Cooking rice isn’t particularly difficult, but it can be finicky, and improperly cooked rice can impact your entire meal. A quality rice cooker streamlines this process, ensuring you get the right amount of rice properly cooked.
While there are plenty of electric rice cookers on the market, you can save money and counter space by opting for a microwaveable rice cooker. You can pop these pot-like cookers in the microwave to cook your rice, then store them with the rest of your cookware when not in use. There are a lot of microwaveable rice cookers on the market. For a well-designed and versatile cooker, check out Joseph Joseph’s microwave rice cooker.
When it comes to microwaveable rice cookers, there aren’t as many considerations to look out for as with electric rice cookers, which makes for a less complicated purchasing experience. Even so, there are a few things to be aware of when picking out your rice cooker.
You’ll need your cooker to be able to handle the amount of rice you typically cook, so capacity is important. Microwaveable rice cookers typically range in capacity from 4-8 cups, although there are larger models available. If you only need to serve a couple of people, don’t rush to get the biggest one, as larger cookers have a harder time fitting in many medium and small microwaves. If you cook for multiple people, an 8-cup cooker is a safe choice.
Microwave cookers tend to be pretty straightforward, but some are easier to use than others. There are some that just cook rice and don’t require much learning or getting used to, so you can get started right away. If you want a cooker that can properly cook more than just rice, however, you may need to carefully read through some instructions before use, as these units have more pieces and complex venting systems.
The majority of microwaveable rice cookers are made entirely out of plastic because it is one of the only materials that can safely cook rice in the microwave. If avoiding plastic at all costs is your goal, you may want to consider other rice cooking methods. However, there are products on the market aiming to alleviate this problem. By mixing a small amount of plastic with more eco-friendly materials, companies can produce rice cookers that can still safely go in the microwave while minimizing the plastic content.
Most microwaveable cookers can handle most grains in addition to rice, while some can handle pasta as well. There are other rice cookers on the market that have added pieces and technical features or accessories that allow for thorough cooking of vegetables and even meat. If you have limited kitchen storage, a multi-functional rice cooker is a great way to reduce the number of gadgets you need; however, they cost more than simple models, and the pieces and techniques can take some getting used to.
On average, expect to spend $15-$45 on a microwaveable rice cooker, although most consumers can look for models in the $20-$30 range. Price typically is determined by how cheap the plastic is and how many accessories or features are included with the cooker.
A. Similar to pressure cookers, microwaveable rice cookers are specifically designed to move heat around in just the right way, making for a more even cook than other methods. Microwave cookers take half as much time to make perfect rice than the stovetop method, and they are easier to maneuver.
A. Most rice cookers can handle other grains, such as quinoa, but if you want to cook pasta, vegetables, or meat in your microwaveable rice cooker, you need to check the manufacturer's recommendations, as there typically are additional features designed to help cook these foods properly.
What you need to know: This large 2-liter rice cooker is stylish and functional, perfect for evenly cooking rice for the whole household.
What you’ll love: Designed with pieces that fit together both for storage and for cooking, this dishwasher-safe rice cooker is large and multifunctional. The strainer doubles as the bucket, and the steamer lid sits on top of the bucket and locks into place with the spoon, creating a carrying handle. It is made from BPA-free plastic and is available in three colors.
What you should consider: The white hull stains easily.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This all-around pressure cooker does it all with 40% less plastic than other models at an affordable price.
What you’ll love: Made from a combination of earth-friendly wheat fiber and BPA-free plastic, this pressure cooker has a unique aesthetic. Dishwasher safe and easy to store, this 2.5-liter pressure cooker is ideal for individuals who know their way around a kitchen.
What you should consider: This cooker may be confusing for those unfamiliar with pressure cookers, and it may be too large for small microwaves.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Beautifully crafted, this rice cooker is simple and effective, and easy to use for both newbies and experienced cooks.
What you’ll love: Made with two molded walls and an air gap in between, this rice cooker maintains safe temperatures externally even when the internal contents are boiling hot. Utilizing a silicone lid with high walls to prevent leakage, this smaller rice cooker will produce the perfect amount of rice or quinoa for a couple of servings.
What you should consider: The lid does not lock on and may be too small for some households.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Collette Bliss writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.