How to Use a Rice Cooker
When cooking large quantities of rice at once, nothing is easier than using a rice cooker. Additionally, many restaurants choose commercial rice cookers because they're no fuss. You simply add your rice and water and wait, which frees up your employees to work on other tasks while the rice cooks. And while using a rice cooker is simple, there are some additional steps you can take to save time on cleanup and ensure that you get rice that is perfectly cooked.
What Is a Rice Cooker?
A rice cooker is a piece of kitchen equipment that can cook many varieties of rice and grains. Rice cookers work by boiling water, which is then absorbed into the rice until it becomes tender. Additionally, rice cookers are automatic, which frees up your employees to work on other tasks while the rice cooks, and you don't have to worry about it boiling over or scorching.
What Do You Need to Use a Rice Cooker?
Here are a few pieces of equipment that you'll need to operate your rice cooker:
- Rice cooker
- Measuring cup
- Rice paddle
- Optional: Reusable rice cooker napkin
Should You Rinse Your Rice?
Many experienced rice cooker users will rinse their rice before they put it in the cooker. But why do they wash the rice first, and should you rinse yours as well?
The purpose of rinsing rice is to get rid of any pesticides or chemicals that may be left on the grain. Additionally, rinsing your rice removes excess starch, which gives your rice a consistent texture and prevents the rice cooker from boiling over.
While rinsing your rice is a good practice for most types of rice, you should check the specific packaging on your rice first. Some rice is enriched with vitamins and minerals, which will dissolve if the rice is washed.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Your Rice in a Rice Cooker?
Different types of rice will require different amounts of water and time to cook thoroughly. Fortunately, your rice cooker will be able to gauge when your rice has finished cooking and turn off automatically. Typically, cooking a large quantity of rice in a rice cooker takes between 25 and 35 minutes.
How Much Water Do You Need to Use in a Rice Cooker?
The amount of water you need to use in your rice cooker will depend on the type of rice you're using and whether or not you rinse your rice before adding it to the cooker. Here is a breakdown of the different types of rice and how much water you need to use to cook them:
|Type of Rice||Amount of Water|
|Long grain white rice||1 3/4 cups of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Medium grain white rice||1 1/2 cups of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Short grain white rice||1 1/2 cups of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Long grain brown rice||2 1/4 cups of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Parboiled rice||2 cups of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Basmati or Jasmine rice||1 1/2 cup of water : 1 cup of rice|
|Quinoa||2 cups of water : 1 cup of quinoa|
How to Use a Rice Cooker
Measure the correct amount of rice and place it in a bowl.
Optional: Rinse the rice until the water turns clear.
Transfer the rice from the bowl to the inner pan of your rice cooker. You can also use a reusable rice napkin to make your cleanup afterwards easier.
Add water to the rice cooker pan.
Place the pan inside your rice cooker and close the top. You can also add any spices, oil, or butter at this step.
Plug in your rice cooker and turn the cooker on. Most cookers have a light on the front that indicates when the unit is on.
When your rice has finished cooking, the cooker will notify you by turning off the light, flipping the switch up, or making a sound. After your rice has finished cooking, let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the Keep Warm mode before serving. This will let any excess moisture evaporate and allow your rice to fully absorb the water.
Use plastic serving utensils or rice paddles to serve your rice.
Using a rice cooker is quick and convenient, especially when making large quantities of rice, which makes them ideal appliances for foodservice establishments. Additionally, learning about rinsing your rice and the proper ratio of rice to water can help ensure that you're serving the fluffiest and best rice possible to your guests. For a visual representation of how to use a rice cooker, check out the video above.