Tips on How to Use a Rice Cooker

by Amy Chang

Tips on How to Use a Rice Cooker (4)No matter how hard we try, many of us cannot cook rice well on the stove. Electric rice cookers offer a practically fool-proof method of preparing rice to the perfect texture and consistency when used correctly. There are many styles and types of rice cookers so it is important to read the manufacturers’ manual before use.

  1. Generally, rice cookers use the same 2:1 ratio of water to rice as conventional cooking. Most rice cookers come with a measuring cup that is specific to that model and brand which may or may not be equal to the standard 8 ounce measurement. It is important to use the cup that comes with the rice cooker and follow the instructions for measurement exactly.

  3. Although opinions generally vary on the prudence of rinsing rice when cooking it on the stove, it is highly recommended that it be rinsed when using a rice cooker. Rinsed rice will produce less liquid starch which can render the rice mushy when sitting for a long period of time.

  5. Spraying the inner bowl with non-stick cooking oil will help ensure perfect texture and prevent long cooking rice from adhering to the sides and bottom.

  7. Once the rice cooker has been started in the cooking mode, it needs to complete the cycle for best results. It is never left to the user to determine the timing or consider the amount of rice being cooked in order judge doneness.

  9. Most rice cookers take more time to cook the rice than on the stove. For this reason it is best to take advantage of the programmable features of the appliance. Let the rice cooker work while away from home for evening meals or during the night for breakfast dishes. Since most rice cookers have a “keep warm” function that automatically engages once the rice is cooked, there is no need to worry about burning or over-cooking.

Many rice cookers also function as steamers for other foods. Although this is a useful and practical feature, there are a few things to keep in mind when taking advantage of this additional use.


  • Poultry and fish are the best proteins to steam. Generally, steamers do not provide temperatures high enough to cook pork, lamb or beef.

  • Steaming vegetables is a valuable function of the rice cooker/steamer but certain vegetables do not fare as well with the prolonged cooking time. Porous vegetables such as squash and mushrooms can become soggy and unappetizing when steamed for too long. Choose hearty vegetables for steaming like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots for best results.

To get the most out of a rice cooker, find a cookbook or collection of recipes online that specifically work with the model owned or similar types.