How To Use A Rice Cooker To Make Perfect Rice Every Time 

 Last Update September 4, 2023

By Jenny Zhang

Rice, the staple food that has been a cornerstone of diets across the globe for centuries, possesses an incredible ability to transform any meal into a satisfying culinary experience. From fluffy basmati to hearty brown rice, there's a variety to suit every palate. However, achieving flawless, perfectly cooked rice can sometimes be challenging. Enter the modern-day kitchen hero: the rice cooker.

The era of worrying about water-to-rice ratios, inconsistent cooking, and sticky pots has come to an end. The rice cooker has revolutionized home cooking, simplifying the rice preparation process while consistently delivering excellent results. Whether you're an amateur cook or a seasoned kitchen expert, harnessing the power of a rice cooker can make a world of difference in your culinary creations.

While traditional rice cooking methods have their charm, a rice cooker brings convenience and consistent results. Embraced by restaurants for fluffy, flavorful rice, they're equally suitable for home use. Below, we will share the secret to the perfect rice texture with step-by-step instructions.

What Is A Rice Cooker?

A rice cooker, alternatively referred to as a rice steamer, is a specialized kitchen appliance crafted to streamline and automate the cooking procedure. This device eliminates the need for guesswork when cooking rice, guaranteeing uniform outcomes regardless of whether you're making a personal portion or preparing a larger serving for a gathering.

Fundamentally, a rice cooker comprises a heating component, a thermostat, and a cooking pot (frequently constructed from non-stick materials). Some advanced models also include additional features such as timers, keep-warm functions, and specialized settings for different types of rice.

If you eat rice frequently, a dedicated rice cooker is worthy of adding to your kitchen.

How To Use The Rice Cooker

Most modern rice cookers are pre-programmed cooking settings for different types of rice. This eliminates the guesswork from cooking food, which can be challenging at times!

Aside from making rice grains, you can use a rice cooker to create tasty recipes like risotto or jambalaya. Most rice cookers also have a "warm" setting to keep your rice warm while you finish cooking the rest of the meal.

Why Use A Rice Cooker To Cook Rice?

Two words: convenient and consistent consistency. There are many time-honored ways to cook rice; admittedly, there are many different types of grains out there, and each has an ideal way to cook.

However, when it comes to putting a meal on the family table night after night, knowing that you can add the ingredients, set the rice cooker and timer, and be rewarded with perfect rice every time is worth the peace of mind. Using a rice cooker is a foolproof method to accomplish just that.

The Water-To-Rice Ratio

The water ratio is the most critical part of cooking rice, regardless of whether you use a rice cooker or not. Not all rice is the same, so you can't use the same ratio across the board.

Consulting your rice cooker manual is essential as it provides the recommended water-to-rice ratio specific to your machine. This guarantees that you attain excellent outcomes and flawlessly cooked rice every time you use it.

However, the question remains: what exact amount of water is required to cook a single cup of rice? Below is a list of the recommended ratio of rice and water, depending on the type of rice used.

  • Long-Grain White Rice - 1 cup of rice: 1 3/4 cups of water

  • Long-Grain Brown Rice - 1 cup of rice: 2 1/4 cups of water

  • Other Long-Grain Rice (Basmati Rice, Jasmine Rice) - 1 cup: 1 1/2 cups of water

  • Medium-Grain Rice - 1 cup: 1 1/2 cups of water

  • Short-Grain White Rice (Sushi Rice) - 1 cup: 1 1/2 cups of water

  • Broken Grains - 1 cup: 2 cups of water

How do these differ? Here's how rice varies depending on the grain:

  • Long-Grain Rice – has lower starch content, resulting in separate and fluffy grains when cooked.

  • Medium-Grain Rice – has a moderate starch content, leading to slightly plumper and stickier grains when cooked, suitable for dishes like risotto or sushi.

  • Short-Grain Rice – has the highest starch content, yielding sticky and moist grains when cooked, commonly used in sushi and rice pudding.

cooking white rice in rice cooker

How to Cook Rice in A Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is simple. With convenient presets, it's as easy as pressing a button. Select the rice type, and let the rice cooker work its magic.

Measure and rinse the rice

For perfectly fluffy cooked rice, begin by measuring the desired quantity of dry rice using a measuring cup.

Start by placing the rice in a roomy colander or a fine mesh sieve, and rinse it completely under cold water until the water runs clear. Then, place the rinsed rice into the rice cooker.

Add water

Next, add cool water to the rice cooker in the desired ratio. Reinsert the rice cooker and insert it back into the rice cooker.

