How to Use a Rice Cooker, A Step-by-Step Guide

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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

Hi Folks, today I would like to show you how to use a rice cooker. Many people are wondering whether to buy this type of device. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, people are afraid that using a rice cooker is very complicated, so they will not be able to handle it.

There is nothing to worry about, every time when you have to deal with a new device, you need to learn how to use it properly. This is absolutely normal.

Other people simply don’t have the time to delve into the “fascinating” instruction manual that is attached to each device (and I’m not surprised at all 😉 ).

That’s why I decided to write this post. I’ll try to discuss all aspects of using this type of device. To do this I’ll use some of the most popular rice cookers available for purchase on the market. So, that way I can easily prove you that using a rice cooker is not as hard as you may think. Enjoy.

How Does Rice Cooker Work

If you understand how the device works it will be easier for you to use it. That’s why I’ll briefly describe here how rice cooker cooks rice or other dishes. Rice cooker is a device that not only cooks rice, but many other foods such as soup or cake. However, it doesn’t matter what you cook, the principle of action is always the same.

In most such devices, the primary source of heat is a heating plate located at the bottom of the device. This heating plate heats water and rice or other food inside the inner pan. Inner pan is metal and tightly matched to the rest of the device to provide good heat conduction.

At the bottom of the device is also a heat sensor that allows rice cooker to adjust the temperature of the cooking process to achieve the best possible final effect 🙂

This is how the simple rice cooker works. Of course, there are devices that have a lot of modern technologies like micom or induction heating. Thanks to this type of technologies, rice cooker even more accurately regulates the cooking process.

However, this post isn’t about that so, I’ll not discuss it further.

The last thing I would like to discuss here is the cooking time of rice. Many people are wondering what affects rice cooking time in a rice cooker. The length of cooking depends mainly on two factors, the amount of rice we cook and the type of that rice. If you cook rice with other ingredients, cooking time will also change.

If you are cooking a lot of rice because you have a large family or you eat with friends then be patient. It’ll take some time before rice and appropriate amount of water will start to boil inside the rice cooker.

How to Use the Digital Control Panel of Your Rice Cooker

Nowadays, most rice cookers are equipped with a control panel so we can select the appropriate cooking mode depending on which rice we want to cook or how.

For example, one of the most popular rice cookers, Zojirushi NP-NVC10. This rice cooker is on my list of the top rice cookers. If you want to know which rice cooker best meets your needs, I invite you to read this list.

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker

Cooking options may vary, depending on the rice cooker model. Usually, the more expensive device, the more available options. The same applies to advanced technologies that improve the cooking process.

In most of today’s rice cookers we have available several basic functions.


As you can easily guess, this button allows you to start the cooking process or reheat already cooked rice that is inside the appliance.


This is a button that you used to select the type of rice you want to cook. As I have just written, the amount of available varieties of rice depends on the particular rice cooker model. The basic varieties that are available in every device are of course white and brown rice.

Other options that are often available are sushi rice, steel cut oatmeal or “quick” option. Thanks to the quick option you can cook white rice much faster than usual but it will not be as tasty as cooked in normal mode.


If you press this button you cancel the previously selected cooking option.

Keep Warm

Most rice cookers have a keep warm mode thanks to which your rice remains warm after cooking even for a few hours. Keep warm mod is a very useful solution if you work late or you are tired when you return home.

You can put rice and all the ingredients you need inside the rice cooker, add the right amount of water and set when the appliance should start cooking, for example at 3pm the following day.

That way when you get back from work you’ll have a warm dinner ready. If you’re even a few hours late, it’s okay. Thanks to keep warm mode your rice cooker will keep your cooked meal warm to your return.

The features I have described above are available in most rice cookers. The naming of individual options may vary by model or manufacturer. However, most rice cookers work very similar or the same.

How to Cook White Rice in a Rice Cooker

a bowl of white rice

I have written a few words about the theory of using a rice cooker and I think it’s time to go to practice. How to cook something using a rice cooker? Of course, this “something” will be white rice.

