After a long day of work, you’re hungry. You’re really hungry. So you decide to throw some rice into your rice cooker and wait for it to cook.
But then you wait… and wait… and wait some more.
Now you’re starving!
Why are rice cookers so slow?
Why do rice cookers take so long?
The reason why rice cookers take so long to cook rice is that it takes time to steam and allow the rice to absorb the water. We gauge rice by the texture, subtle sweetness, and moisture packed inside each grain.
And in order for the rice to get to this state, it has to go through the process of absorbing lots of water into itself.
During the process of cooking rice, the rice cooker heats up the water inside almost to a boil, which creates a theme. The steam travels and is absorbed into every single grain of rice.
Things like this can take anywhere from 20 to even 30 minutes to get right.
Other factors also include the type of rice, how much rice, and how much water you put into the rice cooker.
How long do rice cookers take to cook rice?
The average cooking time for most rice cookers is about 20 – 30 minutes. This can vary depending on the type of rice cooker, the type of rice, and the amount of water used.
The average time it takes for one cup of white rice to be cooked thoroughly in a rice cooker is about 17 minutes.
Cooking time of a rice cooker vs other methods
A rice cooker is a great machine that makes cooking rice a cinch. It does take about 20 to 30 minutes to cook namely because it uses steam and not direct heat to cook the rice.
The rice cooker converts the water you put into the rice cooker to steam which then causes the rice to expand and absorb the water. When the water is gone, the rice cooker switches off.
It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for all the water to be gone and for the cooker to turn off.
Cooking rice over a stove
Cooking rice on the stove is a bit different. It takes about 15 to 17 minutes to cook a cup of rice on the stovetop. Instead of steam, the stovetop method uses boiling water to cause the rice to expand.
It gets a bit hotter than in a rice cooker, and the direct heat causes the rice to expand faster than it might if it was being cooked in a rice cooker.
The ratio for rice on the stovetop is two cups of water for each cup of raw rice.
Cooking rice with a pressure cooker
For those that want to cook rice in a pressure cooker, the process is about the same as a rice cooker. The reason for this is that a pressure cooker also uses steam to help cook the food inside.
A pressure cooker creates steam by heating the liquid that you put into it, as the liquid heats up it creates pressure which then increases the temperature of the water and creates more steam.
The steam cooks the rice. A pressure cooker works on a timer rather than the method of measuring how much water is in the pot like a rice cooker might.
Cooking rice with a slow cooker
If you are cooking rice in a slow cooker, the rice is going to take a much longer time to cook.
Depending on how high you set the heat, how long the recipe calls for, and so on, it can take hours for rice to cook in a slow cooker. The reason for this is the very low cooking temperature.
Most slow cookers do not get above 150 or 250 degrees Fahrenheit while they are cooking unless you crank them up so it does take much longer for the rice to cook.
Cooking rice with a microwave
For an even faster cook time, you can use what is called instant rice and cook it in the microwave.
Instant rice is not normal rice. Instead of being raw rice that does have to be cooked way down and does have to be expanded and then cooked, instant rice has already been cooked and has then been dehydrated.
You then cook it in the microwave to help rehydrate it. This process only takes about 5 or 6 minutes with equal parts rice and water.
Raw rice does take a bit longer and you do still have to use the 2 to 1 ratio to cook it fully.
Things that affect a rice cooker’s cooking time
Water to rice ratio
The amount of water you use in relation to the amount of rice is a major factor in cooking time.
Generally, the ratio is 2:1 water to rice. This means that for every 1 cup (250ml) of water, you add 1 cup (200g) of uncooked rice.
However, some of the more advanced rice cookers are now much more efficient and can actually use sensors and artificial intelligence to make your rice perfect even if you don’t put in the correct ratio of water to rice.
Type of rice
Different types of rice have different cook times. Basmati and jasmine rice, for example, usually take about 12-14 minutes to cook while brown or wild rice takes 20-30 minutes.
That’s because different types of rice will have different levels of thickness and size. They will also be able to absorb water differently from each other.
This big difference can change you’re cooking time drastically by several minutes or so.
Adding additional ingredients like vegetables or meat can also impact the cooking time. If you’re adding these ingredients, you’ll need to factor in their cook times as well.
For example, if you’re adding chicken breasts, they will need to be cooked through before the rice is done.
Another example would be pilaf. It is where you cook the rice first in garlic and onions for the aroma, then finish it off with water and stock for an even more packed flavor.
Pilaf literally memes cooking rice with other ingredients.
Cooker size and capacity
Finally, cooker size and capacity can play a role in cook time. A larger cooker with a higher capacity will take longer to heat up and cook the food than a smaller one will.
It all depends on the brand and the quality of the rice cooker itself. Some rice cookers can cook extremely fast, taking advantage of pressure and heat in a closed system.
Cooking times for different types of rice in a rice cooker?
Difference Different rice varieties take different amounts of time to cook. Knowing a bit about each can help you determine what rice is going to work best for the time that you have.
This rice is short grain and it is not super dense. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook in a rice cooker.
This is another easy rice, it only takes about 20 minutes to cook in a rice cooker.
