Slow cookers can cook rice very nicely for you and your family. Consult a slow cooker recipe for the type of rice you want to cook to get the correct cook time; different types of rice require different times for cooking. For instance, brown rice takes longer than jasmine or sticky rice. Because you can essentially ignore it while it cooks, cooking your rice in a slow cooker can simplify getting dinner on the table.
Each type of rice has a different suggested amount of liquid to cook it in. Read the package on whatever rice you’re cooking to add the correct amount of liquid. This amount of liquid won’t change, whether you’re cooking the rice on your stove top or in a slow or rice cooker. Rice cooks by slowly absorbing the liquid around it until it’s hot and soft and cooked through. To end up with fluffy rice that’s cooked perfectly, measure both the rice and the liquid carefully as you add them to your slow cooker. That’s the single greatest favor you can do for your family’s rice.
Cook Low and Slow
Slow-cooker rice can come in handy if you’re going to be out all afternoon, but want rice on the table at dinnertime. Note that rice cooks more quickly in a rice cooker or on your stove top than a slow cooker. If you opt to use the slow cooker, cook it on a low setting for the recommended amount of time for your type of rice. Find a slow cooker recipe that uses the type of rice you want to cook and use the amount of time it recommends for that type of rice. Don’t be tempted to speed it up by using a high setting, or you’ll end up with rice that’s burned on the bottom and not cooked all the way through.
Timing is Everything
Set a timer for your slow cooker rice, even if it’s going to take a few hours to cook. Unlike a lot of soups, stews and other slow cooker dishes, rice can quickly overcook. You don’t need to dish it right away, but you do need to turn the heat off to keep your rice at its best. If you find that you can’t get to your slow cooker to turn it off as soon as the timer sounds, get there as quickly as you can. Turn the slow cooker off, then prop the lid open so heat and steam can escape. This will help halt any remaining cooking that your rice is doing, and should keep the overcooked part of your rice to a minimum if you do it within 10 minutes of the timer.
Keep It Warm
Some slow cookers have a setting called “Keep Warm” which does just that. If your family won’t be eating the rice right away, or if you think anyone will want seconds, use this feature for your rice. Put the lid back on tightly, then switch the slow cooker to that setting. Don’t forget to switch that setting off and allow the rice to cool to room temperature before you put the leftovers away. Putting hot rice in your refrigerator can heat up the contents of your refrigerator, causing potential food-safety problems.
- "The Professional Chef"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook"; Beth Hensperger, et. al; 2004
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