How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker, 2021

Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer

Rice can be used as a side dish for tasty recipes like spiced pork, as the base of a rice bowl topped with fresh and cooked ingredients, and any leftovers can be turned into fried rice. It’s great to keep around for emergencies because it lasts for a long time in the pantry. You may not need a rice cooker to cook rice, but the appliance provides an easy, hands-off cooking method that produces consistent results. Rice cookers are also good for cooking in bulk, and some models keep rice warm until ready to serve. Follow these tips for making fool-proof rice with a rice cooker every time.

How do rice cookers work?

Simply add rice and water to the cooking pot, select the corresponding program (if applicable), and press the start button. Stir it all together and spread it in an even layer before closing the lid — this will help it cook the most evenly. Once all the water boils off and the temperature starts to inch above 212°F, the rice cooker automatically turns off, no matter how advanced or basic the model. Cooking times vary based on the type of rice and amount being made.

Sometimes, rice cookers may splatter due to starch build-up. To prevent this, rinse the rice before cooking and observe the maximum capacity guidelines. Adding fat, like butter or oil, to the cooking pot with the rice also helps mitigate splattering.

What is the ratio of water to rice in a rice cooker?

The general ratio of water to rice in a rice cooker is 1:1. That means 1 cup water to 1 cup rice. During our testing, we determined that this ratio works best for long-grain white rice; it also seems to work well for other long-grain white rices, like basmati and jasmine, but we recommend referring to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific ratios as they can vary based on the model. The general ratio recommendation for brown rice is 2 1/4 cups water to 1 cup brown rice.

While almost all rice cookers come with a measuring cup, some have markings on the cooking pot so you always know how much rice and water to add, no matter how many cups you’re using or what type of rice. Keep in mind that rice cooker cups are typically smaller than your standard measuring cup. They usually measure 3/4 cup, which does not make a difference when it comes to ratios, but should be taken into account when following a standard recipe.

How do I make fluffy rice in a rice cooker?

The best way to make fluffy rice in a rice cooker is to let the cooked rice sit undisturbed in the cooking pot, with the lid on, for 10 minutes after cooking. This additional time will allow excess water to be absorbed gently without overcooking. It will also allow the rice to cool slightly and firm up a bit. After 10 minutes, use the included rice paddle, to fluff the rice, layer by layer. Since most rice cooker pots are nonstick, using the plastic rice paddle is recommended instead of any metal utensils that can scratch the bottom or sides. The rice paddle is also dimpled, which helps prevent the rice from sticking.

Why is my rice sticky?

Cooked rice can feel sticky for a couple of reasons: too much water may have been used and it may have not been rinsed before cooking. It’s important to rinse rice before cooking to wash off excess starch. Otherwise the cooked starch will create a sticky texture, instead of the separated one that’s usually desired. For best results, rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Some people like to do this directly in the cooking pot before cooking.

How do I flavor my rice before and after cooking?

Water in a recipe can be swapped out for the same amount of broth or stock to add flavor to rice. We like using unsalted versions so we can control the sodium content ourselves. Herbs and spices can also be added to the cooking pot before cooking, as well as other aromatics, such as sautéed onions or garlic. Salt can be added before or after cooking, although we recommend using a small amount when it’s uncooked and adjusting to taste after to avoid oversalting.

When rice is cooked, it can be seasoned with more spices or a touch of acid, like lemon. You could also stir chopped herbs into it, or vegetables. For an especially different take, try chopped fruit, like pineapple or mango.

What else can I make in my rice cooker?

Rice cookers can be used for all types of rice, including white, brown, long-grain, short-grain, jasmine, basmati, and wild rice. They can also be used to make different grains, like quinoa and oatmeal. Just be sure to adjust the water ratio accordingly, especially if your rice cooker doesn’t have multiple settings. Rice cookers can also be used to make mixed dishes, by layering chopped veggies or protein on top of the rice before cooking. Some even come with racks and or baskets that allow for steaming.

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