Although rice cookers have been around for quite a long time, a large portion of the users doesn’t use this amazing kitchen appliance for cooking rice only. Even though the name suggests that this appliance was invented for cooking rice only, you can cook a surprising number of dishes with the rice cooker.
But can a rice cooker cook pasta? Yes, it certainly can. A Rice cooker is essentially a pot that heats up rapidly over time. Due to the way rice cooker functions, it can cook a wide variety of dishes ranging from rice to noodles.
In fact, when our readers us can rice cooker cook pasta or not, we usually tell them that cooking pasta in a rice cooker is easier than cooking rice in a rice cooker! There are a lot of factors that make the process of cooking pasta in a rice cooker very easy.
Today, we’ll talk about everything there is to know about cooking pasta in rice cookers. We’ll start with the very basics, and we’ll end our article with a buyer’s guide that’ll help you buy the appropriate rice cooker for cooking pasta. Let’s get started, shall we?
What’s a Rice Cooker, and How Does One Function?
Rice cookers are essentially cooking pots that get heated to a boiling temperature rapidly. A lot of people think that they can’t cook anything other than rice in a rice cooker, and they think such only because of their lack of knowledge.
A standard rice cooker comes at a price range of $50. This type of rice cooker comes with only two types of modes. You can select from the ‘Cook’ mode or the ‘Warm’ mode. While the cook mode keeps providing as much heat as it can, the ‘Warm’ mode keeps the cooked meal warm at a specific temperature.
Let’s talk a bit about how the ‘Cook’ mode works in a rice cooker. In a rice cooker, the appliance will keep providing heat as long as the ingredients don’t reach a boiling point. No matter what you’ll cook in a rice cooker, you’ll need to provide an appropriate amount of water.
Once the water is provided to the rice cooker, it will keep heating the water until the water turns into steam completely. Due to the presence of the water, the rice cooker fails to get to the boiling point fast. However, once it does, the cooker stays at that stage for a few minutes so that the steam can cook the provided ingredients thoroughly. Once the rice cooker is done cooking, it will switch to the ‘Warm’ mode automatically. In the ‘Warm’ mode, the rice cooker will remain at a temperature that won’t be too high but high enough to keep the dish warm for a long time.
Can Rice Cooker Cook Pasta Easily?
The very process that a rice cooker uses to cook goes perfectly with the cooking process of noodles or similar dishes. When you cook pasta or noodles, what’s the first thing that you need to do? You need to boil the pasta. As you can see, you can do so easily with a rice cooker!
In fact, cooking pasta with a rice cooker is easier than the other methods, and it’s even easier than cooking rice with a rice cooker. When you cook rice in a rice cooker, you need to determine the ratio of water to rice. On the other hand, you don’t need to do much when you’re cooking pasta.
What’s the Benefit of Cooking Pasta with Rice Cooker?
Cooking pasta with a rice cooker is not only easier, but there are other passive and active benefits to it as well. For starters, if you get a programmable rice cooker, you’ll be able to set the cooking times according to your necessity.
Then again, even a lot of regular rice cookers come with a delay timer. With this timer, you can fix the delayed time at which the rice cooker will start cooking. This will make your life a lot easier! For example, if you want to have a nice bowl of fresh pasta in the morning, you can set the timer accordingly before you sleep. So, you’ll be able to get freshly cooked pasta once you wake up.
Then again, it’s very easy to cook using a rice cooker. You don’t need to hassle the way you needed to with a stove. Plus, a rice cooker is very energy efficient. You won’t have to spend a lot of energy to cook a bowl of pasta for yourself, and it will help you minimize your electricity bills as well.
Another amazing fact about the rice cooker is that it can be cleaned very easily. Most rice cookers are non-sticky. This not only offers a better dish, but it helps when you need to clean them up as well.
Different Pasta Cooking Recipes for a Rice Cooker:
Can rice cooker cook pasta? Yes, in fact, you can cook different types of pasta with a rice cooker. In this section of the article, we’ll talk about different recipes that you can try out with a rice cooker. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Cooking Plain Pasta in a Rice Cooker:
Cooking plain pasta is one of the easiest things you can do with a rice cooker. In fact, you don’t even need an advanced rice cooker to do this. As we’ve said earlier, advanced rice cookers offer multiple buttons for programming. However, you can cook plain pasta with a regular rice cooker that comes with a one-button cook system, and you can get these rice cookers for a price tag of $50.
To create plain pasta, you need to fill up two-third of the entire pot with water. You need to keep some empty space on top of the ingredients, as the excess space will be necessary for housing the foam. Then add the pasta. Once you’ve added the pasta, you can add the appropriate amount of salt, and finally, begin the cooking process. Although we suggest you put half a teaspoon of salt, and the quantity actually depends on your preference.
Now, the question is, for how much time do you have to cook the pasta? It’s to be mentioned that most pasta will come with a packaging that says how much time you need to cook the pasta. Then again, if the time isn’t mentioned, you can try cooking the pasta from four to ten minutes, as it’s considered to be the perfect timing.
Even if the timing is written on top of the packaging, it can’t be said for sure that cooking for that time would give you a perfect result. So, you shouldn’t expect a perfectly cooked pasta for the very first time. Instead, we would advise you to keep at it so that you can find the perfect timings by yourself.
Cooking Pasta with an Advanced Rice Cooker:
The advanced rice cookers usually come at a price range, starting from $200 to $500. What’s the difference between regular and advanced rice cookers? The advanced rice cookers offer tons of extra features that you won’t find in a regular rice cooker.
