There appears to be little to no info out there specifically regarding black rice and rice cookers. My rice cooker manual says nothing about it. The article on wikihow, "3 Ways to Prepare Black Rice", does mention that black rice "does not cook well in a rice cooker." But, I am simply not willing to cook rice the old fashioned way. I already spend too much time on eating and cooking (fast metabolism means I eat all the time, which is time consuming).

Therefore, even if it does not work well in a rice cooker, I need to figure out how to make it better. I recently got a new rice cooker, an Aroma ARC-150SB. I made black rice for the first time with it, and it was terrible. It was really mushy, watery, and very sticky. It looked almost as wet as below:


(That's just an image from some pudding recipe on another site; it's NOT my own photo.)

Further details: I used 2 parts water to 1 part rice, as told to do on the rice packaging. Specifically, it was 2 cups rice, 4 of water. I briefly rinsed the rice via a strainer with cold water from the faucet. I used the "brown rice" setting on my rice cooker and left it overnight. (It switches to "keep warm" after it finishes cooking, of course.)

Now, what is the explanation for my result, and what can I try next?

My suspicion is that there was a lot of starch. The wikihow article suggests a very thorough rinsing, although the instructions on the rice packaging say nothing about rinsing. Is thorough rinsing really all it takes? Like I said, I did rinse it a little. There are other variables here that I can change. I could try playing with the water:rice ratio. I could try to not leave it overnight. I could try the white rice cook setting?? Although that one sounds counterintuitive. Maybe a thorough rinsing AND a different water:rice ratio is necessary?

The objective is to have it turn out more like this:

enter image description here

  • In addition to the water reduction others have mentioned, if you want a loose rather than sticky final product, rinsing and soaking the rice does wonders.
    – Derpy
    Mar 7, 2015 at 3:16

8 Answers 8


Perfect black rice in a rice cooker - I just cooked 2 cups of black rice, after a single quick rinse using a wire strainer in my Zojirushi rice cooker (fuzzy logic). I used a standard American measuring cup. I added 3 and 3/4 cups of water (vs. the standard straight 2 waters for every one unit of rice - I do this for ALL rice types as I like a fully intact rice kernel with texture remaining - that fluffs and separates as you expect ).

I also added a crumbled organic vegetarian bullion cube (just one) it adds just a little seasoning (still neutral) but I think also provides a little coating on the finished rice that makes it fluff and separate better.

The rice came out perfectly - tender, with just the right kernel bite, fluffed and separated as expected.

One other note, I NEVER use the keep warm function and always pop open the cooker at the first bell signaling cooking is complete, unplug, and I fluff immediately - I leave the cooker open a minute or two to allow steam to escape, then I close it. The rice stays perfectly warm after that for a very long time, long enough for a leisurely meal and warm rice for second helpings.

I can't say enough great things about the Zojirushi rice cooker. It is worth every penny. In addition to rice it cooks wheat berry, rye berry, millet , barley, and many other grains ( including perfect oats) automatically ith zero fuss. I have owned two in 22 years and replaced the first only because the bowl was list and the model was discontinued so no replacement bowel was found.

Many blessings in your rice cooking journey!


Looks like too much water was added. That's possible even with a fuzzy logic cooker. Try cutting back to 1.75 cups water per cup rice, or perhaps even 1.5, and cooking as with brown rice.

Did you use the "cup" that came with your cooker to measure water, or marks on the side of the cooker bowl? A rice-cooker cup is 180 ml, rather than your usual American 236.6.

If it comes out horrid again, try giving it a second cycle, that helps with whole oat groats, and some of the tougher grains.

  • If you use the rice cooker 'cup' measurement, you also can use the rice cooker bowl's 'cups', if you use cooking measuring cups, you do that for both rice and amount of water you put in (which means having to drain rinsing water thoroughly lest you put in extra water)
    – Ming
    Jul 18, 2014 at 0:37
  • @setek Yes. Switching "cup" sizes may be what got fr0zensphere bad results here. Or perhaps a 2:1 ratio is just too high for this particular type of black rice. Jul 18, 2014 at 12:36
  • Adding a bit of clearance to the ml measurements - it typically boils down to a "rice cooker cup" being 3/4 the size of a full cup, give or take.
    – jsanc623
    Jul 18, 2014 at 17:28
  • I'm actually confused by the water and rice instructions with this rice cooker. Mostly because they're different from my previous rice cooker. This one does not use specific water:rice ratios. (My previous one did.) It has lines on the inside of the cook pot, and it says to fill water until as many lines are covered as # of rice cooker cups of rice placed in it. Example: if I placed 2 "cups", then add water until it's up to line 2. I'm also confused because the manual says the rice cooker cup = 3/4 of standard cup, but the marking on it that says "3/4" is not at the top (rim) of the cup! Jul 21, 2014 at 2:52
  • So, if I were to fill up the rice cooker cup to the brim with water, then it's higher than 3/4 of a cup, but less than 1 cup?? Is that right?? I don't get it -- what's the point of that? Anyway, I tried making brown rice by ignoring these directions and just using the standard 2:1 rice:water ratio, and it actually came out just fine. I'll definitely try changing the water ratio and see how it impacts results. Jul 21, 2014 at 2:58

I've never used a rice maker to make black rice and and I don't have any to experiment with at the moment, but I'll update this answer when I do.

