Ever wondered whether a rice cooker is for you? We’ve got the low-down.

If you eat a lot of rice-based dishes, or you just can’t cook rice well no matter what you do, a rice cooker is a must-have in your kitchen. It will produce perfectly cooked rice every single time, and is all about making life easier.

Types of rice cookers
These are basic and straightforward: when the rice is cooked, the cooker shuts off automatically. This is the least expensive type. These basic cookers don’t often offer non-stick pans or steamer units, but are perfect if all you want is a foolproof way to cook rice.
Cook and keep warm
The rice cooks, reduces the heat when the rice is done then maintains it at a “warm” temperature until you unplug it.
Electronic cook and keep warm
In this version, a sensor in the unit keeps the rice warm for up to 12 hours. This type is more expensive, but if your household eats a lot of rice it may be a worthwhile investment.

Top tips for perfect rice
• Rinse the rice under running water before cooking to wash away excess starch and makes the rice less sticky.
• Most rice cookers use the ratio of one cup of rice to one cup of water. However, models do vary, so always read the manual before proceeding.
• Allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes after cooking, with the lid on. This helps to cook off the last of the steam and makes the rice fluffier.

To clean your rice cooker
Scoop out all the rice and leave the lid open to let the inside dry out. You can then simply wipe the inside clean with a sponge or dishcloth. If your rice cooker has a nonstick coating, be careful not to use any metal utensils or wire brushes as you can scratch the coating.

How to use your rice cooker

  1. Place the rice in a large sieve or colander and rinse it thoroughly under cool water.
  2. Combine your rice with the correct amount of water in the rice cooker. Stir in a pinch of salt.
  3. Turn on the rice cooker and, if needed, select the correct cooking option according to your rice cooker (check the manual). The rice cooker will cook the rice automatically and turn off when done. Check your manual for estimated cooking times.
  4. Let the rice rest in the slow cooker for 10 minutes, or up to 30. Keep the lid on while the rice sits.
  5. Use a wooden spatula to fluff the rice in the rice cooker, then transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Serve while warm.