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Is a crockpot just as good as a rice cooker for making rice?

rworange Apr 14, 2011 08:51 AM

Not sure if this belongs here or on Home Cooking, but it seems more of a cookware thing.

Here's a link about how to cook rice in a crockpot
http://www.ehow.com/how_2062594_use-c...

I'm cooking for a family soon and to say I despise cooking is an understatement. My original thought was to get a rice cooker as well-made rice is critical. However, if a crockpot will turn out perfect rice, it seems like a waste to get two appliances.

Please ... no posts about how easy rice is to cook on the stovetop. It is not going to happen with me. I want to spend as little time as possible with the kitchen and I want to the the road that is easiest to travel. I have ZERO patience to muck around learning to get the perrfect rice using a pot.

So ... do I need both a crockpot and a rice cooker ... or only a rice cooker?

  1. Chemicalkinetics Apr 14, 2011 09:02 AM

    No, I don't think so. I have never tried to use a crockpot for rice cooking, but my understanding is that it won't work well as a rice cooker. The least a rice cooker has to do is to bring the content to boil and then back down. The more modern rice cookers have fuzzy logic which produce better rice. A crockpot simply maintain a steady power which in its best case steady temperature. So I don't think it will produce good rice. A crockpot probably will work well for more soupy rice, like chicken rice soup or something along that line.

    1. QuirkyCookery Apr 14, 2011 09:09 AM

      If you hate cooking so much, why are you cooking for a family?

      As for the actual question, no, it won't. If you're already an avid crockpot user, then I'd say it could work, but you're wanting a "no fuss" method and a decent rice cooker will make that happen for you. If you get a really good one, it can cook lots of different things, too (various grains to perfection, but many also have steamer baskets that can make other meals a cinch).

      9 Replies
      1. re: QuirkyCookery
        Chemicalkinetics Apr 14, 2011 09:13 AM

        'you're wanting a "no fuss" '

        Ok, you put it better than I did. What I wanted to say is that it may be possible to make good rice from a crockpot, but one will have to do a lot of testing and tweaking for the cooking power and cooking time. Unlike a rice cooker, a crockpot won't know when to stop cooking. This is also why I wrote it probably work for very soupy/liquid rice dish because those are much more forgiving.

        1. re: QuirkyCookery
          rworange Apr 14, 2011 09:34 AM

          Ok, just wanted to check to see if I could eliminate an applieance. It seems not.

          My husband's children just got their green cards and will be living in the US with us. So I have three picky teenagers who are going to be immensly homesick. I need to stick to food they are familiar with initially, rice being critical. Hopefully they will get more adventurous food-wise in the coming months, but the last thing I want to do is start pushing new and unfamiliar foods at them. So far any American food I've introduced them to in Guatemala has met with a thumbs down. As I've been warning them, they are going to have to give up good Guatemalan tortillas. The Mexican kind in the SF Bay area are no competition with the for the GT tortillas made fresh three times each day and available on every street corner in the country. I ain't even going to give tortillas a shot, but hopefully I can produce good rice ... with minimal effort.

          My preferred method of eating ... out ... isn't going to be fiscally possible multiplied by five.

          1. re: rworange
            m
            Miss Priss Apr 15, 2011 07:49 AM

            Maybe this is unrealistic (or completely crazy), given the particular teenagers involved, but is there any chance that an intense longing for the beloved foods of their native land will inspire one or more of them to learn how to prepare it themselves? That way, they'd get their preferred cuisine as often as they want it; and you and your husband would hardly have to set foot in the kitchen, except--maybe--to help with cleanup.

            1. re: Miss Priss
              rworange Apr 15, 2011 08:43 AM

              Some HUGE issues with that having to do with a completely different mindset and culture.

              ALL the cooking and cleaning was being assigned to the oldest daugher who is 17 and got cheated out of a lot of her childhood due to some deaths in the family. I refuse to let her lose her last year prior to adulthood being the "maid" to the family, as her 13 year old brother so tactfully put it.

              While I do expect everyone to make their own breakfast ... including the mini macho man ... this just takes this off of her. I lost my last teenage years when my dad died. I don't want to see this happen to someone else.

              That being said, there are just some dishes I can't or won't do involving organ meat, chirmol (fresh tomato sauce) and fried whole fish. If anyone, wants those bad enough they will have to cook those up.

              1. re: rworange
                m
                Miss Priss Apr 15, 2011 12:01 PM

                Understood. (And maybe it's time for me to visit Guatemala, because those dishes mentioned in your last paragraph sound great to me!)

                1. re: Miss Priss
                  rworange Apr 15, 2011 12:18 PM

                  Yeah, they taste great ... but I'd freak out if I personally had to hack up a tongue or clean tripe.

