How to Cook White Rice in a Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is a must-have kitchen gadget for rice fans. This convenient appliance makes cooking perfect rice about as easy as it gets, and it does it every single time.



Photo by: BNR


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Before we even get started, do yourself a favor and break out your rice cooker's manual. Yes, we know you hate reading instruction manuals, but cookers can vary here and there, even within a single brand's lineup, and a seemingly simple oversight might spell doom for your hotly anticipated meal, or worse, a kitchen disaster. Read up, then follow general cooker and ingredient ratios.

How does it work?

The rice cooker does its thing in a sealed environment to rapidly bring the liquid included in the recipe to a boil. It does this by reducing air pressure above the liquid, thus encouraging it to boil faster. A sensor inside the cooker monitors heat, and when it gets above 212 degrees F (water's boiling point), the rice has fully absorbed all the liquid and the cooker automatically dials down to a warm temperature setting.

The traditional rice cooker ratio is 1:1, meaning 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water. The same ratio applies to larger batches, and while it can be used with smaller amounts as well, the water doesn't absorb at the same rate, which might affect your end result. You'll have to play around a little with the cooker, using your manual's guidelines, to see what works best with different recipes and for your individual needs.

All rice types are not created equal

On the surface, one rice variety might appear the same as the next one, but in fact, different strains of rice possess unique textures that will produce much different results. Short-grain rice varieties, such as Arborio and sticky rice, have grains that tend to stick together when cooking. These varieties usually are not as fluffy as some others.

Long-grain rice, on the other hand, has grains that typically do not stick together and ends up fluffier. Medium-grain rice is a mixture of both types: fluffy, but with a stickier texture.

How to do it

The first step is simple: Rinse the rice under running water to wash off any excess starch, which will make the rice less sticky. Cook per instructions, and when the rice is done, let it rest, covered, for 10 to 13 minutes. This step allows the cooker to cook off any remaining steam and gives you fluffy, tasty rice.

After you've removed all the rice from the cooker and shut it off, leave the lid open to help things dry out inside. Once the cooking pot is cool to the touch, brush off any remaining rice and wipe the inside clean. If the pot of your cooker has a nonstick cooking surface, don't use any kind of metal utensils to clean it, as they can easily scratch it.

Recipes using white rice:

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