How Long Do Rice Cookers Take?

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Cooking rice is such a simple kitchen technique, yet so many people still struggle with it to this day – ourselves included! Luckily, a rice cooker can fix all of your problems and is a much less laborsome process than stovetop cooking.

But how long do rice cookers take to cook rice? While the answer is simple, it’s important to first understand that the type of rice and the amount you use will affect the final cooking time.

1 cup of long-grain white rice will take about 10-15 minutes to cook in a rice cooker. A cup of long-grain brown rice takes longer, about 25-35 minutes. For every additional cup, the cooking time increases by about 10-15 minutes.

Today, we will look at exactly how to effectively cook rice in this handy appliance, how the cooking time changes based on the type and amount, and what the final cooking times are.

We’ve also provided a handy guide to help avoid common rice-cooking problems people run into.

What Is A Rice Cooker?

Many people have heard of rice cookers before. However, it is still predominantly an appliance used in Asia, not so much in other Western countries. But trust us when we say: It’s a game changer!

A rice cooker, also commonly referred to as a “rice steamer,” is a kitchen appliance that has automatic built-in functions. It has been designed to boil or steam the rice, cooking it to perfection.

But how does this work?

If you have ever cooked rice on the stovetop, you know that it is a pretty fragile process, and often things go very wrong.

You end up with undercooked rice, mushy rice, burnt rice – you get the picture. So how is an appliance able to perfectly cook rice time and time again?

The secret lies in the built-in thermostat. As the rice is cooking, it measures the temperature to determine the heat it should be using (if it should increase or decrease the heat.

Let’s say that the rice has reached 167ºF (75ºC). This is the temperature at which rice has been fully cooked. Once the thermometer picks up this reading, it automatically lowers the heat to 145.5ºF (63ºC) to keep the rice warm safely.

Another example is when the rice just starts cooking. The temperature of the rice and water mixture will likely be around 59ºF (15ºC).

The thermometer picks up this reading and increases the heat used to bring the rice to a boil and, ultimately, to 167ºF (75ºC). Fascinating, isn’t it?

Benefits Of Using A Rice Cooker

Now, if you don’t see the benefits that this shockingly affordable appliance offers, let’s break it down.

First and foremost, the rice cooker is a hands-free, worry-free way to cook your rice to perfection. You don’t have to even check the progress until the appliance says “done.”

Secondly, a rice cooker can cook any type of rice to perfection. How? Because again, it measures the temperature of the rice to ensure it has cooked to 167ºF (75ºC).

So even if the cooking times vary for different kinds of rice, the appliance will keep increasing and maintaining the cooking temperature until your rice is cooked.

Next, this handy appliance will also cook the rice perfectly every time.

Most rice cookers are set to make the rice al dente (soft but slightly firm when bitten into).

You can leave it to cook for a couple of extra minutes if you want soft or mushy rice). And better yet, a lot of rice cookers come with an option to set the doneness you want.

These appliances are also extremely easy to clean and are often even dishwasher safe.

And finally, as we’ve briefly mentioned before, they are surprisingly affordable for such a handy tool.

On the low end, a decent rice cooker will set you back $20.

But the best part is that you get a ton of different kinds that have different features and that can cook various amounts of rice. You even get cookers that can cook 11 pounds (5 kg) of rice at once!

So if you still have your reservations, (hopefully, we’ve convinced you somewhat).

You can take a look at some of our buying guides:

How Do You Cook Rice On The Stovetop?

Now, before we dive directly into “How long does a rice cooker take?” it is important to understand how rice is normally cooked.

This will give you the best side-by-side comparison of the two techniques. It will also further highlight the benefits of using a rice cooker.

Step 1: Prepare the rice

When cooking rice, the first thing that you need to do is clean it. To do this, simply cover your rice with cold water in a large bowl.

Use your hands in a claw shape to swirl the rice around. This will help release the starch from the grains.

Strain the rice from the starchy (milky-white) water.

