What Rice Can You Cook In a Rice Cooker
If you’re a big fan of rice – whether it’s basmati, white rice, brown rice or short grain – you may well have thought about investing in your own rice cooker. However, to some people, using a rice cooker might not seem like it’s too beneficial. After all, can’t you just make sure you use the right amount of water – well, a rice and water ratio – in a pan on the cooktop
You’d think that this is easy enough, but anyone who has ever cooked and prepared rice this way before will tell you that it’s a pretty precise science! That’s why many people look for rice cookers. They help you to cook rice of all kinds to absolute perfection. Getting that rice and water ratio down pat is never easy every time. We’re sure you’ve got the whole water business spot on a couple of times in the pan, but there’s plenty of benefits to using a rice cooker instead.
In this guide, we’re going to be looking at what you need to know about rice cookers and rice cooking. Which types of rice can you actually use in standalone cookers and systems? Which tend to work best? What’s more – what actually are the benefits of using rice cooking in the first place?
Table of Contents
What Rice is Best in a Rice Cooker?
There is no one type of rice which is going to ‘work best’ in a rice cooker. You can really get the best out of all kinds of rice from a pan or otherwise providing you know what you’re doing with water levels, minutes left on your timer, etc.
However, the reason why so many people use a rice cooker at all is for the sheer ease of use. We’ll have a separate guide on why you might want to invest in a rice cooker at all, but let’s keep things simple in the here and now.
The fact is, most rice will cook better in a rice cooker than you can expect to stir up in a pan. It’s generally easier to just set a rice cooker going, simply because it’ll do all the hard work for you. Yes – you are still going to need to get your measuring cup out and actively measure the rice you want to use, and if you want to fluff the rice, you’ll need to wash the rice, too.
However, the rice cooker you use will generally take on the lion’s share of the work from here. It should be pretty easy to work out how much water you need from a manual you’re provided with, and if not, there are plenty of great guides on rice cooking – and using rice cookers – to be found on the web.
Therefore, to cut a long story short – you can cook brown rice, long grain rice, short grain rice, basmati, you name it – they should all work wonderfully well in your rice cooker, providing you follow the instructions!
What Rice Can I Cook in a Rice Cooker?
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If you already know one or two things about rice, you’ll understand that it is more than just a tasty side dish or filler item on your plate. It comes in many, many different varieties, such as in colour and in terms of composition. You can add size to the pile, too, as the minutes it’ll take to cook one size of rice grain in your rice cooker may well vary to the next.
You can normally split rice into three different sizes, or lengths. These are short grain, medium grain and long grain rice. You’ll find that you can get all kinds of rice colours in these sizes and lengths, too, meaning you’re looking at a near unlimited amount of rice choice. That’s where things really start to get tricky!
So – which size of rice is likely to be best for you? The shorter the cooker rice, the softer it’s going to be. Therefore, long grain white rice, for example, is generally going to be harder and drier than other sizes, providing you use the right amount of water.
Short grain white rice, brown rice and otherwise will generally be softer and might even be sticky, and this will certainly be the case when it comes to using a rice cooker and as much water as you need to get them to perfection.
As you might have guessed, medium grain rice in any kind is going to be your midway option – the ‘goldilocks choice’, if you will! This rice size is going to be pretty tender on the whole, and somewhat sticky. It’s a good choice for your rice cooker if you are really unsure, or if it’s your first time trying to cook rice at all. Experiment and have a look around at what’s available!
Another key way in which rice is split up is into colour. You can cook rice of any colour or style in your rice cooker, meaning that, again, providing you add the right amount of water to rice you want to eat, there’s no reason why you can’t come up with tasty results.
You’ll generally find that white rice is pretty common on the whole. It’s pretty carby, however, and doesn’t tend to be that rich in terms of protein or any of the ‘good stuff’. Much like bread, that’s where the brown variety comes in very handy.
Brown rice tends to be the go-to if you wanted cooked rice that’s crammed with nutrients, which is high in protein, and which is going to make your feel less guilty when adding it alongside meat and/or vegetables. It’s also one of the most difficult rice types to cook. Brown rice is going to take longer than most varieties to cook in full, meaning a rice cooker is going to be a great asset. All you have to do is add water and let your rice cooker get to work, it really couldn’t be much simpler!
You might also come across black rice. This is a less common type of rice which, again, you can put to great use in a rice cooker. Like brown rice, this tends to be a grain type that’s rich in all kinds of nutrients, making it one of the healthier choices when it comes to cooked rice on the whole.
Of course, cooked rice is only going to be as healthy as you make it. If you just add water to rice and don’t throw in any oil or salt, then you’re going to be giving your cooker the best shot at a healthy dish. However, load your rice up with nasty little extras and you’re going to be doing yourself no favours whatsoever. Why spoil the taste and nutritional benefits of brown or black rice?
Rather than going through and breaking down every single different type of rice you can cook in a rice cooker, let’s split things down further by considering starch content. This might not be something you always think about looking into before you use any kind of rice cooker, however, the type of starch in the rice you choose is going to affect how your rice cooks. Do you want your rice nice and fluffy? If not, you’re going to need to make time to read the ingredients carefully on your rice packet. You might ensure your rice is perfectly cooked, but if you don’t take the time to narrow down your search, making rice of any kind in a rice cooker is going to be a wasted journey for you.
Are you looking for firm rice without any of the stickiness? You’re going to want to look for amylose. This type of starch is great if you like fluffiness, and want to avoid any of the stickiness that generally arrives with some Chinese dishes. However, it remains to be said that many people prefer the sticky side of rice!
