I am having epic rice-cooker failure here.

I measure out the amount of rice suggested by the little cup thingy. I rinse it with a bowl and a strainer until the water is clear while rinsing. Then I put the rice in and fill it to the appropriate line in my Rice Cooker with fresh water. After cooking for a little while, it immediately begins to boil over and nasty bubbles start popping out of the little hole in the top, dumping yucky, sticky water all over the place.

The Rice, when all is said and done, is alright but it's a hell of a mess! What am I doing wrong?

  • 1
    The answers here (cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8618/…) may be of help to you. For example, do you wash your rice before cooking?
    – justkt
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 19:51
  • 3
    I do. I rinse it with a bowl and strainer until the water is clear.
    – Drew
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 19:57
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    @Sam Holder - I actually think the substance of this question is somewhat different, as the asker is already trying the proposed solution of the question you linked as a duplicate. I have voted to reopen.
    – justkt
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 21:24
  • @juskt, I reopened. I still feel that the question is a duplicate of that one though, its just that other answers than the accepted one might be correct in this case. We can leave it open and see if it gets any new answers which specifically answer this then merge it with the other maybe...
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 22:35
  • 8
    I think that since rinsing is done, that this is a different question which requires a different answer.
    – kzh
    Commented Dec 10, 2010 at 19:15

10 Answers 10


I've heard that adding a little olive oil (any kind) can help with bubbling over.

Otherwise if you don't get any answers, consider that your rice cooker might be broken. If you get that far, try to borrow someone else's and repeat your method.

  • 1
    Can confirm this is the way to do it. I break all the rules, using 3:1 water to rice, using Basmati brown, and I don't even rinse or soak it. I had big issues with boiling over, but adding some olive oil fixed it. I'd guess any cooking oil works, but olive oil is what I have on hand.
    – einnocent
    Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 21:14

How to keep a rice cooker from boiling over



keep a wet paper towel over the vent


place a wooden stick or string of rope across the container

enter image description here

  • cooking rice without it boiling over simplykarendipity.blogspot.in/2012/09/…
    – Siva
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 15:50
  • 2
    it's a good idea to summarize links, in case of link rot. In this case, the first video link is the last 'or' (placing wooden skewers below the lid), and the link in the comments is the piece of string under the lid.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 14:12

Put a little bit of butter in before cooking. The fat on the top will prevent the bubbles from surviving for too long and therefore not allow it to boil over. The olive oil should work as well, but I don't know if that has the required amount of fat needed.

  • 2
    Olive oil is 100% fat whereas butter isn't. So you have your logic inverted.
    – Jay
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 15:15

I just talked to a pro rice cooker person, he says forget about the instructions, prep the rice as usual, put it in the rice cooker, then add just enough water to cover the rice, turn on the rice cooker, and voila, perfect, fluffy rice every time!

  • 5
    Funny how when I follow the instructions, that's exactly how things look. Perhaps some people are using full cup measures instead of the mini-cup measure that comes with their cooker and end up adding too much water; so it boils over. Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 11:53

maybe just try reducing the water by a little amount at a time, each time you make it, until it works out right? seems odd to me that even though you are rinsing & measuring your rice, and adding the recommended water, that this would be happening. my rice cooker is foolproof when i follow the directions like that!


This happens to me, too...in fact that is exactly why I am here, because I was googling for a solution! I will try a more through rinsing of the rice and the butter thing next time. BUT I think the real answer is the quality of the rice itself. When I used a higher quality rice (when I first got my rice cooker) I didn't have this problem, of late I have not bought the better rice and I have a mess on my hands. So maybe the more aggressive rinsing will help.


You mention you're using the recommended amount of water according to the rice cooker... have you checked, or tried, the amount of recommended water according to the rice?

Varieties or preparations of rice use different amounts of water, sometimes varying by quite a bit - I've seen them from just under one-cup-per-cup-rice, to three-cups-per-cup-rice. Your rice cooker can't change the lines to suit the rice, and may be making assumptions that don't fit the rice you're using.

Personally, we made rice a lot growing up, and I never noticed the amount of rice we made, or the amount of rice and water we started with, actually fit the rice cooker's lines.

Beyond that, you should probably try reducing water, even if your rice recommended amount of water is fairly close to the rice cooker's. You clearly have too much of it for your rice - the amount of water making your rice come out right plus the amount that gets dumped out the vent. And rice is a biological rather than processed product, like flour or tea or vegetables, where different weather, different years, and other minutely different factors in growth, production, and usage means that one batch of even the same variety of rice may end up being different from another batch - so you may need to tweak recommendations to fit what's actually going on.


My rice cooker never boiled over using converted rice, but we have a bunch of regular long grain rice that was given to us and every batch boils over. I always follow the ratios on the back of the rice, but I’ve just read the instructions on the back of long grain enriched rice and it calls for half again as much water! Problem solved!!


When simmering/steaming rice of any type the rice/water ratio is always 1:1 plus more water for evaporation loss

Your evaporation loss can generally only be determined by trial and error

The evaporation loss amount is fixed for the type of rice, cooking vessel/machine, and temperature used

If you cook 1 cup of rice with 1.5 cups of water, then you can cook 2 cups of the same rice and same method with 2.5 cups of water. This is 1 cup of water per cup of rice, plus 0.5 cups for evaporation loss). If you use 3 cups of water you will have left over water, and in a machine probably overflow

Many packets of rice actually say this, they just don't spell it out why, so many people think it's a miss-print and just multiply the rice/water ratio for 1 cup of rice

  • 2
    I'm going to have to disagree. Short grain rice only require 1:1 ratio but the long grain variety require more water.
    – Jay
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 15:21
  • I threw out the only rice maker I ever tried, because I can do better myself... but I use something similar to this ratio, just in a pan. No rinse, start with boiling water, drop rice, stir once & reduce to min temp. 15 mins simmer, 15 mins rest. Serve.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 14:00

It has been an ordeal to us for a very long time. You can blame the manufacturers because its really a problem. We have used 2 brands and still have this problem. Just put wooden stick on the lid and place the cover, when the cooking is done, remove the stick and return the cover.

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