10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

  • 4 min read
10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Known in Japanese as
suihanki (炊飯器), or literally “boil rice device,” a rice cooker is considered an essential appliance in any Japanese kitchen. But rice cookers can do more than just cook rice. 

People in Japan often turn to their rice cooker to cook all sorts of things from fish to hard-boiled eggs, cake, and more. A search for “rice cooker recipes” on the popular Japanese recipe site, CookPad, results in over 27,319 recipes.

If you’re looking to utilize your rice cooker more often, or are just trying to get more creative in the kitchen, then consider these10 things you can cook in a rice cooker—besides rice. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice


Almost all grains, as well as seeds such as quinoa, can be cooked in a rice cooker. Tougher grains like farro will first need to be soaked overnight, but other grains—such as oats, polenta, and grits—can be cooked with the same water ratio you would use on the stovetop.  

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice


Canned beans can be cooked in a rice cooker either simultaneously with rice or on their own with some seasoning. It is recommended to follow your rice cooker’s manufacturer guidelines for the appropriate water-to-bean ratio. Dried beans and lentils can also cook in a rice cooker after soaking; however, the water ratio and cooking times will likely be greater than that of canned beans. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Steamed Anything

Many newer rice cookers have a steam function that can steam anything from vegetables to fish, dumplings, and more. Most of these rice cookers are sold with a separate steam basket insert. If your rice cooker doesn’t have a steaming function, it is still possible to steam foods in a steam basket while simultaneously cooking rice, but you will likely have to experiment with timing.

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice


Preparing a large number of hard-boiled eggs has never been easier. Just place the eggs in the aforementioned steamer basket over a cup of water, then close the lid of your rice cooker and press cook. Cooking times may vary by manufacturer, but it should take about 18-20 minutes for hard-boiled eggs and about 13-15 minutes for soft-boiled eggs. 


10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Mac and cheese

Yes, you read that correctly. Your favorite comfort food just got even easier to make. It turns out that pouring milk, cheese, and pasta into a rice cooker results in incredibly soft and creamymac and cheese in the time it takes to complete a “quick cook” cycle on your rice cooker. Vegetables such as broccoli, edamame, or butternut squash can also be added in to make a more substantial and nutritious meal. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

One-pot meals

Meats such asspare ribs,pulled pork, orchicken thighs can be braised in a rice cooker just like a crockpot. But why not eliminate extra dishes and cook your whole meal in the rice cooker? 

One such type of meal is calledtakikomi gohan or Japanese mixed rice—where meat and vegetables are cooked right on top of the rice. 

To make takikomi gohan, add rinsed rice and water to the rice cooker. Then place the meat and vegetables of choice on top of the rice without mixing them in. The meat and vegetables should already be cut into bite-size or smaller pieces. Takikomi gohan is usually seasoned with dashi or soy sauce, but seasonings can be adjusted to taste. The entire meal is then cooked using the standard cook/white rice function with the meat, vegetables, and rice finally being mixed just before serving. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Poached fruit

For those craving something sweet, poached fruit can also be made in a rice cooker. Firm fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, and figs are the best choices for poaching as softer fruits and berries will become mushy. And best of all, this hassle-free dessert can cook all on its own while you enjoy dinner.

To prepare, add the peeled and cored fruit to a liquid such as juice, wine, or even tea with aromatics and sugar to taste. Then poach the fruit using the cook/white rice function until a toothpick can pierce through the fruit (about 30-50 mins depending on the manufacturer). Some flavor combinations we recommend include apricots/chamomile tea/honey/yuzu, pears/coffee/brown sugar/cardamom, or the classic apple/apple juice/cinnamon/nutmeg. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Cakes and Quick Breads

Many kitchens in Japan do not have ovens. Instead, people turn to their rice cookers to make delicious cakes and quick breads. While many modern rice cookers come with a cake function, baking a cake or quick bread using the standard cook function works just fine. 

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice

Yeast Breads

Evenyeast breads can be made in a rice cooker. The “keep warm” function of a rice cooker is remarkably useful for proofing yeast breads. While bread made in a rice cooker will not have a crunchy crust, it is incredibly light, fluffy, and perfect for your nextsando.

10 Things You Can Cook In A Rice Cooker - Besides Rice


For those without a stovetop or who simply need to save the pots for other dishes, hot beverages such as hot chocolate and mulled wine can be made using the “keep warm” function of a rice cooker. 

But for the truly adventurous, it is possible to make the traditional Japanese drink Amazake from scratch in your rice cooker.

With over 4000 rice cooker recipe books available on Amazon, this list only starts to scratch the surface of things you can make in a rice cooker. The only limit is your imagination!

We’d love to hear what you are cooking in your rice cooker. Leave us a comment below!


About the author: 

Kimberly Matsuno

Kimberly Matsuno

Kimberly Matsuno is a professional content writer and editor from the US. Having spent several years living in the Japanese countryside, Kimberly holds a particular fondness for Japanese culture and cuisine—particularly anything made with shiso. You can view more of her work at kimberlymatsuno.com.

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