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There are four types of rice cookers: digital, basic, multi-function, and induction heat rice cookers.
Knowing each type’s features, kitchen usability, and functionality will tell you which type of rice cooker to buy.
For instance, you may prefer to get rice cookers versus slow cookers, given their difference in speed at which you can cook dishes using them. A rice cooker uses high temperatures to cook rice, usually less than an hour. A slow cooker cooks at a lower temperature for a more extended period. Many people use a slow cooker for cooking dishes all day long.
Understanding the different rice cookers available in the market—including their pros and cons—can help you determine the type to choose for your kitchen.
What are the different types available for rice cookers?
The different rice cookers are digital, basic, multi-function, and induction heat rice cookers.
The following list includes the different types of rice cookers available in the market:
- Digital rice cooker
A digital rice cooker is a rice cooker with digital settings. Digital rice cookers allow you to pre-set your temperature or cooking time.
A digital rice cooker functions just like an ordinary rice cooker but has an added feature: it measures the pot's temperature and adjusts cooking time according to what type of rice is being cooked.
- Basic rice cooker
A basic rice cooker is a rice cooker with minimal features. A basic rice cooker typically has a bowl and heating element which boils water and cooks rice.
A basic rice cooker contains no special features other than an easy-to-use interface. It is unlike more advanced models that come with multiple cooking modes, quick timers, settings that allow you to cook foods other than rice, and additional accessories that can be used to steam vegetables or seafood while rice cooks below.
- Multi-function rice cooker
A multi-function rice cooker has multiple cooking types. A multi-function rice cooker may combine with a slow cooker or steamer.
A multi-function rice cooker is commonly used for cooking rice and has other functions, including steaming vegetables, making soups, and more.
Multi-function rice cookers are versatile because they save the user time and money by cooking multiple items at once without taking up too much space or requiring expensive appliances. They save you money by doing all your cooking in one go rather than purchasing additional appliances to do similar jobs separately.
- Induction heat rice cooker
An induction heat rice cooker uses a magnetic coil to heat rice rather than boiling water.
With the help of induction heating technology, this type of rice cooker can produce perfectly cooked food every time. Induction heat rice cookers get their power through an alternating current from the wall outlet instead of using direct heat from an electrical plate underneath their inner cooking pan. The latter could result in undercooked or overcooked rice, depending on how much power you put into it.
Induction heat rice cookers are more expensive than other rice cookers because of their precision cooking and multiple functionalities.
What are the different ways to use a rice cooker?
The different ways to use a rice cooker include the following:
- Cook rice
- Steam soups
- Cook porridge
- Steam vegetables
Cooking rice is the most common way to use a rice cooker.
You can turn your rice cooker into a steamer to steam other foods such as soup and vegetables. Get a bowl that fits into your rice cooker and fill it with the right amount of water. Place the bowl in the inner pot of your rice cooker with other ingredients and seasonings, then set it to cook.
You can also cook porridge using a rice cooker. Add water to the rice cooker bowl, mix the other ingredients like chicken, ginger, and dried scallops, and cook for 25 minutes. Stir to check the consistency, then add salt to taste and garnish with spring onions.
While there are many rice cooker uses, this kitchen appliance requires thoughtful operation and extra care to make it last longer.
What sizes do the rice cookers come in?
Rice cookers are designed in various sizes that rice cooker from 23.11 x 23.11 x 23.11 cm to 40 x 30.5 x 26.5 cm.
The ideal size of a rice cooker depends on the number of people in your household and how much rice you consume. Smaller rice cookers can only hold a few servings of rice at one time, whereas larger rice cookers can cook enough rice for the whole family. Where you plan to store your rice cooker can also influence the size of the rice cooker you choose.
A household with 1-2 people may want a five-cup rice cooker. A household with 4-6 people may want a 7-cup rice cooker. If you have more than six people in your household or frequently entertain, you may want a larger rice cooker at 10 cups or more. If you have fewer people in your household, you may want to avoid getting a rice cooker that’s too large, as cooking a small amount of rice in a large rice cooker can affect food quality.
Here are the approximate sizes of each type of rice cooker:
Digital rice cooker: 40 x 30.5 x 26.5 cm
Basic rice cooker: 30.8 x 25.4 x 26 cm
Multi-function rice cooker: 28.7 x 39.3 x 25.6 cm
Induction heat rice cooker: 23.11 x 23.11 x 23.11 cm
What foods can be prepared in different rice cookers?
