How Long Does it Take to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker?

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is how long does it take to cook rice in a rice cooker and, of course, the only real answer is..it depends! However, today I’m going to try and give you some and advice and tips to help you know when the rice is cooked to perfection and to work out, roughly, how long to cook your rice based on a number of factors.

For the most part, you select the type of rice (eg basmati or sushi) and level of doneness (eg white or brown), set the timer to ‘cook’ and wait for your rice to be ready. In most cases, you will need to wait 15-20 minutes for the rice cooker to warm up and then another 25-30 minutes for the rice to cook. The only time you may have to wait longer is when cooking brown or basmati rice.

If you put on your rice in the morning, it will be ready by lunch (if you purchased regular long-grain white rice). So if you want to have freshly cooked rice for dinner, you need to make sure that your rice has finished cooking at least an hour before dinner time.

How to Cook Rice without a Rice Cooker?

Tofu hot pot in japanese restaurant
Tofu hot pot

If you want to cook rice in the traditional way, without a rice cooker, you will need to know how much water and rice you should use. If you want the easy way out, please see our guide on cooking rice without a rice cooker for details on how much water and how long it takes.

How long does it take to cook rice in a rice cooker, and how do you know when it’s ready?

Basmati rice takes the longest to cook – it’s considered a premium long-grain variety. Brown rice takes longer than white rice, and you will need to use more water than white rice.

Here’s a rough guide for some of the more popular varieties of rice

Type of RiceQuantityWaterCook Time
Basmati3 cups2 Cups25 Minutes
White1 Cup1 1/2 Cups13 Minutes
Brown3 Cups4 1/2 Cups20 Minutes

A lot of people say that you should cook rice for at least 20 minutes on the stovetop, but this is not always the case in my experience since it can take up to 30 minutes for the water to fully absorb and for the rice to be ready.

The first time you cook a particular type of rice, it’s best that you check it halfway through cooking by tasting or poking it with a fork. This will help you gauge how much more time is needed to cook your three cups of rice. If you need to cook it longer, add a bit of water and give it another half hour before testing again.

However, if the rice is still not done even after 45 minutes or an hour, then chances are that this particular variety just takes a long time to cook. You may want to look for other varieties which normally take less time to cook.

If the Rice is not done after 1 hour, should I keep cooking it on the Stovetop?

If you’ve already given your rice at least 45 minutes of cooking time, then it’s best that you stop there. The reason is that once the rice gets too dry, it will become overcooked and mushy and, when this happens, the flavor is not as good. You will notice that most of the time people complain about mushy rice – that’s because they cooked it for too long. Another thing to remember if you’re cooking rice on a stovetop is that it should be done on low heat to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

How do I add flavor to my cooked rice?

Olive oil and vinegar

There are lots of ways to add flavor to cooked rice which will make it taste much better. The first one is adding butter or olive oil if you’re cooking white and brown rice. Another important ingredient that you should never forget when cooking rice is salt.

Adding a few dashes of soy sauce when cooking sushi rice can also make your rice tastier. You may also add a pinch of sugar or salt to the water in case you’re cooking Basmati rice.

If you want, you can also cook your rice with seasonings such as onion and garlic. This is good for brown and wild rice since they have stronger flavors and will not be overpowered by the taste of the main dish that you would be having with your rice.

How Does a Rice Cooker Know When the Rice is Done?

The simple answer is, your rice cooker doesn’t know when the rice is done. However, it does know when the water has boiled away. It knows this because thanks to a thermostat (which, incidentally is used to control the temperature) it can tell that the temperature is rising above 100° C – which happens when there’s no more water in the pot. Assuming you have a 2:1 proportion of rice and water, this should happen once your rice is done cooking.

There are many technical ways to keep track of temperature such as using magnets or switches to close circuits. The first method of doing this to be patented was to use magnets. Basically, it works like this.

Horseshoe Magnets

A small magnet is used to create a circuit with a strip of metal – this keeps the power on and allows the heat to build.

While the pot has water in it, heat added to the pot will turn the water into steam. This regulates the temperature and keeps it at, or below 100 deg. However, when the water is gone the temperature quickly rises and this rising temperature makes the contact magnet lose its maggetic properties and so, the circuit gets broken and the heat goes off. Simple but effective.

So, you see, the cooker is monitoring the temperature not the cook(edness?) of the rice or the moisture content etc.

How To Fix Undercooked Rice in a Rice Cooker?

how to fix undercooked rice in a rice cooker

While we are on the subject of cooking rice, one question I often get asked is how to fix undercooked rice.

We all know that undercooked rice can be as nasty as dry or overcooked rice. It tastes awful and is often just difficult to eat – not a great experience – and what’s worse, some kinds of rice release bacteria when undercooked which can make you sick!

Luckily, these days, most modern rice cookers such as the Zojirushi models employ all kinds of fancy tech to ensure great results every time. But, what if you don’t have access to this technology, how do you fix the problem to keep your health and not lose money by throwing away perfectly good food?

