How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer, Exciting Ways You Must Know

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer

Steaming has never been easier since the rice cooker added a tray to complete its multicooker function. Now, it’s more fun and exciting to discover delicious dishes. Find out how to use a rice cooker as a steamer plus exciting recipes you can try!

Why You Should Have A Rice Cooker with Steamer?

Steaming is considered to be the healthiest and the simplest way of cooking food, especially certain kinds of meat and vegetables. And of course, your rice cooker is a kitchen must-have with various functions that stretch beyond just rice grains.

Most rice cookers today include a steamer tray accessory where you can steam vegetables and meat. Even the standard one-push button rice cookers have included a small steamer basket that fits the inner pot.

The steamer tray size depends on the size of the rice cooker; if you got a larger cooker, then you know that you can steam more too.

In this busy world, we live in, versatility is the key to make things work out quickly. And so, owning a rice cooker with a steamer is a gift that you can take advantage of to prepare meals, especially when you are multitasking your way around.

Food That You Can Steam

Food That You Can Steam

There is no limitation when it comes to the kinds of food you can steam in the rice cooker.

Whatever your recipe calls for, a rice cooker will have always have a way!

The only concern in steaming food is the cooking points of each ingredient you plan to cook.

Vegetables are softer and quicker to cook than meat, so you must consider when to steam and how long it will take.


Vegetables are the most common food we steam but the cooking time also varies depending on the kind of vegetable.

Take note that veggies with thick skin like squash should be turned flesh down or peel them off.

Your veggies must be clean and already cut before placing them into the steam basket.


The rice cooker’s steamer function is also an excellent way to tenderize meat such as fish, chicken, beef, or pork.

If you are steaming meat together with the rice, then you should use a foil to seal and keep the flavors of the meat from leaking and going into the rice during cooking.

Noodles and More

Noodles, shrimp, and dumplings are other food you can enjoy steaming in your rice cooker. You can also desserts such as cakes, flans, and puddings.

How To Use A Rice Cooker As A Steamer

aroma rice cooker with steamer

There are two ways to use a rice cooker as a steamer. First, as a solo or stand-alone steamer and the second is while cooking rice.

Every rice cooker, depending on its kind has its own set of steaming instructions.

Always check with your manufacturer’s guide on how to use the steamer tray included with your rice cooker.

How to Steam in a Rice Cooker

Vegetables usually take around 5 to 15 minutes steaming in a rice cooker depending on the kind of veggies you have. This can either be solo or cooked along with your rice.

Meats, on the other hand, take a longer steaming time. Usually, chicken and other poultry meat must have a cooking temperature of 165 F, while most beef and pork are cooked at 145 F.

You should test with the cooking time needed in steaming meats and you should monitor your meat’s temperature using a meat thermometer. This is to ensure that you prepare at a safe cooking temperature.

  • If you are steaming solo, simply add water to the rice cooker inner pot and turn it on, once it begins boiling, place the meat or veggies you want to steam into the steamer tray and put it on top of the inner pot. Cover the lid and cook according to the time given.
  • Another steaming option is to cook it along with the rice. You just place the desired ingredient in the steamer basket and place it on top of the inner pot once the rice begins to boil. Cooking rice usually takes 30 to 45 minutes depending on the type of grain used.

Advantages of Rice Cooker with Steamer

For busy people like me, there is a great benefit of using a rice cooker with a steamer.

In fact, I see a lot of advantages to having a rice cooker with a steamer than its downsides. Here are a few:

  • Steaming is the healthiest cooking method
  • Less Kitchen mess 
  • Easy cleanup (steamer tray and inner pot are dishwasher-safe)
  • Ideal for preparing quick meals
  • Saves you cooking time, effort, and money

Disadvantages of Rice Cooker with Steamer

There are a few downsides I noticed with using the rice cooker steamer but these disadvantages are not that much of a big deal.

  • Longer cooking time especially with meat
  • Slow cooking
  • Require constant attention
  • Food appearance (especially meat; not that attractive compared to those cooked in oil or boiled)

What Steamer Is Better, Metal or Plastic?

If you are concerned with the material used in your rice cooker steamer, the most common argument is between plastic or metal.

Plastic steamers can impose a serious health risk, especially if it’s #7, which means it’s polycarbonate plastic, and it can leach BPA into your food.

Although there are BPA-free plastic steamers, it is still not safe from totally leaching into your food.

Metal steamers are better than plastics because they have minimal risks. Apart from the health concerns, a metal steamer gets a bit warmer that makes the bottom of the food a bit crispier, which for me, is an added quality.

Steamed Chicken Meal Recipe

Here’s a quick but tasty take on preparing a steamed meal by cooking the rice and steaming the chicken in a rice cooker together.


Your rice cooker steamer is an added accessory that can provide us better and healthier cooking options. It is the most inexpensive way to maintain a healthy lifestyle too.

With the steamer tray included, you no longer need to buy one to enjoy steaming goodness! What’s your favorite steamed recipe?