How To Cook Perfect Rice If Your Rice Cooker Is Failing You

Not all rice cookers are perfect.

IMAGE Bianca Laxamana

Every Pinoy home probably has a rice cooker. In fact, almost every Asian home will have some form of a rice cooker in their kitchen. The pressurized smart rice cookers that can double as an instant pot have recently become the hot small kitchen appliance to have but even the most basic of rice cookers can do the job. 

The rice cooker should be the perfect small kitchen appliance to cook rice but if you're having problems, there's no need to buy a new rice cooker to make your kind of perfect rice. You can make a slight change in the way you make it to cook rice right. Here are tweaks you can do:

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

1 If there's water, let the steam out and stir the rice.

Some rice cookers do not cook as evenly as you would like. Some are too efficient in keeping the steam and water in. If this is the case and you find a little water on top of your rice when done, you can do this as soon as the rice is done: let the steam out and then stir the rice. What this does is allows any remaining water to more quickly steam and evaporate into the air. Don't put the lid back on just yet. Let the steam out. Give it a minute or until the steam has somewhat dissipated. Then grab a fork and fluff up the rice. (No need to be too thorough.) Then put the lid back on just until any leftover water is forced to heat up and evaporate, too.   

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Whether you like your rice fluffy and loose or want to make sure that the bottom is cooked as well as the top, this trick will prevent the rice from becoming even mushier than it already is.

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

2 Remember your ratio if you added too much water. 

If you find that there is a little pool of water in the rice when the rice cooker is done, you may be adding too much water. The key to perfect rice is using just enough water. Each variety of rice requires a certain amount of water to achieve the fluffiness and softness that you like. To get this perfect ratio, you need to remember how much water to add each time. Once you know this perfect ratio, you should be cooking perfect rice every time. 


However, if you're still have having trouble finding that perfect ratio, the rule of thumb is adding less water is better than adding too much. You cannot remove the water that's already in your cooked rice but if you find that you didn't add enough and your rice isn't fully cooked yet, you can actually fix that and add more water and turn it back on to complete the cooking. Do this and next time, you will know how much you really need to add.    

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

3 Too soft? Let it steam a little longer.

Have you ever lifted the lid of rice that was just cooked and found the rice to be a little too soft? Did you scoop it out anyway only to find that a few minutes later, it was perfectly cooked and not at all too soft or mushy? You probably just didn't allow the steam to fully evaporate! Rice is wonderful when freshly cooked but it will continue to stay mushy and have a texture that's a little too soft if you lift the lid too early. Let the rice steam a little longer, for a maximum of 5 minutes, because it does need time for all of the water to evaporate. 

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

4 Turn it back on to make tutong. 

Are you a fan of the tutong? If you are, there's a simple solution: turn the rice cooker back on. The best way to do this is to make the tutong with rice that was cooked earlier in the day. (Think day-old rice but not that old.) Cook your rice with a little less water than normal so the rice isn't too wet when done. Then just simply turn the rice cooker back on. 

If your rice cooker is too efficient in doing its job of making perfectly fluffy rice, there's another hack you do: scoop out the rice and transfer it to a nonstick pan. Flatten the rice to make a nice layer and then cook it over medium heat until the bottom of the rice becomes browned and crispy.  

Perfect rice can be achieved with a few tweaks here and there. Try these tweaks and see if you are making better rice in your rice cooker.




Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here! 

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