HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food project?

Fluffy rice from a rice cooker?

rworange Jan 6, 2012 01:56 PM

I love my rice cooker because I can just throw the rice and water in there and not watch it. However, it always comes out sticky.

How to fluff it up? I've been using long grain rice. Should i use a different type? Do I need to add something like oil?

There is also a little steamer basket and i love that for veggies, but I'd like to get better rice results.

If there is another thread on this subject, I'd appreciate it.

  1. g
    gordon wing Jan 6, 2012 02:20 PM

    try adding less water .... sticky rice usually is caused by too much water. with older rice cookers you could wait until the hold stage comes on and then punch the cook button again. this was done to create a crust which ordinarily doesn't happen with rice cookerss.

    1. r
      rjbh20 Jan 6, 2012 02:31 PM

      Assuming you've got the amount of water right, and you want non-sticky rice, you might consider converted (Uncle Ben's) rice,which is processed to stay separate. Its not my preference usually, but works well for some things.

      1. s
        sueatmo Jan 6, 2012 02:48 PM

        I have not had long grain rice cook up sticky in my rice cooker. I checked my go-to book for rice cooker rice and the authors, Beth Hensberger and Julie Kaufmann say: "The Japanese-made rice cooker was developed specifically to cook the rices most often cooked in their cuisine: medium- and short-grain rices. So long-grain white rice is sometimes a bit of a challenge. . . ."

        Here is the paraphrased recipe given for 3-4 servings of American long-grain white rice:

        1 C long-grain white rice
        1 1/2 C water
        1/4 t salt
        1 to 2 T unsalted butter, margarine, olive oil, or nut oil (optional)

        The directions say to first put the rice in the cooker bowl and then add water and salt. Close and set. After the rice has cooked, and switched to the Keep Warm cycle, let the rice steam for 10 more minutes. (I put a paper towel between the lid and the cooker.)

        I wonder if you are steaming the rice? If you do and you are still getting stickyness, you might try washing the rice in a couple of washes of water before throwing it in the cooker.

        Information about cooking long-grain rice from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, c2002.

        Good luck with your new cooker.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo
          rworange Jan 6, 2012 02:55 PM

          Just following the directions using the little cup that came with the cooker and filling the water to the level indicated. I usually remove it as soon as it is done. i haven't been rinsing it so that might be it.

          1. re: rworange
            sueatmo Jan 6, 2012 02:56 PM

            Let it steam though. I am guessing that is the problem.

            1. re: rworange
              Cynsa Jan 6, 2012 03:10 PM

              My mom taught me to rinse/wash the rice until the water runs clear, add the measured water and let it sit for 30 minutes or longer before pushing the start button on the rice cooker; when it clicks off to indicate the end of cooking, let the rice rest in the covered pot for 15 to twenty minutes, then with a wet shamoji (wooden or plastic rice paddle) lift and turn the rice from the bottom to the top to fluff the rice.

              1. re: Cynsa
                scoopG Jan 7, 2012 06:05 AM

                That's the secret! Rinsing the rice in cold water. I use the rice water to water plants then.

                1. re: scoopG
                  JoanN Jan 7, 2012 06:29 AM

                  Try using the rice water to clean your wok. It's a tip I picked up from Grace Young's "The Breath of a Wok" and it's almost like a miracle. As soon as you've emptied your wok, pour in about 4 cups of the cloudy water you've saved from rinsing the rice and let it sit in the wok for about 5 or 10 minutes. (I usually let it sit until I'm done with dinner.) Not only does the short soaking help unstick any food particles that might still be clinging to the wok, the residual starch in the water acts as a degreaser. You really don't need any soap to get rid of the grease; the rice water does the trick.

                  1. re: JoanN
                    sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 08:36 AM

                    Who knew? And I've been too lazy lately to rinse. My rice cookbook advises you to rinse in a mesh colander, rubbing the rice against the mesh to abrade it slightly. When the water runs clear, the rice is rinsed.

          2. twyst Jan 6, 2012 03:08 PM

            As soon as the cooking cycle says its done stir the rice to fluff it up, then re-cover it and wait another 15 minutes or so before serving.

            1 Reply
            1. re: twyst
              Chemicalkinetics Jan 6, 2012 03:16 PM


            2. v
              valerie Jan 6, 2012 04:23 PM

              I generally prefer sticky rice so I use mostly short grain rice but on occasion when I run out, I have used Carolina long grain white rice and it has come out fine. I agree with others though...rinse it and use a little bit less water.

              1. luckyfatima Jan 6, 2012 06:46 PM

                I cook basmati rice in a rice cooker and what I do is let it cook (1:2 rice:water) then when it finishes, I turn off the cooker (I don't leave it on warm) open the top and leave the top slightly ajar and let the rice rest for approximately 10 minutes while the steam escapes. Then after the ten minute rest, I stir it with a paddle-spoon. It becomes fluffy. I have found on times when I have been lazy or forgotten to stir the rice, it is clumpy and sticky, and if I stir it immediately after the cooking cycle finishes without allowing it to rest for 10 mins, the kernals break. So this is the method that has worked best for me after some trial and error.