Therefore, you’re going to need to look carefully for amylopectin. This is a type of rice starch that’s going to make your rice particularly pliant in a rice cooker, meaning that you’ll end up with a great side for Chinese and other eastern dishes, as well as for desserts and puddings.
Make time to read the ingredients of your rice first before you get anywhere near cooking. No matter the type of rice you cook, and no matter how much water you throw in, starch is always going to dictate the end results.
If you care about cooking the perfect rice in any kind of rice cooker, you’ll want to look carefully at all the details!
How Many Cups of Rice Can You Cook in a Rice Cooker?
How Does A Rice Cooker Know When the Rice is Done?
Can a Rice Cooker Be Left On Over Night?
Generally, yes. This is because the average modern rice cooker will have safety functionality, allowing you to keep your cooked rice warm once it’s finished cooking. When you cook rice in a rice cooker, you are essentially leaving your system to do its business – meaning that it will turn off when it’s done. This is a fantastic function to make a point of looking for, and even some of the most basic one pot options offer it as standard!
However, you might want to consider whether or not this type of function is the best to invest in. There is the argument that the longer you leave rice on keep warm, the more flavour you are going to lose. This is regardless of whether you are using a 3 cup rice system, a 4 cup rice cooker or otherwise. It’s also regardless of how much water you put in your measuring cup, too.
Yes – it’s great to have a rice cooker that takes care of itself as well as your rice! However, whether you cook 1 cup rice or 2 cups of rice, you’re going to want to put safety first. If you really want to be careful, make a point of shutting down your rice cooker at the wall before you go to bed. Always read the rice cooker manual and listen to what the manufacturer has to say.
is it Better to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker?
Arguably, yes. While it’s really easy to cook cups of rice in a pan or pot on the hob or stove, a rice cooker is going to make rice cooking all the more easier on you. That covers the awkward water to rice ratio problems you might face from the get-go, as well as when it comes to cleaning down afterwards.
One of the best arguments for a one pot rice cooker (whether you cook 2 cups of rice, 1 cup or otherwise) is the fact that there’s no need to keep watching the pot as the water boils and bubbles. Water is essential to the rice cooking process, from when you rinse the rice first to the point of measuring out. One of the biggest risks when you cook rice and water together on the hob is losing a lot of the flavour and nutrients. There’s a risk that the more minutes you spend cooking rice in a pot, the worse the texture will be. There’s also the strong argument that rice cookers make things safer.
Use a rice cooker, and instead of taking the whole of the cooking process into your own hands, you’re essentially giving the power to your electric cooking buddy. As mentioned, regardless of the type of rice you put in rice cookers, and regardless of whether you use 1 cup or more, you can count on a rice cooker to switch off and let you know when everything is perfectly cooked.
There’s also the fact that when you use a rice cooker, you can count on there being less of a cleanup hassle afterwards. It’s really easy to get excess starch and other bits and pieces out of a rice cooker once you’re done. What’s more, there are even rice cookers out there with removable parts, making it even easier to clean things down.
Above all, rice cookers will also ensure you add the ride number of cups to your dish so that you get the water ration perfect. Water is the bane of the rice enthusiast – getting water right is absolutely crucial to getting the best flavours and textures out of the cooking, but the water rice ration conundrum is pretty tricky to get right first time.
However, every time you use a rice cooker, you can be sure that you’re getting the rice you deserve – tasty, well cooked, and to the taste you like.
How Do You Make Rice Taste Better in a Rice Cooker?
That’s easy! Before you start cooking in any kind of rice cooker, look for flavours and styles which appeal to you. You might want to cook rice that is long grain for a hard finish, or you may even want to start cooking with added vegetables and stock – you really will be surprised by what you can throw into a rice cooker. You can add all kinds of ingredients to change the flavour up.
Many people will tell you that the water rice ratio is an important factor when you make rice tasty. Of course, it really does depend on what you like in terms of texture, too. Most rice cookers will come with a measuring cup and a guide to ensure you add the right amount of water for the taste and texture you demand. If you like your rice a bit softer or fluffier than most, for example, you may need to add more water, or more time. It’s a really scientific process! Again, as advised earlier on, it’s also really important to consider excess starch, as well as the type of starch that’s in your cooker rice. You can’t rely on your water level or the rice paddle to work miracles if you’re cooking up the wrong type of starch for your tastes!
Getting into rice cooking is all about researching tastes and flavours. You can use a rice cooker to cook more than just long grain white rice and the like – add a cup of rice and a cup of vegetables for some fantastic new flavours. Add 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of water (at least) and any seasoning you like! Just ensure to read any cooking manuals that come with your appliance. You’ll get that water rice ratio down pat in no time.
Be sure to do your homework on rice and water before you start with any rice cooker – it’s not just about ratio – as to get great flavour from your rice, you might want to use water beforehand and rinse the rice before you add it to the cooker. The choice is yours!
We love rice cookers. Use a well-known brand of rice cooker and rice paddle, and you can kiss goodbye to all those water balancing problems you’ve faced when cooking on the hob. Many people put rice cooker appliance to daily use – and why not?
There are plenty of different types of rice you can use with water in a cooker – meaning that there really isn’t any harm in straying from white rice once in a while. Let your cooker do its business for 10 minutes or more, and you might well end up with some magnificent results.
Add water, white rice and anything you’d like to season with – and the results might well astound you.