Let’s get started!

  1. The basic thing is to properly measure the rice. Each rice cooker comes with a special cup so you can measure the right amount of rice. Depending on the manufacturer, these cups may have different volumes. Usually the attached measuring cup has about 6.1 oz. ie 180 g.
  2. To get 1 cup of rice, fill the entire cup with rice, but be careful not to overdo it. Rice should not be beyond the cup.
  3. The next step is to rinse the rice. Rice is washed to remove excess starch from grains. Put the measured rice into the inner pan and add a large amount of water. Mix rice thoroughly with your hand to rinse it. After a moment remove the dirty water and repeat the process several times until the water is clear. If you want to cook a more aromatic variety of rice like jasmine or basmati rice, don’t rinse it too hard. This may reduce the intensity of the rice aroma.
  4. The last thing you need to do is pour the right amount of water into the inner pan. Inside each inner pan is a gauge that allows you to easily measure the amount of water you need.
  5. Insert the inner pan with rice and water into your rice cooker and close the lid.
  6. Now your rice is ready to cook, just select the right option (type of rice you cook) and press the “start” button.

That’s it, the rice cooker will do the rest for you. You can relax, go shopping or take care of some other things. Soon your rice will be ready. Remember that thanks to the keep warm mode you can spend an entire day shopping and when you return home you will eat perfectly cooked warm rice.

Cooking other species of rice is very similar. You just have to choose the right option. If you want to cook jasmine rice then choose the “jasmine rice” option, if you want to cook brown rice choose the “brown rice” option etc. As you can see everything is very simple.

PS. Remember to stir the rice a little after cooking. This will make the grains less sticky and the rice more fluffy 🙂

Other Dishes You Can Cook Using Rice Cooker

When I first heard about a device called rice cooker I was convinced that it could only cook rice. As it turned out, I was very wrong. Rice cooker is an universal cooker with which you can cook almost anything.

Even the producers of rice cookers give recipes for soups, pasta and even cake that you can cook using a rice cooker!

Here’s a video where you can see how using the Cuckoo CR-0631F Rice Cooker you can easily cook a delicious jambalaya.


  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 7 oz peeled shrimp
  • 7 oz of smoked sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • ground garlic


  1. Cut the sausage, vegetables and add with shrimps to the pan.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. of butter.
  3. Gently fry all the ingredients, mix them to not burn.
  4. Add 1 tbsp. of minced garlic, mix all ingredients.
  5. Add a little cajun spice and mix.
  6. Put into your rice cooker 1 cup of rinsed white rice.
  7. Then also, everything you’ve cooked in the pan.
  8. Add 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and you can add a little more cajun if you want.
  9. Mix all the ingredients and close the rice cooker.
  10. Choose glutinous rice function and set rice cooker for 45 minutes.
  11. After 45 minutes open the rice cooker, add a little green onion for the taste and color the entire dish.

Anyway, check out what you can cook with a rice cooker. On youtube, there are many recipes by rice cookers users that you can successfully use to cook great dishes.

How to Clean a Rice Cooker

dirty rice cooker

If you have a dishwasher in the kitchen I must disappoint you. Most rice cookers manufacturers recommend washing their devicess by hand using a damp cloth or sponge.

Rice cookers are easy to wash devices but some items may be quite delicate. An inner pan that is an integral part of any rice cooker is often covered with a special coating that prevents sticking rice. If you use a wire brush or other sharp cleaning tool, you can easily damage this coating.

However, don’t worry hand-washing rice cooker doesn’t take much time and is very easy, so that should not be a problem for you.


In this post I tried to discuss all issues related to the use of rice cooker. Of course, each device may differ slightly from the others in terms of appearance, available features or proper cleaning. Therefore, even if you do not like the instructions, I think you should be familiar with it at least briefly to avoid damaging the device.

I hope this post proves to you that rice cookers are easy to use devices. If you have any questions then I invite you to comment.

🔥 Editor's Choice
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Relatively small kitchen-counter footprint, an attractive exterior, and a number of different cooking presets,