This page provides helpful rice cooker instructions, rice cooker directions (measuring, cooking, etc.) along with various rice cooker help on selecting the right model for you and your household.
Page Topics Included:
- Working With a Rice Cooker
- Help & Tips to Avoid Overspill and Rice Crusting
- Selecting the Right Rice Cooker
How to Use a Rice Cooker
The first thing to note is that there are 2 main types of rice cookers, basic and micro-computerized.
Basic models simply boil the rice until a special temperature sensor determines that there is little to no water left in the inner bowl. Such models lead to an average quality bowl of rice that is very similar to the standards of cooking on a normal stove top.
Micro-computerized units are more elite and use advanced technology (known as Fuzzy Logic) to monitor how the rice is cooking, making fine adjustments along the way resulting in a more perfected meal.
Furthermore, these rice cookers are programmed to specifically cook several rice varieties such as brown, mixed, sushi, etc.
But no matter what type you go with, there are several main things to keep in mind for best results:
- Measuring Correctly!
- Adding the right mixture of butter or oil (optional)
- Soaking the raw and Steaming the cooked
Let’s start with the more important of our rice cooker instructions which is measuring.
Many folks seem to confuse their measurements regarding cup sizes when using their rice cooker for the first time.
Most, if not all rice cookers come with a special measuring cup for measuring the raw rice cup capacity. Keep in mind that these “cups” are not standard U.S. cup measurements and add up to less when compared.
Along with the included cup should be a water level gauge inside the inner bowl that comes with the unit. These levels are for measuring the water to rice ratio after the raw rice has been added to the bowl.
So, for example, let’s say that folks want to prepare 2 cups of regular white rice. First they will measure 2 raw cups of rice using the included measuring cup and pour in the bowl. Second, is they will measure up to the “2 cup” water level located inside of the inner bowl.
These are the fixed rice cooker instructions & standard measurements specified by the manufacture(s). However, adding more or less water to the rice is optional for personal desired rice texture. Also, expect some trial and error when cooking or experimenting with other rice varieties such as brown, jasmine, mixed, wild, etc.
Another very common misconception or misunderstanding we want to clear up is the uncooked to cooked cup ratio.
Many believe, label, and/or state that 1 cup of raw rice equals 2 cups of cooked rice. This is incorrect!
The correct ratio is: 1 cup uncooked rice = approx. 3 cups cooked rice. A little more or less depending on the grain type, texture, and variety.
Second on our rice cooker directions list is knowing the right amount of butter or cooking oil you may add to the rice. Remember that adding too much butter (in some cases cooking oil) can lead to undercooked rice since it absorbs some water.
To counter that, you will need to measure more water for every cup of raw rice you add butter to. This may take some experimenting to get just right! However, it is in our experience that using extra virgin olive oil produces easier, healthier, and better tasting results.
And why would you want to add butter or oil in the first place? We explain more in the rice cooker instructions below…
Our Third tip is to allow the raw rice to soak for several minutes before you start the cooking process. Rinsing your rice before soaking is optional but recommended.
After the rice is finished cooking, it is best to allow it to simmer and steam for at least 10 minutes before serving. Steaming the rice produces a fluffier and sometimes more “sticky” texture. It also helps for enhancing flavor.
When using a Basic Rice Cooker
White Rice: Soak for 10 to 15 minutes | Steam for 15 to 25 minutes or longer.
Brown Rice: Soak for 20 to 30 minutes | Steam for 5 to 15 minutes, (any longer and the rice may start to dry and/or discolor and even may develop a funny odor).
*Please note that most if not all micro-computerized units already have the soaking time automatically programmed for the selected variety. Still steam as mentioned.
Rice Cooker Instructions for Avoiding Overspill and Rice Crusting
With most removable top lid basic “rapid-boil-style” rice cookers there is a common complaint regardless of the brand…OVERSPILL!
The cause of this hassle is a small steam vent hole that allows excess pressure to build up inside the bowl causing the starchy water to bubble and eventually spill over.
To help avoid this, here are two things you can try:
1) the most practical is to not use the lid and replace with aluminum foil as a temporary lid when cooking. This will allow a better flow of steam and pressure to escape; (you may have to add a little extra water to make up for the excess rapid evaporation when using this method).
*And please use Caution!
2) should folks prefer to stick with the original top lid, add some chicken seasoning (we recommend non MSG) to the water along with some cooking oil such as olive or canola oil which helps break up the starch bubbling. Butter helps too, but as mention above, do not add too much.
Update!: We have found that adding powered or cubed seasoning does contribute to more rice crusting on bottom layer.
Rice Cooker Instructions for Crusting Issues
Common with all basic rice cookers, and even some lesser micro-computerized units, is rice crusting.
This happens when the temperature sensor that detects there is little water left switches into the keep warm mode, in combination with the heating element taking time to cool down.
The result is some crusting on the bottom layer of rice similar to the way it may occur when cooking rice in a pan on a stove top, and as updated above seems to crust even more when adding powered or cubed seasoning.
Although we haven’t found this to be a huge complaint, we offer some rice cooker instructions for folks wishing to help avoid this issue.
Simply monitor the rice until you see that there is very little water left, (top layer of rice should have several holes or “craters”) and manually switch your rice cooker to the keep warm mode and give a quick stir. That is pretty much all one can do.
Unless you want to purchase a more expensive micro-computerized model.
Selecting the Right Rice Cooker
Last on our rice cooker instructions page, and as mentioned on the Home Page, are some quick buying tips to keep in mind before making your final selection:
Quick Buying Tips
1) Do not over-spend! Although more expensive models may seem attractive, ask yourself how often you will be using it.
2) How much counter space can you spare? Do your measurements before purchasing…some models can be quite large depending on cup size/capacity. Also pick a spot that is close to an outlet.
3) How many people do you cook rice for? Use your answer to determine your rice cooker cup capacity. Units range from 3 cups to 10 cups, (9 to 30 cups cooked).
4) Do you like steamed vegetables, shrimp, or chicken? Some models come with a steamer basket, and depending on the model will allow for simultaneous steaming. Some even offer slow cooking benefits!
5) How long does it take you to complete a meal? We state this since some rice cooker units can take over an hour or longer to make that perfect portion (especially with brown rice). Synchronize your separate food cooking times along with the unit.
6) Will your new appliance fit the decor of your kitchen?
7) What types of rice do you usually cook? As we mentioned before there are units that are better for cooking different varieties since they offer specific settings for each. Always keep in mind that there is a slight learning curve using any rice cooker to get the perfect batch of your liking!