How long can you keep rice in a rice cooker

Here are the top best how long can you keep rice in a rice cooker voted by readers and compiled and edited by our team, let’s find out

Once you learn how to cook rice in a rice cooker, it will be dead simple to repeat for consistent, fluffy and delicious rice every time. Hands off too! Simply rinse the rice, use a 1:1 ratio of water to rice, start the machine and you’re good to go. For more details about the reasons ‘why’, read on!

I first learned to cook rice from my maternal grandmother many years ago. She’d have me go into the garage and take a few scoops out of those vertical rice bins that look like water coolers-y’all growing up in Asian households know what I’m talking about.

electric rice cooker on a table

Any meal without rice in that house was just NOT a complete meal, so you can bet everyone living there got a lot of practice making rice, and that I am now particular about how my rice is cooked!

Why use a rice cooker?

Using a rice cooker is an almost fool-proof method of cooking rice at home. It’s a convenient (and consistent) way of achieving those perfect fluffy and sticky grains that completes any meal. Yes, you can cook rice on the stovetop-but why add the extra hassle of watching rice cook, when you can just set it and forget it? It’s important to remember, you can even use a rice cooker to make quinoa too!

I use a relatively inexpensive rice cooker that was given by my mom but has used even cheaper (~$15 range) and super pricy ones at my family’s and friends’ houses. If you prefer not to buy a uni-tasker like a rice cooker, you can easily cook your rice in a microwave, on the stove, cook jasmine rice in an Instant Pot, Instant Pot basmati rice, or cook short-grain rice in an Instant Pot too.

But if you eat rice just about every day, a dedicated rice cooker with a simple interface and keep warm function should deserve some consideration. If you have an Aroma rice cooker, you should check out my Aroma Rice Cooker Instructions post.

Choose a type of rice

measuring rice

First things first, you need to choose the type of rice you want to eat. While there are plenty of different types of varieties of rice, there are 3 main sizes of rice grains and the type you choose can greatly affect the proportion of water you need to use:

  • Long grain: Four times longer than they are wide and have a lighter texture (ex: Jasmine rice)
  • Medium grain: Two times longer than their width and have a more tender and chewy bite (e.g.: Arborio or risotto rice)
  • Short grain: Almost as wide as it is long and have a plumper and stickier consistency (e.g.: sushi rice or rice for salmon poke bowls or TikTok salmon rice bowls)

At home, and for this recipe, we like to cook with medium grain sushi rice for its pleasant, slight stickiness and moisture.

Rinsing the rice

rinsing rice directly in the pot

Lightly rinse, swirl, then drain the water from the rice 1 to 2 times with cold water to get rid of extra starch build up from broken grains or other debris. You want to retain some of the starch so there’s a bit of stickiness, good for being able to pick up your rice with chopsticks.

You can wash the rice in the rice cooker pot directly and use your hand to move the rice grains around. Pour out the cloudy water from the pot and repeat once or twice if necessary-you don’t want or need the water to be completely clear.

It’s important to note that some white rice produced in the US is enriched with powdered nutrients (iron, folic acid, etc.), and washing your rice could potentially remove these added nutrients.

Adding the proper water to rice ratio

Measuring cup method (preferred!)

measuring rice to water ratio

If you care about consistency, accuracy, or being able to tweak this ratio for other kinds of rice, you should be using a measuring cup. Please note, I use the same measuring cup for BOTH rice and water in order for the ratios below to work.

For any type of grain size (short, medium, or long) you can follow a 1:1 ratio of water to rice. If you want to add more rice, you can adjust the recipe in a similar way, 2 cups of rice to 2 cups of water. This should produce fluffy, but slightly sticky grains of rice when cooked, and works well for up to 3 cups in our rice cooker.

This ratio gives me perfectly fluffy rice every time. You may need to tweak them a tiny bit to your taste and specific brands of rice, and possibly even your rice cooker (see adjusting section below).

Note that these ratios are different than when cooking rice on a stovetop or cooking white rice in the microwave. This recipe also differs from cooking brown rice in the microwave and brown rice in a rice cooker.

The knuckle measuring method

If you’ve made rice in an Asian household, you should know full well that the standard method of measuring an appropriate amount of water only requires the use of (anyone’s) first knuckle of your index finger.

The knuckle method can work, but my problem with it is that it’s not precise enough for repeatable results. If you use this method and your results come out different everytime, don’t come wagging your finger at me.

To clarify, this is how one would do the knuckle meausring method: rinse and drain your rice, then shake it a bit so the rice is completely level in the pot. Put your index finger straight down into the rice so that only the tip barely touches the top surface of the rice. Then add water so the water level reaches your first knuckle, approximately 1″. I’m not even going to post a picture of how to do it because I don’t want you using this method.

