Beginner’s guide rice cooker: what is it and how does a rice cooker work?

Rice cooker
Updated on 05 Aug 2023

While a rice cooker has been a well-known phenomenon in Asia for years, it is only now beginning its rise in Western countries. You may have thought that a rice cooker only cooks rice, but the opposite turns out to be true: a rice cooker is more versatile than you think. Find out exactly what a rice cooker is and what you can do with it in our beginner’s guide.

What is a rice cooker?

A rice cooker is an electric kitchen appliance for cooking and steaming rice. It consists of a heating element, an inner pan and a thermostat to control the temperature.

Why a rice cooker?

Cooking rice to perfection is not for everyone. A rice cooker makes preparing (rice) meals a lot easier, because it all happens automatically. So you don’t have to stand there happily.

The advantages and disadvantages

  • The convenience: no need to stand around
  • Rice cooked to perfection (provided you get the proportions right)
  • Never burnt rice again
  • Easy operation and cleaning

Keep in mind that a rice cooker takes up extra space.

Also read: the benefits of a rice cooker.

How does a rice cooker work?

A rice cooker is incredibly easy to use. The controls consist of just a few buttons so you can leave the instruction booklet in the box, so to speak.

  1. Put the plug in the socket
  2. Fill the inner pan with ingredients
  3. Add water
  4. Press the start button

Once the rice cooker is ready, it automatically jumps to the warming function. This way you don’t have to heat up your meal first when you get home.

Features rice cooker

A rice cooker is a fairly simple kitchen appliance. If you are looking for a kitchen appliance with multiple functions then a multicooker might suit you better.

  • warming function: after the rice is cooked to perfection, the rice cooker jumps to the warming function.
  • steam basket: this is a plastic basket that you place on top of the inner pan. This allows you to cook rice and steam meat or vegetables at the same time.

How many watts is a rice cooker?

A rice cooker has an average power of 600 watts. If you leave the rice cooker on for an hour, the device uses about 0.6 kWh. According to the Consumers’ Association, a kWh including taxes etc. costs 0.15 cents per kWh. If you leave the rice cooker on for an hour, the cost is 0.6 kWh x 0.15 = 9 cents.

Cooking rice with a rice cooker takes about 30 minutes. If you use the rice cooker daily, then at the end of the year you are 0.3 kWh x 365 days = 109.5 kWh which amounts to 16.43 euros per year.

What can you do with a rice cooker?

You would think that you would use a rice cooker only for rice. But fortunately, a rice cooker is more versatile than that. You can also use a rice cooker for:

  • Rice, pasta, noodles (grains)
  • Steamed meals
  • Fish and poultry dishes
  • Oatmeal
  • Caramelized apple with cinnamon for an apple pie
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Baking: pie, desserts, banana cake
  • Stewed pears
  • Mac ‘n cheese

What is the best rice cooker?

The Instant Pot Pro 6 liter was named the best rice cooker of 2021 in our test. Actually, it is a multicooker with many features: rice cooking, pressure cooker, slow cooker, sous-vide, saute pan and a steamer. The Instant Pot Pro 6 liters is the perfect choice when you want a kitchen appliance that can do more than just cook rice.

Which is the best cooking rice cooker?

The Tefal Classic RK1038 is an excellent rice cooker at a good price. This is a simple rice cooker that does what it is supposed to do.

Also read: the best rice cookers of 2021

Conclusion: is a rice cooker for me?

If you think you will use a rice cooker only for preparing rice or other dishes you can prepare with a rice cooker (see above), then a rice cooker is a good choice. If you are in the kitchen a lot and like to apply different cooking techniques, then I would rather recommend a multicooker. This way you avoid having multiple kitchen appliances in your home. Besides cooking rice, a multicooker can also be used for steaming, pressure cooking, searing and slow cooking.

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Rice cooker