Why Does Rice Stick In The Rice Cooker And How To Stop This?

By | December 30, 2021

Rice sticking in the inner pot of the rice cooker is a common problem faced by rice cooker users.

If you are using a rice cooker everyday for meal preparation, the rice sticking problem will waste your time, money, and effort.

Everyday you have to spend more time and effort to clean the stubborn layer of rice sticking in the pot.

The rice sticking layer will be wasted as you are not able to eat the sticking burnt rice, roughly 20% of the rice will form that sticking layer.

Here I am going to discuss why rice sticks in the rice cooker and how to prevent it.


Why Does Rice Sticks In Rice Cooker?

The main reason for rice sticks in a rice cooker is the non-stick coating of the inner pot has been damaged or you don’t use a rice cooker with non-stick coating inner pot feature.


The condition of the inner pot does matter

In my opinion, this is most probably the reason that the rice sticks in the rice cooker.

If you are using a rice cooker with a non-stick coating inner pot, the rice will less likely stick at the bottom of the inner pot.

If you are experiencing rice sticking on the bottom of the rice cooker, most probably there are scratches on the surface of the inner pot.

Today, most rice cookers sold on the market place are non-stick inner pot types.

After a certain period of using the rice cooker, when you are rubbing the inner pot, the non-stick coating layer will peel off. The higher the number of times you rub the inner pot, the higher chance the pot gets damaged.

Another possibility is you are using a rice cooker without a non-stick coating inner pot, you will find there is one layer of rice sticking on the bottom of the inner pot, which is very difficult to clean off.


The water amount you put in for cooking

Probably you are putting too little water into the rice cooker while cooking rice.

Normally the ratio of rice and water is 1 : 1.

If you are putting less water into the rice cooker when cooking, the rice will stick to the inner pot and get burnt.

When the water in the rice cooker evaporates too quickly, the rice will clump together, not enough moisture to plump up the rice grains, the rice will harder and more likely stick at the bottom of the rice cooker.

Enough of water can ensure the rice is fluffy and soft.

But be careful, too much water will cause the rice to be mushy.


The rice in warming mode for too long

After the rice is cooked and left in the warming mode for too long, the rice will go dry and burnt, then stick to the bottom of the rice cooker.

The rice cooker’s warming mode temperature may be too high or it is faulty.

The rice cooker is designed to keep the rice warm only for 4 to 5 hours.


The rice serving size is too small for the rice cooker

If you buy a rice cooker which is too big, it would be difficult to cook a small amount of rice.

When you use a large amount of rice to cook a small amount of rice, the heat will not evenly distribute and the rice will get burnt and stick to the bottom of the pot.

Using a bigger rice cooker with a small amount of rice will also consume more energy.

Buying a large rice cooker but using it to cook small amounts of rice daily could damage the inner pot and reduce the rice cooker lifespan.


The types of rice grain.

Different rice grains have different levels of stickiness.

Short grained rice (sweet/glutinous) will be more sticky as it has more starch, for example like Japanese sticky rice.

Long grained rice is less sticky and has a fluffy texture, for example like Thai jasmine and basmati.

If you want less problems with rice stick to the rice cooker, cook long grained rice.

However, different types of rice will have different flavor and texture.


How to stop rice sticking to rice cooker

Get a new rice cooker

The most effective way to avoid rice sticking in the rice cooker is to get a new rice cooker with a non-stick inner pot.

If the non-stick inner pot surface has already been damaged with scratches, it is time to change to a new one to solve the rice sticking problem. A damaged inner pot is impossible for repair.

A new non-stick rice cooker is not expensive, you can get a rice cooker with basic function with just USD 20 to 30. The price of a rice cooker with multi functions can go up to USD 100.

Continuing to use a rice cooker with rice sticking problems is not a good idea as it is a waste of time to spend a lot of effort to clean up the burnt rice sticking layer. A layer of rice sticking at the inner pot bottom also means some rice is wasted as you can’t eat those burnt sticking rice.

It would be harmful to use a scratched rice cooker as the non-stick coating can flake into the rice and cause toxicity to humans.

It is recommended to use a wooden or plastic utensil which is not sharp for rice scooping, and use a soft sponge to clean the inner pot. These could help to prolong the lifespan of the rice cooker.


Add some oil into the rice

If you already have a non-stick inner pot rice cooker without any scratches, then this idea is not necessary for you. As I said before, getting a new non-stick rice cooker is the best way to prevent rice sticking.

Anyway, adding a teaspoon of oil (coconut oil, olive oil, or any cooking oil) can help to avoid the rice grain sticking together or to the bottom surface of the inner pot.

You could use butter or oil to coat the bottom and side of the inner pot, this can help to avoid rice sticking to the bottom of the rice cooker as well.


Rinse the rice to remove starch.

Before cooking the rice, rinse the rice grains with water to remove the starch layer.

Rice has a layer of starch which can make the rice sticky when getting wet and will stick to the inner pot bottom if you don’t rinse the rice.

Well rinsed rice after cooking will be fluffier and in good shape, and also less likely to leave a sticky mess on the rice cooker lid.

How to rinse rice? Simple.

Pour the rice grains into the pot, then fill in with water until 2 to 3 times higher than the rice layer, after that drain the water, and repeat the steps 3 to 4 times, you will find the water getting clearer. If you think a mesh strainer is easier for you, go ahead.


Use correct amount of water for rice cooking

Make sure the amount of water used for rice cooking is 1 : 1 water to rice.

Less water in rice cooking will contribute to rice burning and sticking in the rice cooker.

Excessive water will make the rice mushy and provide a bad experience when eating the rice.

Different types of rice grain may require different amounts of water. For example white rice uses less water compared to brown rice.

Check the rice cooker manual for more guidance on water amount usage for different kinds of foods.

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