You’ve been running around all day, and now you need to prepare dinner for you and your family. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. On busy days like these, being able to whip up something quick but nutritious can be a real bonus. That’s where a rice cooker comes in. Rice makes for a healthy, but simple, addition to a meal. And a rice cooker will ensure that you get it just right! No more burnt rice sticking to your pot. Instead, you’ll get a good meal along with some much-needed time to relax. So how does a rice cooker work?
A rice cooker is a special kitchen appliance that lets you prepare any kind of rice quickly and easily. Most rice cookers work by boiling water that is then absorbed by the rice grains until they’re cooked. One of the best features of a rice cooker is that it comes with inner surfaces that aren’t sticky.
Rice cookers can seem a little daunting to use at first. You may have many questions, such as how much water should I add? And what is the correct number of cups to add? Here’s a little how-to guide to prepare a perfectly cooked batch of rice using your cooker.
What you’ll need:
- Rice cooker
- Measuring cup
- Sifter or Strainer
- Measure and then rinse the rice.
Let’s learn the basics of how to use a rice cooker. Use a measuring cup for the amount of rice you need to prepare. Generally, a cup of rice will give you between 1.5 and 3 cups of cooked rice depending on the type of grain. Many rice cookers include clear instructions on how many cups of rice you should add.
Rinsing rice gets rid of excess starch. It’s not always necessary, but it can be a good idea. With so many different variants of rice available, it’s best to check the packaging to make sure that you’re preparing it correctly. Place your rice in a sifter or strainer and rinse it under cold water for 30 seconds.
- Add the rice to the cooker.
When you’ve measured and washed your rice, it’s time to add it to the cooker bowl. However, some people prefer to soak their rice for 30 minutes before adding it to the appliance.
- How much water do you add to a rice cooker?
When using your rice cooker, how much water do you need? Your rice cooker will usually provide instructions on how much water you need to add for each cup of rice. In many cases, white rice (short to long grain), jasmine and basmati rice require 1.5 cups of water for every cup of rice, while brown rice needs 2 cups of water.
After you’ve measured out the right amount, simply add it to the bowl on top of the rice. Try not to stir the water as that may release more starch.
- How do you cook the rice?
When you’re done, simply close the lid and turn on the cooker. Simple rice cookers will operate at a set time so it’s important that you’ve measured out the correct water-to-grain ratio. There are more advanced models that allow you to choose the type of rice and cook it according to these settings. Now just let it to cook. The appliance should turn off automatically when the rice is done.
- How long does cooking rice in a rice cooker take?
The rice cooker will turn off automatically when done. It can take between 15 minutes to one hour to cook rice this way. When done, the appliance usually switches to a ‘keep warm’ mode to make sure that your rice doesn’t go cold until you’re ready to serve it.
- Season, serve and clean up.
When you’re ready to serve up the rice, just fluff it a little and add any of your preferred seasonings. You could also transfer it to a pan to fry with other ingredients.
Cleaning a rice cooker is easy. Most bowls are dishwasher safe. But it’s best to check the instructions that came with your appliance first.
One of the main advantages of using rice cookers is that they’re completely automated. That means they will free you up to do other things, like preparing the vegetables or even taking some time to unwind. At the same time, they free up space on the stove because you no longer need to use additional pots to boil the rice. Once the rice is cooked, rice cookers switch off automatically and keep the rice warm. They’re quick and easy to use, and rice is often ready to be served within just 30 minutes. Plus, the non-stick surface on the inside means that the appliances are also much easier to clean compared to boiling rice using a pot.
Now that you know how to use a rice cooker, what do you do with the rice you have left over? Check out more of our tips—for example, how to freeze rice —and sign up for other tips online.