Buying kitchen appliances can be tougher than you may imagine. Even when you’re going to buy simple things like rice cookers, you’ll find yourself confused as there will be a lot of options to select from. For example, when you go to buy a rice cooker, you’ll find slow cookers as well.
Nowadays, we’re getting a lot of queries where people are asking us, “can you use rice cooker as slow cooker?”. That’s why we decided to write this guide where we’ll talk about rice cookers and slow cookers in detail.
What’s a Slow Cooker?
Now, let’s start with the basics. To understand how a rice cooker differs from a slow cooker, we need to learn what a slow cooker is. The slow cooker comes in three parts. The first part of the slow cooker is the outer casing. This part is made of metal, and there are heating coils of low wattage that’ll heat up the casing slowly.
Then there’s the inner pot. This pot is usually made of glazed ceramic. However, in some cases, the user might remove the inner pot. Finally, there’s the lid that seals the rice cooker tightly.
How does the cooker heat the rice? The heating happens with the combination of the wattage and time. As the outer casings are made of metal, they get heated up slowly with the electric coils. Once the outer casing gets heated, the heat slowly dissipates to the interior. As the heating is very slow, every portion of the interior gets heated up to the same temperature.
Once the cooking begins in a slow cooker, a lot of vapor is produced. This vapor gets trapped inside the isolated system; thus, a lot of moisture is added to the food that’s being cooked. This adds a different texture to the food. The sealing system is integral to the slow cooking method. If the vapor finds a way to pass through, the method won’t work.
The Difference Between Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker:
We’ve gone into differences in more detail here, but here is the short summary. While the slow cooker heats everything slowly, the rice cooker does quite the opposite. Unlike the slow induction method, the rice cookers heat up the interior rapidly, and this can finish the cooking much faster than slow cookers.
The main factors that create a difference between a rice cooker and a slow cooker are how much heat is provided and in how much time.
When it comes to a slow cooker, you can choose the amount of heat you want in the system. Usually, there are three systems, namely low, medium, and high. The high heat settings usually crank up to 300-degree Fahrenheit, whilst the low heat setting rests around 200-degree Fahrenheit, and the medium setting sits in between.
Now, a lot of people may question why the low setting starts with 200-degree Fahrenheit. If you go lower than that, the system might become friendly for viruses and bacteria. Usually, it takes more than 140 degrees to destroy the virus and bacteria of a system, but the manufacturers add the extra 60 degrees just to be sure.
On the other hand, the entire process in the case of a rice cooker is completely different. You can’t regulate the amount of heat you want to provide to the cooking system. Rather, you need to select which type of rice you want to cook, that too, with the advanced types of rice cookers.
If you’re talking about the very basic rice cookers, you can only select whether you want to cook your rice or just want to warm it up. So, as you can see, rice cookers can be very restricting in some cases.
How many times it takes for a slow cooker depends on a lot of factors. The time taken for a slow cooker can be between two hours to ten hours. On the other hand, the time taken for a rice cooker is usually between twenty minutes to fifty minutes. In some cases, you’ll need around two hours to cook brown rice with induction heating rice cookers. So, as you can see, the highest time taken for a rice cooker is usually the lowest time taken for a slow cooker.
At first glance, it may seem that you can cook a lot of things in a slow cooker, and only rice with a rice cooker. However, the name is very misleading in this case. You can cook a lot of things with both the rice cooker and slow cooker, and both are pretty versatile when it comes to cooking.
Is Rice Cooker the Same as Slow Cooker?
As you can see, there’s a lot of differences between the two, and no, a rice cooker isn’t the same as a slow cooker. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a slow cooker as a rice cooker. Although neither the process nor the result will be the same, you can accomplish results close to each other.
Can You Use Rice Cooker as Slow Cooker?
You’d be surprised to hear as to how many kitchen appliances of yours can perform multiple tasks, but can you use rice cooker as slow cooker? Yes, you can! However, it must be mentioned that unlike your slow cooker, your rice cooker won’t be able to cook for a long time, and you’ll need to keep issuing a new command until the slow-cooked meal is ready.
Here, it should be mentioned that a perfect slow-cooked meal can take from six to eight hours. However, a slow cooker is designed to cook for long hours such as this, and you don’t have to worry about the cooking once you’ve set everything in place.
On the other hand, the regular rice cookers weren’t designed for slow cooking, so there’s no chance for you to rest assured even after you’ve started the process.
Now, there’s another catch. The regular rice cookers that you see on the market for around $50 won’t be able to slow cook. These rice cookers can only cook or warm the rice. To get this feature, you need to spend the extra cash and get a high-end rice cooker.
Fortunately, some high-end rice cookers come with the slow cook feature nowadays. Then again, you need to spend from $200 to $500 to get these rice cookers. With this money, you can get both a low-end rice cooker and a slow cooker, but we don’t recommend that. This is because, with the hybrid rice cookers, you can save up a lot of space in your kitchen, and it’ll be a practical purchase as well.
As we’ve discussed earlier, one of the main differences between a slow cooker and a rice cooker is that the slow cooker cooks for a long time. On the other hand, the rice cooker takes only half an hour on average. This is the root problem.
When you push the cook button on a regular rice cooker, the rice cooker cooks for an average time of 20 to 40 minutes, but once the water is completely drained, the rice cooker shifts to a warm feature. While this feature is on, the rice cooker won’t cook the meal, but it will only keep it warm. This is where the problem lies.
How to Slow Cook on A Rice Cooker?