While I grew up with this rule and it works well enough, I don’t use it anymore. I can’t in good conscience rely on this or much less teach people to use this less than scientific method since it has many variables: how level you get the rice, the length of whomever’s finger doing the measuring, cooking vessel size, etc.

If you’re trying to tweak a recipe for different kinds or volumes of rice, the variations and pseudo finger-length method measurements get out of hand, quickly.

Powering it on

pressing start on a rice cooker

After filling your rice cooker pot with rice and water, place it back into the cooker and turn it on. Some rice cookers only have one power switch, and no options, so you’re all set. For fancier ones, it may have normal or quick cook settings, so read your manuals to make sure you know what it’s doing. The cooking typically takes from 20-30 minutes.

Once you press start, DO NOT open the lid! You don’t want to lose that precious water/steam essence you’ve got going on. Trust your machine and it’ll do the work for you.Most modern rice cookers will make a little sound or have an indicator light to let you know when it’s done. Our cooker has a “keep warm” setting after the rice is done cooking.

Let it rest, then fluff

fluffing up rice with a paddle

Let the rice sit in the cooker for about 5-10 minutes after the machine tells you it’s done. If you’re in a hurry you can eat it now, but waiting lets the moisture evaporate a bit, and along with the heat, distribute evenly through the grains.

Then open the lid, use a rice paddle to fluff it up a bit before serving. This is a Mickey rice paddle a friend got for us, but any other type will do too :). To learn how to properly eat rice with chopsticks, you can read my chopstick tutorial.

Adjusting your rice to water ratio for other rice types

Depending on the type of rice you’re using and the volume you want to cook, you may need to adjust your ratios. Longer grain rice will typically need more water, while shorter grain rice will need less.

I like to test any new type of rice I’m cooking with a 1:1 ratio, then adjust more or less water depending on the results. Once you’re within ballpark range, try adjusting the water by ¼ cup measurements and see how this changes your rice texture.

If you find that your rice is too dry and a little hard, you can add more water and leave the rice on warm for 5-10 minutes.

If your rice is too mushy, well that sucks because you’ll need to start over and decrease the amount of water. If you HATE wasting food (hello paternal grandmother with dozens of bite-sized portion leftovers in the fridge), additional options for saving the rice could be turning it into fried rice with Chinese sausages, Spam musubi, or rice pudding for dessert (extra yum!).

To learn how to make brown rice, you can learn how to cook brown rice in a microwave, brown rice in an Instant Pot, or brown rice in a rice cooker.

Rice Cooker Pinterest Image

Top 4 how long can you keep rice in a rice cooker edited by Top Chef

Can A Rice Cooker Keep Rice Warm? – Kitchen Seer

  • Author:
  • Published: 03/05/2022
  • Review: 4.62 (440 vote)
  • Summary: · You can safely keep rice warm in your rice cooker for approximately eleven hours before it starts to spoil. However, the rice will not stay 
  • Matching search: Sometimes rice does not heat the best, but it is possible if you do it right. Rice stays good for up to six days in the refrigerator. Add approximately two tablespoons of water to your rice when reheating it. It is good to cover it and keep the …

How to Use a Rice Cooker

  • Author:
  • Published: 11/27/2021
  • Review: 4.4 (330 vote)
  • Summary: · How Long Does a Rice Cooker Take? … Typically, cooking a large quantity of rice in a rice cooker takes between 25 and 35 minutes. Different 
  • Matching search: Using a rice cooker is quick and convenient, especially when making large quantities of rice, which makes them ideal appliances for food service establishments. Additionally, learning about rinsing your rice and the proper ratio of rice to water can …

How long can you leave the rice cooker on? We forgot to turn it off

  • Author:
  • Published: 11/26/2021
  • Review: 4.36 (246 vote)
  • Summary: The answer is 11 to 12 hours. This is considered the maximum amount of time you can safely leave rice inside a rice cooker to keep warm. Any longer than this, 
  • Matching search: Most rice cookers take about 20 minutes to fully cook rice. This is not nearly enough time to kill the spores, nor is the temperature of cooking rice quite enough to kill all the spores. Some spores are categorized as resistant to extremely high …

How Long Can You Keep Rice in a Rice Cooker Until It Becomes Unsafe?

  • Author:
  • Published: 11/09/2021
  • Review: 4.04 (302 vote)
  • Summary: Storing rice in the rice cooker for several hours is completely safe, but keep it for a maximum of ten to 12 hours . However, leaving rice for that time is safe only if the keep-warm function keeps the rice at a temperature higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Matching search: Brown rice, on the other hand, has a limited lifespan. It can be kept in the kitchen cabinet for a maximum of six months or one year in the fridge. If you purchase brown rice from the best brands, you might expect it to last a maximum of 18 months …

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