A rice cooker is an automated kitchen appliance for cooking or steaming rice. It has three parts; a heat source, a cooking bowl and a thermostat. The thermostat controls the temperature of the cooking bowl.
How a rice cooker works
Basically how it works is the thermostat detects when the temperature of the cooking bowl goes above 212 degrees. This means all the water has been absorbed, and the rice is completely cooked. The sensor trips the shut off switch to prevent the rice from over cooking.
Types of rice cookers
Standard Rice Cooker
Standard rice cookers come in different sizes. They are easy to operate; simply add rice and water and hit a button. Once your rice is done cooking, they sense it and switch to warming mode.
The cooking pan on standard rice makers is usually non-stick, making clean up really easy. Though not the best choice, standard rice cookers are very affordable and always deliver.
Improved Rice Cooker
Improved rice cookers are standard rice cookers with extra options. They have all the characteristics of standard rice cookers but give you a bit of variety when cooking your rice.
They have settings for cooking more than just one type of rice e.g. brown rice, with others having a steam feature for fluffing rice that may have been sitting for some time. A lot of them have warming and extended warming function as well. They also come with an in-built digital timer.
They also make better rice than the standard rice makers.
Multifunction Rice Cooker
These rice cookers do what improved rice cookers do but give you more options. They give you more control over how your rice is cooked and let you cook more options of rice.
They cook brown rice, sushi rice and porridge rice too. They use extended control technology to cook all these kinds of rice.
They feature LCD control panels with in-built timers and delay settings.
They also have extended warming times and reheat cycles.
Their lids are detachable and can be used as serving bowls once the rice is done cooking.
Induction Heat Rice Cooker
These rice cookers are the ultimate icing on the rice cooker cake.
They do everything that all the above rice cookers do, have multiple rice cooking settings and do a whole lot of other cooking chores as well.
An induction rice cooker produces a magnetic field that quickly heats the cooking pot once the two come into contact. The heat is higher and more constant; hence the rice made is far much better.
It also uses a lot of energy and is the most expensive kind of rice cooker. It is however the very best among rice cookers.
Rice cookers are ideal for you if you want to make well cooked rice in a short amount of time. There is a rice cooker for everyone, see our post on top rice cookers in the market.
Consider the type of rice you like best before settling for one. Price, different settings and versatility are some of the other factors you should take into consideration when buying a rice cooker.