Professional Rice Cookers in the Home

by Amy Chang

Professional Rice Cookers in the HomeOf all the professional restaurant kitchen appliances, rice cookers are not the most adaptable to household use. Although there are some design differences that take the need for extended warming into consideration, the commercial rice cooker and the styles made for consumer use have distinct differences and similarities.

One of the major differences between standard kitchen rice cookers and professional ones is the capacity. Professional rice cookers are designed to produce a much higher quantity of cooked rice. Their capacity can be anywhere from 10 to 55 cups, usually.

It is important for the shopper for a professional rice cooker to remember that the capacity can be in Chinese measurements which is 2 ounces less than the standard 8 ounce cup. For use in the home, the capacity may be too much. Some may also have difficulty adjusting to the different measurements.

Professional rice cookers are also available as gas or electrically powered. Many models are equipped to use either liquid petroleum such as propane or natural gas. Rice cookers that use gas usually cost hundreds of dollars more than their electric counterparts. Professional electric rice cookers generally use 110 – 120 volts. Most household kitchens can support 120 volts.

The “keep warm” feature is not as common in professional rice cookers as it is in standard ones made for home use. Separate rice warmers may be necessary for commercial use. Once the rice is cooked, it is transferred to the warmer to free the cooker up for the preparation of another batch in the commercial setting.

Professional rice cookers are not generally equipped to do anything but cook rice. Unlike most standard home use rice cookers, there will be no steamer basket and the user will not have the flexibility of preparing other dishes in the professional rice cooker.

Professional rice cookers take up more space in the kitchen than the standard consumer rice cookers. Generally standing at around 20 inches high as well as 20 inches across, these appliances can weigh up to 50 pounds.

Professional rice cookers are not only designed to prepare rice well but to prepare a lot of rice at one time. It is not impossible for the quantity of rice that these cookers can prepare to be useful in the home but the need would have to be great to justify the steep price tag in comparison to standard rice cookers.

Professional rice cookers range in price from approximately $200 to $500. Gas rice cookers being the most expensive, the cost is understandable when viewed in the context of outfitting a professional kitchen or for catering. However, most households would be better served by the smaller quantity and higher level of flexibility that the non-professional rice cookers offer.