Do You Really Need A Rice Cooker? (The Answer Is Yes.)

As a Filipino American, a rice cooker is the No. 1 equipment utilized in my home. Growing up, I’d come residence to the odor of rice cooking on the countertop, and once I moved out of my mother and father’ home it grew to become instantly obvious that I couldn’t cook dinner rice with out one. I attempted cooking rice over the range and ended up with a soggy mess, then tried making it with an Instant Pot and obtained raw grains.

The magic of a rice cooker is that you just push only one button (although fancier ones might have a number of buttons), and in 20 to 60 minutes you’ve gotten completely fluffy white or brown rice. There’s no talent required to make it, and the cooking pot doubles as a storage bowl if in case you have any leftovers.

Whether you solely eat rice a number of occasions per week or a number of occasions a day (like I did rising up), a rice cooker is a game-changer. I chatted with some skilled cooks to get their tackle the usefulness of a rice cooker (spoiler alert: it may be used for extra than simply rice) and what to search for when shopping for one.

Rice cookers vastly simplify the method of getting ready rice.

If you’re keen on consuming rice and put together it on a constant foundation, a rice cooker is a must have equipment. Instead of getting to boil water over the range, stir within the rice, cowl it and simmer (all whereas holding your eye on a timer), all you need to do is put the rice and water within the cooking pot, place it within the cooker, and press a button. There’s no have to peek below the lid to verify your warmth isn’t too excessive or low, or fear about babysitting a pot to maintain the rice on the backside from burning. It’ll even maintain your rice heat for hours after it’s performed cooking. And some variations (just like the Zojirushi in our checklist under) characteristic a delayed timer, which is able to allow you to schedule once you need your rice to cook dinner.

“I love [a rice cooker] because it takes all the guesswork out of making perfect rice,” mentioned Dale Talde, chef and proprietor of Goosefeather. “It’s a must-have appliance because even if you happen to put in too much water or not enough, it adjusts to help make perfect rice.”

For Camilla Marcus, chef and proprietor of the zero-waste cooking store west~bourne, a pot of rice turns into many issues over the course of per week. “I love that a pot of rice offers so many options, both sweet and savory,” she mentioned. “For days after, I can turn leftover rice into a variety of delicious meals. The versatility of rice is especially appealing for minimizing food waste, which is a top priority in my kitchen. A rice cooker allows me to make rice quite consistently, plus it’s easier to clean and convenient to store.”

Rice makers could make extra than simply rice.

Maybe you’re simply not that into rice. That’s OK — a rice cooker should still be an equipment value having. The easiest fashions have one button that switches over to the nice and cozy setting when the rice is completed cooking, however fancier fashions have modes for porridge, steaming and even making cake.

Marcus repeatedly makes use of her rice cooker to make porridge (her brand, west~bourne, sells its own). For breakfast, she’ll cook dinner the grains in coconut milk and prime them with seasonal fruit and yogurt. For lunch or dinner, she’ll put together a savory model with a poached egg and roasted mushrooms.

Chris Park, company chef of Kissaki, identified which you can additionally simply make immediate noodles in a rice cooker. A fundamental curry is another choice.

“Just assemble all your ingredients such as diced aromatics, protein of choice and corresponding stock,” he mentioned. “You can find curry packs in most Asian groceries. Just follow the instructions listed on how much of the base to use.” If you’re utilizing a fundamental rice cooker, he recommends merely beginning the cooking course of by pushing the button and checking in on it periodically. “A more modern and advanced rice cooker will have a program set in there for curries and stews,” he mentioned.

When shopping for a rice cooker, take into account value, measurement and performance.

If you’re planning on making rice for one or two individuals, there’s no want to purchase an enormous rice cooker with all of the bells and whistles — except, after all, price and area aren’t a priority. You can discover loads of fundamental one-button fashions for lower than $50, mid-range choices across the $100 or $200 mark, and high-end rice cookers that price a whole bunch of {dollars}.

