Rice cookers are mainly used to make rice. However, you can use them for a variety of other needs.
Let us look at how to use a rice cooker to prepare rice and the other things you can use this appliance for.
- Steps to Make Rice Using a Rice Cooker
- Other Ways to Use Rice Cookers
Steps to Make Rice Using a Rice Cooker
There are different types of rice cookers, like standard rice cookers, Micom rice cookers, induction rice cookers, and pressure rice cookers in the market.
Regardless of the model, all these appliances primarily cook rice.
The following sequence of steps works for all types of rice cookers to make rice perfectly every time.
1. Choose the Right Rice Cooker
The main factor when choosing a rice cooker is the quantity of rice you want to cook.
Small rice cookers usually have a capacity of 1 to 2 cups. Larger ones hold 5 to 10 cups.
The other factor to consider is how quickly you will consume the rice.
To keep it fresh for a long time, choose rice cookers with the “keep warm” function.
Some advanced models even have a “delay” function that allows you to program the appliance to start at a chosen time.
2. Measure the Rice
Rice cookers usually come with a measuring cup. We recommend using this cup to accurately measure the amount of rice and water.
If you use another cup for measuring the rice, ensure that you use the same cup to measure the water for cooking too.
Some rice cooker bowls will also have indications on the inside. This usually indicates the water level for a certain amount of rice.
Check the instruction manual to get the measurements right.
3. Rinse the Rice
Rice is a starchy grain. If you cook it without rinsing, the starch will make the grains stick.
Apart from removing excess starch, rinsing the rice also helps to get rid of other impurities.
To rinse rice properly, place it in a mesh container. Run it underwater till the water runs clear.
You can also swirl the grains with your hand to remove the starch better.
4. Measure and Add Water
Different types of rice need different quantities of water to cook.
Follow the instruction manual to find out how much water is recommended for the rice you intend to cook.
Depending on the variety of rice, you may have to add 1 to 2 cups of water per cup of rice.
Generally, white rice needs less water than brown rice. Similarly, short-grain rice needs less water than long-grain varieties.
If you measure the rice using the measuring cup that comes with the cooker, you can follow the corresponding indications on the pot for the water measurements.
Further Reading: Rice-To-Water Ratio for A Rice Cooker
5. Turn the Rice Cooker On
After placing the rice and water in the pot, you can turn the rice cooker on.
Close the lid and plug in the power. Some rice cookers have different settings for white rice or brown rice.
Choose the appropriate setting for the grain you are cooking. The rice cooker will continue to operate till no water remains.
Once the grains absorb all the water, it will either shut off or switch to “keep warm” mode.
6. Let the Rice Rest for A Few Minutes
After the rice cooker switches to the keep warm mode, let it rest for a few minutes.
Leave the lid on during this time. It will allow the grains to soak any excess moisture that remains inside the pot.
7. Fluff the Rice
After the rice has rested for a few minutes, use a fork or rubber spatula to fluff the rice.
Just turn the rice and break any clumps that exist. It will help to separate the grains and make the rice soft and fluffy.
8. Use the Rice Within a Few Hours
Rice doesn’t hold up well at room temperature for too long. So use it up quickly.
If you store it at room temperature for more than a few hours, bacteria multiply in the warm rice.
Though you may not see any visible signs of spoilage, the rice will be unsafe for consumption.
The keep-warm function on a rice cooker is helpful for instances when you can’t consume the rice right away.
In this mode, the rice cooker maintains the contents at a temperature that ensures food safety.
Further Reading: Can You Keep Rice Cooker on The Entire Day?
Other Ways to Use Rice Cookers
We mentioned that rice cookers can be used to cook other ingredients besides rice.
Let’s look at these alternatives and how to use the rice cooker for these purposes.
Quinoa is a food grain with cooking requirements that are like rice. You can prepare it in a rice cooker.
To make quinoa, measure the grain and add it to the rice cooker. Measure and add twice the amount of water.
Plug in the rice cooker and let it cook as usual.
If you are looking for a quick breakfast option with minimum hassle, prepare oatmeal in your rice cooker.
Some rice cookers have a porridge setting that is ideal for cooking oats.
However, if it’s not present, you can prepare oats in the regular rice cooker mode also.
Add oatmeal and the required amount of water and start the rice cooker. There is no specific measurement for water.
You can decide how much to add based on how runny or thick you prefer your oatmeal.
You can also substitute water with milk if you prefer.
3. Steamed Vegetables
Some rice cookers come with a steaming basket or tray.
You can use this basket to steam vegetables, dumplings, or even seafood while cooking rice simultaneously.
To steam these ingredients, add rice and water to the pot.
Place it inside the rice cooker. Insert the steaming basket on the top. Close the lid and run the rice cooker.
The steam from the rice will cook the ingredients in the steam basket.
4. Custards and Puddings
The rice cooker is a useful appliance for cooking custard, puddings, and other desserts.
All you must do is add all the ingredients to the rice cooker, give them a mix, and switch on the power.
If the rice cooker has a pudding or dessert setting, choose this setting.
You can boil pasta in a rice cooker. Add pasta and twice or more the amount of liquid to the cooking pot. Close the lid and let it cook.
If you like your pasta al-dente, check on the pasta in between. When it’s just cooked, and you can split it in two, stop the rice cooker.
Drain the pasta water and toss the pasta with oil to prevent sticking.
You can steam eggs just like you cook steamed vegetables in a rice cooker. In this case, add water to the rice cooker bowl.
Then, place the eggs in the steaming basket and insert them into the bowl. Switch on the rice cooker and let the water boil.
The eggs will cook in heat and steam from the boiling water. They will be ready in five to seven minutes.
But if you prefer the eggs to be hard-boiled, we recommend waiting for ten to fifteen minutes.