How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
Using a rice cooker or rice maker is an easy and effective way to cook rice perfectly every time. It’s so much easier than cooking rice on the stove and it turns out much nicer than rice cooked on the stove top too. Many rice cookers will even keep the rice warm after it’s cooked. There’s no need to watch the rice cooker since rice cookers come with an automatic timer that dings when the rice is ready. Learning how to use a rice cooker is easy. If you don’t already know how to cook rice in rice cooker, just follow the simple steps below and you’ll soon be cooking rice like a pro.
How to Use a Rice Cooker
1. Measure the rice with a cup and put it into your cooking pot. Your rice cooker should have come with its own measuring cup. It’s best to use this one if you have it since the measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker is not the same size as a standard US measuring cup (240 ml or 1 cup). The rice cooker measuring cup is 180 ml or about 3/4 cup. A cup of uncooked rice is equivalent to roughly one and a half cups of cooked rice.
2. Before cooking rice, rinse it. Read the packaging, as some rice does not need washing and is enriched with iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid; rinsing may be unnecessary and will remove any water-soluble vitamins and minerals in the rice. However, it is safer and more hygienic to rinse it to remove any contaminants which may be present.
Run tap water in the bowl. While the water is running, swish the water around with the rice. Continue until the pot is about ¾ full of water.
Tip the pot at an angle and drain the excess water out. Hold the bottom part with your hand so that you can grab any rice grains that may fall with the water.
Repeat the process until the water is relatively clear.
Drain off as much water as you can.
3. Some people prefer to soak the rice for about thirty minutes prior to cooking rice. This is not necessary, but depending upon the type of rice, it may result in less sticky rice.
4. Measure the water. Most rice cooker instructions recommend cold water. How much water you add depends on what kind of rice you’re cooking and how moist you prefer it. One rule of thumb is to fill the cooking pot with the same amount of cups of rice you used, with an additional 1/2 cup. For example, if you made 2 cups of rice, pour in 2 1/2 cups of water. There are also graduated marks on the inside of most rice cookers indicating how much rice and water should be added. The USA Rice Federation has the following guidelines for how to cook rice in a rice cooker:
- Long grain white rice – 1 3/4 cups of water per 1 cup of rice
- Medium grain white rice – 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice
- Short grain white rice – 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice
- Long grain brown rice – 2 1/4 cups of water per 1 cup of rice
When you cook rice in a rice cooker, you can’t really go wrong if you just add two cups of water or slightly more to each cup of rice; you don’t want your rice too dry.
- For Indian and Thai style rice like Basmati or Jasmine, less water is needed as drier rice is desired; use no more than 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice. Use only 1 to 1 if you washed the rice previously. You may add bay leaves, cardamom pods or other seasonings such as curry powder directly to the rice cooker to enhance the flavor.
5. Place the inner pot into the rice cooker. Cover it, plug the cooker in, and press the switch to turn it on. The switch will click or ding or make some appropriate sound, like a toaster, when the rice is done. In some cookers, the rice will be warmed until you unplug the cooker.
- Don’t lift the lid to check on the rice. The cooking process depends on the development of steam inside the pot, so letting steam escape by opening the lid may result in improperly cooked rice.
- The rice cooker automatically turns off when the temperature inside the pot exceeds waters boiling point (212 degrees F or 100 degrees C at sea level), which will not happen until all the free water has vaporized.
6. Allow the rice to “rest” for 10-15 minutes before removing the lid. This is not required but is commonly recommended in rice cooker instructions, and is automatic in some models. Unplugging the rice cooker or taking the pot off of the heat for this period will minimize the amount of rice that sticks to the pot.
Tips on how to use a rice cooker
- A fancy fuzzy logic rice cooker such as a zojirushi rice cooker will give better results with unusually small quantities of rice since it can better detect when the rice is done, and is thus helpful for someone often cooking rice for one. These upscale models usually have multiple cooking settings as well to better cook different grains, breads, cakes, etc.
- For the health conscious, you may add some brown rice into the mix. Of course you could just choose to cook brown rice but you can also add a small amount of brown rice to give the rice a little chewy texture.
- Use a non-stick spoon that will not scratch the inside of the pot to stir and “fluff” the rice after it’s done. The best tool for this purpose is the plastic rice paddle that comes with most rice cookers.
- You may need to make adjustments if you’re cook rice in a rice cooker at high altitudes. Since the boiling point of water decreases by 1 degree F for every 540 feet of altitude (1 degrees C for every 300 meters), the rice cooker may turn off before the rice has been exposed to a high enough temperature to cook properly. You can compensate for this with extra water so the rice boils longer–at 5000 foot elevation, use 3 cups of water per cup rice instead of 2.5. Consult the rice cooker instructions and contact the manufacturer if you are experiencing problems with undercooked rice at high altitudes.
Rice Cooker Warning!
• Don’t overfill the rice cooker or it will boil over and make a mess.
If you’ve followed the simple steps above you now know how to cook rice in a rice cooker – the simple and easy way. Now that you know how to use a rice cooker you can do more than simply cooking rice. Start getting creative with your rice cooker. Try using a rice cooker for oatmeal! 1 cup of oatmeal to 2 1/2 or 3 cups of water. You can add apple pie spice, dried cherries & pineapples, and a capful of vanilla extract. After cooking, add sliced almonds and peanuts or bananas. This is just one of many ways you can use your rice cooker for doing things other than cooking rice. Check out more ways to use your rice cooker and be sure to take a look at our free rice cooker recipes. If you’re searching for other creative ways to use your rice cooker and more great rice cooker recipes, the Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook at Amazon is the best we know of.
Rice Washing Bowl
Check out this handy rice washing bowl to easily rinse your rice before cooking …