Many things can go wrong when you cook rice. Even a small oversight or miscalculation of time and quantities can cause the rice to burn or become mushy. Fortunately, rice cookers make the entire process easy and hassle-free. All you do is add rice and enough water into this countertop appliance and switch it on. When the rice is done, the device automatically switches off or goes into keep warm mode. Although it eases the cooking process, you may wonder if rice cookers are prone to safety issues. So, can rice cookers explode or catch fire?
Yes, rice cookers can explode or catch fire sometimes. Although rice cookers use pressure for cooking, there are mechanisms to ensure safe and smooth operation. However, if the pressure release mechanism is faulty, the cooker overheats or comes near a flammable object, it may explode or catch fire.
To understand more about the safety concerns about a rice cooker, let us look at the different parts of this device and how they function.
How Does A Rice Cooker Cook Rice?
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for kitchen gadgets that make cooking convenient.
This has encouraged many companies to come up with various types of rice cookers.
The basic models cook rice and then switch off or go into the warm mode.
You can also find fancier versions with a range of settings for cooking different types of rice and other ingredients.
These devices have digital displays and perform various functions, apart from preparing rice.
Regardless of whether you have a basic or advanced rice cooker model, it will use the same cooking method.
Every rice cooker has a metal bowl into which you place rice and water.
A heating element heats the contents of this bowl.
When you turn on the rice cooker, the heater heats the contents and causes the water to boil.
As it does so, the pressure inside the container increases and cooks the rice.
As the rice cooks, the grains absorb the water and expand. The process continues until all the water is used up.
When there is no water left, the temperature of the metal container starts to increase drastically.
The internal sensor of the rice cooker registers this temperature change and triggers the switching mechanism of the device.
Thus, the rice cooker switches from Cooking to Keep Warm or Off mode.
Modern rice cooker designs use complicated technology like fuzzy logic for the same task.
Nonetheless, the basic process is the same.
Related Further Reading:
- Does a Microwave Oven Require Proper Airflow?
- Why Does Rust Form Inside Microwave Ovens and How Can It Be Prevented?
- Can A Blender Be Used As A Mixer? And When It Cannot Be Used?
What Causes A Rice Cooker To Explode Or Catch Fire?
Rice cookers are built with standard safety measures in place.
Nonetheless, certain aspects of their operation are prone to risk. Let us look at each of these factors.
Firstly, rice cookers run on electricity. Like all electric devices, they are prone to overheating.
Sudden voltage fluctuations can also trigger issues. It may cause sparks that can lead to kitchen fires.
If your rice cooker overheats, there is a chance for it to explode or start a fire.
The risk is higher if you place your rice cooker on a wooden countertop or near flammable objects.
Although rare, it may happen if your device has faulty wiring or is very old.
Another factor to consider is that rice cookers use pressure to quickly cook the rice.
During the cooking process, rice cookers boil water and release steam.
If there is excess water, it may spill out of the device.
Not only is it a safety risk, but it can also lead to dangerous electric short circuits.
If spilled water comes near an electric wire or outlet, it can cause shocks.
The hot water can also lead to painful burns and scald your skin if you accidentally touch it.
During the cooking process, rice cookers emit hot steam.
There is an outlet for this escaping steam to be released.
Depending on the model, it may be a vent or a tube through which the steam rises and escapes.
For safety reasons, the steam-release mechanism of a rice cooker should always be functional.
Any blockage of the vent or tube will affect the operation of the device.
It will cause significant damage and lead to overheating.
Related Further Reading:
- What Oil Is Best For Deep Fryers? + How To Choose Deep Fry Oils?
- How Do Deep Fryers Work? (Types, Oils, And Proper Use)
How To Use A Rice Cooker Safely?
No electrical kitchen gadget is 100% risk-free.
Nevertheless, people continue to use them because the benefits outweigh the risks.
The rice cooker is no exception.
Take care of the following factors, and you can safely use your rice cooker to prepare hot, fluffy rice for a long time.
- Read the safety manual carefully: Always buy rice cookers from reputable brands. All safety instructions and installation guidelines will be included in the instruction manual with the device. Make sure to read it thoroughly and follow it properly.
- Pay attention to electrical specifications: Before connecting or using any rice cooker, go through the instructions in the safety manual. Ensure that the device plug is compatible with your power socket. The supply voltage should be correct.
- Check the power outlet and device connections regularly: To eliminate the possibility of an accident, check the power supply and rice cooker parts regularly. If you notice any burning smell or arcing, stop using the device. Similarly, avoid using it if the plug becomes too hot. In case of any doubt, have the rice cooker checked by a licensed technician.
- Place it in a safe place: The steam coming from a rice cooker is very hot and dangerous. So, pay attention to where you place the appliance. Avoid keeping it near wooden shelves or metallic surfaces that can become too hot. Keep it away from wood, cloth, and other materials that can easily catch fire.
- Never leave it unattended for long durations: The keep-warm feature is one of the most attractive features of a rice cooker. It helps to keep the food warm for a long duration. However, we do not recommend leaving a rice cooker on and unattended for several hours at a stretch. Although it is a relatively safe device, it is still a fire hazard.
- Follow the instructions for cleaning and dismantling: Always unplug the rice cooker when not in use. You can wash some parts of the rice cooker, like the metal bowl. However, the electric parts should not touch the water. Moisture can trigger a short circuit or cause a serious electric shock. Keep the power cord and socket dry always. Wipe the metal pot well to avoid any risk.
- Pay attention to measurements: Add ingredients according to the capacity of the device. Always measure and use the right amount of rice and water. Use the indicator levels to limit the quantity of water. Too much water can spill out and cause accidents. Filling the device beyond its maximum capacity can also damage it in the long run.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Can A Rice Cooker Go In Dishwasher? [Dishwasher-Safe Parts]
- Can You Leave Rice Cooker On All Day, Overnight, Or Unattended?
- Can A Deep Fryer Explode? (What Causes Explosion + How To Avoid It)
- Are There Circumstances Under Which a Microwave Oven Can Explode?
To Wrap It Up…
Cooking rice in regular pots with boiling water is time-consuming and tedious.
A rice cooker is a helpful kitchen appliance when you have a busy schedule.
The greatest benefit of this device is that you can place the ingredients in the cooker and leave it unattended while it cooks.
However, you should take care of all safety factors and use your rice cooker as intended to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.