Rice cookers and instant pots are very popular kitchen gadgets that help a busy cook. You can cook rice using either device. They also look quite similar. However, they are not the same. So, can a rice cooker be used as an instant pot?
A rice cooker can’t be used as an instant pot. Rice cookers are primarily designed to cook rice and other related dishes. Meanwhile, an instant pot is a multi-functional pressure cooker that performs many functions, including cooking rice. A rice cooker isn’t designed to perform instant pot’s tasks.
Let’s now see how these two appliances differ from each other.
How Rice Cookers And Instant Pots Work?
Rice cookers and instant pots use steam for cooking rice. However, their functionalities and capabilities are very distinct.
A closer look at each of these devices will reveal their differences.
How A Rice Cooker Works?
The rice cooker consists of a non-stick inner bowl, a heating element, thermostat control, a lid, and an outer casing. The inner bowl is placed on the heating coil or pad at the base of the casing.
To cook rice, you should transfer the measured quantity of water and washed rice into the pot. Then place this pot inside the cooker, close it with the lid, and turn the device on. The cooker will start the cooking process.
Regardless of the type of rice cooker, it operates by heating the liquid inside the pot and cooking the food in the produced steam.
Once all the water is absorbed by the rice and it is fully cooked, the appliance will either switch off or go into “Warm” mode. The main advantage of using a rice cooker is that it needs no supervision.
Now, there are basic rice cookers and advanced models. The advanced models have different settings for different types of rice. Most advanced models will also have a “keep warm” feature, where the device does not shut down after the rice is cooked. Instead, it keeps the rice warm till you manually switch it off.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Can You Leave Rice Cooker On All Day, Overnight, Or Unattended?
- Can Rice Cookers Explode Or Catch Fire? (What We Found)
How Does An Instant Pot Work?
An instant pot is more complicated than a rice cooker. You can use it for cooking a variety of ingredients. It has various cooking modes, and you can program it to cook in a variety of ways.
An instant pot has more complex circuitry than a rice cooker to achieve different outcomes.
The outer casing has a heating element, microprocessor, sensors, display, and input button panel. Then there is an inner pot in which you will add the ingredients. Additionally, there is a lid with an airtight pressure seal and a pressure release valve.
Now the main difference between a rice cooker and an instant cooker is that you can use the instant cooker for different types of cooking. Using the display and input panel, you can choose different operations.
Additionally, the pressure sensors ensure that constant pressure is maintained throughout the operation and the ingredients are uniformly cooked.
Due to the wide range of settings in an instant pot, you can use it as a multi-cooker. Preparing rice is only one of the many tasks it can do. You can also use it for slow cooking, making yogurt, warming food, preparing meat, and sauteing or browning food. Many pre-programmed functions will allow you to achieve a range of results with this single electric appliance.
In short, we can say that an instant pot can replace several kitchen appliances, including the rice cooker.
Related Further Reading:
- Do Rice Cookers Use Less Water? (Why And For Which Rice?)
- Can A Rice Cooker Go In Dishwasher? [Dishwasher-Safe Parts]
Is A Rice Cooker The Same As An Instant Pot?
A rice cooker is not the same as an instant pot. The rice cooker is not as versatile as the instant pot. The electric circuitry is not as complex in a rice cooker because it is mainly designed to cook rice. On the other hand, an instant pot can perform various functions, including making rice.
You can also use the instant pot for other purposes like roasting, boiling, steaming, and sauteing. In addition to rice, you can use the instant pot for cooking other ingredients like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and grains.
An instant pot has many pre-programmed settings. You can use the input buttons to choose different cooking options like steaming, sauteing, and slow cooking. You can also set the cooking time. The internal control system is designed to make the device execute what you choose.
In contrast, a simple rice cooker will only have a single setting to cook rice. A multi-function rice cooker will have settings for different types of rice and a few other ingredients. Nonetheless, it will only cook using steam. A rice cooker cannot handle any other type of cooking. So, it is not the same as an instant pot.
Related Further Reading:
- Why Are Rice Cookers So Expensive? (Are They Worth It?)
- Can Blenders Explode? (Why + 9 Ways To Prevent Explosions)
- Why Do Rice Cookers Take So Long? (Ideal Cooking Time)
Why Can’t A Rice Cooker Be Used As An Instant Pot?
A rice cooker can perform some of the tasks that an instant pot performs. However, it is not a direct replacement for the instant pot.
The rice cooker is a steamer. It uses the steam from the liquid added to the pot to cook its ingredients. It is dedicated to performing this single function only.
Meanwhile, the instant pot is a multi-cooker. It handles various cooking functions, including cooking rice. The rice cooker and the instant pot use the same technique to cook rice. However, the instant pot has many more functionalities.
You can use the rice cooker to prepare rice in the same way as an instant pot. You can also use it for other recipes that involve steaming. However, you cannot use it for sauteing, slow cooking, and other techniques that the instant pot uses.
So, you can use an instant pot as a rice cooker but not the other way around. The instant pot is a more versatile device compared to the rice cooker.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Why Do Microwave Ovens Rust Inside? How To Prevent & Remove It?
- Why Does A Rice Cooker Bubble Over? + How To Prevent It?
- Why Do Microwave Ovens Heat Unevenly? (How To Stop It?)
Making Rice In An Instant Pot Vs. Rice Cooker
Both the rice cooker and instant pot are suitable for cooking rice. However, there are pros and cons to both.
A rice cooker can either have a single cooking option or different options for different types of rice. Depending on the model, you may be able to customize the cooking program for each type of rice. Rice cookers with fuzzy logic will even make the adjustments for you, so you can just leave the rice to cook and forget about it.
Most instant pots have a single setting for rice. However, you can also use the pressure-cooking program to set different cooking times for different types of grains.
Now, if you choose to pressure cook the rice, the instant pot will complete the cooking process faster than a regular rice cooker. You will also need less liquid to pressure cook the rice.
Rice cookers don’t maintain such high pressures as an instant pot. So, you will have to add more water to cook the rice in a rice cooker.
There aren’t many variables to worry about when using a rice cooker. You can obtain consistent results with minimum effort.
However, using an instant pot can be more complicated. You will need more time and practice to find the ideal settings for different types of rice. There are chances of ending up with watery or mushy rice. But once you get the hang of it, it should be pretty straightforward.
An instant pot will cost much more than a rice cooker. Hence, it makes sense to get a rice cooker if you don’t intend to use it to make anything besides rice.