In this modern time, most cooks or cook enthusiasts welcome every tool that can make their cooking easier and faster. If you cook rice regularly, then the convenience that a rice cooker provides is priceless.
Rice cookers are not only for cooking rice, but you can use them to make all sorts of things, like making soups, porridge, steamed vegetables, and other one-pot meals.
There are lots of rice makers out in the market. There are pressure cookers that cook all types of food quickly and rice cookers that are typically only for cooking rice. There is also a pressure-rice cooker, which uses pressure cooking technology in the rice cooker.
Pros of a Rice Cooker
Are you one of those who make rice regularly and have trouble making decent rice on the stovetop? Or do you have a tiny kitchen with no cooktop? Do you like being able to get a machine going, walk away, and walk back to find perfectly cooked rice?
Here are some reasons to consider when owning a rice cooker.
1. It cooks the rice for you automatically
Rice cookers consistently cook rice perfectly. It is to cook at a precise temperature. Many rice cookers come with a measuring cup for the rice and lines on the bowl indicating how much water you need to add. The rice cooker will then shut off its cook mode when the cycle is complete.
So you will not have to worry about undercooked or overcooked rice. Since it gently steams, you will have a consistent, aromatic, and fluffy grain texture that tastes delicious.
2. It keeps your rice warm
Most models offer a warming feature once the rice cooker finishes its cooking cycle. A keep-warm option allows you to keep the rice warm for 20 minutes to 12 hours, depending on the model. It ensures it is always ready to eat at mealtimes without reheating in a microwave.
3. It is quick and easy to use
An easy-to-use, programmable setting on some models allows you to cook all sorts of grains, from white rice to brown rice, wild rice, polenta, and oatmeal. You do not have to monitor when it is ready or turn the rice cooker off. It will simply click on warm mode once it is all done. Some models have settings for steaming vegetables or fish or cooking soups and stews.
4. It is easy 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. They are also dishwasher safe to save you trouble.
5. It is affordable
A rice cooker is more affordable than other cooking tools, such as microwaves. It all depends on the capacity, which starts from 3-cup ideal for 1-2 persons, up to 30-cup cookers for the whole big family. It will save you time and prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Types of Rice Makers
The following list includes the different types of rice cookers available in the market.
Basic rice cooker
A basic rice cooker has minimal features and no special features other than an easy-to-use interface. A basic rice cooker typically has a bowl and heating element which boils water and cooks rice. It is a cheap cooker having two settings, ON (or BOIL or COOK) and WARM.
Digital rice cooker
A digital rice cooker has digital settings that allow you to pre-set your temperature or cooking time. It is just like an ordinary rice cooker but has an added feature. It measures the pot’s temperature and adjusts the cooking time according to the type of rice.
A digital rice cooker also has settings for porridge, sweet or sticky rice, brown rice, and beans. They cost quite a bit more than on/off and have many more bells and whistles.
Multi-function rice cooker
A multi-function rice cooker has multiple cooking types. It is like slow cookers, pressure cookers, and rice cookers, all in one pot. It is commonly used for cooking rice and has other functions, including steaming vegetables, making soups, and more.
Multi-function rice cookers are versatile because they save the user time and money by cooking multiple items at once without taking up too much space or requiring expensive appliances. It saves money by cooking in one go rather than purchasing additional appliances to do similar jobs separately.
Induction heat rice cooker
With the help of induction heating technology, an induction heat rice cooker uses a magnetic coil to heat rice rather than boiling water. The rice cookers are usually double-layered, and the inner pot plays the role of conductor and allows whatever is in it to cook via induction heating. Most of the inner containers have a non-stick coating. This type of rice cooker can produce perfectly cooked food every time.
Induction heat rice cookers are more expensive than other rice cookers because of their precision cooking and multiple functionalities.
Non-stick rice cooker
Gone are the days of soaking the cooker to make it easier to clean. The non-stick interior makes cleaning the rice cooker a breeze. It also allows you to use a warm setting without worrying about rice getting cooked to the inside and being hard to get off.
Non-stick interiors are easy to use, and the leftover rice will wipe out quickly without any problems.
Programmable rice cooker
A programmable rice cooker has multiple program settings that will allow you to create the perfect rice every time you use them. It even allows you to adjust the temperature of the cook and soak times in the pickiest rice fan to enjoy every meal.
This type of rice cooker is much helpful if you are picky about your rice and want it to soak for a while before it cooks or know that you will be cutting it close coming home from work or errands and may not have time to get the cooker set up before a meal.
Guide to Choose the Best Rice Maker
You might ask yourself, how would you know which of these new brands and models is the best choice?
To help you decide, here is some guide you need to look for when buying a rice cooker.
The capacity of a cooker indicates how much cooked rice it holds. Consider the size of your family to choose a rice cooker of suitable capacity.
Rice cookers come in standard 3-cup, 5-cup, or 10-cup sizes. A small family with 1 – 3 people should get a 3-cup capacity cooker, while a 4 – 6 person household should buy a 5-cup rice cooker. Also, not all large rice cookers do well with small amounts of rice, either.
Types of uses
Choose the type of rice cooker for your family’s needs by checking its features and versatility before purchasing.
You might need a basic rice cooker with lesser complications, and all you have to do is add rice and water, then let the appliance do the rest. On the other hand, a multifunctional rice cooker allows you to prepare all sorts of recipes besides rice, such as slow-cooked soups or steamed vegetables.
Quality and durability
Above all, you need to make sure that your rice cooker can withstand the test of time. When finding a quality rice cooker, read the label to understand the materials used. Aluminum and stainless steel cooking pots are known for their durability, while ceramic ones are sought-after for their natural non-stick properties.
In addition, read online reviews to find out trusted rice cooker brands.
Keep warm, slow cooking, steaming, and a delay timer are some of the rice cooker features you might be considering. The different features and other functions of rice cookers can help cook all sorts of food, or some features might not be essential. Better know what kind of features you are looking for in a rice cooker.
Another essential factor that you need to consider is the design. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, compact rice cookers are to save space. Some stylish models come with touch sensors that improve the ease of operation.
A novice in the kitchen would want a device that is easy to use.
The same goes for someone who does not have much time to fiddle with various settings.
For easy maintenance, choose a rice cooker with a non-stick inner pot to simplify the cleaning process. Aluminum pots commonly coated with Teflon prevent the rice from sticking, making it easier to wash after every use. Ceramic pots also clean easily and are completely safe, providing an alternative non-stick option.
At a minimal cost, you can afford to get a standard rice cooker that offers the basic functions of cooking rice and keeping it warm.
However, a high-end rice cooker is highly versatile, allowing you to whip up different dishes and saving you a lot of time in the kitchen.
It might be best to have a list of priorities and see what you cannot compromise on in a rice cooker.
In conclusion, choosing the rice cooker best suited to your needs contributes to the overall outcome of your dishes. If you want to make sure that you will always have the best dining experience with your loved ones, pick the perfect rice cooker.