I can still picture the rice cooker on my family’s kitchen counter and salivating once the light indicated the rice inside was ready to eat.
If you serve rice regularly, you have options on how to cook it.
Some people swear by rice cookers, but do you really want to pay for a new appliance in your home?
Plus, do you have room to store it?
The majority of rice cookers cost less than $100 with many less than $50.
We provide ten reasons a rice cooker is indeed worth the minimal expense.
10 Reasons To Buy A Rice Cooker
Many people have too much clutter in the kitchen as it is.
Does it really make sense for you to buy a new appliance?
Well, if you cook rice regularly, it most certainly does.
Here are 10 reasons to buy a rice cooker.
1. Rice Helps Maintain A Healthy Weight
A majority of meals in the United States come with a side of French fries.
In fact, it’s one of the first things foreign people realize when they arrive in America about American food.
Why does absolutely everything come with a side of French fries?
Most meals come with French fries thanks to how cost-effective it is for restaurants to make them and the fact that they taste great and people want them!
However, French fries contain a large amount of fat and salt, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol levels.
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of adults around the world.
Unfortunately, many people don’t take action until it’s too late.
French fries also lead to weight gain.
According to recent studies, 42.4% of people in the United States fall under the category of “obese.”
Many people even attribute the country’s weight problem to the number of French fries we eat, especially those who depend on fast food for most of their meals.
While still heavy in starch, rice is a much healthier option than French fries as a side for your meal.
While there are many different rice types to choose from, brown rice tends to be healthier than white rice.
However, that depends on your dietary needs.
Some people want to gain weight while staying healthy, and other people want to lose weight.
Here are the nutrition facts about white rice (⅓ cup of cooked rice):
- Calories: 68
- Protein: 1.42 grams
- Sugar: 0.03 grams
- Calcium: 5 mg
- Sodium: 1 mg
In comparison, here are the nutrition facts about brown rice:
- Calories: 82
- Protein: 1.83 grams
- Sugar: 0.16 grams
- Calcium: 2 mg
- Sodium: 3 mg
The calories in rice come with nutrition, as opposed to French fries which are essentially empty calories without any benefits.
A medium-sized order of McDonald’s French fries contains 378 calories, 18 grams of fat, and only 4 grams of protein.
If you want to meet your weight loss goals, try pairing rice with vegetables and lean protein, such as chicken or shrimp.
Not only are these meals delicious, but they are also easy to make.
2. Rice Provides Protein And Energy
Everyone needs to eat to provide the body with adequate energy to get through the day.
It’s recommended that people eat 0.36 grams of protein per pound every day.
Athletes and people who work in other physically demanding jobs need more protein than normal.
Rice is an easy and inexpensive way for people to receive protein and energy.
Brown rice provides more calories and protein for people who eat rice for this specific reason.
Protein not only provides energy, but it promotes healthy cell regeneration.
This is especially important for developing adolescents and pregnant women.
People who don’t get enough protein will lose muscle mass.
Instead of contributing to weight loss, a lack of protein can cause your metabolism to fall out of whack, contributing to weight gain and difficulty managing weight.
A lack of protein can also lead to anemia, which means that your cells don’t get enough oxygen.
Without adequate oxygen, you can feel lethargic and tired.
Eventually, a lack of protein can lead to serious malnutrition and require medical attention.
3. Rice Promotes A Healthy Digestive System
Rice contains high levels of fiber.
Once again, brown rice contains more fiber than white rice.
Fiber facilitates healthy and normal digestion.
In many cases, doctors recommend increasing fiber intake when patients suffer from both constipation and diarrhea.
However, fiber comes with numerous additional benefits as well.
Some of the other reasons to include fiber (and rice) into your diet include:
- Promote healthy gut bacteria.
- Lower chance of heart disease.
- Control blood sugar levels.
- Lower cholesterol.
- Feel full.
Don’t start increasing fiber in your diet once you notice a digestive problem.
Start now before a problem develops.
Rice isn’t the only way to get natural fiber.
