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Please help with my rice cooker

After reading all the great messages about rice cookers, I bought the Zojirushi fuzzy logic 5.5 cup and expected to love it as much as my Zoj breadmaker. Well, the rice was great, but the other recipes I tried all failed in one way or another.

With the advice found here, I used recipes from the much acclaimed "The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook." The tapioca and the oatmeal both boiled over and made a huge mess. Although I loved the rice, I wanted to make other recipes too. So, I exchanged the Zoj for a 10 cup Tiger fuzzy logic.

I hoped the 10 cup size would prevent the boil overs. It didn't. I'm still getting boil overs for anything except rice. When I don't get boil overs, I get a very clogged vent. And, the brown rice (which is all I make) is not nearly as nice as it was in the Zojirushi.

I follow directed exactly, double check everything, and am generally a pretty successful cook. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? I really want a great rice cooker with the ability to do oatmeal and tapioca. All advice is appreciated.

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  1. Last spring my husband surprised me with a 3.5 cup Zojirushi for Mothers day. We eat steel cut oats or whole oat groats cooked in it almost every morning. The one thing I do is cook it with fruit. He's lactose intolerant and cooking it with fruit gets him to eat this with pleasure. The steel cut oats are cooked on the porridge setting, and the whole oat groats on the GABA setting. Fruit mostly sits on top of the water and for some reason keeps it from foaming and boiling over. Banana is our favorite but have used apple, frozen pie cherries, frozen sweet cherries, and pineapple/mango mix. I have heard that adding a tablespoon of oil works as well but I haven't tried it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: adarling315

      adarling315, Thanks for the tips about adding fruit on top and using a bit of oil. I should have mentioned it before, but I am using steel cut oats and water. The first time I tried the recipe for oatmeal, I did use milk but it made a huge mess. Switching to water helped a little but not enough. I'll try the fruit on top next and see if that helps.

      1. re: adarling315

        This is interesting. I had a boil-over mess when I made steel-cut oats using the recipe in the Ulitmate Rice Cooker Cookbook and this week I tried again with about the same proportions for a recipe that included pears. It boiled up into the vent (no clog, just a pain to clean) but didn't boil over onto the counter. I thought it was just luck, but maybe fruit is the secret!

      2. I have only limited experience with rice cookers (I don't own one but I sometimes use my daughter"s) and I'm not sure if it will help but I found that if I left the lid on it boiled over, with the lid off it remained stable. With things other than rice, stirring occasionally during the first half of the cooking time helped too. But your experience answers the question about why I don't own one of those machines.
        Best of luck

        1 Reply
        1. re: todao

          I might have to try the stirring thing and maybe adjust the lid a bit. Mine boils over nearly every time.

        2. i only use rice cookers for cooking rice and grains, so my advice is not necessarily based on empirical evidence. stirring frequently might help. as well as intermittent stir/rest breaks. Cook - stop, stir - cook - stop, stir - and so on. but, that kind of defeats the purpose of the cooker - might as well just do stove top. Maybe try cutting liquid down a bit - maybe replace that amount with oil or butter.

          1. My rice cooker has a clam-shell type lid with a removable vent (Tiger JBA - A model, 10 cup). I just tried another test batch of steel cut oats and removed the vent to see what might happen. Another boil over. At first, I thought it was the rice cooker, but now that it has happened on two different brands of fuzzy logic rice cookers, I'm sure it must be something I'm doing. Can someone who makes oatmeal describe exactly what they do and the measurements for the ingredients?

            2 Replies
            1. re: midwesterngirl

              This is how I do mine. I have a really small rice cooker so I'm using fairly small amount of steel cut oats. The most I've ever done is 1/2 cup in my 3.5 cup Z, it is the induction model. I think in the size you have 1 cup would work but not much more than that to begin with. I measure out my oats, add water as directed on package of oats, sliced banana (1 per serving), cinnamon, nutmeg, Penzey's baking spice. Set to porridge setting. I don't usually touch it again until it sings it's little song to tell me it's done. With out the fruit I have had boil overs. After it's done we add Splenda (DH is diabetic) and vanilla extract. DH say's it tastes like banana bread.

              1. re: midwesterngirl

                Are you doing the oats on porridge mode? If you cook them on "rice" mode, I think they will boil over. I have done this by accident before, and it's never pleasant to clean up. A recent incident of this nature actually "broke" the rice cooker; though it's since mostly recovered, we did switch to one of the induction Zojis.

                In our old 3.5 C size Sanyo (non-induction), we used one Japanese size cup (a rice cooker measure) of steel cut oats, and about 4 rice cooker cups of water (about to the 3 cup line for white rice). We usually soak overnight (using the timer to have it ready in the morning), but I don't think that is necessary.

