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How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer

You can use a rice cooker as a steamer in two efficient ways. Now, the rice cooker itself can be turned into a steamer with a little bit of finesse. Or you could take a steamer which comes with many cookers and use it to steam rice or other food items.

Either way, this is absolutely doable and the results will be pleasing. But to get there, you need to follow the specific instructions of the manufacturer because each model is different in its specifications.

Sometimes, you will have to take the basic instructions and play around a little with the settings till you figure out what works best for you. Let’s take a closer look at it. 

How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer

Rice And Veggies

Typically, you can steam vegetables with rice and it still takes only 5 to 15 minutes for them to be steamed. Of course, that is a ballpark and the actual time depends on the actual vegetable and how much food is already in the rice cooker.

If the items all take the same amount of time to steam, it becomes really easy and you can do it along with rice.

Meat Or Fish

If you are trying to steam fish or meat, that’s a different thing because they take relatively more time. It is important to remember that if your meat is undercooked, it can lead to a case of food poisoning.

This is particularly true for items like chicken. So, you must make sure that the temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to cook till the juices are clear and the meat is white in color. If you are cooking pork or beef, you must make sure that the temperature is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best way to ensure safety is to cut your meat into pieces and poke it with a fork to make sure it is completely cooked. If that does not satisfy you, you can get a thermometer meant specifically for meat and monitor the temperature.

While you are at it, you should also keep an eye on the clock and make sure that you are not removing the meat from the rice cooker prematurely. 

Now, if you are not mixing multiple items and cooking rice or meat or veggies as a solo item, you must make sure that you add water to the inner pot of the rice cooker before you turn it on.

Make sure the water boils before you place the vegetables or meat into the cooker. Then you put the item on the tray of the steam and place it on the inner pot. Finally, put the lid on and cook them for the specified amount of time.

If you are cooking one of these items with rice, you can place them in the steamer basket and place the basket on top of the pot which has the rice in it. The rice will usually be done in about 35 minutes. So, you must monitor what’s happening in there, otherwise your rice might turn into mush.

With A Steamer Basket

If you have a rice cooker that comes with a steamer tray or basket, well, you are in luck because that takes care of the problem. You can use your rice cooker to steam all sorts of things, including meat and veggies. And here’s how you do it safely.

You must look at the rice cooker’s instruction manual to know how much water needs to be added to the cooker. Then you place the veggies or meat on the basket and place it on top of the layer of water. Cover the item to be steamed with a lid.

Depending on the model of the rice cooker, it might just be a matter of pushing one button here. Once you are done, you should unplug your rice cooker.

If you have a model that has a menu, you will need to navigate the up and down buttons to get to the steaming option. This is usually aligned with a timer at one-minute increments.

If your rice cooker has a special button for steaming alone, you should press that as many times as directed to adjust the timer. Typically, there will be a chart that tells you the right amount of time for different food items.

It will also tell you if you need to press a start button at the end of this journey or if the rice cooker will take care of it from thereon.

When the timer starts, the unit will boil and start the process of steaming the food item.

Without A Steamer Basket

If your rice cooker does not have a steamer basket, you should find a small container that will fit into the cooker. Place your veggies or meat in that container and cover it with a foil or a plate as a lid.

Another option is to use a colander and place it along the water in the rice cooker which will help your veggies steam. Just remember to keep a lid on it. And since the temperatures in the rice cooker will be high, remember not to use plastic or glass for this purpose.

If you want to steam delicate veggies like greens, you can do them with the rice. You just need to place them in a separate container and place them on top of the rice.


How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer: Summing Up

It’s also important to remember that when you take them out, you need to wear oven mitts or hold the container with a thick cloth because it will be very hot.

Chef Matty
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