You can also receive high levels of fiber from yogurt, whole grains, beans, nuts, oatmeal, and vegetables.
4. Ease Of Use
Almost anyone can use a rice cooker.
First, you measure the amount of rice you want to cook.
Next, you measure the amount of water to put into the pot.
While some recipes may vary, these are the most common amounts of water to use for a cup of rice:
- Short grain white rice: 1 ½ cups
- Medium grain white rice: 1 ½ cups
- Long grain white rice: 1 ¾ cups
- Long grain brown rice: 2 ¼ cups
- Parboiled rice: 2 cups
- Basmati or Jasmine rice: 1 ½ cups
Many chefs recommend rinsing the rice before putting it into the rice cooker.
Rinsing the rice means running water over the rice until the water looks completely clear again.
Once you have the ingredients in the device, you can rely on the easy-to-read digital display to start cooking your rice.
After you turn on the rice cooker, the cooker does the rest of the work for you.
You can focus on cooking the rest of your meal without needing to keep an eye on the rice cooker.
If you use a pot on the stove, you may need to worry about watching the pot so that it doesn’t overflow.
You may also need to learn when to keep the lid on the pot and when to let the pot breathe.
5. Always Make Perfect Rice
The biggest mistake people make when cooking rice is overcooking the rice, sometimes even burning it.
If you burn the rice, it won’t taste right.
Not only will that ruin the meal, but it can also force you to eat something less healthy as an alternative.
Rice cookers are specifically designed to cook rice, so even novice chefs won’t burn their rice.
Burning isn’t the only way someone can damage the taste of rice.
The rice cooked in an overly used pot can absorb some flavor from previous meals.
Furthermore, some rice won’t taste as yummy if it is cooked in an oversized or under-sized pot.
Finally, the rice can also come out dry if cooked at too high of a temperature.
Get perfect rice every time with a rice cooker.
Of course, what you add to the rice is completely up to you.
Some people include herbs in the rice.
Other people decide to cook the rice in stock as opposed to water.
Finally, people will include a wide variety of different spices, including garlic powder or cumin.
Once cooked, people may add soy sauce or salsa to the rice.
A rice cooker is a very safe kitchen appliance, especially compared to cooking the rice on the stove.
While cooking the rice on the stove, you can’t leave the pot unattended.
Most residential fires start in the kitchen.
Risks increase if you use a dirty pot or have a dirty stove.
Rice cookers also usually come with a number of safety features, including:
- Automatic shutoff switch if things get too hot.
- RCD that eliminates the risk of an electrical surge.
- Locking lids.
- Cool handles to prevent burns.
Always look at the model in question to learn about the safety features of that specific model as these will vary from product to product.
While especially safe, it’s still important to know how to use a rice cooker properly.
Start with a quick visual inspection of the device to ensure you don’t notice any damage or frayed cords.
Do not overload the rice cooker.
Use it according to the instructions provided.
Once in operation, ensure that the rice cooker will not come into contact with any water or flammable objects.
You also want to keep the device on a sturdy surface so that it does not topple over or fall.
7. Keep Rice Warm Longer
Once you take the rice off of the stove when you cook it in a pot, the rice will quickly get cold.
People who want to go back for seconds may be disappointed at how cold the rice got in such a short amount of time.
Furthermore, not all meals have a strict mealtime.
In a barbecue or potluck setting, people may eat at their leisure.
Also, some people may arrive later than expected.
A rice cooker keeps the rice warm for hours until you decide that you no longer need it warm anymore.
At that point, if you have any rice left, store it in a secure container in the fridge.
It will last for up to five days.
8. Easy To Clean/Care For
Some people don’t want to buy a rice cooker since that only creates one more item to clean after dinner.
However, rice cookers are much easier to clean, especially when compared to a pot.
One of the main reasons that rice cookers are so easy to clean involves the non-stick material inside most rice cookers.
The rice will not stick or burn to the bottom or the side of the rice cooker like it may do when you use a pan.
To clean a rice cooker, you will wash all parts, except the electrical cord, with hot, soapy water.
