When it’s part of your Mexican or Chinese takeout meal, the rice can taste amazing. But when you try making a batch at home in the rice cooker, the flavor can be lack-lasting if you don’t know what you’re doing. Making instant rice in a rice cooker is one of the easiest ways to prepare a meal. The steps are simple and it doesn’t take that long for the rice to get cooked. You don’t even have to worry about burning down the house since the rice cooker automatically switches to ‘warm’ mode as soon as the rice is done cooking.

When it comes to taste, plain rice isn’t the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind. If you have some curry or meat or veggies on the side, even plain rice can taste heavenly. But that doesn’t mean you should back away from experimenting. Now if you’re wondering how to make rice taste better in a rice cooker, we have some tips you can follow.

1. Herbs and Spices

Pick out the herbs and spices you love and make them a part of your recipe. Keep some salt and oil close by so the rice is seasoned well. Oregano, basil, or any dried herbs can be added when the rice is almost done. You can also use some olive oil and fresh herbs to make the rice flavorful. It’s a simple method to make your rice taste better but it works. You won’t have to make a big fuss and prepare a separate dish. Just grab some of the spices you have in your kitchen and use them to add some much-needed flavor to your rice.

2. Broth

Another answer to how to make your rice taste better in a rice cooker is to use some broth. In the rice cooker, you need to boil the rice in water. Instead of water, you can use broth to cook the rice which would add both color and numerous flavors to your rice. If you have a pre-made broth at home, your job is even easier. But if you don’t, a broth is easy to make and takes very little time. You can make a vegetable broth or a chicken one, whichever you prefer, and pour it into the rice cooker so the rice can nicely absorb all the flavors. This way you 

3. Coconut

If you’re in the mood for something sweet instead of spicy, you can try this delicious recipe with your rice. Take a can of coconut milk and one spoon of brown sugar (or coconut sugar) to add to the rice. This sweet flavored rice can remind you of Asian or tropical cuisine. If possible, try to use basmati rice instead of normal ones. The extra-long rice grains not just look stunning after being soaked into the coconut milk, but they also give off a distinct taste. That is a slightly different method of making your rice taste better in a rice cooker.

4. Lime and Cilantro

To enjoy some tangy-flavored rice, this is one of the easiest but also very delicious methods you can try. Chop up some cilantro (maybe half a cup) and take a lime. You can add some lemon zest from that lime while you squeeze out the juice. Sprinkle all of that to your rice and give it a good stir. Use a little coconut oil for seasoning if you have some nearby. This lime rice is amazing to be served with any veggies and curry or you can eat it plain. The distinct tangy taste makes this simple recipe one of a kind and is a great method to follow if you’re wondering how to make your rice taste better in a rice cooker.

5. Eggs

Eggs can be paired with anything and rice with eggs is one of the best things you would ever taste. You can add eggs in any you like. You can use scrambled eggs and them to the rice when it’s almost done to enjoy a nice plate of egg-fried rice. You can also use runny eggs to pour into the rice so the white grains are soaked into that juicy yellow liquid. If you cannot be bothered with any of that, just have a poached egg placed on the side of your rice and take a bite with every spoonful. Try any method you want, eggs are delicious with rice in every shape or form.

6. Sauce

Rice can be soaked in everything you can imagine. Adding some sauce into those pearly white grains would make them flourish even more. You can pick any kind of sauce. Whether it’s soy sauce or some thick gravy that can bring a delicious creamy texture to your mouth, the rice can soak up anything. If you can whip up some sautéed veggies to go with that, consider it a royal meal.

7. Yellow Rice

Do you think only the takeout places know how to bring color to your rice? We do too! In this simple and easy recipe, your rice would gain a sunny yellow tint with tons of flavor that can bring a festive vibe to the meal. Use half-teaspoon of turmeric powder in a pot of rice. When the rice is halfway done, you can add the turmeric powder and give it a good stir. The turmeric would bring a nice color to the pearly whites. For more flavor, you can use some garlic powder and onion powder as well. These kinds of spices work very well together. Add some salt to the mix and your rice is done. A blend of those spices can really bring out an Asian taste in your rice. If you have a can of vegetable or chicken stock to throw in there, the yellow rice would be nothing less than a perfect package meal.

8. Leftover

If you have any curry or gravy leftover, use that to make your rice more delicious. Whether you had Chinese, Mexican, or Indian the previous day, any curry or gravy comes filled with spices and flavors. Rice can go with any cuisine so pour the gravy over the white grains and stir them properly before enjoying a spoonful of deliciousness. Lentil and rice is also a good combination. So check your fridge for the leftovers before you wonder how to  make rice taste better in a rice cooker.

9. Tomatoes

A very common ingredient but a delicious one that goes with just about anything. Tomato would bring the tangy and sweet flavor to your rice that can make your taste buds leap with happiness. Round up 2 or 3 tomatoes and add them to the rice cooker pot after you put in the rice and water. The tomatoes would blend with the rice and leave behind a red tint. You can also add some herbs and chopped garlic with the tomato for more flavor. And don’t forget the pinch of salt! After the rice is cooked properly, take a spoon or spatula to break into the tomatoes and mix them with the rice before taking that savoring spoonful to your mouth.

10. Dry Fruits

Rice and dry fruits may look like an odd combination but trust us, they do work. Take some roasted nuts and almonds to mix with a cooked pot of rice. You can also sprinkle some sesame seeds over it. Take your favorite combination of dry fruits to add to the mix. Some berries and apricots would not just make the dish more colorful, but bring some distinct flavor as well.

Aside from using any of these 10 ways to make your rice taste better in a rice cooker, you can just think on your feet. If you’re preparing just rice, then any one of these recipes would make your meal interesting. But if you’re cooking anything else on the side (meat, vegetables, or gravy), you can just take whatever spices you’re using on those dishes and add some of those in your rice for seasoning.

Can I put seasoning in my rice cooker?

No matter what sort of spices or herbs you use to bring in your rice, always try to include salt and little oil to make the seasoning perfect. If you’re wondering whether it’s safe or not to put seasoning ingredients in your rice cooker, then you have nothing to worry about. Your rice cooker is not as flimsy as you think.

You can try cooking other dishes in your rice cooker if you want, what harm would a little seasoning do? You can add your herbs and spices to the cooking pot before cooking the rice. They would blend properly with each grain as they boil and mix with water. You can also keep some seasoning herbs aside to add after the rice is cooked to bring out the flavors even more. Seasoning is an easy and simple way if you’re wondering how to make rice taste better in a rice cooker.

Final Thoughts

 A rice cooker is one of the safest appliances you can find in the kitchen. If you want to experiment with flavors, don’t hesitate and use anything you can find to make your meals interesting. Take any of the 10 tips above and turn your bland, plain rice into a savory one.