                17 Replies
                1. re: luckyfatima
                  Chemicalkinetics Jan 6, 2012 06:52 PM

                  1:2? Are you sure. Maybe we have very rice cooker than. I cook at 1:1 at most 1:1.2

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    Nyleve Jan 6, 2012 06:58 PM

                    Agree: one part rice, one and a half parts water in rice cooker. Basmati always comes out fluffy. You may just be using the wrong kind of rice.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      gordon wing Jan 6, 2012 07:01 PM

                      are you cooking basmati rice at 1:1 ?

                      1. re: gordon wing
                        Chemicalkinetics Jan 6, 2012 07:06 PM

                        :) It is a bit hard when I cook it at 1:1, so really it is closer to 1: 1.2.

                        I eat drier rice.

                        It is sad. I am a really poor person, so I cannot afford too much water. Very sad :P

                        Really, I do cook at a lower ratio for most rice, not just basmati rice. If I cook at 1:2, then it will turn out like congee or something.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          gordon wing Jan 6, 2012 07:14 PM

                          LOL! thanks for the clarification. : ~ )

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            rworange Jan 6, 2012 07:15 PM

                            So, what about timing?

                            The cooker I have just has buttons for white rice, brown rice and steam.

                            Do I just hit the white rice button with lower ratio of water to rice after rinsing it.

                            1. re: rworange
                              Nyleve Jan 6, 2012 07:20 PM

                              My rice cooker is one of the dead basic kind - so it's either COOK or KEEP WARM. I rinse the rice, add water, slam on the lid and turn it on to cook. Works perfectly.

                              1. re: rworange
                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 6, 2012 08:55 PM

                                What is the ratio you are using? Attached are two photos of my rice cooker. In your container, it should show you the approximate amount of water you should use for your rice. Did you fill it up to the line?

                                Yes, I think you should use the white rice function and use less water than last time. After the rice cooker beeps, opens the lid up and turn the rice 1-2 times. If the rice texture looks about right, then close the lid. If the rice texture looks slightly too wet, then keep the lid on to let excessive water to evaporate.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  rworange Jan 6, 2012 09:35 PM

                                  Thanks for the photos. Yes I fill it to the line recommended.

                                  1. re: rworange
                                    Chemicalkinetics Jan 6, 2012 09:41 PM

                                    Hmm, in my case, if I fill it up to the recommended line, then my long grain rice can be a touch on the drier side, so I usually just fill ever so slightly above the line. However, in your case, it sounds the opposite, so you should take it down just a bit, so it is slightly below the line. Every rice cookers are bit different.

                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 08:32 AM

                                    You and I seem to own the same rice cooker, CK. Rice cooker cups are about 3/4 regular cooking cups. Frankly I just use regular cups to measure with. I agree that OP should try rinsing, using a bit less water and just hit the white rice button.

                                    With every appliance, you just have to do it a few times to "get it."

                                    1. re: sueatmo
                                      Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2012 10:48 AM


                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      karykat Jan 7, 2012 10:50 AM

                                      Do you mean keep the lid open to let the water evaporate if it looks too wet after it beeps?

                                      I'm getting lots of good tips here.

                                      I do rinse and know that's important along with using something like basmati, because that washes away the starch that makes the grains stick together.

                                      1. re: karykat
                                        Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2012 11:07 AM

                                        "Do you mean keep the lid open to let the water evaporate if it looks too wet after it beeps?"

                                        Yes, it help a bit. We just cannot add the water and rice volume exactly every time, and I find the "lid opening" and accommodate this difference. If the cooked rice look fine, then turn the rice 1-2 times and close the lid. If the cooked rice looks a bit too wet, then turn the rice 1-2 times and keep the lid open for a few minutes to let more water evaporates.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                luckyfatima Jan 7, 2012 05:39 AM

                                Um, like yeah of course I am sure, we eat rice made this way several times per week. I use premium grade aged basmati, do not soak, but rinse well and follow the procedure I described above. The grains are separate and beautifully long, and they are nicely tender, well past al dente but not at all mushy or wet. My husband comes from a hardcore rice family originally from the heartland of basmati production country, and my mother in law complimented my rice saying it was perfectly cooked 'dam' style (parboiled then strained and sealed in a pot, which is time consuming but traditional) and I thought to myself hehehehe I didn't bother putting it on 'dam,' I cooked it in my rice cooker.

                                1. re: luckyfatima
                                  Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2012 10:51 AM

                                  I don't know if my basmati rice is as premium as yours, but I don't think they should be different by 2-fold of water volume :) I also don't soak, but do rinse about 2-3 times.

                                  My is Kohinoor Basmati rice produced from India


                                  I think our rice cookers must be very different, or that our expectations are different.

                                  1. re: luckyfatima
                                    karykat Jan 7, 2012 10:51 AM

                                    Bravo! Happy mother-in-law (and deceived)! :)

                              3. greedygirl Jan 7, 2012 05:03 AM

                                I had this problem with my basic Cuisinart rice cooker. I tried lots of different things to make the rice dry and fluffy but nothing worked. Finally I invested in a Zojirushi, and now I get perfect rice.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: greedygirl
                                  sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 08:33 AM

                                  I like my Zojirushi too. It doesn't do brown rice as well as white however.