After use, it’s important to store the rice cooker safely.
Essentially, you don’t want to place the cord inside of the rice cooker where it could damage the inside of the pot.
You also don’t want to damage the cord in any way by twisting them together.
Some rice cookers use stainless steel or ceramic.
Ceramic is also easy to clean.
However, stainless steel may require some muscle as you scrub.
However, stainless steel lasts a long time and is scratch-resistant.
Also, it is dishwasher safe, making the cleaning difficulty a moot point if you have a reliable dishwasher.
Rice cookers come with a wide range of settings that help you cook several different types of rice and other grains perfectly, including quinoa.
New multi-purpose cookers allow you to cook a lot more than rice with the appliance, making it that much more valuable.
For example, this Instant Pot Pressure Cooker allows you to use it in the following ways;
- Pressure cooker
- Slow cooker
- Rice cooker
- Sauté pan
- Yogurt maker
You can also find models that incorporate an air fryer into the design, too.
However, the model we used as an example does not offer that feature.
While these multi-purpose cookers require more practice than standard rice cookers, they provide great value thanks to the numerous things you can do with them.
It can even increase your cooking skills to have such a convenient appliance on your counter!
10. Cultural Associations Of Rice-Based Meals
Rice is a staple in many cuisines all around the world.
Rice plays a large role in the culture of many countries, making it more than just food to the people.
It represents survival and employment.
Through turbulent times in history, many people relied on rice to survive because of its cheap price and high amount of nutrients.
Even today, many people receive 50% of their calories from rice.
Cooking the perfect rice can help prolong cultural traditions through the food you make.
The type of rice used depends on the specific Asian cuisine:
- China: long-grain rice
- Japan and Korea: short-grain rice
- Southeast Asia: Jasmine rice
- India: Basmati rice
The flavor of the rice helps create distinct flavors in each type of cuisine.
Using the wrong rice can ruin the entire meal.
Most Latin cultures use rice in their meals, too.
While the tradition isn’t as deep as with ancient Asian cultures, we still expect rice with tacos or paella.
Mexican rice, Puerto Rican rice, and Spanish rice all have very distinct tastes based on the spices used.
Picking The Right Rice Cooker For You
To get the most out of your rice cooker, buy the right one for your kitchen and your needs.
Here are some things to consider when picking the perfect rice cooker.
Rice cookers come in a number of different sizes.
Picking a rice cooker that’s too small can lead to a long wait time and hungry guests.
However, a larger than necessary rice cooker will take up too much space.
Most rice cookers come in two sizes: 5-cup (10 bowls) or 10-cup (20 bowls).
If you live alone or in a small household, a smaller rice cooker should do the trick.
However, for a family of 4+, you probably want to get a larger size.
There are a lot of companies that make rice cookers.
It’s best to stick to some of the most popular brands that have established themselves as experts in the field of making rice cookers.
You also want to consider the warranty that comes with the rice cooker.
If something goes wrong, you want some sort of guarantee that the company will make it right.
Consider how you will be using the new appliance.
If you only plan to cook white rice, you can pick a device with limited features.
While simple to use, it won’t offer as many possibilities.
If you want to cook various types of rice and even use it as a pressure cooker or air fryer, find a product that includes these features.
Simpler options may cost less, but they may not provide the same value if you want the ability to try different cooking methods.
The four types of rice cookers are:
- Traditional: single heating element and user-friendly.
- Jar-o-mat: user-friendly with multiple heating elements to provide more even cooking.
- Micro-computerized: “fuzzy logic” instead of heating elements to cook rice and different cooking options.
- Induction heating (IH): cooks the best rice with its electromagnetic cooking methods but is the most expensive and difficult to use.
Ultimately, a rice cooker is worth the moderate upfront investment.
Not only will you make the perfect rice, but you can also use the device for numerous other applications (depending on the model you buy).
Using your rice cooker to bring people together over a meal, especially one that celebrates culture, is priceless.
You also probably won’t need to worry about storage if you just keep it on the counter for everyday use.