Multi-purpose kitchen appliances are always a big hit because they make the most of the space they occupy.
Rice cookers are one of our favorite kitchen appliances for this reason.
Not only do they make perfect rice every time but you can also use a rice cooker for various other needs.
Here are 18 dishes you can make in a rice cooker.
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that you can cook like most other grains. It has similar nutritional quality, is gluten-free, and is a good source of protein and fiber.
You can easily cook it in a rice cooker. To make quinoa, rinse it several times till the water runs clear.
Then, measure twice the amount of water and add it with the quinoa to the rice cooker bowl. Switch on the cooker and let it do its job.
To add extra flavor to quinoa, you can use herbs, seasonings, and other flavoring ingredients.
Oatmeal is a breakfast staple suitable for people of all age groups. It’s nutritious without too many calories. You can make oatmeal in a rice cooker.
To cook oatmeal in the rice cooker, place the required amount of oatmeal and water in the rice cooker. Switch on the power supply and let it cook till done.
You can cook both whole oats and instant oats in the rice cooker. The timing will vary, but you will get excellent results every time.
3. Mac and Cheese
An unconventional but effective way to cook mac and cheese is in the rice cooker.
To prepare it, add pasta and broth or water to the rice cooker. Use the “steam” or “cook” setting for cooking.
Open the lid and stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking.
When the pasta absorbs all the liquid, add cream cheese and milk and stir well. Wait for it to melt and mix thoroughly. Top with grated cheddar cheese.
Risotto is rice cooked in broth. You can prepare it using a rice cooker.
The main benefit of preparing risotto in a rice cooker is that you don’t have to constantly stir it as you do on the stovetop.
Choose short-grained rice like arborio rice for the best results. Begin by sauteing the aromatics in olive oil or butter.
You can do this in the rice cooker if it has a “Quick Cook” option. Else, do this on the stovetop.
Add it with the rice, broth, and vegetables if any to the rice cooker.
Close the lid and let the device do the rest of the work. You can add cheese or herbs at the end if your recipe includes it.
Since a rice cooker is typically used to make rice, you can use this appliance to cook porridge as well.
The only difference is the amount of water to use.
To prepare porridge, use 4 or 5 times as much liquid as you need to cook rice. Measure and add rice and water to the rice cooker.
Leave it to cook till the porridge has a medium or thick consistency.
6. Steamed Vegetables
If your rice cooker has a handy steam basket, you can use it to steam chopped vegetables while your rice cooks.
Simply add the chopped vegetables to the basket and insert it above the rice pot.
The steam from the liquid used to cook rice will help the vegetables soften and cook properly.
7. Steamed Fish
Just like you can steam vegetables in a rice cooker, you can do the same for fish too.
Place the cleaned fish in the steam basket and insert it into the cooking pot. You can simultaneously cook it with rice in the base of the pot.
Alternatively, you can also steam the fish by itself by adding only water to the rice cooker pot.
8. Steamed Dumplings
An easy way to steam dumplings is using the rice cooker basket. Insert it above the rice and water in the pot.
The steam and moisture from the water used to cook rice will help the dumplings cook.
Since dumplings don’t take too long to cook, they will be ready by the time the rice is done.
You can also use the steam basket of the rice cooker to reheat dumplings stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
They will achieve just the right texture and be soft and delicious.
9. Boiled Eggs
Boiling eggs in a rice cooker uses gentle heat to cook the eggs.
For this method, place the eggs in the steamer tray and place them inside the rice cooker pot with water.
The steaming water will cook the eggs without breaking the shell.
The main benefit of this technique is that the yolk will not develop any ugly grey color and the eggs will be perfectly done with the right texture throughout.
We recommend plunging the cooked eggs with the shell into an ice bath immediately after the cooking time to keep the texture intact.
10. Soup or Broth
To prepare soup or broth in the rice cooker, start by cooking the aromatics either on the stovetop or in the rice cooker using the “Quick Cook” setting.
Next, stick all the vegetables, meat, and remaining ingredients in the rice cooker with the required water.
Close the lid and let it simmer and cook for an hour or longer. You can add salt to taste and stir occasionally if you prefer.
You can easily make a hearty stew in the rice cooker by adding all the ingredients and setting the rice cooker to the appropriate setting.
Since stew is a versatile dish, you can adjust the seasonings and ingredients to suit your preferences.
The dish will cook without any supervision. You will also not have to worry about it spilling over.
You can make chili in a rice cooker, though the process is different from cooking it on the stove.
If the rice cooker has a sauté or browning setting, use that to brown the meat. Then, add the aromatics, onions, beans, tomatoes, and water to the pot.
Stir everything together, close the lid, and cook on the rice setting. The chili is ready when it absorbs all the liquid and turns thick and bubbly.
Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana Creole dish with rice, meat, and vegetables cooked in a large pot.
The rice absorbs all the spices and flavors of the other ingredients and becomes extra-flavorful and delicious.
The method of making Jambalaya in a rice cooker is like that of chili.
The meat and aromatic ingredients are cooked first before being added to the rice and cooking it in the rice cooker till all the moisture is absorbed.
Paella is a Spanish dish that is traditionally made in a large, shallow pan.
It allows the rice to cook thoroughly and develop the signature crispy crust called the Socarrat.
While you can replicate the process in the rice cooker, only certain special cookers are capable of creating the crust of burnt rice.
Nonetheless, you can make a simple and delicious version of paella in a rice cooker.
15. Mashed Potatoes
An easy way to make the perfect mashed potatoes is using the rice cooker.
You can boil the potatoes with just enough water to soften them using the “quick cook” setting of a rice cooker.
Once the potatoes are soft, drain the excess water. Use a masher to break them down.
Add cream or milk and whisk the potatoes together. You can add salt and aromatics at the end.
16. Poached Fruit
If you are looking for a quick and easy fruity dessert, poached fruit is an easy solution for your needs.
The rice cooker will cook the fruits gently and make them tender without losing their natural flavors.
To poach fruit in a rice cooker, add the desired amount of fruit and a cooking liquid like sugar syrup or honey.
Close the lid and let the ingredients simmer on a gentle heat.
You can experiment with the recipe by adding different aromatic spices to enhance the flavor of the dish.
17. Rice Pudding
Different variations of rice pudding are served all over the world as desserts.
To make rice pudding in a rice cooker, replace water with milk or cream in the rice cooker.
Cook as usual till the rice absorbs all the moisture and becomes creamy.
Don’t forget to add sugar or any other sweetener to the cooking liquid.
You can top the pudding with chopped nuts, saffron, cinnamon powder, or any other garnish of your choice.
Further Reading: Rice Cooker vs. Crockpot | Rice Cooker Not Working? – 6 Reasons and Their Solutions
18. Cakes and Pancakes
Specialty rice cookers come with a “Cake” function. If this is present in your rice cooker, you can easily make pancakes, cakes, and even bread in a rice cooker.
The cooking time and temperature will depend on the recipe. You can also make chocolate cake, sponge cake, or even cheesecake in a rice cooker.
To make cake in a rice cooker, prepare the cake batter as usual.
Transfer it to a cake pan and place the whole pan inside the rice cooker pot. Then, cook it on the cake setting till done.
The texture of the cake will not exactly resemble that made in the oven. Nonetheless, it turns out to be delicious and spongy.