Luckily it’s quite easy to fix this problem. What I do is just open the lid, stir the contents to ensure uniformity and then poke a few holes with the end of a wooden spoon into the rice. Then, add some more water – usually around a cupful depending on the capacity of your cooker and then start the cooking process for another few minutes

I wouldn’t advise cooking for more than 5 minutes but, as always, your circumstances may differ so keep an eye on the progress. Don’t use a pre-programmed mode and leave it – remember your rice cooker only knows temperature, not consistency or moisture content so there’s a danger of overcooking the rice and making it mushy if you do this.

If you’re having real issues you can transfer the rice to another pot or even just blast it in the microwave. I’ve tried both of these methods but, to be honest, they don’t work as well as using the rice cooker so only use them as a last resort.

Whats the best way to tell if your rice is done?

If you are not sure whether or not your rice is ready, then you can opt to add some lemon juice or vinegar and taste it. Vinegar adds flavor without affecting the overall taste of your dish, so it’s a great way to know if your rice has been cooked thoroughly.

As for the color of your rice, there’s no hard and fast rule as to when it should turn yellow. The reason why it often looks like that is because of the starch from the rice. However, if you follow our instructions above and cook your rice in low heat, there’s no way it will burn or turn into a sticky mushy mess on your stovetop.

Use an egg timer or microwave oven timer to track how long you’ve been cooking the rice for

Kitchen timer for cooking and working

This is the easiest way to see whether or not your rice has been cooked thoroughly. You can also use a kitchen timer with an alarm which you can set for 20 minutes.

Even if you’re not in the kitchen, you’ll feel like it’s never too late to check on your rice. A lot of people think that they need at least 30 minutes for their rice to be fully cooked and will end up waiting for 2 hours!

How much water do I use for cooking rice?

If you’re cooking white or brown rice, then add 1 3/4 cups of water for each cup of dry uncooked rice. For sushi rice, add 2 ¼ cups of liquid per cup of raw Japanese rice. If you’re cooking Basmati rice, add 2 cups of water per cup of raw rice.

Remember that you should not add salt or seasoning when you’re cooking it in the first method. The reason why is because adding them will ensure that the flavors won’t come out right. If you would like to season your cooked rice later on, then go ahead and do so. Making rice is an art form, which means that you need to be responsible for the flavors of your dish every step along the way!

Wild rice takes a long time to cook, which is why I highly recommend you try using a rice cooker or slow cooker. If you use 1 cup of dry wild rice, then add 2 ½ cups water instead. Be sure to drain off excess liquid before serving.

Tip: Never lift the lid of your pot while cooking – this will only let out the heat and slow down the process of cooking. It’s best that you wait a few minutes before lifting it, just to make sure that it stays in there long enough to cook.

How to reheat cooked rice?

If you’ve already finished your meal, and there are still some leftover side dishes like white rice or fried rice, it’s best that you reheat it right away so that the texture will be nice and soft. While it may not look as great as when you first served it at dinner time, the taste will still be delicious.

This is a way to save you time when cooking in large amounts for parties and special occasions, or if you want to cook healthy meals that are fast and easy to make. If you reheat rice on the stovetop, then be sure that you use low heat. You may even need to add an extra cup of water if you think that it’s too dry.

If your family likes really wet rice, then reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe to accommodate for this.

However, if you are reheating rice in a microwave oven, then it would be best that you follow these instructions:

1. The first thing is to put your rice in a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Heat the rice in short intervals for about 30 seconds each time. Make sure to stir it around after every interval, just so that it will continue cooking evenly and won’t get cooked unevenly. If you prefer your rice to have a crispy texture on the outside but still be soft inside, then it’s best that you reheat it in this manner.

3. The next step is to use a fork or wooden spoon to break up the rice grains, just so that tiny parts of them will be separated from each other. This way they won’t stick together and get mushy when you heat it again on high heat later on

4. During the last interval, put it in for about 1 minute. You should stop there because if you leave it longer than that, the rice will start to dry out and become overcooked, which is not healthy at all.

5. Add your side dishes to a plate with some steamed vegetables or meat dishes on top. You can also put some hot sauce or soy sauce on top.

6. The most important thing is to remember that if you’re heating the rice on high heat, it might burn instead of cook properly. Since your rice cooker is designed specifically to cook this type of food, there’s no need for complicated procedures when reheating your side dishes right away!

7. This next tip may sound a little strange at first, but it’s good to know that if you want the rice to remain crunchy after cooking, then be sure to add the rice with more water. If you’d like your rice softer, then use less water when adding them in as they cook.

Closeup of microwave

Last, if all else fails and your riced vegetables look too wet for you to deal with, try putting them in the microwave until they are dry enough to suit your liking. You may have to cook them a little longer, but it should be worth the time spent. The good thing about cooking rice in a microwave is that there’s less chance of burning it because the intensity of heat decreases with each interval you choose to use.

Finally, when it comes to wrapping up your rice cooker after using it, make sure that you clean it right away. Do not wipe it with a damp cloth because this might cause the rice cooker to rust. Instead, just be sure that you rinse and clean your rice cooker by hand until it’s nice and shiny once again.

So, there you are, I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to cook rice properly, every time. Now, why not grab yourself a new rice cooker from some of the top ones listed below – that’s guaranteed to get you even better-tasting rice!

As always, I’d love to hear from you so please feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment below. Until next time….

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