What do you do with your rice cooker on the days you don’t cook rice, or you are done using it? Chances are it just sits on the kitchen counter or in your cupboard until you use it next time.
Let us tell you a secret. Your rice cooker can do a lot more than just cook rice. There are many things you can make in a rice cooker that would save your precious time spent in the kitchen, every single day.
So, keep reading as we have listed the best and easiest rice cooker meals for you below.
Things to Cook in a Rice Cooker
From breakfast to dinner, there are a variety of food items that you can make in your rice cooker.
Moreover, rice cooker belongs to the group of ‘set-and-forget’ cooking appliances. That’s why using it is easier for cooking. Don’t worry if your rice cooker has basic settings(cook and warm). It will serve you alright.
Steam up with the steamer basket
If your rice cooker has a steamer basket, you must use it for your own advantage. You can cook a variety of food in your rice cooker steamer basket, and without much to do.
You can have an egg-cellent morning by cooking your eggs in your rice cooker. You can boil a large number of eggs at the same time. Moreover, eggs cooked in a rice cooker are very easy to peel.
Start by putting the eggs in the steamer basket. Add 1-2 cups of water in the bowl below according to the number of eggs.
Put the eggs in an upright position. That way the yolks will stay balanced, and you can make perfect deviled eggs with them.
Place the steamer basket in the rice cooker and put the lid on.
Remember that in a rice cooker, eggs get steamed rather than boiled. So, don’t lift your rice cooker’s lid while cooking. Otherwise, a sufficient amount of steam will manage to escape.
If your rice cooker has advanced settings, set the timer for 20 minutes or less depending on your preference. If you don’t have the option to set a timer, just add enough water that would produce steam for 20 minutes.
Add cold water and some ice cubes in a bowl. You can do this while the eggs cook in the rice cooker. Then get the eggs out one by one with a tong(either plastic or metal) and put them in the ice bath.
In case you don’t want to have eggs as breakfast, cook them with rice for lunch or dinner.
Just add a half cup of water more while adding the water for your rice.
You can directly place the eggs on the rice.
Put the lid on, and turn on the cooker.
Place the eggs in the ice bath after the cooking is done.
Veggies and meats
Include vegetables and meats among the things you can make in a rice cooker. Don’t worry. Steaming them is quite easy than it sounds.
You don’t have to make extra time to steam your vegetables and meats. You can heat them in your steamer basket while cooking your rice. Not only it will save you time, but the greens and meats will also add extra flavor to your rice.
In addition to this, you can switch your water for a broth of your liking.
The instruction manual that came with your rice cooker generally provides the timings for cooking in the steamer basket. So, take a look at it for better guidance.
As different veggies and meats need different timings, add them at the end of the cooking time accordingly. For instance, cauliflower needs 15 minutes to cook properly. So, put it in the steamer basket and insert it when your rice cooker has 15 minutes left to finish cooking.
If you don’t want to steam the meats and veggies while cooking the rice, only add the proper amount of water(per the instruction manual) in the rice cooker bowl.
The rice cooker bowl is your secret savior
The cooking bowl of the rice cooker isn’t only to cook rice. It can be used to make lots of tasty, delicious rice cooker recipes.
On the lazy evenings, use your rice cooker to cook your soup. It will save you from the daunting tasks in the kitchen as you can throw the ingredients in the rice cooker and leave it.
To cook soup in your rice cooker, you have to prepare all the ingredients before anything else.
After that, put them in the cooker bowl with sufficient water or broth(whichever you prefer).
Place the lid on. When it’s done, check if your dish is under cooked. If it is, just add a small amount of water and cook some more.
Be mindful how and when to put the ingredients. Those that take longer to cook goes in the rice cooker first. Add the ones that cook in a short time later.
Ingredients that you want to taste crunchy goes last.
Don’t let the beans feel left out. Include them in your diet by cooking them in your rice cooker.
Soak the beans overnight if you are cooking dried beans.
Drain all the beans and give them a rinse before cooking.
Put them in the rice cooker bowl.
Add water and spices as you prefer. Different types of beans need a various amount of water.
If your rice cooker has advanced settings, set the timer as needed.
Check it after the rice cooker is done with the cooking. Sometimes, additional time or water is needed. Adjust the amount of water or time accordingly.
When it's done, enjoy your beans as you want. You can cook chickpeas and make hummus.
Pasta and spaghetti
These two food items are probably the most common dish cooked in most of the households. Then, why not make them in your rice cooker?
For spaghetti, start by breaking the dry ones to fit the cooker bowl.
Pour water, salt and olive oil in the rice cooker bowl. Add the spaghetti.
Put on the lid and turn on the rice cooker. Use the timing that is to cook rice.
After the rice cooker turns off, check the spaghetti.
If it is slightly undercooked, it’s time to add the sauce.
Pour the sauce and let the spaghetti get adequately cooked in it.
Remember to give this dish some stir while cooking.
In case you prefer pasta over spaghetti, you can use your rice cooker to cook it. However, there are two ways to cook pasta in a rice cooker. You can either cook only pasta or cook a one-pot meal.
To cook only pasta, start by pouring water in the cooker.
For a half pound of pasta, use 6 to 8 cups of water. Adjust the amount of water if you are cooking more than a half pound.
Turn on the rice cooker and let the water come to the boiling point.
Then add the pasta. Put the cover on and let the pasta get cooked.
Give it some stirs while cooking. This is to not let the pasta get stuck at the bottom.
When it is done, just drain and mix the pasta with the sauce of your preference.
To cook the one-pot pasta meal, more attention is required. Nevertheless, once you get used to the whole process, you will find this recipe much more manageable. The details of this process are given below.
Pour some olive oil in the cooking bowl and put the lid on. Turn the rice cooker on to heat up the oil.
Add sliced onion and garlic in the oil to saute. Include some peppers if you want to.
You can add veggies, meat, sausages or meatballs in the oil also.
Take them out and set the sauteed veggies and browned meat aside.
After that, it’s time to add the pasta and water in the rice cooker bowl. Let the pasta cook for a while.
Then, add your pasta sauce. Let it cook for some times before throwing in the veggies and browned meat.
Season the dish with salt and pepper as needed. Leave it to cook again.
When the rice cooker turns itself off or switches to warm settings, check the pasta. Cook it a little bit more if the pasta is undercooked.
When it’s done, serve and enjoy.
You need to get familiar with your appliance as rice cookers of different brand work differently. And once you know how it functions with various recipes, you will be able to explore the things you can make in a rice cooker without much trouble.
With the proper utilization of the steamer and the cooking bowl, you will be surprised to find out what can you cook in a rice cooker. Besides, doing dishes is very straightforward after using it. So go ahead, give your rice cooker some attention and treat yourself with delicious foods.