“If you’re just trying to make life easier with a rice-based diet, then a basic one-button click on is all you need,” Park mentioned.

“Rice cookers are great because you don’t need an expensive one to make great rice,” Marcus mentioned. “In fact, I find the more accessible versions, which are often the smallest and make more sense for a home kitchen, are also the most durable.”

Rice cookers function on a fairly simple mechanism (the heating ingredient heats the cooking bowl to boiling temperature, then routinely turns down or off when the rice is finished cooking), so that you don’t want to purchase something too fancy for simply making rice.

Aesthetics are one other factor to consider, significantly when you’re planning on leaving it on the counter. Talde recommends shopping for one thing that’s fashionable and modern. “It’s almost a decorative piece,” he mentioned. “You don’t need to buy a crazy expensive one, but ones that cost $150 to $200 will last you a lifetime.”

If you’re desirous about making extra than simply rice, a rice cooker with a number of features or a multicooker is your finest guess. Park identified {that a} rice cooker with a number of applications and even a stress perform will be capable of make all kinds of meals — one thing that may be particularly useful for these with small kitchens, liberating up area over the range or within the oven.

“Buying a rice cooker is like buying anything,” Park mentioned. “Only buy as much rice cooker as you need. Most name brands can be reliable but stay away from obviously cheap or flimsy. Loose-topped units will get the job done, but a closing lid that snaps shut is best.”

Shopping for a rice cooker? Here are some nice choices.

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Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer

Amazon

All three of the cooks interviewed for this story beneficial a Zojirushi rice cooker, which tells us it is a strong possibility.

This specific mannequin can cook dinner as much as 5.5 cups directly and has settings for various kinds of rice (sushi, brown, blended, jasmine) and textures (common, mushy, exhausting). It makes use of induction heating on the underside, sides and lid for even cooking. Another characteristic that makes it a bit costlier than the opposite mannequin we’re sharing under: It has a delayed timer setting, which implies you possibly can put your rice within the machine within the morning and inform it to start out cooking an hour earlier than you get residence. What’s higher than arriving residence to a pot of freshly made rice?

“I love this brand,” Talde mentioned. “It will last forever and makes perfect rice, short grain, sushi, whichever kind you are cooking.”

Get the Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer for $289.99.

Aroma Housewares Select Stainless Rice Cooker & Warmer

Amazon

Park described this rice cooker as “a budget model that does what it does: cook rice.” It has a 3-cup capability and a dishwasher-safe chrome steel cooking pot for straightforward cleanup. This compact rice cooker has only one button and routinely switches from cooking your rice to holding it heat.

Get the Aroma Housewares Select Stainless Rice Cooker & Warmer for $30.19.

Black & Decker Rice Cooker

Amazon

This compact rice cooker is the one I’ve in my kitchen. It has a 3-cup capability, which is sufficient for our family of simply two individuals (and I do many of the rice consuming). Sure, you would possibly solely have sufficient for a meal or two, however cooking and cleanup is really easy that I don’t thoughts getting ready a contemporary pot of rice when the necessity arises. It’s finest contemporary, anyway — except you’re making fried rice (my favourite leftover hack).

Get the Black & Decker Rice Cooker for $15.03.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker & Steamer

Amazon

This rice cooker has a microcomputer that routinely adjusts cooking temperature and time to make sure your rice is completely fluffy — not mushy or burnt. It comes with a rice-measuring cup, a nonstick rice paddle and a paddle holder.

“I love everything Zojirushi makes,” Marcus mentioned. “Their rice cookers are all really beautiful and efficient, with many affordable options. This version is great for all kinds of grains, and the steaming function is a bonus — it’s great when a kitchen appliance can multitask. The 5.5-cup volume cooker makes the perfect amount for day-of meal prep for my family of four, with occasional leftovers for other meals during the week.”

Get the Zojirushi Rice Cooker & Steamer for $169.28.

Aroma Housewares Digital 15-in-1 Rice Cooker, Food Steamer and Slow Cooker

Amazon