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For which reasons should I use a dedicated rice cooker, instead of cooking rice in a pot?

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I rarely use mine and prefer to use the microwave method - wash rice - measure one unit rice (cup usually) and 2 units cold water and zap for around 15mins (900W microwave) which gives me perfect rice everytime. The big caveat is that I'm Indian and wouldn't go near anything other than Basmati - brown rice (which may be a viable reason to use a rice cooker) is the Devil's grain as far as I'm concerned. –  5arx Jun 8 '11 at 16:22

5 Answers 5

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes there are benefits! This is one of my most used pieces of kitchen equipments. Here is a list of benefits for a quality rice cooker:

  • Never burns rice
  • No guess measurements for all kinds of rice
  • Scheduled cooking
  • Keep warm settings
  • Uniform cooking

When I cook rice on my stove, even at the lowest of heats, I get a thin layer of rice that has overcooked stuck to the bottom of the pot.

For the record I have the Zojirushi 5-1/2 cup induction rice cooker. Best thing ever.

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+1 for mentioning Zojirushi rice cookers. I've got one as well, and it does a fantastic job! –  Robert Hui Aug 27 '10 at 15:45
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another +1 for mentioning Zojirushi. they are magic, i swear. they also are good for steaming veggies, and i have heard you can use them for beans, but i have never tried. –  franko Aug 27 '10 at 16:39
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Btw, some consider that thin layer of overcooked rice to be desired feature. It is a key characteristic of claypot rice dishes (in cantonese Bo Jia Fan). –  erichui Aug 28 '10 at 0:08
    
In Dominican culture - that thin layer of crispy rice is a desired delicacy (and usually hand rolled into little nuggets and given to children as a treat). –  jsanc623 Apr 7 at 15:43

A dedicated rice cooker works by measuring the internal temperature as the rice steams and water boils away.

In my mind the greatest benefit is that different types of rice that have different cooking times will be cooked correctly in a rice cooker. Another benefit is that you can start the rice early and the cooker will keep it warm after it's done cooking so it doesn't require babysitting.

The biggest down side is that it takes up a lot of space for one task. If you don't make rice all the time or if you are already good at making rice in a pot then you probably don't need to waste the space.

We make rice all the time but my wife is good at making it in a pot. When our rice cooker broke we didn't replace it.

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+1 once I figured out how to make different types of rice consistently, this seemed like too much of a one trick pony to bother with. –  yossarian Aug 27 '10 at 15:14
    
I'm eager to try an oven method which is supposed to provide consistently good results with brown rice. –  justkt Aug 27 '10 at 15:19
    
@justkt, Your comment makes it sound like you have trouble with brown rice. We get a pretty consistent brown rice by boiling for 30 minutes in plenty of water, draining, and then steaming for 10-15. –  yossarian Aug 28 '10 at 20:58

It helps you cook large quantities of rice. Whenever I need to make four or more cups of rice I use the rice cooker. I find it difficult to get it right on the stovetop.

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Every important benefit has already been said.

I cannot live without it anymore. I find it perfect expecially for brown rices.


...and you can always use your rice cooker for a lot of different uses...
Check this article, it gave me a lot of inspiration: repurposing rice cooker.




(Rice cooker also saved my life when the gas cylinder one day magically became empty, leaving me without a stove for two days)

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and also this book: Rice Cooker Creations books.google.com.ec/… completely readable on Google Books for free –  dolma33 Aug 27 '10 at 23:35

The one benefit that everyone has missed is that the rice cooker leaves a very thin layer of rice in the bottom which is coveted by every golden retriever in the country. Our dogs love our rice cooker!

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