Anyone who cooks rice regularly knows it can often be tricky to get it right each time. Much like a science, if the water levels in the pot are not precise, or the stove temperature is not adjusted carefully, you’ll end up with either soggy, crunchy or worse still, burnt rice. And while the quick option is to simply throw a ‘rice in a bag’ in the microwave, this rarely gives you that authentic flavor and taste.
But if you’re someone who dreads the guesswork of cooking rice in a pot, you’re not the only one. There have been many times when I’ve tried to perfect my fluffy basmati rice to emulate my favorite Indian takeout. Sadly, this hasn’t always gone well, always leaving me disappointed (and hungry) at mealtimes.
But, that all changed when I bought my rice cooker. Who knew that a simple appliance could make cooking rice a breeze? And while this humble appliance may seem outdated, unlike the best Instant Pots or best air fryers, a rice cooker is a must-have for quality rice dishes. After all, who has time to stand by a pot of boiling rice, constantly stirring, and having to scrub it clean at the end? If you’re still undecided, here’s eight reasons why you should get a rice cooker and let it do all the work!
Should you buy a rice cooker? Pros:
1. You’ll never burn rice
Rice cookers are designed to cook at the precise temperature and will automatically set to ‘keep warm’ once it’s cooked to perfection. So you won’t have to worry about undercooked or overcooked rice again! Since it gently steams it, you’ll have a consistent, aromatic and fluffy grain texture that tastes delicious. What’s more, you won’t have to stand by the pot and monitor it the whole time.
2. It can cook different types of rice grains perfectly
Different types of grains, such as white basmati or brown rice, require specific cooking methods and times. The humble rice cooker is equipped to handle any type of rice grain so you won’t have to worry. This is ideal if you like to experiment with a range of rice recipes, from risotto to fragrant dishes.
3. Quick and easy to use
The best thing about rice cookers are they literally do all the hard work for you. Simply add the rice and water before turning it on to cook. Then leave it to simmer and cook the grains to perfection. You don’t even have to monitor when it’s ready, or turn the rice cooker off straight away. It will simply click onto ‘keep warm’ mode once it’s all done.
4. It keeps rice warm for mealtimes
If you don’t fancy eating your delicious rice straight away, a rice cooker will keep it at a warm, safe temperature. This will ensure it’s always ready to eat at mealtimes without having to reheat in a microwave.
5. Rice tastes so much better
Since rice cookers are designed to regulate the cooking temperature, this helps the rice retain its aromatic flavor, resulting in tastier rice. In addition, the steam makes the rice notably soft, compared with cooking on a stove or in a microwave.
6. They cook rice better than in a multi-cooker
Nowadays, you can find multi-functional cookers such as Instant Pots with a Rice program. However, since it’s not specifically designed to cook rice like a rice cooker (it’s in the name), the texture and flavors are never as good. In other words, nothing can beat the performance and tasty results of rice cookers.
7. Affordable appliance
In comparison to expensive kitchen appliances such as the best microwaves or best toaster ovens, you can easily pick up a rice cooker for under $50. This all depends on the capacity, which starts from 3-cup cookers ideal for 1-2 people, up to 30-cup cookers for the whole family. What’s more, if you cook rice on a regular basis, this will save you time and prove to be a worthwhile investment.
8. Easy to clean
If you spend time scrubbing pots after use, a rice cooker is a breeze to clean. Most rice cookers come with a non-stick, inner pot which means there should be no traces of rice sticking to the bottom. Plus, check that they are dishwasher safe to save you the trouble!
A couple of cons:
You’d need space to store it
Depending on the capacity and size, rice cookers tend to be bulky, so they can take up space in your kitchen. So if you already have too many appliances cluttering up your countertops or cupboards, a rice cooker will only add to it.
They’re not as versatile as multi-cookers
Although you can steam certain foods in a rice cooker, they are not as versatile as multi pressure cookers or slow cookers.
If you favor fried foods though, these are the 5 best air fryer recipes you can find. Just be sure not to make any of these common air fryer mistakes, and check out our guide on how to use an air fryer to get the best results.