Instant Pot, these days have numerous features that allow them to make food in various ways. 

While rice cookers have a host of features, not many are aware that one can use a rice cooker as a slow cooker. However, unlike a slow cooker, using the rice cooker to slow cook is not just a “set it and walk away” kind of thing. It takes a little extra effort to make a perfect slow-cooked meal with a rice cooker.

One thing that you should take note of is that your rice cooker needs to have a Keep Warm option. This setting keeps your rice warm but it is also the feature that allows your food to slow cook.

Here are the steps on how to use your rice cooker as a slow cooker:

  1. Place all of your ingredients in the rice cooker. You can add meat, fruit, vegetables, spices, soy sauce, seasonings, and other ingredients. 
  2. Remember, it is important to have enough liquid along with your other ingredients to avoid burning. Too much liquid will remove the flavor but do keep in mind that the majority of the liquid will evaporate from the rice cooker.
  3. Set the rice cooker to boil as you normally would. If your rice cooker has only one setting, switch it to that. 
  4. Allow the food to cook for 30 minutes to about an hour, or however long it usually takes to rise to a boil.
  5. Once the food begins to simmer, turn the rice cooker down to the warm setting. Some rice cookers will automatically switch to the Keep Warm setting once the cooking cycle is over. The Keep Warm setting is vital in making your rice cooker work as a slow cooker.
  6. Check on your food to see if it is undercooked or if there is too much liquid left in the pot. Once you’re done checking, cover. Cook and leave it in the warm setting for about an hour more.
  7. Keep checking on it to ensure that your food isn’t drying out or boiling over. You may need to set back to the initial higher heat setting every 15 minutes or so to maintain the temperature. 
  8. After an hour, open the lid and check the temperature of the food. Check the consistency as well and ensure that it is thoroughly cooked. If it is not up to your standards, simply repeat the process.
  9. Once you are satisfied, you’re good to go. Serve the warm and tasty slow-cooked dish.

Can You Slow Cook Beef in a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you can use a rice cooker as a slow cooker for beef. Follow the steps above and you should be able to cook beef to your desired taste.

Final Note

Whether you have an Aroma rice cooker, an Instant Pot, or a standard no-frills rice cooker, this wonderful device can turn you into a kitchen master. Aside from making the perfect batch of fluffy rice, rice cookers can be used to steam vegetables and meat, and make soup, noodles, oatmeal, yogurt, and the like. 

And now, you’ve unlocked the capability of using a rice cooker as a slow cooker. Some rice cookers even have a specific Slow Cook setting. Try out this new discovery by going through our slow cooker recipes and making yourself a nice, slow-cooked meal with your handy rice cooker.

Looking for the perfect rice cooker for your home? Take a look at our reviews to help you decide which one suits you best. Additionally, if you’re searching for a tasty dish that you can make for dinner, check out our collection of recipes.