This rice is a bit harder than other rice. It does take about 45 minutes to cook in the rice cooker due to how hard it is as rice.
This is short-grain rice that is relatively easy to cook as well. It only takes about 20 minutes.
Japanese short-grain rice
This rice is going to take a bit longer just because it does need to soak for about 10 minutes before you can cook it to help release the starch. All in all, it takes about 30 minutes to cook and prepare a cup.
This is a light and airy rice that only takes about 15 minutes to cook in a rice cooker.
Japanese glutinous sticky rice
This is a medium-sized rice grain that takes about 25 minutes to cook.
Long-grain white rice
This rice takes about 25 minutes to cook.
This rice is a bit denser so it does take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook on the normal setting of you rice maker.
Black or Forbidden rice
This is another hard-grain rice that does take a good while to cook. It takes about 50 minutes to cook fully.
Bomba, Calasparra, or Valencia rice
These rice varieties are run of the mill and take about 18 minutes to cook until tender.
Arborio and Carnaroli rice
These rice are short grain but they are girthy, they take about 30 minutes to cook fully in the rice cooker.
Short-grain rice usually takes about 15 minutes to cook.
Takes about 30 minutes to cook fully.
How can I speed up the cooking time of my rice cooker?
Here are a few possible things you can try to help speed up your cooking time using your rice cooker. Not all of these will work, and it really depends on the type of rice you’re actually cooking.
In this instance, we’re going to focus on regular short-grain white rice:
Use less water
Using less water can effectively lower your cooking time in your rice cooker. Your cooker’s job is to convert the water into steam and help the rice absorb it better.
Once all of the steam has left the rice cooker, then your rice cooker completes its job and ends up flipping to warm mode.
One of the possible caveats is that using less water would actually make your rice dryer and harder.
Soak the rice before cooking
You can also soak your rice in water before cooking it. When you soak your grains in water, the water will naturally hydrate and drain the grain, and it will begin to swell slightly.
You only need to soak your rice in water for about 30 minutes, any more than that, then you’re going to get really soggy and mushier rice after the rice cooker is done with it.
Cook at a higher temperature
This would probably be your last resort if you’re looking to cook your rice faster. Keep in mind that rice cookers automatically turn off after they believe that your rice is cooked perfectly. That’s when all the steam has left the rice cooker.
If you increase the heat, the steam will boil out of the rice cooker much sooner than expected and the grain may not have fully enough time to absorb all the moisture.
Not only can this result in undercooked rice, but it can actually easily cause your rice to burn if you’re not careful.
Don’t use pre-cooked or parboiled rice
Parboiled rice is partially cooked rice where the outer husk is soaked, steamed, and dried all over again.
It produces rice that has fewer calories, carbs, more fiber, and more protein.
However, parboiled rice requires a little bit more water than your typical white grain rice. It also takes a little bit longer to cook. If you’re using parboiled rice, add another 5 minutes to your rice cooking time.
There is a large debate about this process. The idea is that when you add salt to water and you heat it up, the water will eventually get to a boil faster.
Salt can create a boiling point elevation which causes the water to reach a higher temperature, making it boil faster and speeding up the rice cooking process.
The caveat here is that if you put too much salt in your rice cooker you may end up with salty-flavored rice.
Does adding less water to a rice cooker make it cook faster?
Using less water in a rice cooker can potentially lower the amount of time it takes to cook your rice.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the whole story.
After trying out less water in our rice cooker, we concluded that if you want your rice to come out just perfect, you will have to put in the necessary amount of water recommended for every cup of rice.
We found that it’s just not worth it to put a little bit less water into your rice cooker only because it changes the texture of the rice when it’s done cooking.
The rice cooker turned the water into steam, and since there was very little water, to begin with, the steam dissipated much sooner than expected. The rice ended up a bit drier overall, with a center that was slightly undercooked.
It’s also not to mention, that not using enough water in your rice cooker can cause the rice to eventually burn.
We noticed a significant amount of brown rice clinging to the rice cooker bowl at the bottom.
How long would it take if I added more rice to my rice cooker?
It all depends on how much rice your rice cooker can handle. Most medium-sized rice cookers can hold a total of 5.5 cups of rice grains.
In order to feed a family of five, you would need approximately two and a half cups of rice which would take an average of 20 minutes to get cooked.
If you wanted to add an extra cup of rice to your rice cooker, then plan on adding an extra 7 to 10 minutes to the overall cooking.
Check out our tests:
- 1 cup of rice took 23 minutes to cook
- 2 cups of rice took 31 minutes to cook
- 3 cups of rice took 36 minutes to cook
Adding more rice to your cooking pot will increase the amount of time it takes for your pot to come up to pressure and then begin cooking the food inside it.
The general rule is that it will take about 7 to 10 minutes longer for each additional cup of dry, uncooked rice that you add into the pot.
Does the quality of the rice cooker affect the cooking time?
We found that the quality of the rice cooker does indeed affect the cooking time. The better the quality of the rice cooker, the shorter the cooking time.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to cook your rice, then you should invest in a high-quality rice cooker.
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