Can You Use A Rice Cooker For Other Things?

I just bought a rice cooker and it’s great, six cups of rice in 30 minutes with no work. Great.

Now I’m wondering can I use it to cook other things, say like lentils or beans? I Googled around and found a few recipes that say sure, but as usual with the Internet, I found dire warning about using your rice cooker for anything but plain old rice. (Don’t risk ruining it, they say :))

So I figure I’d ask the real cooks on here that know

I use it to make different kinds of rice, if that helps. Like substitute some of the water with canned, cooked black beans and you have ‘congri’. Same method but use kidney beans and you have ‘arroz y habichuelas’. I’ve also used it to cook ‘arroz con pollo’, by first cooking the chicken and the sofrito on the stove top, then adding it to the rice, with enough water to cook.

I’m sorry I can’t be more explicit with the recipes but I mostly cook rice by guessing the right amount of water, so I don’t have precise measurements.

Thanks, I don’t need recipes actually, as there are a lot on the Internet, I just wanted to know if it does damage the rice cooker to put other things in it. I can’t see how it could but you never know.

I haven’t tried lentils or beans, but we make a dang fine steel cut oatmeal in ours. :slight_smile:

Edit: It has a “porridge” (In quotes, because it’s a chinese model and I cannot actually read what the settings are. :P) setting though, so YMMV.

The “auto-stop” mechanism is pretty much designed only for rice. That doesn’t mean, however, that rice is all you can cook in it. We’ve used ours (along with a handy tray insert that came with the cooker) to steam corn on the cob, and it comes out great; you just have to time it yourself and manually turn the unit off.

My understanding is that the mechanism that automatically turns off the rice cooker is basically just a temperature sensor. In short, you add the rice and water at the start, and the water comes to a boil; when the sensor detects that the temperature is rising above the temperature of boiling water, it intuits that the water has all been absorbed or boiled off, and so it turns off the heating unit, at the perfect time. Pretty ingenious, but if you’re cooking something that could theoretically boil all day, the sensor will never trip, and I can imagine the cooker could get damaged by burned food if you have something in there that burns below the boiling point.

Sure. I’ve cooked beans, porridge, chili, and a host of other things in my rice cooker. I have this book and it really shows the versatility of the rice cooker (look at its table of contents).

I’m not sure how cooking any of the things I’ve made in my rice cooker could screw it up, to be honest. As far as the rice cooker is concerned, it’s a dumb piece of machinery that hasn’t a clue what’s in the pot when I turn it on and tell it to heat up.

Lentils cook in pretty much the same way that rice does, BTW.

One caveat though: depending on your rice cooker and how easy it is to clean and its materials, particularly aromatic dishes you cook in the rice cooker could have a lingering effect that could potentially transfer to other dishes (perhaps that’s what people are talking about when they say only cook rice?). My rice cooker only mildly smells like some of its past dishes but I don’t think its negatively impacted any of my other rice-cooker meals (yet).

You can steam vegatables with it. Mine came with a tray designed for that but if yours didn’t maybe you can find a steamer basket that fits in it. It can be handy when you don’t have any more room on the stove top.

My wife has a Japanese cheesecake recipe she uses that is just mixing the ingredients, putting it in the rice cooker and using the rice setting. Not the best cheesecake ever, but very easy.

Thanks that book is at our Public Library so I’ll check it out.

This rice cooker also has a steamer and it comes with a book that tells you how to steam veggies and meat.