Once considered a luxury, a good rice cooker is now a necessity according to most cooks. These cookers are specially designed to cook rice perfectly so that it comes out tasting just right every time.
Even better, rice cookers can cook all types of rice, so whether you like your rice brown, white, short-grain, or long-grain, they can accommodate you every time.
Cooking rice the old-fashioned way with a pan over a stove is a thing of the past because these cookers are much quicker and much easier.
How Long Does a Rice Cooker Take?
If you’re wondering how long a rice cooker takes, the answer depends on two things: the type of rice you’re cooking and how much of it you’re cooking. For starters, basic white rice generally takes around 10 minutes per cup to cook, while brown rice takes roughly 20 minutes per cup if you’re using a pot-style cooker and around 60 minutes per cup in a cool-touch cooker. Whole-grain rice usually takes 40 to 45 minutes per cup to cook, and parboiled rice takes roughly 20 minutes per cup.
What Are the Different Types of Cookers?
The two main types of rice cookers are pot-style cookers and cool-touch cookers. Here’s a brief description of each:
- Pot-style rice cookers are very common for household use. They are affordable, super-easy to operate, and can accommodate from 3 to 30 cups of uncooked rice. Most of them have an inner pot that is removable for convenience, as well as a one-button operation that makes cooking all types of rice super-simple.
- Cool-touch rice cookers have a capacity of 4 to 10 cups of uncooked rice and have fixed pots and a hinged lid. They usually come in an all-in-one style and have a digital display screen that is easy to read. Cool-touch cookers retain moisture better, can be very portable and easy to maneuver, and often have advanced features such as delay timers and more.
Regardless of the type of rice cooker you have, you’ll notice that brown rice has a longer cooking time than white rice does. This is because the former has a lot more bran and starch layers than the latter, so it’s a little tougher in the beginning. It simply takes longer because brown and multigrain rice doesn’t get soft as quickly as other types of rice do.
What Other Factors Affect the Cooking Time of Rice?
The cook times of the rice you choose will vary depending on numerous factors. This is true whether you cook your rice on the stove or in a cooker. Some of these factors include:
- Length and shape. Rice is categorized as short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain. Short-grain rice is always short and wide, and long-grain rice is long and cylindrical.
- All rice is naturally brown because it contains a bran layer that has a lot of nutrients in it. When the bran layer is removed, the rice becomes white. If you buy rice that is black, red, or purple, it means the rice has very unique bran pigments.
- The texture of rice can be either sticky or parboiled. The difference lies in the amount of starch that is in the rice. Parboiled rice is sometimes called rough rice because it is not sticky.
When you buy your rice cooker, it will come with a user manual. It’s best to read the manual thoroughly because that’s what will tell you exactly how long you need to cook your rice in order for it to turn out just right. Most user manuals can accommodate all types of rice and will tell you exactly how long you need to cook that particular rice in your rice cooker.
Tips for Working with Your Rice Cooker
Common rice cookers are easy to operate and essentially work on their own, but there are some things you can do to make your rice-cooking process much easier and more effective:
- If your cooker starts to spatter, it’s likely due to starch buildup. You can prevent this from happening by rinsing the rice before you cook it and by adding a fat to the rice, such as a little oil or butter.
- The ratio of rice to water varies depending on the type of rice you’re cooking. The general recommendations are 1:1 for white and other long-grain rice, and 1 cup of rice to 2 1/4 cups of water if the rice is brown or multigrain.
- For fluffier rice, try letting the cooked rice sit in the cooker with the lid on for about 10 minutes after it’s finished cooking. This allows the excess water to be gently absorbed without the delicious rice getting overcooked. (Who likes overcooked rice?)
- If your cooked rice feels overly sticky, it is usually due to one of two things: either you used too much water when cooking the rice, or you didn’t rinse the rice thoroughly before you cooked it.
- If you want rice that has a little more flavor, swap out your water for the same amount of stock or broth. For a healthier alternative, make sure the stock or broth is low-sodium or salt-free. You can also add herbs, spices, garlic, or sautéed onions right before you cook the rice for an even yummier flavor.
In addition to all rice varieties—including jasmine rice, basmati rice, and even wild rice—a good rice cooker will also make great oatmeal and quinoa, as well as many other grains. If you cook these things in your cooker, make sure you adjust the ratios so that you don’t include too much or too little water. In other words, feel free to get creative with your rice cooker!
Remember that when using a rice cooker, the time it takes to cook various types of rice will change depending on the type of rice you’re cooking. Paying attention to the instructions and cooking times in the user manual is crucial if you want the rice to come out perfect. The rice cooker cooking time can vary depending on the rice type and even the brand and model of cooker you’re using.
The good news is that cooking rice in a cooker is the easiest way to make perfect rice, so investing in a good rice cooker is always a smart option. However, if you don’t want to invest in a rice cooker right now, check out our post on how to cook microwave rice.