A rice cooker, also known as a rice steamer, is a popular small appliance that works like a slow cooker by using moist heat to cook food while trapping the flavors in the pot until it’s ready to enjoy. Modern rice pressure cookers significantly reduce rice-making time and often feature a warming setting so you can be flexible with meal times. Additional features include a removable pot, non-stick interior, and safety features like a cool-to-the-touch exterior, locking lid and auto shut-off for peace of mind. A timer and delayed-start feature can assist with overall meal planning.
Finding the best rice cooker for your kitchen.
To select the best rice cooker for your needs, consider how much food you typically prepare. The capacity of a rice cooker refers to the number of cups of dry rice it can accommodate, which results in a greater volume of rice once cooked. If you’ll be making enough for a family or think you might use the rice cooker to prepare foods other than rice, you should buy a larger-capacity model, but if you’ll be cooking for one, a mini rice cooker should be sufficient. When searching for the right rice maker, consider where you're going to store it to help determine what size you should buy. A small rice cooker might fit nicely on the counter and may even complement your other kitchen gadgets and décor. For instance, if you select a stainless steel rice cooker, it could pair nicely with a matching air fryer, coffee maker or toaster. For models larger than a 3-cup rice cooker, it might be best to store them out of sight in a pantry or nearby closet.
Surprising uses for your rice cooker.
Did you know a rice cooker can prepare other grains like oats, grits, quinoa, rice pilaf, risotto, polenta and wheat berries? It can also help make a variety of dishes and meals. If you’re fond of steamed vegetables, fish and other foods, a rice steamer appliance has the capability to cook these dishes too. You can also select a rice cooker without this feature and get a separate steamer to handle that part of the meal. Another appliance that goes well with your rice maker is a food processor that comes in handy when creating sauces that add a finishing touch to your meal. Whether you picked out your new rice pressure cooker or you received it as the perfect foodie gift, you’ll find that you can use it to prepare favorite breakfast foods like eggs, frittatas and oatmeal; lunch and dinner staples like mac and cheese, beans and soups; and even delicious desserts like puddings, banana bread and cheesecake.