I don't understand why my rice smells like eggs.. We have a new rice cooker that we used for two months now. I wash it, but should I deep clean it? Also, I put my rice in a big plastic bin so I won't have to keep going into the bag and have the rice spill all over. Would anyone know the reason why the rice smells?

  • Note that sticky rice has a particular smell, not like egg but indicative of the consistency of steamed glue. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 8:31

9 Answers 9


Have you considered your water source? Where we live it is a normal for our city-supplied water to smell like swamp water (nasty) or like sulphur (strong egg smell). We never drink or cook with this water. We found out early on after moving to this area (10+ years ago) that the water affected the taste of everything we cooked, including brewed coffee and tea.

We constantly hear on the news for our area and surrounding areas to not pay attention to the color or smell of the water, that is safe to consume. Safe or not, I can't get past the smell or taste. All said and done, the quality of your water can greatly affect how your foods taste.

  • I have not, but once I get home and check, I will post an update. Thanks! Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 0:59
  • It wasn't the water. The water is perfectly clear, smells fine, and tastes normal. I'm going to deep clean it to see if that works. Thanks for your response! Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 14:21
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    @SustenanceCouture Did you heat the water? I had water once where my shower smelled like eggs but the cold tap didn't. I'm not sure if it was the water heater or just that it smelled more when it was warm. Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 15:31
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    @Yamikuronue That's not surprising if the smell is from hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas; unlike solids, gases become less soluble in water as it is heated. So it comes out in the shower.
    – Air
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:17

Well, you're using water, rice and a rice cooker. Any one of those things could be causing the problem. Eggy smells come from sulphur compounds.

  • You say your tap water doesn't smell. It's possible that there are sulphur compounds in the water but they're only released when it's heated. Does heating a pan of water to boiling on the stove cause the smell? If not, your water is innocent.

  • Does cooking rice on in a pan of water on the stove give the smell? If it does, your rice is at fault.

  • If your rice is innocent, does rice cooked in the rice cooker smell as soon as it is done? If so, the problem is the cooker.

  • If the rice only smells after its been left in the cooker for a while, the problem is that it's spoiled. People mostly worry about food poisoning from meat but rice can be a significant cause, especially if its kept warm for a long time: bacteria love warm, moist conditions and rice is easy for them to eat, too.


If your rice doesn't smell and your water doesn't smell, I'd be inclined to believe your new rice cooker sucks. Does your rice cooker smell, even when there's no rice in there? I would sniff the steam vent (not while it's on ...) and anywhere else really to check.

I found this:

You need to clean the rice cooker. Over time the inside builds up a sort of 'coating' of the 'starch' in rice, and that turns sulfurous after awhile. Get a small can of Cream of Tartar and a small bottle of CLEAR (white) vinegar. Pour the WHOLE CAN of Cream of Tartar in and add two cups of vinegar. Fill with COLD water and then run the rice cooker through the cycle as if you were making rice. When that is done, pour the 'cleaner' out, wipe every surface you can inside, and fill it again with pure cold water and do it again. After this your rice should be 'perfect' again ... but to keep the rice cooker 'clean' you should do this 'cream of tartar-vinegar-water, then plain water' cleaning AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH ...

[Source: https://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080628150847AAO7ibx]

I personally have never had a problem with a rice cooker, we clean the bowl and wipe the removable 'ceiling', and anywhere there is steam-turned-water, but other than that, all of them have always been fine.

This makes me think you have a poor rice cooker; some starches have become stuck somewhere and have rotten. Or if it's not the rice cooker's fault, perhaps you filled it up past the max point, and so some rice has bubbled up into where it's not meant to go?

  • I will use the cleaning method and see how it works. The water and rice doesn't smell, so I may have to deep clean the rice cooker. My rice cooker is great! It cost me $200 and it's a hig pressure cooker. ebay.com/itm/like/111235904672?lpid=82 <--- It's exactly this but in black. I am going to deep clean it and see how it turns out! Thanks! Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 14:20
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    @SustenanceCouture "My rice cooker is great!" Except that, um, it seems to produce rice that smells. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 11:05
  • @DavidRicherby : I actually found the reason why it was smelling. It wasn't the rice cooker. It was because I didn't unplug the rice cooker after 24 hours. So, my rice cooker is great and I'm glad it wasn't the rice cooker. But thanks (: Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 20:28
  • @setek Thank you for your response. My rice cooker has an auto clean at the rice is MUCH better! Plus, I don't leave the rice in there for more than two days. I believe that was also the problem. Now I just reheat the rice if I need any for the day. Thanks again. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 20:29
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    I'm sorry, what? You leave rice in there after it's cooked? No, I can't abide by this. Once you've cooked rice and had your dinner, take the rice out and immediately put it in the fridge. Look up rice and bacillus cereus. Don't leave rice in the "keep warm" stage for long! One hour keep warm is probably max. It's not designed to be a buffet warming tray. Besides which, food left in warmers is pretty disgusting anyway. It's bacterial heaven.
    – Ming
    Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 23:34

