rice cooker chaos
September 26, 2015 2:25 PM   Subscribe

My stupid ridiculous rice cooker keeps boiling over, and I've only had it four days! What do I do?

So, I bought the Aroma 8-cup rice cooker and the first day I had it, I made 1/2 cup of rice with 3 cups chicken broth and it went great. It cooked perfectly and I didn't even have to check it.

BUT THE NEXT DAY, I cooked 1/2 cup rice with 5 cups chicken broth. I left it for 15mins and when I came back it had boiled over completely, covering the lid in a soupy mess, and it got everywhere. I cleaned it up for like ten minutes and figured it was just because I put too much liquid in (?)

SO THE NEXT DAY, I cooked 1/2 cup rice with 2 cups water, and a vegetable boullion cube. It immediately started boiling over again after about 15-20 mins. I'm glad I checked it this time, because it was just starting to spill out of the steam vent and pool on the top of the lid. I opened the lid slightly (it has a locking latch thing on the lid), and locked it again. It was fine for the rest of the time.

SO TODAY, I'm making 3/4 cup rice with 3 cups water and a boullion cube. I washed the rice thoroughly, four times, lots of agitation, because I heard that can cause the boiling over. But nooooope, it just started boiling over and I had to open the lid again after about ten minutes.

THIS IS VERY ANNOYING because the whole point of a rice cooker is to press a button and have it, you know, cook the rice itself. I don't like having to get up all the time to make sure it didn't explode.

I have no idea what's wrong with it. It has 4/5 stars on Amazon but apparently it's already broken. Or something. Help, anyone? I really want to like it. And I'm so confused because the first day I had it, it cooked fine.
posted by lhude sing cuccu to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's the starch! You aren't rinsing your rice before you cook it, and the starchy bubbles can build bubble bridges to the top of the pot for it to boil over.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:41 PM on September 26, 2015

Ack, I missed the line where you said you did rinse it today, and had the same result. Sorry for the not so useful answer.

However, if you've only been using brown rice, try white—it's less boil-over prone.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:42 PM on September 26, 2015

Are you measuring these quantities with an American measuring cup? Don't.

Use the plastic scoop that came with the machine to measure uncooked rice (the manual probably says "cups" but it really means scoops, which are smaller than an American cup). Use the lines in the bowl to measure the water after adding the raw rice.
posted by ryanrs at 2:43 PM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: I'm using scoops, white rice, and washing the rice :( Pretty sure it's US voltage too.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 2:54 PM on September 26, 2015

Best answer: I notice you're using widely varying ratios of rice and water, and much, much more water than recommended in the manual. Try using the recommended amount of water. Also, you may find the machine doesn't cook well with less than 1 scoop of rice.
posted by ryanrs at 3:00 PM on September 26, 2015 [14 favorites]

A lot of the one star reviews of that model mention it boils over - so I wonder if you got a defective one. I would try calling the company for an exchange on Monday.
posted by umwhat at 3:03 PM on September 26, 2015

I don't understand-- if it worked perfectly the first time with a certain ratio, why do you keep futzing with the ratio? Using the same ratio as the first time would tell you if it has somehow broken since the first time you used it.

And I'm confused by your second attempt. A 1:10 ratio??? That's basically a congee recipe.
posted by acidic at 3:06 PM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]

I use 2:1 water:rice combination, but remember if you're rinsing the rice first you must reduce the water by some amount since you can never fully drain the washed rice. I reduce by about 1/4C. Drain the rice really really well.

Therefore for eg
1C rice gets 1&3/4C water
2C rice gets 3&3/4C water

And so on

Try that and see how it goes.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:29 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: > That's basically a congee recipe.

That's what I was trying haha. Using more rice could be a good idea.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 3:32 PM on September 26, 2015

Best answer: We have another model from Aroma and have never had a problem, but your ratio seems way off. We generally cook at 2:1 or 1.5:1, like St. Peepsburg. Scoop vs. cup doesn't matter much as long as you're doing it by ratio (just make sure you aren't doing more than recommended).
posted by jimw at 3:35 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you want to make congee you probably need a different rice cooker or one with a higher capacity.
posted by barnone at 3:38 PM on September 26, 2015

Best answer: I have no personal experience with it, but recipes online for congee in a rice cooker suggest that you still need to stir it and want to cook it with the lid open. Fancier rice cookers may have a congee setting.
posted by jimw at 3:41 PM on September 26, 2015

Best answer: Do still rinse well, and also add a tablespoon or so of oil before cooking. The oil changes the surface tension of the liquid so that the bubbles don't form as big or as much. (It's a pressure cooker trick for cooking beans so that the scummy foam doesn't block up the vent and make the pressure cooker go boom.)

Also, I find that if I use more than 1.5 parts liquid to 1 part rice, the rice comes out gummy.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:52 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Normal ratio for white rice is 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. For brown rice you need a little extra water, maybe 25% more. You are using far too much liquid.
posted by w0mbat at 4:07 PM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is it possible the first boil-over caused the vents to get gummed up so that each subsequent use isn't releasing enough steam and causing more water to end up inside? You cleaned up the mess but did you scrub out the vents on the lid?
posted by marylynn at 4:41 PM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

Just to add to the confusion, using my rice cooker for (rinsed) white rice, I use a 1:1 ratio; brown rice is 2:1.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:53 PM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're using so much water! (Slash other liquids) You need to use the scoops and then fill up the rice cooker with liquid up to the appropriate line, AFTER putting in the rice. So two little plastic scoops of rice into the rice cooker, then fill it up to the 2 line inside. I have an almost identical model of Aroma rice cooker and it seems like you use almost no water, but my rice turns out great every time.
posted by MadamM at 8:55 PM on September 26, 2015

Yeah, those are crazy high amounts of liquid. Mine uses 1:1 water/white rice and 1:2 water/brown rice. If i used those amounts i would fully expect mine to boil over.
posted by kitten magic at 11:00 PM on September 26, 2015

What does the manual say to do?

Often these cookers have marks inside the cooking pot for water. For instance, for 2 cups, add 2 cups of rinsed rice in the supplied cup, and then fill with water to the 2-cup line inside the pot.

Then press the white or brown rice button, as appropriate.

Also, what are you trying to cook? - why do you have these different ratios? If you want rice in chicken broth as a soupy thing to eat, you need to cook the plain rice first, and boil some broth, and add the rice to the broth.

What you should not be doing is changing the ratios.
posted by carter at 12:51 AM on September 27, 2015

Re-reading - you should add two cups of rice using the supplied cup to the pot, rinse in the pot, and then fill with additional water to the 2-cup mark on the side.

I think I found the manual here, it says pretty much this: http://www.aroma-housewares.com/manuals/ARC-914SBDC_InstructionManual.pdf
posted by carter at 9:53 AM on September 27, 2015

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