Can I use a rice cooker as a slow cooker?
October 28, 2009 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Slow cooker/rice cooker question. I have a standard Cuisinart rice cooker and I've heard it said that you can cook other things in it as well, so my question is, can I use it as a slow cooker, in other words, will any slow cooker recipes turn out just as well in a rice cooker? If so, please share them with me!

Just to add, I also realise that a while back someone posted a link from a celebrity - not sure which one - about cooking with a rice cooker but I was wondering what other people's experiences were with it.
posted by Jubey to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not nearly organized enough to give you a recipe, but I used do other things with a rice cooker. So, I'd put in a serving of rice, and then some frozen vegetables on top. use a little less water than you'd normally use for just rice, and it all cooked out the same. A few times I added salmon or chicken (I'd partially cooked the chicken first).

None of it was very exciting, and I was basically using it as a steamer...
posted by Gorgik at 10:24 PM on October 28, 2009

Believe it or not, Roger Ebert is actually writing a cookbook on this very technique. "The Pot and How to Use It will be published in the spring by Andrews & McMeel. In a pinch, a rice cooker is almost the only cooking implement you need for every meal all day long..." He has previously written extensive blog posts about his love for the rice pot before. (That one includes some recipes.)
posted by web-goddess at 11:21 PM on October 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ahhh, I just realised the Ebert may well have been the celebrity you were talking about in the "more inside."
posted by web-goddess at 11:22 PM on October 28, 2009

I do all kinds of stuff in a rice cooker, basically anything with a rice base I'll work on in a rice cooker. Jambalaya, sometimes chili, sometimes noodle dishes. If I'm putting meat in I usually brown it in a really hot pan first...but rice cookers work for lots of stuff, just takes some fooling around with. Most rice cookers turn off sooner than a slow cooker would, and I wouldn't want to do more than 2 hours in one. That's what proper slow cookers are for.. 8-12 hours? Forget about it.
posted by iamabot at 11:23 PM on October 28, 2009

Best answer: If you get one of the computerized "fuzzy logic" rice cookers (Zojirushi, Sanyo, Panasonic, etc.), many of them have a "slow cook" setting. For example, I have this one. Otherwise, the goal of a rice cooker is to evaporate all of the liquid from your dish in 1-2 hours, so slow cooking isn't going to work.

Your Cuisinart cooker should be able to steam vegetables, poach pears, and cook up a nice multigrain breakfast cereal. I also make a ton of "rice mixed with meat and veggies" dishes, although you generally need to cook the meat separately first.

Check out The Rice Cooker Cookbook for ideas, but most of them will be rice/grains/beans mixed with other ingredients. Unless you have a fancy cooker with a special setting, it's not the right tool for soup or for slow-roasted beef.
posted by mmoncur at 1:21 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

some insight and ideas here...
posted by dawson at 2:00 AM on October 29, 2009

The point of slow cooking is to tenderize cheap cuts of meat, which requires several hours. So a rice cooker will work OK as a self-heating pot but not as a true slow cooker.

Remember also that many rice cookers have untreated aluminum surfaces -- don't worry about the whole Alzheimer's/aluminium connection, it's more that the metal reacts with any acidic food and imparts a bad taste to it.
posted by randomstriker at 2:06 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

some insight and ideas here...

Oh my goodness...the spaghetti recipe dictates that you break the spaghetti in half so that it fits in the rice cooker. Sacrilege!
posted by randomstriker at 2:09 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a book called Rice Cooker cookbook and it is really neat. I picked it up when I got my fancy Philips rice cooker.

It does have soup recipes. It's not so great for slow cooking but can be done.
posted by wingless_angel at 2:33 AM on October 29, 2009

Check out this thread and then this thread.
posted by handabear at 5:55 AM on October 29, 2009

Best answer: Make sure your rice cooker will work for slow cooking. A lot of rice cookers, especially lower-end models with basic controls, will turn off after the cooking cycle is completed (usually about 15-20 minutes).
posted by xedrik at 2:43 PM on October 29, 2009

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