                I don't know much about rice cooker recipes, because mostly ours is just used for making rice (and oats).

              2. Double check what kind of oats you are using. I've cooked the Irish steel cut oats in my Zoji without any problems but make sure you have the regular cooking kind (not quick cook, etc.). The brand (or rather, the grind) also seems to matter. When I used the larger grind (or cut or whatever) of oats it worked better than another brand that was a less coarse grind. I also stir the ingredients up to try to distribute the liquid.

                2 Replies
                1. re: akq

                  I've used Quaker regular oats (not quick or instant) and McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal. With both, I tried milk and then water. I'm going to try a bigger grind and adding fruit. Any suggestions on which oatmeal brand to try?

                  1. re: midwesterngirl

                    I got the best results with regular McCanns, I think.

                    For brown rice, I like to let mine soak a bit so I like it best when I load it up in the morning with a timer for after work.

                    I use an induction zojirushi, though.

                2. Do you have a porridge setting? That's what I use on my 10 cup Zo induction. The porridge line on the pot is about half way up the pot. Without much info to go on I can only guess you might be overfilling the pot or using the wrong setting. It's just a guess, without much specific info to go on.

                  I use regular Quaker oats with no problem, and they turn out creamy like oatmeal cooked and stirred for hours.

                  IMO nothing beats the Zo for brown rice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mlou72

                    My Tiger rice cooker is a 10 cup and has a porridge setting. All of the various recipes I've tried are for two servings so I don't think I'm overfilling. One thing I have noticed though, is that a lot of people who are successful with the oatmeal use the induction Zo.

                    Do you have any problem with things bubbling up into the vent with your Zo?

                  2. You just have to experiment with ratio of rice to water, and cooking time.

                    Each manufacturer has their own definition of "fuzzy logic" cooking times for things like brown rice. To further complicate things, different types of brown rice cook differently.

                    1. Hi. I think the key is to cook small batches (in relation to your rice cooker) of whatever recipe you want to try (and at the right setting). I was turned off from making steel cut oatmeal because of the boil over problems experienced with my 3.5 cup rice cooker -- which did have a porridge setting -- using 1 cup of oats. At the time, I never even thought about using less oats and just gave up. When my old rice cooker recently died and I switched over to a 5.5 cup Zojirushi induction heat rice cooker -- I decided to attempt steel cut oats once again, but using 1/2 cup of oats. I have now made sco's several times now with no issues (again, using 1/2 cup and the porridge setting).

                      1. Hi, folks, I just have to share something I discovered last year. I don't have the patience to cook individual servings of grits, oatmeal, and rice, so I prefer to put the dish in the microwave and return when the dish is ready to eat. No rinsing, soaking, babysitting, stirring, etc. The secret I have discovered that prevents boilover is a tall container with straight (not tapered) sides that also fits into the microwave (measure your microwave's internal height using a tape measure).

                        The tool I use is a 2000-mL glass or plastic beaker. Just google 2000 mL beaker, and you should be able to find a glass one for ~$15 or a plastic one for ~$5. I prefer glass because cleanup is so easy. Please enjoy and share my recipes below, and if you have tips for me, I'd love to hear them!

                        Notes: Butter, salt, and sugar are optional, as I don't have boilover whether I add them or not. My microwave is an 1100 Watt microwave with an internal height of 9 inches from the turntable to the roof of the microwave. These recipes can be scaled up for use in large microwaveable bowls with tall sides and at least a 6 quart capacity.

                        1. Oatmeal (quick, traditional, gluten-free, etc.): 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1 and 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbs sugar, 1 pat of butter, 1 dash of salt, and microwave for 5 minutes at full power.
                        2. Quick grits: 1/4 cup quick five-minute grits, 1 and 1/4 cup water, and microwave for 5 minutes at full power.
                        3. Traditional grits: 1/4 cup traditional grits, 1 and 1/2 cup water, and microwave for 6 minutes and 30 seconds at full power.
                        4. Brown rice: 1/2 cup rice, 2 cups water, and microwave for 30 minutes at 70% power (or, 1 cup rice, 3 cups water, and microwave for 40 minutes at 50% power).
                        5. Basmati rice or jasmine rice: 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup + 1 oz of water, and microwave for 15 minutes at 50% power.

                        Happy microwaving!

                        1. This could be caused by your water quality. My experience is that water direct from a water softener causes the biggest amount of foaming. Using hard water, bottled water, or water from a reverse-osmosis filtered water solved my problems. If you like to wash your rice before cooking, you should also wash it only in these types of water. Don't let the rice touch the water from the softener.

                          It is the same reason that it is hard to remove the soap residue from your hands when washing them in softened water.