It’s understandable to think that as a rice cook owner, you have the luxury of not having to supervise your rice cooker. You just need to place your rice into a rice cooker and simply turn it off and it will do the rest.
Rice cookers have labeled themselves as the sort of “set it and forget it” appliance in your kitchen. Rice cookers begin cooking and then magically know when the rice is perfect. Then it automatically turns off the cooking and goes into warming mode.
Nonetheless, how can you be confident that a rice cooker won’t fail on you? Is it possible that you might even wake up one day and find a horrible accident if you’ve left the rice cooker on all night?
The question we should ask is, how long can you leave a rice cooker on?
The answer is, for as long as you like. However, this is highly not recommended and it’s important to understand that like all electrical equipment, rice cookers can fail or malfunction. This can lead to disastrous outcomes including sparks, fires, and even explosions.
The funny story about my roommates back in college, was that during a holiday weekend. We all decided to go back to our own hometowns to visit family. We left for an entire weekend. When we got back, we realized that someone forgot to dump out the rice. And it had been sitting there on warm for over a 4-day weekend.
I have to say it was an understatement to stay the rice went bad. No, it actually looked like it was growing a lifeform. What we found inside the rice cooker was a mix of green, yellow and white disgusting layer of mold and bacteria completely engulfing all the leftover rice. And that smell… it was enough to make me want to puke, and I don’t puke that easily.
Fortunately for us, there was no fire and the rice cooker never malfunctioned. It was a lesson learned.
If you’ve happened to forget to turn off your rice cooker over a weekend, it will most likely stay in the warm status all weekend and no harm will happen.
Let’s take a more in-depth approach to this topic.
Is it safe to leave a rice cooker unsupervised?
Rice cookers have this one amazing feature that allows a person to set it and forget it. All you have to do is place your rice inside the rice cooker, add some water, and press the on button.
This makes things super convenient because the notion here is that you don’t have to stand there and watch. You don’t have to move things or stir the ingredients.
Because of how a rice cooker is built, leaving your rice cooker unattended is generally considered safe.
Rice cookers are very unlikely to cause any issues because of how their fail-safe mechanism works. When rice cookers get to a certain temperature, a temperature sensor takes notice of this and turns the cooking off. It then places it into warming mode.
And don’t worry about any malfunctions or improper wiring. Most rice cookers these days are built with protection mechanisms that also protect themselves from an unexpected power surge.
The worst thing that could happen is a damaged plug.
when a rice cooker is working the way it should be, your risk of any issues or dangers is very minimal.
With proper maintenance and keeping your rice cooker clean, you will enjoy a very hassle-free kitchen appliance.
How long can you leave rice in a rice cooker?
One thing that we would like to mention is how we do not recommend leaving your rice cooker on for several hours today to store your food. It’s not meant for that. Rice can spoil very fast.
The longer you leave it inside the rice cooker to keep warm, the higher your chances of bacteria growing on your rice.
How long can you leave rice in a rice cooker?
The answer is 11 to 12 hours. This is considered the maximum amount of time you can safely leave rice inside a rice cooker to keep warm. Any longer than this, then you should expect to find micro growths of mold and bacteria formulating on the top of your rice. Throw it out immediately.
If you don’t plan to have any more rice as a meal for the day then you should just remove it from the rice cooker and store it away.
The scary fact is that uncooked rice naturally contains bacterial spores. These spores can survive the cooking process inside a rice cooker and begin to multiply while being kept warm. It’s the perfect incubation temperature for some bacteria.
Most rice cookers take about 20 minutes to fully cook rice. This is not nearly enough time to kill the spores, nor is the temperature of cooking rice quite enough to kill all the spores. Some spores are categorized as resistant to extremely high temperatures.
How and when to properly preserve leftover rice?
when rice cookers have completed cooking their rice, the rice cooker would automatically turn off. The device would then switch itself into warming mode which will continue to warm the rice at a constant temperature until you cut the power.
Now, we’ve already talked about how long rice is stored inside a rice cooker while it is kept on warm mode.
But how long can rice survive at room temperature? Bacteria actually starts growing and developing in rice that is left out at room temperature in about 2 hours. Around this time bacteria are beginning to grow and will multiply in a matter of hours.
The rice will begin to get hardened and dry. The moisture inside the rice will become slimy. And the rice may even change colors to yellow.
As time continues to progress the rice will have grown enough bacteria to engulf all of the rice.
It is recommended to store your rice in the cold refrigerator sealed in a container. Cold temperatures actually inhibit the growth of bacteria and stop them from multiplying.
The truth of the matter is, all foods and all objects around us have tiny little spores or bacteria that we can’t see. Most of the time it’s not dangerous to consume very little amounts. But if they were to grow out of control, and you were to accidentally consume a colony of bacteria, then you’re likely to end up with food poisoning.
Other related posts:
- Can a rice cooker catch fire or explode? (What we recommend)
- Can deep fryers explode? Mine did and this is what I learned
- Why do microwave ovens rust and is it harmful? (Solved)
My final thoughts
It’s very important to keep yourself safe and your family safer. And this is why I highly recommend that you don’t consider rice cookers anymore than just devices that can cook your rice store it for a short period of time.
Don’t leave your food inside your rice for more or even close to 11 to 12 hours. And if you happen to forget, just throw the rice out.
Bacteria is everywhere and it can survive and flourish in almost any environment.
Just understand that you must properly store away your rice after cooking if you don’t plan to eat it anymore. Cold temperatures will stop bacteria from growing, making your refrigerator the best place to store your leftover rice.