Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. But finding time to cook a quick, healthy meal in the morning can be a challenge. Did you know that you can use a rice cooker to prepare many of the traditional breakfast dishes? Yes, even the basic model can cook a healthy, delicious meal to start your day. And save you time and effort to get you on your way.
Here are some of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes. I’ve taken traditional breakfast ideas and found the best ways to prepare them in a rice cooker.
Easy, delicious and classic meals that everyone loves!
You’ll find most of the ingredients already in your pantry and so easy to prepare, you can do it half asleep! Best of all, the results are so delicious you can enjoy them at any time of the day, not just for breakfast.
Easy Rice Cooker Oatmeal
Compared to the stove-top method, cooking oatmeal (or porridge made with oats) in a rice cooker takes about the same time. But the process is much simpler and cleaner. Simply, load the ingredients, turn it on and walk away from the rice cooker. You don’t have to stand over the pot, stirring and watching out for spills!
Plus, even though you might think of oatmeal as a “comfort” food, there are health benefits. Oatmeal is high in fibre, gluten free, rich in minerals – like thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. It’s a filling, balanced and yummy option for weight watchers.
Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal Recipe
Prep & Cook Time: About 10 to 20 minutes. If your cooker has a delayed timer function, you can add the ingredients the night before and set it to be ready in time for breakfast.
- 1 cup steel-cut oats (no soaking required)
- 2 ½ cups water (or equal parts water and milk if you prefer creamier oatmeal)
- 1 apple – peeled (optional), seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt.
Optional Extras: Add honey, maple syrup, brown sugar or other sweetener to taste, once cooked. Dried fruit – like sultanas, raisins, apricots – or nuts are healthy additions to the oatmeal when ready to serve.
Add all ingredients (except the sweetener) to the base of the rice cooker and close the lid.
Depending on your rice cooker, select the Porridge setting or the Steam/Cook rice setting, which will take about 10 – 15 minutes to cook.
When the rice cooker beeps, the oatmeal is ready.
Let it sit for a few minutes; stir and sweeten to taste, then serve.
Makes two delicious servings…unless you want it all for yourself!
Many people are surprised by the variety of egg dishes that you can prepare using a rice cooker.
Apart from hard boiled eggs, my favorite breakfast option is Frittata. It’s super easy to prepare in a rice cooker and doesn’t need constant attention. And leftovers – if there are any – will keep well in the fridge for later.
Plus, the health bonus is that eggs (whites and yolks) are a good source of protein. They contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and are a source of important nutrients, such as vitamin B6, B12 and vitamin D.
Mushroom & Spinach Frittata in a Rice Cooker
Prep & Cook Time: About 30 minutes.
- Oil or non-stick cooking spray of choice
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry. If fresh spinach is available – wilt in a frypan for a minute before adding.
- 2 cups fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup cheese, grated. (Any tasty cheese that can be easily grated or crumbled works well with this recipe, including Parmesan or Feta cheese.)
Grease inner pot with oil or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a bowl, mix together the spinach, mushrooms and onions. Add the eggs, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.
Spoon the frittata mix into the greased rice cooker pot and close the lid. Select the regular “White Rice” setting. Actual cooking time will vary (12 to 20 minutes) depending on your rice cooker model. Cooker will turn off when done (the eggs should be firm on the bottom and almost set on the top).
If your frittata isn’t cooked after the cook cycle, leave it on the warm cycle for an extra 10 minutes and allow it to set.
Remove the cooked frittata from the rice cooker by inverting onto a plate. Or use a plastic spatula to slice the frittata into four wedges ready to serve.
Serve as is or with hot buttered toast (for breakfast) or with a garden salad for lunch or dinner.
Variations: You can also try this recipe with different vegetables – sliced zucchini, green peppers or sun-dried tomato. Use different herbs and spices, like paprika, turmeric, garlic or chilli to spice it up a bit. Or, try lightly sautéing the vegetables in the rice cooker pot before adding the eggs and cheese.
That’s the great thing about cooking with a rice cooker – it’s very versatile and easy to use once you know how.
Rice Cooker Pancakes
Everyone loves good old-fashioned fluffy pancakes as a breakfast treat! But this Japanese style pancake soon became our family favorite when I discovered how much easier it is to cook pancakes in a rice cooker.
You can use packet pancake mix or your own special pancake batter recipe. But instead of patiently cooking a few pancakes at a time, you cook it all in one go in your rice cooker. The trick is not to fill the pot with too much batter. Otherwise the top of the cake can stick to the lid, making it difficult to open. Also, trying to cook too much at once can leave the centre of the pancake uncooked and gooey.
Depending on the size and power of your rice cooker, the timing can be a bit hit-and-miss. You may have to experiment a few times with a plain pancake mix until you get it right.
Pancakes may not be the healthiest choice for breakfast. But if you’re not having them every day, the extra calories are worth the treat.
Japanese Style Pancake Recipe
Prep & Cook Time: About 50 minutes.
- 1 packet of pancake mix – choose a plain pancake mix or any flavor that suits your tastes (hotcake mix for a sweet tooth) or dietary requirements (like gluten free, vegan, paleo or protein-focused).
- Extra ingredients noted on the packet mix (usually wet ingredients like egg, butter, milk).
Optional Extras or ingredients based on your preferences, if you want more flavor that’s not already in your packet mix. Some of our favourite flavors – to add separately, not all together in one pancake (yuk!) – are peanut butter and chocolate chips; sliced banana; pumpkin puree, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger spices.
Lightly grease the interior of your rice cooker pot.
Toss your pancake mix and any other dry ingredients into the rice cooker pot and make a well in the center of the dry mix.
In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together the wet ingredients (as noted on the packet mix). Pour the wet mix into the well formed by the dry ingredients in the rice cooker pot. Slowly fold in the ingredients and mix until smooth, thick, and creamy in consistency.
COOKING TIP: some recipes say to toss all the ingredients – dry and wet – into the rice cooker and mix together. I’ve tried both ways. You get a much smoother pancake with less lumps if you mix dry and wet separately and then combine slowly.
Make sure not to overfill the inner pot. The batter should not reach past the halfway point since the pancake will rise when cooking.
Close the lid and start your rice cooker, as if cooking a standard pot of white rice. Depending on the size and power of your rice cooker, it may take up to 45 minutes to cook. Better still, if your rice cooker has a timer, set it to cook for 45 minutes.
When done, the thick pancake should be firm to touch and a toothpick inserted will come out clean. If done right, the cake will look like a smooth curling stone. It may be pale and a little moist from the condensation. If it’s a wet gooey mess, then try cooking it for another cycle or leave it on the warm setting until it’s done. Your first attempt at this recipe could be a bit hit and miss, but don’t give up!
Let the pancake cool slightly before flipping it over onto a serving plate. The top should have an even brown surface.
Serve with your favorite topping – maple syrup, strawberries and cream or sugar and lemon juice.