Different Ways To Use A Rice Cooker

The rice cooker is not a one trick pony. Yes, it makes perfect rice and that alone is more than enough reason for it to be an essential kitchen appliance. But it is capable of doing much more. The rice cooker is very versatile - it can perform as a slow cooker, steamer, crockpot or even a pressure cooker. The new fuzzy logic rice cookers are particularly versatile with their wide range of features.  Here are a few new ways to learn how to use a rice cooker. This list is by no means comprehensive. There are many more. People are discovering new uses for the rice cooker all the time.

Pink Hello Kitty Rice CookerIf you don't yet have a rice cooker, you may be interested in taking a look at Tips on Buying The Best Rice Cooker.  Below are some general ideas for getting more out of your rice cooker.  For specific recipes, check out these free recipes.  If you are new to cooking rice and aren't sure how to get started, find out how to use a rice cooker.

Steaming Vegetables In A Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is an ideal way to steam both fresh and frozen vegetables and it’s very simple. First, put sufficient water in the rice cooker based upon the amount and type of vegetables you wish to steam. Next, place the vegetables in your rice cooker steamer basket. Most rice cookers come with a steamer tray or basket. If yours didn’t, you can easily purchase one suitable to your rice cooker. You can season your vegetables with a little teriyaki sauce or spices prior to steaming if you like. Now, close the lid and start the cooker. Larger quantities and/or denser kinds of vegetables will require a more time to steam and thus will require more water. You need to experiment a little to discover what the right amount is. The best way to start is to just place more water than you think you need in the cooker and then just check your vegetables periodically and remove them from the rice cooker once they reach the desired tenderness.  Your rice cooker may not be as cute as the Hello Kitty rice cooker pictured above but it will cook some tasty rice cooker recipes just as easily.

Hello Kitty Rice CookerPirogues and Dumplings

While living in Asia I often steamed frozen Chinese dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetable fillings in my rice cooker.   Of course these were quite common in the places I lived in Asia, but you can find them in the freezer sections of Asian grocery stores in the US as well as larger chain supermarkets in areas with a sizable Asian population. Other items similar to these have been created by other cultures such as pirogues which, though traditionally boiled, work well steamed in the rice cooker as well. Simply add adequate water to your rice cooker, put your dumplings or other items in the steamer basket and steam.

Use A Rice Cooker To Make A Cake

Cakes? Yes - you can use a rice cooker to make cakes! There are many recipes available for making cakes in the rice cooker. Just do a quick search online.  There is a greatrice cooker cake recipe for a dark chocolate truffle cake at Rice Cooker Fetish.

Use A Rice Cooker To Make Soup

You can use a rice cooker to make soup and it's incredibly easy. Use one of the many recipes available – or not. Get a little creative in your kitchen and make a great soup with your leftovers. You can use canned soup if you like, or use that as a base and use your imagination from there. Or be bold and start from scratch.


To my way of thinking, stews are really just a thicker form of soup. They have more meat and/or vegetables and less liquid. If you can make a soup, you can make a stew and its not that much different than doing it on your stovetop - except that you don't have to keep as close an eye on it.

Reheating Food In A Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is a great way to reheat food. Place a small amount of water in the cooker and the food to be reheated in the steamer basket, close the lid and go. I have achieved great results from reheating foods in the microwave. Invariably I get it far too hot or think it is done only to discover lukewarm or even cold portions where it wasn’t evenly heated. The rice cooker heats everything just right, never getting it too hot.

Cooking Grains In The Rice Cooker

Obviously you can use a rice cooker to make rice - you can do the same thing with a variety of other grains. There are many other grains out there that can be cooked just as easily: Oatmeal, barley, quinoa, millet, and amaranth to name a few. If you’ve cooked these grains on the stovetop before, then a good rule of thumb is to use the same amount of water to grain that worked well for you there.

So, there are seven new ways to use a rice cooker. It's really a versatile appliance and one that I consider to be an essential kitchen appliance. I am sure you can come up with your own unique ways to use a rice cooker as well, all it takes is a little experimentation.