Food · General · Recipes

Using your rice cooker 101

I love rice. When I was very little, I used to cry when I had to eat rice with my ulam (side dish) but now as an adult, I suffer from rice withdrawals. If I don’t eat rice after 3 days, I get a little….cranky….rice cranky…..


Can that be a word?…hhhmmm…that means something else though doesn’t it?

Back in the Philippines, my family would cook rice in a big metal pot and it always used to have this rice crust at the bottom and sometimes the rice would burn and the whole batch of rice would smell burned.


I was never a fan of the rice crust. Every now and then you would be the unlucky one to have the rice crust on your plate, but growing up the way I did it was a rule to eat EVERYTHING served on your plate.

Then we moved to Australia and got all fancy and started using a rice cooker and we haven’t looked back since! Microwaves can be used for cooking rice too, it’s easy but it’s not as nice and fluffy.

You don’t even need an expensive or fancy rice cooker. I’ve owned some of the ‘el-cheapo’ ones in the past and they do the job just fine. It’s so easy to cook, so when I encounter the occasional crunchy white rice cooked in a rice cooker, the conversation usually goes :

– Why is it crunchy?!?! What happened?!

 Dunno, but I followed the packet instructions…

– The wha?

– Packet instructions….

– There are instructions????

I’ve been eating rice all of my life and I’ve never seen any of my family members consult packet instructions to cook rice in a rice cooker. Mind you, right up until I was about 18 when I moved out of home I had never bought small bags of rice, so I wasn’t even aware that it had instructions on it. My family used to buy rice in the HUGE 50kg sacks and we stored it in this massive plastic container that was taller than a 3 year old toddler. That plastic container was like Mary Poppin’s handbag, it was never empty or short of rice. We would run out of toilet paper, but we never ran out of rice. That was unheard of.

Aahhh the good old days….

Now, if you are one of those crunchy white rice culprits, I think you are doing two main things wrong :

  1. Not enough water; and
  2. Eating the rice too soon.

Eating the rice too soon? Yup, I firmly believe this. It might sound weird but letting the rice settle for about 10 minutes after the cooker finishes makes a difference. Seriously! I’m not kidding about this. I usually turn on the rice cooker at least half hour before a dish is ready to allow the rice to cook and rest before eating.

I don’t even know whether this is the right way of cooking rice, but this is how my family has been doing it for like ever and it works every time. I taught Matt to cook rice this way and he can proudly say that he knows how to cook rice….in a rice cooker.


This method doesn’t need measuring cups to measure the water. I only use a measuring cup to figure out how much dry rice I need. I can eat a lot of rice in one sitting. What might be one serving for me might be two servings for you. For our household, it’s about  1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of dry rice per person with the exception that if I am cooking for myself, I always cook about 1.5 cups of dry rice. My reasoning behind this is that we have a medium/large rice cooker, if I cook dry rice under one cup it doesn’t work out too well for me, a crust forms at the bottom and I lose a fair bit of fluffy rice….and it also means, I have extra for fried rice later. 🙂 🙂

Also, my preferred choice of rice is Jasmine rice. I am not too much of a fan of long grain…but if need be, I’ll cook it. When I do, I add a tiny bit more water.

Right, so, this is my method of cooking  rice. Tada-dddaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!


I always rinse dry rice before cooking to remove any excess dust, surface starch or watevs. I have always believed that cleaning dry rice gives the end result a better texture, taste and it doesn’t get all clumpy. You’re not cooking risotto, You don’t need the excess starch.

Rinse it in a separate clean bowl and squish handfuls of rice in between your hands a few times. Tip the water out and repeat this about  2 to 3 times.


There are divided views out there whether or not white rice should be rinsed or soaked before cooking. This depends on preference. Personally, I am pro-rinsing.

The water won’t become completely clear but there will be a little difference at how cloudy the water will be after rinsing the rice.



When you place the rinsed rice in the rice cooker, cover with water and pat down with one of your hands. This doesn’t need to be perfect by the way. Just pat it down with your open hand.



As mentioned before, I only use measuring cups to get an idea how much rice to cook and then I just don’t bother with it after that.

To figure out how much water to add, measure the height of the rice using one of your fingers by holding your finger straight and let it touch the bottom of the cooker. I would measure the height at a few different spots to try and get an average.

Then, measure the height of the water from the top of the dry rice to the top of the water level. I hope that makes sense.

The level of water from the top of the rice should be around the same (for me a tiny bit higher) height of the rice as measured initially.

Quickly, pat it all down again and then turn on your rice cooker



When the rice cooker finishes cooking, I usually turn off the power completely. I know I will be eating it within half hour and it will still be hot.

After the rice cooker beeps, let it sit there for at least 5 minutes. I always find that the rice absorbs more of the water and it’s becomes more fluffy.


Ok. There you have it. The way I cook my rice in a rice cooker.

If you have another fool proof method of cooking white rice, I would love to know how you guys cook rice.  Sharing is caring.

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