Add Coconut Oil (Optional)

Incorporating coconut oil into rice's cooking process provides multiple advantages beyond just enhancing the flavor. Coconut oil is a versatile cooking ingredient that can infuse your rice with a delightful tropical aroma and taste, but it also brings some potential health advantages to the table.

Coconut oil adds a mild, natural sweetness and a hint of coconut flavor to the rice, which can elevate the overall taste of your dish. Its appeal is particularly pronounced with dishes with Asian, Caribbean, or tropical influences.

The inclusion of beneficial fats, like those present in coconut oil, has the potential to moderate the digestion of carbohydrates within rice. This effect could result in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, aiding in regulating blood sugar levels and offering enduring energy.

Coconut oil can contribute to a smoother and slightly creamier texture in the cooked rice. It helps coat the rice grains, preventing excessive stickiness and promoting a more separate and fluffy outcome.

Switch on the cooker and select the right setting

Depending on the specific model of your rice cooker, you may have a single power switch without any additional options. In that case, simply flip the switch and let it cook!

Otherwise, consult your rice cooker manual to choose the right setting. Once selected, make sure to keep the lid closed as it cooks to retain the steam.

The rice cooker will notify you when it's finished cooking, typically with a beep or a light indicator.

Allow cooked rice to rest

After the rice cooker indicates that the rice has finished cooking, allow it to rest for approximately five to ten minutes.

Fluff it up with a rice paddle

Unlock the lid and delicately loosen the impeccably cooked rice using a rice paddle. Enjoy your fluffy, steaming rice from the rice cooker!

Top Tips For Making Rice

Always Rinse Rice!

If you want fluffy rice (and you do, of course), then you need to remove the excess starch from the exterior of the rice grains that would otherwise make the rice gummy and gluey.

Rinsing rice also kickstarts the process of rehydration, which is particularly important when you cook bagged rice. You may need to rinse the rice more than once, but keep going until the water after rinsing the rice comes out clear.

Take note that some white rice distributed in the US is fortified with nutrients such as iron and folic acid. When you rinse the rice, there's a potential risk that these added nutrients can be washed away.

Measure the Water-to-Rice Ratio Accurately

Employ the appropriate water quantity and rely on a measuring cup. As a general guideline, the suggested ratio is one cup of rice to two cups of water. Nevertheless, it's crucial to acknowledge that this proportion might differ based on the rice type. Always consult the directions on the rice packaging or refer to a dependable recipe for accurate measurements.

Preventing Rice From Sticking

Some types of rice, such as-grain white rice, are supposed to be "sticky rice." The sticking we're talking about here is how to prevent the rice from sticking to your machine! Rinsing the rice beforehand will help.

You can also coat the rice cooker with a small amount of oil or add that oil directly to the water.

Alternatively, you can use a rice cooker napkin, a reusable cloth that sits directly inside your rice cooker and keeps the rice from touching the rice cooker directly.

Resist the Temptation to Peek

Once you've covered the pot with the lid, avoid lifting it to check on the rice, as this can interrupt the process and affect the final outcome. Have confidence in the cooking duration and allow the rice cooker to proceed without interruption.

Once it has finished cooking, let it rest. Keep the rice cooker in "keep warm" mode for up to 15 minutes to allow the rice to absorb any excess moisture fully.

Don't Use Different Kinds of Grains

Avoid mixing short and long grains of rice in one pot. When you use just one type of rice, you ensure that the rice cooks evenly, which makes for a more pleasant texture.

For example, you can cook short-grain brown rice mixed with short-grain white rice (like jasmine rice) or long-grain brown rice mixed with long-grain white rice.

Keep Warm

If your family eats rice throughout the day, be sure to use the keep warm function. With this function, it keeps your rice warm for hours.

Have Fun and Experiment With Your Rice Cooker!

If you're looking for a way to liven up your bowl, or you just want to add flavor to plain rice, you can add certain ingredients to your rice cooker while cooking rice. Here are a few ideas:

Broth or stock

In place of plain water, you have the option to cook your rice in vegetable, chicken, or beef broth, imbuing it with an extra layer of flavor.

Herbs and spices

This can give your rice a delightful aroma and taste. Add ingredients like bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, or dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano.


Incorporate diced vegetables such as carrots, peas, bell peppers, or onions into the rice cooker to cook alongside the rice. By incorporating additional ingredients into the rice cooker, you not only infuse it with flavor but also transform it into a wholesome one-pot meal.

Coconut milk

Replace some water with coconut milk to achieve a creamy and subtly sweet rice. This works well if you like to eat Thai-inspired rice recipes.

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.

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