Easy Rice Cooker Recipes

Though I haven’t felt much like cooking this past month – life kind of got in the way of that – I’m slowly getting back into the kitchen. I’ve been going through some older photos I took last year and decided that I should start sharing them here with you.

When lockdown first began in March, I picked up a $20 Black and Decker Rice Cooker. I have to say, this was money well spent. I’ve used this thing more in the last year than any other appliance I have – well, except maybe my toaster.

I had no idea rice cookers were so versatile. And most of the dishes take 20-30 minutes to cook.

So, when I see those “what’s your favorite appliance” threads in the Reddit cooking sub, my first comment is usually to praise this rice cooker.

Today, I thought I would share some ideas for meals you can create in a rice cooker. I loved this thing so much I upgraded to the Instant Pot Zest Cooker.

One thing I will recommend is adding a bit of water to the pot so the food doesn’t burn. Stir often. And be careful opening the lid. It gets really hot.

Steamed Vegetables

A rice cooker is amazing for steaming vegetables. Most even come with a plastic steamer which makes things easier. I love throwing in a mix of vegetables together. In this recipe, I used cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, onions and a about a cup of ham. Add in your choice of spices – and voila.

Pasta Casserole

If you’re feeling lazy, you can cook up a pasta casserole in just twenty minutes. In this recipe, I used my favorite vegetables – grape tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and onions. The vegetables were cooked with one cup of pasta. Since the bowl is so small, I had to use mini pasta shells. I topped off the casserole with some sour cream and bacon bits. It was delicious.

Pasta casserole

Pasta and Greens

I sure love my pasta. In this recipe, I use a cup of penne noodles, zucchini, mushrooms, green onions and plenty of spices – salt, black pepper and basil. If you prewash and cut your vegetables, your meal preparation time will take minutes. Just throw the items into the pot. Add a bit of water. And voila. Most recipes take about 20 minutes to cook. Make sure to stir often so the noodles don’t burn.

At the last minute, I topped this off with some salted kale. It was absolutely scrumptious.

Bow Tie Pasta

Another pasta dish! No wonder I didn’t lose any weight this summer. This recipe includes one cup of shredded onion, grape tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste and my favorite spices. Next time I’m adding some bacon and cheese to this.

Shrimp Fried Rice

I was craving Chinese food when I made this dish. It doesn’t look like much but it lasted for a few days. This recipe includes 2 cups of rice, 1 cup of each of the following vegetables – zucchini, onions, grape tomatoes, mushrooms and a handful of cooked shrimp. Spices used – salt, black pepper, basil and minced garlic. Top off with Soy Sauce and enjoy.

As you can tell, I love my rice cooker. I even use it to cook eggs. It’s a great addition to the kitchen in summer months when it is too hot to turn on the oven.

For a single person, the six cup Black and Decker model will work great for you. But if you’re cooking for a family, or want to batch cook – I highly suggest purchasing the Instant Pot Zest Pot. It’s a rice cooker – but it also works for soups, stews, and most grains. You can also cook oatmeal in this machine. I think I might get it out tonight and make some chicken soup.

Note: this version of the instant pot is just a rice cooker. It is not a pressure cooker like the Duo Pot which I’ll do a post on later.

Hope you enjoyed this post about what you can do with a rice cooker. If you have a small kitchen or have little counter space, then I can’t recommend a rice cooker enough. It’s definitely one of my favorite appliances!

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