As we’ve said, the rice cooker will stop as soon as the water is completely drained from it, and this is where you come in. Every time the water is drained out of the rice cooker, you need to add more water to it. In this way, the rice cooker won’t stop; rather, it’ll keep on going unless the water is drained completely.
This essentially means that you can keep the rice cooker going as long as you want it to, but you need to add water every time it switches to warm mode.
However, this process comes with its own problems too. Unlike the slow cooker, the rice cooker always keeps the water at the boiling point. This is why you won’t get the result of a slow cooker. However, we found a way to bypass this too!
Every time the rice cooker switches to warm mode, we recommend you wait for a bit. If you wait for 10 minutes, at least, the temperature in the rice cooker will drop by a significant level. Once this happens, you need to add water, broth, and you can even add some sauce relevant to the recipe.
Doing so will reduce the temperature down from the boiling point, and you can get a result closer to a slow cooker. However, it’s true that if you follow this process, the temperature will face constant rise and fall. Then again, this is the only way to slow cook with a rice cooker, unless you have a high-end one with a slow cook feature.
Amazing Things You Can Cook on a Rice Cooker:
Although the name of this kitchen appliance leads most people to believe that they’re for cooking rice only, a rice cooker can cook lots of other recipes that people usually don’t try. Today, we’ll look at some amazing recipes that you can cook with a rice cooker, and it also has the potential of replacing your slow cooker. So, let’s take a look at them!
You can cook oatmeal easily with a crockpot or a slow cooker, but you can use a rice cooker to do it as well! In fact, cooking oatmeal in a rice cooker is a very easy task. You need to soak the oatmeal in the rice cooker throughout the night, and the next morning you just have to turn it on before you are taking it.
Usually, it takes about thirty minutes to cook the oatmeal. If you have an advanced rice cooker that comes with a delay cooking timer, you can set it to work automatically half an hour before you get up. In that way, the entire process will become much easier.
Although a crockpot is being used for cooking oatmeal traditionally, using a rice cooker can eliminate a few problems. For example, the oatmeal usually gets stuck at the bottom of the crockpot. However, if you use a rice cooker, you’ll be safe from this. Then again, you can’t cook a small amount of oatmeal with a crockpot as the bottom layer gets crusty. You can do this with a rice cooker!
The boiled egg is one of the most fundamental dishes in the world, and it can be cooked in thousands of different ways. If you hate using regular ways and need something easier, you can use a rice cooker.
In fact, using a rice cooker makes cooking boiled egg much easier. First off, you don’t need to take the extra steps of preparing a pot in which you’ll be boiling the eggs. Then again, the boiled eggs will be easy to peel, and you can get them in all sorts of variations like soft, medium, or hard.
This is why a lot of people prefer boiling eggs with a rice cooker, and you can try it out too!
Steamed Meat and Vegetables:
If you can steam rice with a rice cooker, why can’t you steam meat and vegetables? In fact, there are a lot of families that use rice cookers for steaming vegetables only!
Then again, if you add the vegetables along with the rice, you’ll get a special flavor in the rice, which will enhance the meal further. The practice of putting potatoes along with rice is common in many countries. Once the cooking is done, you can take out the potato and get it mashed.
Although a lot of people put the vegetable on the rice, we highly recommend you put it on the steaming tray. Most regular rice cookers will come with a steaming tray. However, if your one doesn’t, you can always get a steaming tray from Amazon at a very affordable price.
Then again, you can cook meat with a rice cooker as well! In this case, you can make your rice cooker perform like a slow cooker. At first, you need to select the standard rice cooking cycle to get the meat cooked, and then you need to keep the meat on warming mode for an hour.
After this time, the meat will be cooked, and the result will be similar to that of a slow cooker. You can cook all sorts of meat like port, chicken, and beef through this method.
Cooking beans with a rice cooker is a bit challenging, but it’s not impossible. Usually, different beans take different time to be cooked, and you need to know that first. In general, beans can take from half an hour up to four hours to be cooked.
It would be best if you also remembered that you need to soak your beans before you cook them. Then again, the soaking time is also dependent on the type of bean you’re looking forward to cooking. So, our advice would be to soak the beans at first, and then you set an appropriate delay timer.
For example, if the bean takes five hours to soak, you can set the delay timer to five hours. If this is done, the rice cooker will start cooking as soon as the bean is soaked appropriately. This will save a lot of your time.
Making a Tapioca pudding is easier on a rice cooker than a stove. However, you need to have the pudding settings on your rice cooker to do this. You can add fruits and milk to the Tapioca pearls, and the cooking will take a lot less time than you would have needed on a stove. This makes Tapioca pearls one of the easiest things to make on a rice cooker with the proper features.
Did you know that your rice cooker will perform like an oven if the right ingredients are provided? If you add the right ingredients for cheesecake, the rice cooker will prepare amazing cheesecake! It must be noted that you need to keep your rice cooker on the standard rice cooking cycle to get this result.
Mac and Cheese?
When you come to Mac and Cheese, can you use rice cooker as slow cooker? Yes, you can! In fact, a rice cooker is one of the best mediums for preparing Mac and Cheese and other kinds of pasta. Rice cooker offers better features than stove even, as it’s easier to handle and clean!
So, can you use rice cooker as slow cooker? Yes, you can! However, the results may vary a bit, as the rice cooker won’t function exactly like a slow cooker even when you manipulate it. Then again, if you have a rice cooker that comes with the “Slow Cook” function, you’ll get the same result as a slow cooker. Bear in mind that such rice cookers come at a hefty price tag.
If you have a standard rice cooker that costs around $50, you can make it work as a slow cooker, but you need to stick around to keep the cycle going on.