The foods that can be put into different rice cookers include:
- Meats like chicken
What determines the best rice cooker type?
The best rice cooker type can be determined by the following: removable interior, induction cooking, brand, and price. It is also based on auto shut-off, non-stick, dishwasher-safe, warming, pre-programmable, and digital settings.
Removable interior: A removable interior makes your rice cooker portable. You can remove the interior pot for serving.
Auto shut-off: A rice cooker with an automatic shut-off feature automatically turns the appliance off after a set period. This ensures you don’t leave it on all day.
Non-stick: A rice cooker with a non-stick coating helps prevent the rice from getting stuck to the pot.
Warming setting: A warming setting keeps your cooked rice warm before you’re ready to serve it.
Pre-programmable: A rice with programmable settings allows you to pre-set the temperature you want to cook at and for how long.
Digital settings: Digital settings let you connect your rice cooker to your smartphone for more control.
Dishwasher safe: A dishwasher-safe rice cooker can help you maintain its cleanliness, helping it last longer.
Induction cooking: A rice cooker with induction cooking capabilities gets power from an electrical outlet rather than the heat plates, helping with consistent heating.
Brand and price. The price of rice cookers varies according to the type and brand. Recognized brands are known for quality and reliability but are on the higher end of the price rice cooker. Consider your budget and whether you'll use rice cookers regularly or sparingly.
Are induction heat rice cookers safe?
Induction heat rice cookers are generally safe to use because of their “set it and leave it” feature.
However, careful and thoughtful use is required when using rice cookers, as with other appliances. Possible hazards may come from electric short circuits when spilled water touches the wire or by accidentally touching the scalding hot water inside or the steam.
What is the average price for a rice cooker?
The average price for a rice cooker varies between $ 20-$200.
Smaller rice cookers with fewer programmable settings cost less than a larger rice cooker with smart control features.
What is the lifespan of different rice cookers?
The average lifespan of a rice cooker is between 4-8 years. The frequency of use and maintenance of the rice cooker affects longevity. Keeping up with routine maintenance and cleaning it properly will help your rice cooker last longer.
The factors that affect the lifespan of a rice cooker include:
Frequency of use: How often your rice cooker affects its longevity. If you use your rice cooker frequently, you can expect to replace it sooner.
Maintenance and cleaning: Keeping up with maintenance and cleaning can help your rice cooker last longer. This includes thoroughly cleaning the pot between uses.
Initial quality: A rice cooker's initial quality and material affect how long you can expect it to last. Stainless steel rice cookers last longer than plastic rice cookers.
Storage: Where you store your rice cooker can affect its longevity. Keeping your rice cooker in a cupboard with plenty of room can help it last longer.
How does the rice cooker type affect the rice cooking process?
The heating process changes depending on the rice cooker type.
A digital rice cooker has an internal device that senses the temperature of the water. It either turns off or reduces the heat as it reaches the desired temperature. This process cooks the rice to perfection and avoids overcooking the rice, thanks to an even balance of water to the starchy center.
A basic rice cooker contains no special features other than an easy-to-use interface. While it does not come with multiple cooking modes, quick timers, or settings that allow you to cook foods other than rice, it can cook rice faster and more efficiently than using a pot and stovetop.
Multi-function rice cookers cook multiple items at once without taking up too much space or requiring the use of expensive appliances.
Induction heat rice cookers can produce perfectly cooked rice because induction heat is known to result in more precise cooking, not just of rice but other meals. They get their power through an alternating current from the wall outlet instead of using direct heat from an electrical plate underneath their inner cooking pan, which could result in undercooked or overcooked rice.
What effect does rice cooker type have on taste?
Rice cookers do not affect the flavor of food. However, you may get perfectly cooked rice and avoid overcooking by using an induction heat rice cooker. Among all rice cookers, induction heat has the most precise way of cooking.
Keep in mind that digital, multi-function, and basic rice cookers still cook great rice, especially when compared to the manual way using a pot and a stovetop.
Is it better to use digital rice cookers or basic rice cookers in the kitchen?
Deciding whether it's better to use digital or basic rice cookers in the kitchen boils down to kitchen space and functionality.
Kitchen usability is considered when deciding between the two types of rice cookers. It refers to the function and structure of kitchen appliances that make them easier to use.
Both types come in similar shapes and sizes. Therefore, you can have either type when it comes to kitchen usability. Picking which one boils down to your budget, features, and whether you prefer to cook perfect rice each time alongside other foods like soup, vegetables, and congee.