Repeat the process about three times until the water is relatively clean.

This cleaning technique helps remove any debris from the grains. It also removes excess starch which makes the rice sticky. So, instead, you will create fluffy soft rice.

Step 2: Bring the rice to a boil

Next, combine the right amount of cold water with the rice (however much you need). You can also add some salt.

Different kinds of rice have different hydration ratios.

For example, long-grain white rice has a 1:1.75 ratio. That means for every cup of long-grain white rice used, you need to add 1 3/4 cups of water.

For short-grain white rice, the ratio is 1:1.5, meaning for every cup of rice, you need to add 1 1/2 cups of water.

Once combined, bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Simmer the rice

When the rice starts to boil, lower the heat slightly, cover the pot with a lid, and continue cooking the rice until it becomes al dente or completely soft.

The exact cooking times depend on the type of rice you are using and the amount of rice you are cooking.

Here is a guide on cooking times for rice on the stovetop. These are only averages and you should check the progress of the rice.

Step 4: Fluff the rice

Once the rice has been cooked, you can remove it from the heat and leave it to rest for a couple of minutes. This will make the fluffing process easier.

Once about 5-10 minutes have elapsed, use a fork to gently fluff the rice. This prevents clumps and sticky rice.

Water Ratio And Cooking Times Of Rice On Stovetop
Type Of RiceWater Per Cup Of RiceCooking Times Per Cup (From Simmer)
Regular Long-Grain White Rice2.75 to 2 cups15 minutes
Regular Long-Grain Brown Rice2.75 cups45-50 minutes
Basmati Rice1.5 cups15-20 minutes
Wild Rice2.5 cups40-50 minutes
Jasmine Rice1.75 cups15-20 minutes

What Affects The Cooking Time In A Rice Cooker?

The same factors that affect the cooking time for stovetop rice affect the cooking time for rice cooker rice.

The type of rice you use is the first factor.

Below we have provided you with a table where you can see how different types of rice have different cooking times.

We’ve also added the rice-to-water ratio for your convenience.

For the most part, the cooking times are slightly shorter in a rice cooker than when cooking on the stovetop.

Water Ratio And Cooking Times Of Rice In Rice Cooker
Type Of RiceWater Per Cup Of RiceCooking Times Per Cup
Regular Long-Grain White Rice2.75 to 2 cups10-15 minutes
Regular Long-Grain Brown Rice2.75 cups25-35 minutes
Basmati Rice1.5 cups10-15 minutes
Wild Rice2.5 cups40-50 minutes
Jasmine Rice1.75 cups20 minutes

The second factor that affects the cooking time of rice is the amount that you are cooking.

Obviously, the more rice you are cooking, the more water you will need.

The more water there is, the longer the mixture will take to heat to 167ºF (75ºC).

Every additional cup adds roughly 10-15 minutes of cooking time. However, in a rice cooker, that time gets less and less the more rice you add.

That’s because this appliance, again, is automated and can control the cooking temperature a lot better than you can on a stovetop.

How Long Does A Rice Cooker Take?

Okay, so what’s the bottom line here?

How long does a rice cooker take to cook rice al dente? 

Again, it depends on the type and amount of rice you are cooking.

The cooking time increases with roughly 10-15 minutes per cup of added rice.

You can use this guide below to help you determine the best cooking times. If you are using any other type of rice (not white or brown rice) you can use the 10-15 minute rule for increased cooking amounts.

Water Ratio And Cooking Times Of Rice In Rice Cooker
Amount Of RiceRegular Long-Grain White RiceRegular Long-Grain Brown Rice
1 cup10-15 minutes25-35 minutes
2 cups20-25 minutes35-45 minutes
3 cups30-35 minutes50 minutes
4 cups40-45 minutes60-70 minutes
5 cups45-55 minutes65-75 minutes
6 cups60-65 minutes75-85 minutes
7 cups70-75 minutes80-90 minutes
8 cups80-90 minutes100-110 minutes
9 cups90-95 minutes120-125 minutes
10 cups100-110 minutes130-140 minutes

How To Properly Use A Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is even easier than making rice on the stovetop. The steps remain the same to a large extent. But you don’t have to do nearly as much “checking-in” as you have to for stovetop rice.