                2. re: rworange
                  twocents Apr 15, 2011 07:44 PM

                  Don't forget 99 Ranch does fried whole fish for you and a lot of the fish guys are hispanohablantes, so...

                  1. re: twocents
                    c oliver Apr 15, 2011 07:46 PM

                    Excellent point. We have a great Latino market in Reno that almost always has fried whole fish.

              2. re: rworange
                chowser Apr 16, 2011 02:53 PM

                The rice cooker is a good purchase and lasts forever. I still have one from 25+ years ago.

                As home made tortillas go, I don't know about Guatemalan ones but check church fairs, little festivals. The best tamales and tortillas I've ever bought (in the Bay area) was through my friend--all the grandmothers would get together and make them to sell for church fundraisers. It wasn't that often but I looked forward to them, and it's fairly commonly done. It won't give your husband's children a constant supply but an occasional treat.

            2. c oliver Apr 14, 2011 09:23 AM

              I did a quick search but couldn't find it but I recently bought one of our daughters a rice cooker that also functions as a slow cooker. Got it at Costco for about $30 IIRC. So maybe reverse your equation.

              2 Replies
              1. re: c oliver
                rworange Apr 14, 2011 09:42 AM

                Hey, great idea ... I'll start searching online for one. Brilliant actually. I never would have considered that.

                1. re: rworange
                  c oliver Apr 14, 2011 09:51 AM

                  This isn't what I bought but at least the machine does exist.

                  http://www.amazon.com/Krups-FDH212-10...

                  Maybe have one of your SF friends check there. If you want, I can also check the Costco in Reno. I could always mail it to you when you get back.

              2. Naco Apr 14, 2011 09:39 AM

                I know this is going against the terms of the OP, but just cooking it on the stovetop would really be the quickest, easiest way. Boil some lightly salted water, add rice, cover and reduce to the lowest heat setting, go do something else for a half hour and...RICE. 1.5 parts water to 1 part rice is the usual ratio, although you can cut the water some for drier rice.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Naco
                  rworange Apr 14, 2011 09:44 AM

                  Nah ... won't happen. I can make rice good enough to please myself, but Guatemala not only excels in tortillas, it has the best rice of any country I've ever visited. Needs to be perfect, not good enough. Even pleasing myself, my success ratio is only 50%. and the whole process is a major PITA to me.

                  Investing in a rice cooker is much more economically feasabile than the valium (or whatever is used these days to keep people tranquil) I would need to deal with stovetop rice cooking ... and the rice would stilll be screwed up.

                  1. re: rworange
                    paulj Apr 14, 2011 12:23 PM

                    How do they make rice in Guatemala? In Ecuador the preferred method is like a pilaf. Saute some onion and pepper in annato colored oil, saute the rice a bit as well, add the liquid, and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes. Does a rice cooker emulate any of that?

                    1. re: paulj
                      rworange Apr 14, 2011 12:53 PM

                      No, pretty plain. Someties with a few diced carrots or peas mixed in. It is just light, fluffy (not the right word) and perfect.. It isn't sticky. It isn't dry ... Mexicans should note that. Even though I have no intention of getting a pressure cooker, I guess I should watch it being made one time to see if there is anything but rice and water but I don't think so.

                      Like the tortillas, there;s just some magic in there that is never duplicated elsewhere. Everytime I eat it, the rice always catches my attention as perfect. Chinese people don't do rice as well.

                      I have only had one bad dish of rice anywhere in the past year and that was a joint serving Indian food and they were doing something odd with the rice and it was driy as dust.

                      1. re: rworange
                        paulj Apr 14, 2011 02:29 PM

                        What I described does produce a light and fluffy rice. Use of long grain is also important. As to moistness, I image an experienced Guatemalan cook adds the right amount of water by instinct, having cooked rice in the same pot, on the same stove, in the same quantities year after year.

                      2. re: paulj
                        itaunas Apr 16, 2011 12:35 PM

                        I can't speak to Guatemala specifically, but know some folks from other latin american countries which use a rice cooker to make traditional rice. Basically you get a rice cooker with a removeable insert, make the sofrito or fry the rice with garlic/salt paste or onion, than use the rice cooker as normal. Works best with simpler rice cookers and look for one where the insert isn't a lot of money because it isn't intended for stovetop use. Water, rice, and salt aren't going to give the same result ("soltinho" in Brazil). Its not the answer that rworange wants, but better investments are potentially a good electric kettle (so you add hot water to the rice) and a stove with a decent simmer burner or if necessary a flame tamer. However, my suggestion would be a simple rice cooker and maybe the kettle.

                        BTW, tripe and 'tripa' in the US are both pre-cleaned and boiled... tongue requires peeling. And a pressure cooker is a real lifeline if you want to spend less time in the kitchen. Definitely more so than a slow cooker for beans, plus any kind of stew or braise which you didn't start the day before.

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