With so many types of rice cookers available to choose from there’s bound to be lots of questions. Here’s my answer to a few of the questions most asked when buying or using a rice cooker. Let’s start with one of the most basic questions: why should I use a rice cooker?
Why use a rice cooker to cook rice?
Some people don’t know how to cook or have trouble cooking rice on the stovetop. It takes time and effort and a few tricks to make sure the rice doesn’t burn or stick to the pot. The best thing about a rice cooker is that it saves time and takes the guesswork out of cooking perfect rice. Every time. You just add the rice and water to the cooker: it’s set and forget. You don’t have to watch over the pot or adjust the burner temperature from boil to simmer at the exact right time. And when the rice doesn’t burn or stick to the pot, there’s less cleaning up for you to do.
What are the different types of rice cookers?
There are many different types of rice cookers on offer to suit everyone’s needs. The basic model is an electric or conventional rice cooker. It heats up to cook the rice, then turns off when it’s done. Most rice cookers will keep the rice warm, at the perfect serving temperature without burning.
The next level incorporates more advanced technology or “digital” rice cookers. This includes micro-computer enhanced features, “fuzzy logic” and programmable rice cookers. These automatically change the heat and cooking time depending on the style of rice. Whether it’s white rice, brown rice, oatmeal, porridge or another type of grain – the rice cooker will adjust.
There’s also induction heating (IH) rice cookers that use advanced technology to heat the entire inner cooking pan. IH rice cookers can adjust the heating temperature and time more quickly than basic rice cookers. The result is better tasting rice.
Some rice cookers are also Pressure Cookers, which can do more than cook rice. They use steam pressure to increase the cooking temperature and reduce the time it takes to cook the rice or other food stuff. You’ll find the best of these in my reviews of multi-cookers .
What is the right size rice cooker?
Rice is a staple food in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Indonesian cooking as well as Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine . Whether you often cook rice for one person or a family of 4 to 6 people, will determine the size of the rice cooker you need.
Cups of uncooked or cooked rice is the usual measure for the size or capacity of a rice cooker. A rule of thumb is that one standard cup of dry (uncooked) rice will yield approximately 2 cups of cooked rice. The ideal serving size is about ½ cup per person (uncooked) which will double in size to about 1 cup when cooked.
Rice cookers come in a range of sizes. From 3-cups – usually, the smallest size – to 10-cups, which is the largest rice cooker available for household use. You can also find a 4-cup, 5-cup, 6-cup and 8-cup rice cooker in different brands.
How many people does each size feed?
Use this as a guide when comparing cup sizes (capacity) for different models:
- 3-cups (uncooked rice) will feed one or two people and the best option for singles and couples.
- 5-cups is the best option for a family or student groups of say 4 or 5 members.
- 10-cups would suit larger families or if you do a lot of entertaining or catering for groups.
As long as you follow the instructions, size doesn’t matter that much. A good rice cooker should make the same fluffy rice whether cooking one cup of rice or if you fill it to its upper limit.
Do you have to wash the rice?
Depends on the type of rice. Usually you get the best result if you rinse the rice under cold water, before it goes into the pot. This removes the starchy powder from the grains, which can leave a sticky mess or residue in the pot. Follow the instructions on the packet and provided with the rice cooker.
What’s the right water-to-rice ratio for perfect rice?
The usual ratio is 2 cups of water for every cup of uncooked rice. But follow the instructions that come with your rice cooker as it will vary based on the type of grain. Most important: always use the plastic cup that comes with the cooker for measuring both the rice and water. With some brands, the cup provided is not the standard size. This means the ratio will be wrong if you use a different cup to measure the water.
How long does it take to cook rice in a rice cooker?
Rice cookers make cooking rice easy and fast. But it depends on the rice cooker brand, model and the type of rice. White rice can take from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the style of grain – white, Jasmine or short. Brown rice usually takes longer, especially if there’s no setting for brown rice. Some models even come with a “quick cook” setting for perfect rice in half the time. Check the product instructions for the best way to cook rice and get great results every time.
What about the technical stuff?
If you have any questions about replacement parts, return policies or warranties, please visit the manufacturer’s website. Ideally before you buy, to avoid one of the most common complaints about rice cookers .
Still more questions about buying a rice cooker?
You’ll find answers in the Rice Cooker Expert Buying Guide 2020 – a must-read before you buy!
Or in the product reviews for the best sellers and top-ranking rice cookers in each category:
- Capacity – small and medium to large
- Digital rice cookers
- Multi-purpose cookers for more than rice.
So long as you have food in your mouth you have solved all questions for the time being.Franz Kafka