Step 1: Prepare the rice

Again, the most important step when making rice is to properly clean it. It removes any debris and helps remove excess starch.

In a rice cooker especially, if you don’t wash your rice properly, it will become a clumpy, sticky mess.

A quick recap: to wash your rice, cover it with cold water and swirl it around. Then, strain the rice from the starchy water and repeat the process until the water is relatively clean.

Step 2: Add the ingredients to the rice cooker

Next, add the rice, water, and salt to the rice cooker.

Stir the ingredients to ensure the salt is distributed through the water.

And again, make sure you use the correct amount of water for the type of rice you are using.

If you use too little water, the rice grains will dry up and become crunchy and hard. If you use too much water, the rice will either overcook (become mushy) or it will be a watery mess that you need to drain.

Step 3: Cook the rice

Most rice cookers have only two settings: “cook” and “keep warm.” 

Initially, you want to put the rice cooker on “cook.” It will automatically switch over to “keep warm” once the rice has cooked (reached a temperature of 167ºF (75ºC).

DO NOT open the rice cooker while the rice is cooking. The heat and steam will escape and lower the internal temperature.

This means that the appliance needs to take more time to get the rice back to the temperature it was. Again, trust us, the rice cooker does everything perfectly on its own. You literally just have to add the correct amount of water.

Step 4: Rest the rice

Once the rice is done cooking (when the “cook” has flipped to the “keep warm” setting) you can switch off the rice cooker. If you aren’t going to be using the rice immediately, keep it on the “keep warm” setting.

Check the doneness of the rice. If you are happy with its texture, close the lid and leave the rice to rest (steam) for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Fluff the rice

Most rice cookers come with a paddle. Personally, we prefer fluffing the rice with a fork before portioning it out.

So again, use a fork to gently fluff the rice to prevent large clumps. Once fluffed, you can serve the rice immediately while it’s still warm.

Common Problems (And Solutions) When Using A Rice Cooker

So, while the rice cooker is pretty much a fool-proof appliance to use, there are still things that may go wrong. However, it is most likely due to human error. Let’s take a look at a few common problems and how you can avoid it in the future.

Sticky Rice

If you have cooked rice that is incredibly sticky, it can be due to two reasons. The first is the type of rice you used. Sushi rice (short-grain white rice or Japanese rice) is starchy rice and should come out sticky.

However, if it is any other type of rice (that should be fluffy), it’s because you didn’t clean and wash the rice properly.

Remember, washing the rice removes excess starch. This starch is what makes a sticky, gooey liquid that also causes the rice to clump. You have to remove it to get fluffy tender rice.

Burnt Rice

Yes, folks, rice can still burn in the rice cooker.

But again, it’s most likely because you didn’t use enough water.

It is highly unlikely that the appliance is programmed incorrectly.

So, take a look at our guide above to ensure you add enough water for the amount of rice you use.

And remember, different types of rice require different amounts of water.

Undercooked, Crispy Rice

This is another problem caused by the incorrect amount of water used for the type and amount of rice you used.

If there isn’t enough water to hydrate the rice granules, they will remain crunchy or crisp.

This differs from rice burning, which happens when the grain dries out to such an extent it overcooks completely.

Overcooked, Mushy Rice

And finally, overcooked rice can be due to machine error instead of human error – unless you left the rice on “cook” for another round.

But again, the machine should switch over automatically, so it’s pretty unlikely that the rice will overcook.

However, a more common problem is mushy or watery rice. This happens when you added too much water. Luckily, it is fixable to some degree. Simply strain away some excess water and leave the rice to steam for a little longer.

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