So I did some research and I have found that the reason why the rice was smelly was because I left it in for more than 24 hours without turning off the rice cooker. According to Sue, (http://mykoreankitchen.com/2006/09/06/this-is-the-rice-cooker/), with the rice cooker I have, I could keep it in for more than 24 hours but if I do, it will turn into a yellow color and have a odor to it even if it won't cause any harm. But, I do not want to eat the rice with that smell.

Thank you to everyone who helped because I know a couple of you did say it may be from the rice being stored in the cooker for too long. I appreciate you all for taking the time to respond. Have a great weekend! (:

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    Cooked rice should be kept in the fridge. Warm rice is bacteria heaven and room-temperature cooked rice is a great place for them to grow, too. (Uncooked rice is fine at room temperature, since it's too dry for anything to grow quickly.) Don't keep food warm for a long time. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 20:48
  • Yes, I found that out and now my rice doesn't have that foul smell to it. I read your previous comment and I thought I replied to it, but I did thank you for your response because it was what was causing the scent. @DavidRicherby Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 20:50
  • Yeah, I left essentially the same comment in three different places but I deleted the other two. Here seemed to be the best place for it, in the end. Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 21:52

Totally Agree with what John has said. The Sri Lankan Samba rice smells really bad. I called up my Mom in India and she said the reason why that Rotten eggish smell comes is because the rice was not processed properly and is of low quality. one of the traditional processes used to de-husk rice is by steaming it a little and then it is put though a mortar and pestle type of machine which will separate the rice kernel from the husk easily. Some places do not use fresh water but instead use the same water over and over again which practically ferments the rice and it seeps into the kernel. Hence it is usually sold as cheap rice in India and Sri Lanka where it is distributed at low cost ration centers. I guess some Sri Lankan importer is making a killing selling this smelly stuff and getting away with it (Needs to be reported). True Samba Rice from Andhra and Tamil Nadu is the next best thing to Basmati and is a healthier option but I can't find the Indian Import and am still looking. I guess I will go back to Basmati and Ponni Boiled rice, they are just as good.

  • That makes sense: in boiling water the rice smell something between rotten grass, manure and burned plastic. But in our case it comes from a good quality (expensive) Basmati organic rice (from Golden Sun Brand sold by lidl in Europe)
    – JinSnow
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 10:14

The rice is most likely to blame. Is the rice normal, parboiled, brown or basmati? While basmati and normal rice smell pretty good depending on the seasoning and spices used in their preparation, parboiled and brown rice may have awful smells especially if they are poorly processed, packaged or stored. Parboiled rice has a brown tint to it and the grains are larger and very few are broken. The odor is detectable even before cooking. The odor comes from the processing since the rice is boiled with the husks still on before it is dried and dehusked.This process makes the rice acquire its odor because sulphides are transfered from the husk to the germ. Therefore, the type of rice is most likely the cause of the odor.


I have used rice cooker to cook rice for more than 30 years. I have had no problem with Indian Basmathi Rice or similar rice. But, the Samba rice bought at Sri Lankan grocery stores h ave a strong stink when it is cooked in the rice cooker. The same stik occurs when cooked on stove top. The Samba rice cooked in Sri Lanka either on stove top or rice cooker does not have the stink. I conclude that the stink is due to pacaging in plastic bags in Sri Lanka . THIS DOES NOT OCCUR RICE PACAGED IN iNDIA.


It's easy to get rid of any smell in your rice cooker, especially after cooking with seasonings. Just washing the inner lid and inner pan will NOT get rid of the smell. This is what you do:

  1. Fill the Inner Cooking Pan with water up to water level 1 for white/mixed rice.
  2. Close the Outer Lid and press the "MENU" button to select QUICK Cooking.
  3. Press the "START" button.
  4. When the Rice Cooker completes cooking and switches to Keep Warm mode, press the "Cancel" button or just turn off your rice cooker.
  5. Wait until the Main Body of your rice cooker cools down, then discard the water and clean the inner lid and inner pan.

Note: You may have to repeat this process twice if the smell doesn't go away the first time.

Do not add any cleaning detergents when doing this. Just use plain water and nothing else!


Yes I conclude that the reason my sushi rice just came out sulphurous is that it had been in the cupboard in its opened bag a few months - the best before isn't till 2020 - but the quality must be low. What a waste as I added seasoning already!

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