                                2. r
                                  rasputina Jan 7, 2012 06:44 AM

                                  What kind of rice are you using? Are you rinsing it? Are you fluffing it with the paddle after it's done cooking?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: rasputina
                                    gordon wing Jan 7, 2012 07:00 AM

                                    a pair of chopsticks does a very good job of fluffing the rice also.

                                    1. re: rasputina
                                      rworange Jan 7, 2012 11:39 AM

                                      California long grain. I'm probably going to switch to basmati.

                                      i tried the 1 to 1 1/2 ratio this morning after rinsing first. Then I fluffed it a bit once it was cooked and left the cover open. Fluffed it a bit 10 minutes later. It was slightly better, but not what I wanted.

                                      Don't get me wrong. I like the rice cooker more than anything else i've tried. I'm going to switch to another variety and see how that works.

                                      I'm starting to flash back to my banana bread thread where despite a ton of great suggestions, the bread was always awful. I do think though that this might be doable if i keep working at it.

                                      I guess cooking time bothers me.

                                      In the cheapo rice cooker all that was available was a minimum 2 cup capacity which is more than i usuually use at one time.

                                      So I messed around with smaller quantities for a while with varying results.

                                      Recently I just decided to try to follow instructions that came with the cooker and use the minimum 2 cup amount.

                                      I'm not sure if the rice cooker calibrates weight of the contents. That is, if cooking 10 cups and hitting the white rice button would result in a longer cooking time.

                                      i couldn't find a cooker with the option of setting the length of time the rice was cooked and i wonder if that makes a difference.

                                      1. re: rworange
                                        sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 12:19 PM

                                        If you share the brand and model of your rice cooker someone might be able to better address your questions. I respectfully suggest you cook another batch or two of the same rice before giving up with this basic variety. You can always use cooked rice!

                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                          jadec Jan 20, 2012 10:26 AM

                                          I was always taught that the water:rice ratios for various types of rices are base lines but each individual bag varies. For example recently harvested rice is more moist so needs less water. I guess what I'm saying is that you may need to adjust ratios based on initial results.

                                          1. re: jadec
                                            sueatmo Jan 20, 2012 12:31 PM

                                            I'd hate to think that every time you bought a package of rice, you would have to decide how to cook it. However, if you had access to newly harvested rice, perhaps you would want to adjust times.

                                    2. Berheenia Jan 7, 2012 07:17 AM

                                      Thanks for starting this thread. I'm going down to the basement and bringing up my second hand Zojirushi rice cooker for a renewed effort and I'm officially banning Trader Joe's frozen rice from the premises. The posters are answering in advance all the things that went wrong when I first tried using the Zojirushi.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Berheenia
                                        sueatmo Jan 7, 2012 08:34 AM

                                        You go girl--or guy. You can eat rice every day if you want, and you can try out all sorts of different kinds. Just do it a few times to get the hang.

                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                          Berheenia Jan 20, 2012 08:43 AM

                                          We've had good luck using the 1:1.5 ratio of rinsed basmati rice but when I reheated the leftovers 2 days later in a microwave the grains were hard. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

                                          1. re: Berheenia
                                            jadec Jan 20, 2012 10:23 AM

                                            Did you cover the rice when reheating? Covering it retains moisture. Sorry if I'm stating the obvious.

                                            1. re: Berheenia
                                              sueatmo Jan 20, 2012 12:33 PM

                                              When I reheat rice in the micro, I always put a few drops of water in the rice before covering loosely and reheating. The rice will absorb the moisture as it reheats.

                                              1. re: sueatmo
                                                valerie Jan 20, 2012 07:38 PM


                                        2. Dax Jan 20, 2012 01:20 PM

                                          I just saw this thread after I posted my similar request. Looking at both.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Dax
                                            rworange Jan 20, 2012 01:37 PM

                                            Here's the link since this thread is focusing on white rice

                                            Rice cooker brown rice

                                            As far as white rice, basmati really made a difference. I'm still playing with the water to rice ratio. the 1: 1 1/2 worked well. I want to retry at 1:2 to see if it was rice variety alone that matter.

                                          2. s
                                            Sion1974 Jul 30, 2013 10:22 AM

                                            I lived in Peru for 4 years and my wife cooks mean rice. Rice cookers are not popular yet and rice is cooked in a normal pot - But the principles are the same.
                                            You need to boil a pot of water (normal cooking pot) and add the rice and let it soak for 10 minutes (not on the gas). After 10 minutes you need to drain the water off.
                                            Then add the rice to the rice cooker and the water (the amount of water depends on your preference). Add a piece of onion and a tooth of garlic. Don't add any salt yet!
                                            Start the rice cooker and leave to cook.
                                            After, sprinkle on salt and some oil and stir lightly. Add a bit of water and cook with the lid slightly open until the water has evaporated. Job done

                                            Show Hidden Posts