What types of rice cookers are there?
There are three general types of rice cookers: basic models, fuzzy logic models, and induction heating models.
What is a basic rice cooker?
A basic rice cooker will usually have an on/off switch and settings to choose from white or brown rice, and that’s about all. They are the least expensive type of rice cooker available and good for anyone who wants to make basic rice dishes without the hassle of preparing rice on the stove. In general, basic rice cookers are good for white and brown rice only, and don’t perform well for specialty or wild rice.
What is a fuzzy logic rice cooker?
A fuzzy logic rice cooker offers a greater range of rice varieties you can prepare. Fuzzy logic rice cookers automatically monitor the heat inside the model and will adjust the temperature and cooking time to deliver ideal rice preparation for a plethora of options. You can prepare sticky rice for sushi or wild rice easily; some high-end fuzzy logic models also offer soup and porridge settings and can be adjusted to fit the rice’s desire texture. They are more expensive than basic rice cookers but are a must-have for anyone who wants to create a plethora of rice dishes using different types of rice.
What is an induction heating rice cooker?
An induction heat rice cooker is the highest-grade rice cooker you can purchase and delivers perfect, evenly cooked rice even if you make a measuring error. They are the most expensive type of rice cookers available but offer the highest quality preparation.
How much space does a rice cooker take up?
A rice cooker generally doesn’t use much space at all and can fit even in very small kitchens. To save space, consider buying a rice cooker that includes a steamer basket for a two-in-one cooker.
Can I prepare anything besides rice in a rice cooker?
Depends. Most models, like the Instant Pot IP-LUX60, can be used as a rice cooker or a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or browner, which gives you a wide range of cooking options that extends far beyond just rice recipes.
How big of a rice cooker should I get?
Generally, rice cookers can accommodate anywhere from 3 to 10 cups of rice at a time. If you plan on cooking a lot of big meals, opt for a larger, 8-10 cup model. For a family of four, 5-7 cups should be sufficient. If you live alone or with one other person, you can easily make enough rice with the smaller 3-cup models. If you purchase a smaller model, make sure not to overfill it or you could have a huge mess to clean up and possibly even damage it. Remember that 1 cup of uncooked rice will usually yield 1.5 to 2 cups of cooked rice.
How quickly will a rice cooker prepare rice?
Generally, preparing rice in a rice cooker will take a little bit less than the amount of time needed to prepare rice on the stove. The major benefit of a rice cooker is that it takes the guesswork out of preparing rice so that you never end up with under- or over-cooked rice. Some rice cookers do offer quick cooking settings that can speed up the rice-making process for a fast, easy meal.
What features should I look for in a rice cooker?
Some good features to have in a rice cooker include keep-warm settings, a steaming tray or basket, a timer, and a clear glass or plastic lid.
What are keep-warm settings?
Keep-warm settings are available on most mid- to high-quality rice cookers and will automatically switch the heat level after the rice has been cooked so that it stays warm until you’re ready to eat it. This is helpful because you can set the rice cooker and walk away, and you don’t need to worry about timing it exactly to be ready for dinner. No one likes to eat cold rice, so keep-warm settings can be a huge benefit.
What are the benefits of a steaming tray or basket?
Rice cookers that come with steaming trays or baskets allow you to steam vegetables or meat while the rice is cooking; this is a great time and space saver. Depending on the model, you can either steam vegetable and meat simultaneously with the rice, or prepare them quickly after the rice has finished. For example, with some Aroma models you can prepare a full dinner at one time, and you can save space on your stovetop to prepare other dishes while the rice, vegetables, and/or meat are being prepared on the rice cooker.
Why is having a delay timer beneficial?
With a delay timer, you can fill the rice cooker in the morning, set it to begin at the desired time, and come home to already-cooked rice that is ready to eat. This can save you a lot of the hassle of cooking after a long day of work. A delay timer is available on many high-end Instant Pot and Zojirushi models.
What are the benefits of having a clear lid?
The most basic, inexpensive rice cookers will have a metal lid. Having a clear glass or plastic lid makes it easier for you to check on the rice as it cooks and make sure that everything is going smoothly. Otherwise, you will have to lift the lid, which will release a lot of the heat and make cooking time longer or leave you with undercooked rice.
How is clean-up?
For easy clean up, look for stainless steel and non-stick rice cookers. Cooked rice tends to stick, so unless you want to spend a lot of time scrubbing the sides of your rice maker, it would be best to invest in a nonstick model. Some rice cookers are even dishwasher safe for easier cleaning.
How much should I spend on a rice cooker?
Rice cookers can range in price from as little as $20 to as much as $200 or more. How much you should spend will depend on what type of quality you are looking for; if you just need to make the occasional batch of white rice, you can look for lower-priced models. If you want the versatility to make a range of rice dishes, look for a more expensive fuzzy logic or induction heat model.
What kind of rice can I make in a rice cooker?
Depending on the type of rice cooker you purchase, you can make any type of rice you desire. From white to brown rice to more specialty varieties like jasmine, saffron, basmati, yellow rice, and wild rice. You can even prepare unique varieties like Thai purple rice, Chinese black rice, and Himalayan red rice, and you can prepare short- or long-grain rice as well.
What kind of dishes can I prepare with a rice cooker?
Depending on the type of rice cooker you purchase, you can make any number of rice dishes. You can prepare sushi or Thai sticky rice, make a wild rice pilaf, or create Italian rice balls. You can also use a rice cooker to prepare dishes like red beans and rice, chicken and rice soup, curried rice, and jambalaya. Make a side dish to complement your family’s evening meal, or prepare special rice-centric entrees and stews. You can also make porridge if your rice cooker has a porridge setting, available on many Zojirushi models.