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What Should I Consider When Buying a Rice Cooker?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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Many people love rice and like to have cooked rice around for different dishes. It is sometimes difficult to make fluffy rice in a regular saucepan, so some people opt for a rice cooker. The electric appliance known as a rice cooker has been available in Asia for 35 to 40 years, but it is just now gaining popularity in the United States.

Rice is a great staple food, but sometimes turns out sticky, soggy or in insufficient quantities for the meal. A rice cooker solves these problems. A rice cooker looks a lot like a slow cooker. Models come in 5 or 10 cup capacities, although for the average U.S. household, a 5-cup model is probably sufficient. The top is heavy and hinged, and locks in place to seal the cooker.

Rice cooks via steam and constant heat, and this is why the rice cooker is so good at what it does. It it sealed so steam cannot escape, and the thermostat maintains an even temperature. A good rice cooker will have a lid styled so that condensation cannot leak down onto the rice and make it soggy. Most models also feature a "warm" function that will keep the rice cooker at a constant temperature after the rice is cooked, in order to keep the rice warm and tasty.

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Most models also have a feature that switches the rice cooker to the "warm" setting automatically after the rice is cooked. It does this by sensing the rise in temperature inside the cooker after the water has been absorbed. After the "warm" function is activated, it will keep the rice at temperature for up to 12 hours. Most models can be operated by placing rice and water inside the cooker, locking down the lid and pressing a button. The cooker does the rest.

Some rice cooker models enable the cook to make stews, soups and desserts in the appliance, and some models even feature a little steaming basket for vegetables. One nice feature in a rice cooker is a non-stick surface. This makes clean-up much easier on the cook. A rice cooker usually starts at about 60 US dollars (USD), and can run up to 200 USD for a top-end model. They can be found online and in most stores that sell kitchen appliances.

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lonelygod
Post 3

When buying a rice cooker you should also be aware that it could be used for more than just rice. If you like to cook beans, the rice cooker is ideal for this. It is also great for simmering bean soups and any stews you may be making.

It can also be handy for certain types of casseroles, and even puddings. Some people have even managed to make cakes in their rice cookers.

I recommend buying a recipe book for rice cookers, and you will probably be surprised at the number of things you can make in this great appliance.

Sara007
Post 2

If you have just purchased a rice cooker, how long can your rice be kept on the warm setting?

I usually end up making too much rice and don't want to throw it away. I am worried though that it may go bad if I don't use it all after I have made it.

Also, can the rice you make in the cooker be stored in the fridge than reheated at a later time?

I was thinking that I could put the rice back in the cooker, add a tbsp of water and let it reheat. Do you think this would work or just make a mess?

zoid
Post 1

I have a very small rice cooker, with no special features like "warm" settings. It generally works well, but I have to be careful about how much water I put in the pot, or the rice gets overdone. The best part, however, is that it simply requires so much less attention than cooking rice in a saucepan does. It never boils over, and never burns.

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