Unlike the regular one-button rice cookers, you’ll get different modes. For example, you can select from modes such as ‘cook,’ ‘sauté,’ or even ‘slow cook’ from the advanced rice cookers. Although in all of the cases, the primary function will be to bring the rice cooker to a boiling temperature, you can still get different textures using different modes.
If you get an advanced rice cooker, you’ll get a lot of choices when it comes to the machine size. The advanced rice cookers can come at a medium size in which you can cook pasta for two, or you can pick the large ones in which you can cook the pasta for a whole family!
Moreover, with these advanced cookers, you’ll get additional facilities like the ‘Delay,’ which is amazing.
Cooking Pasta in Sauce:
You can cook pasta in sauce with a rice cooker. However, this might get a bit tricky.
If you want to play safe, you can follow recipes that are crafted for cooking pasta in the sauce for rice cookers, especially. In this case, you need to boil the pasta first and then drain the water, and finally, you need to add sauce to the pasta. This is a safer approach to cooking pasta in a rice cooker. However, you will need to add ingredients twice, which means it’s not the most convenient.
On the other hand, there are also ways that you can add all the ingredients directly. In this method, you won’t have to come back twice to add new ingredients to the rice cooker. However, there’s a catch in this method as well. For example, while you will be able to cook the pasta at a single go, the quality of pasta will highly depend on your expertise. If you overcook the pasta, the sauce might get drained completely. On the other hand, if you undercook it, the sauce will be runny.
So, if you do want to cook in this method, you need to acquire some experience before you make a perfect bowl of pasta. Although we won’t discourage this technique, we highly advise you to start with the recipes crafted for rice cookers, as you’ll be able to get a smoother start.
Cooking One-Pot Pasta:
There are a lot of different variations that you can try, but we’ll be talking about our most favorite recipe in this section.
To get your pasta cooked in this way, you need to add some olive oil at first. After adding the oil, you should shut the lid of your rice cooker and turn it on. Once the olive oil gets hot, you should add chopped veggies in it to sauté them. You can add onion, peppers, garlic, and even greens like cauliflower and zucchini if you want.
Then again, if you want to have a meaty blast in your pasta, you can also add chopped meat. Once these are sauteed together, you should push them to one side of the pot.
Once you’re there, you can add a bit more olive oil to the pot, and you can throw in your favorite brand of pasta. If you’re going to cook spaghetti, you should break them so that they may fit. However, if you don’t want them broken, you can boil them on a stove before you put them inside. In this way, the spaghetti will be pliable, and they will fit inside the pot.
After this, you need to add your favorite sauce to the mix. What sauce you’ll use depends largely on your preference. If you want to, you can add some flavorings as well. However, we highly recommend that you add everything before you close the lid of the rice cooker for one last time.
Once the cooker starts cooking, you don’t have to do anything. The cooker will cook the entire pasta perfectly, and once it is done, it will switch to the warm mode automatically. This is very convenient as you won’t have to take any more pain from here onwards.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Pasta?
The best part about cooking pasta with a rice cooker is that it takes the least time amongst all the available options. No matter how you cook your pasta, you need ten minutes at maximum! In fact, a lot of rice cookers will be able to cook your pasta in only four minutes!
If your rice cooker has a ‘Delay’ option, we highly encourage you to use that. With that button, you’ll be able to get a fresh bowl of pasta whenever you want.
How to Choose the Perfect Rice Cooker for Cooking Pasta?
Can rice cooker cook pasta? Of course, it can! However, it also depends on your rice cooker how well it can cook it. You simply can’t expect the same results from two different models of rice cookers, even if they cost the same!
Then again, if the rice cookers cost different, you’ll experience a lot of difference between them! That’s why it’s highly recommended that you choose the rice cooker wisely. Here are some factors that you need to keep an eye out for when you’re going to buy a rice cooker for cooking pasta:
Rice Cooker Size:
The size of the rice cooker can play a massive role. You need to get a rice cooker that’ll be perfect for your daily necessities. If you get a rice cooker that’s too big for your needs, you’ll end up wasting more electricity. Then again, if the pot is too small, you won’t be able to cook the desired amount at a single go, and it’ll become very tiring.
Programmability is an important factor, and we can’t emphasize this enough. The fact that you can get away with a one-click rice cooker can be tempting, but at the same time, you’ll be missing out on a lot of amazing features.
If you get a programmable rice cooker, you’ll be able to use different features like ‘Cook,’ ‘Sauté,’ ‘Slow Cook,’ etc. These special functions will help you cook your pasta to perfection. We love the sauté function, as it allows us to sauté the vegetables and the meat perfectly.
However, you do need to spend some considerable amount of money on the programmable rice cookers. So, if you think that you don’t want to spend the extra cash, you should take a one-click regular rice cooker.
The delay function is one of the best functions that a rice cooker can offer. With the delay function, you’ll be able to postpone the time at which the cooking will start. The best part about this function is that it allows you to pack everything up at a time so that you can rest assured later. With the delay function, you can add all the ingredients and set the delay timer, and watch a movie. Once the pasta is done at the desired time, you can pick it up!
Now, this is a major factor to consider. Although all rice cookers want to reach the boiling point, some may come with less developed heating sensors that’ll make them cook for a longer period of time. Pasta is a very delicate dish, and if it’s undercooked or overcooked, it won’t taste good. So, it’s highly necessary to get a rice cooker that can cook it perfectly.
As you can see, the rice cooker is very much capable of cooking pasta. In fact, you can cook tons of different types of pasta, and that too at a better timing. A Rice cooker can make your cooking adventures efficient and enjoyable. That’s why we highly recommend you try out a rice cooker for cooking pasta today!