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Why Use A Rice Cooker?

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 29, 2024

Why use a rice cooker? Rice cookers can give you the perfect pot of rice for your meal (or even the next few meals, depending on how much you cook). You can also use the rice cooker to cook other kinds of food besides the rice itself.

Through this guide, you can learn more about rice cookers, how they work, why you should use one and how to pick the best possible rice cooker for yourself.

How Does A Rice Cooker Work?

It’s actually quite simple. The rice cooker looks like a pot but tends to work electrically by connecting a wire to a socket nearby, ensuring that you do not have to work with your stove.

All you have to do is open the lid, add some rice and water and select the appropriate setting to get the rice to start cooking. This also applies to other foods since many rice cookers have separate settings and buttons that allow you to cook the food easily.

The rice cooker will also help ensure that you do not overcook or burn the food since it has an internal thermostat that can allow it to determine the cooking extent of the rice once the water gets soaked up.

Once the cooking process is done, you can keep the rice in the cooker to keep it warm until you want to use it. Depending on the kind of cooker you are using and what you have cooked, you can keep the food safely inside the cooker for several hours.


Why You Should Use A Rice Cooker

Rice cookers are ideal for cooking rice or other food without needing to control the heat and settings or watch over the cooking process. Let’s take a look at some advantages of using a rice cooker below so that you can get a better idea.

Cooking Rice Perfectly

Rice cookers are, as the name suggests, primarily designed to cook rice. In fact, in various East and Southeast Asian countries and cultures, a rice cooker is a staple part of the kitchen, given the perfection you can achieve when cooking rice. It’s no wonder Asian rice cookers are among the best you will find!

If you cook rice in a pot or even a pressure cooker, you will still need to use your stove and keep tweaking the heat or gas pressure throughout the cooking process, not to mention that you will also need to get the water quantity accurate.

The amount of time required for this is quite precise, requiring you to keep track of the time at all times. Even then, it is possible for the rice to be overcooked or undercooked or for the texture to be still lacking in some ways.

why use a rice cooker? cooked white rice in a bowl

In contrast, using a rice cooker only requires you to measure the rice and water, rinse out the rice, add them to the cooker (along with other required ingredients), turn the power on, press a button and wait for the signal that your rice is done. Even if you leave it on longer, the cooker will stop cooking the rice and keep it warm.

This can be a great addition, especially if you cook rice and rice dishes frequently.

Convenience

The convenience and ease of using a rice cooker make these appliances so popular not only among the cultures they originated in but also in other parts of the world.

Considering that you can leave the rice or other food to cook out thoroughly in the rice cooker without needing to check on it or even needing to adjust the settings and heat level can help save you plenty of time in between to either cook the rest of your meal or carry out other tasks.

Even those who are not experts in cooking rice can learn the process (which is just figuring out the measurements and pressing a button).

Even if you overdo it with the water quantity, you can rely on the rice cooker to correct you.

Additionally, suppose you happen to have insufficient stovetop space in your kitchen and cannot manage to multitask. In that case, a rice cooker can be handy since you can plug it in wherever there is a socket and leave it to cook the food on its own.

Multiple Functions

Apart from cooking rice, a rice cooker (like this one) can help you cook various other things, especially more modern ones with settings or buttons for different dishes. For instance, you can boil eggs, make instant noodles, gravy or curry, make a cake, prepare cereal or porridge and lots more.

Simply tossing all the ingredients in the rice cooker and selecting the right button, you can leave the cooking to this appliance and eat it when it’s ready.

If your rice cooker only has a single button, you can still manage to carry out the cooking process, although it might help to open it up once or twice to ensure that everything is cooking well.

Maintaining Warmth

Once your food is done cooking, you do not need to worry about immediately turning the rice cooker off or even reheating it if you want to eat it a few hours later.

Instead, the cooker will automatically indicate that the cooking process is over, shifting to a warming process or setting where it will maintain the temperature of the food. This way, you can leave the food in the rice cooker for several hours and turn it off when you finally want to eat.

stylised multi-coloured rice cooker

Even if you take a small portion for one meal, you can leave the rest to keep warm until you want to eat it next, but make sure you check the warming limit in the instructions of your particular model of rice cooker.

Safety

Rice cookers are quite safe to use, even more so than pots or stovetop cookware. This is not only because you do not need to use the stove but also because they can detect when the cooking process is complete, allowing them to switch to a warming setting.

Moreover, even if you forget to turn the power off, many rice cookers have an auto switch-off function that can turn the appliance off if required. The lid can also keep the food from spilling over.

Of course, you should still ensure that you stick to the rice cooker’s capacity and check the labels properly to ensure that you do your bit, too.

Easy Maintenance

Maintenance of the rice cooker is quite simple as well. You do not need to concern yourself with the rice clinging to the base or leaving burns behind since rice cookers are non-stick appliances.

Once the rice cooker is empty, you can keep it uncovered and air it out to let the heat escape, after which you can use a soft sponge or cloth and some dish soap to clean it up.

If your rice cooker is compatible with your dishwasher, remove the insert and place it in the dishwasher while wiping the external frame with a damp cloth.


How To Choose The Best Rice Cooker

It is essential to choose the right kind of rice cooker for yourself. Take your own requirements into account and keep the following factors in mind:

  • Size: Rice cookers come in various sizes, so if you want to cook plenty of rice at once, opt for larger capacities to let you cook several cups of rice in one go.
  • Brand: Choose a reliable and reputed brand. Check the instructions and labels properly and ensure you know the warranty policy.
  • Functions: Multiple functions and cooking settings can give you more versatility in what you can cook instead of a single button.
  • Cost: Rice cookers can be anywhere between $20 and $200. Of course, what these will give you will differ along with the brand you opt for.

Why Use A Rice Cooker? Summing Up

Rice cookers can cook your rice efficiently and with absolute perfection without you needing to monitor the process or control the settings. They can also allow you to cook other foods, are easy to use and maintain, can help retain the warmth of your food and are extremely safe to use.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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