I have had the best luck with black rice by rinsing it thoroughly several times and then soaking it for at least a couple of hours before rinsing it again, then cooking it.

After that, it behaves pretty much like rinsed brown rice. The manual for your machine recommends using the delay function for brown rice, so I would recommend rinsing the rice very thoroughly, soaking it for at least two hours, rinsing it again, then putting it in the rice cooker using a delay of at least a few hours and the setting for brown rice. You should be OK adding water in a 2 to 1 ratio, fresh water to dry rice, even though brown rice takes a bit more water than white rice in a rice cooker, because the rice will have soaked up some water in its initial rinses and soak. If your rice was overly tender all the way to the core then you might want to pull back a bit on the water.

Black rice has seemed to continue to cook when I have left it off heat with the lid still on, so it may not handle the "keep warm" cycle as well as other rice. Try to get to it within 10 minutes or so of it finishing the cook cycle. If it's done yet water remains, drain the excess water and use that much less water next time.

The white rice setting does seem counter-intuitive, but if it still seems mushy after trying the above, that would be the next thing that I would try.

Good luck, let us know if this works for you. If it doesn't, let us know that too. I'll play with it some more on this end.

  • Thank you for all your detailed thoughts! Interesting suggestions. I'm going to start experimenting with variables, one by one, starting with the easiest. I'll just make 1 cup of black rice at a time. And I'll see what helps and what doesn't. I'll start with the water ratio, as in the other answer by Wayfaring Stranger, and then try your suggestions as well. And I plan on documenting it here; hopefully I won't forget! Jul 21, 2014 at 2:30

You do not mention the type of rice cooker you are using.

I have a National rice cooker and I have cooked many, many types of rice in it, including black (forbidden) rice. They all turn out perfectly. It is an old on/off model and I live at high elevation. I use the ratios you use for most of the whole grain rices; I may adjust it if the rice package recommends otherwise.

  • How high of an elevation are you at? That could be quite significant. (I believe that the rice was cultivaed by people living in mountains ... I wonder if they specifically selected rice that worked better for higher elevations?)
    – Joe
    Feb 26, 2015 at 12:06

The trick to black rice is to soak it for 4+ hours or overnight, then cook it. You will find an amazing difference.


I made it for the first time today and just rinsed it, and put it in my small rice cooker, using the cup included with the cooker at a ratio of one cup of the black rice to two cups of water, it cooked in about the same time as brown rice, and turned out perfect. I usually cook brown rice, but not anymore... the black rice is my favorite! :)


"...then I left it overnight...."

"Well, Bob, there's yer problem, right there!"

Put in in 40 minutes before you can stop a second to eat it. Use a little less water than 2 to 1, put in a couple of tablespoons of butter or coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon or more of salt before putting in your rice and water. See how that goes! Rice cooker is NOT a crockpot!!! Rice is not beef bone, or a roast!

  • Welcome to SA, Peter! Note that this is a very old question, so the original poster is unlikely to read your answer.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 17, 2021 at 16:03

I bought black rice last night for a dish from an Asian store.The first package I tried to buy was a solid, shrink-wrapped rectangular block of Thai black rice that was specifically labeled as "Black Rice." The owner told me it was "very glutinous and sweet-tasting" and perhaps I might instead buy another brand of rice, so I did: Riceberry Rice Red Elephant Brand, from Thailand. This was not specifically marked as what type of rice it was, but it looked black (but I've also seem dark rice that's labeled red rice so IDK).I've previously cooked black rice, specifically rice labeled "Forbidden Rice," but it was a long time ago, so I forgot the steps. I have an old Aroma-brand rice cooker. I used the measuring cup that came with the unit and measured out 1 1/4 cups rice that the recipe called for. I decided to go with a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cups liquid, even though recipes for brown rice call for a higher liquid ratio. And last-minute I threw in an extra 1/4 cup of liquid. I used chicken broth instead of water, and I rinsed the rice first for several minutes in a strainer, and then used the "steam" setting to brown it a bit in some butter and olive oil before adding the stock and switching it to the "Brown Rice" function. An Internet search produced different opinions on this subject of the dry to liquid proportions of cooking black rice. For brown rice I usually double the amount of water. This rice took nearly 2 hours to cook on the Brown Rice function, so do factor that in when you are preparing a recipe. I kept it on the warm function for about 45 minutes, and it came out perfectly for use in my salmon poke bowl. I am thinking about why your rice turned out so glutinous and watery. Maybe it's what would have happened had I used that other "black rice" from Thailand the store proprietor warned me about? Maybe that, in tandem with too much water??

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