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Electric Rice Cookers

If you are looking to make perfect rice, it may be wise to buy one of the new electric rice cookers that have recently come on the market. While older versions of these electric appliances merely turned on or off, newer models have a special microchip that allows for a variety of settings for different types of rice (white, brown, sticky or sushi) and different cooked consistencies, resulting in perfect rice every time you make it. You merely pour rice into the cooker’s removable bowl, add the correct amount of water, designate the types of rice you want to cook, and press the start button.

If you are shopping for an electric rice cooker, consider the following:

  • Start by choosing a machine that can cook the quantity of rice you want, since rice is best cooked fresh and not held from meal to meal. A typical serving is about one cup, so unless you are feeding a large family, look for the smaller machines (3-6 cups); the cooker will take up less counter and cabinet space. If needed, you can buy a larger cooker that makes 10 to 15 cups of white rice.
  • Most people can skimp on all the features but one: a Teflon inner pot. Otherwise, a large quantity of the rice will stick to the pot, be wasted, and make clean-up a lot more work.
  • If you want fancy features, consider these:
    • different types and quantities of rice will require different cooking times. White rice for two can be made in under twenty minutes, while brown rice for a large family may need 60 to 120 minutes. Some machines have a quick cook cycle, but this will produce harder grains of rice.
    • a timer that allows you to set the start time in advance
    • a setting that allows you to keep the cooked rice warm increase your serving time is delayed.

Many rice cookers can also be used for other purposes, such as warming hot cereals, soups, and stews and for steaming vegetables (by using a steaming plate).

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