How does a Rice Cooker work? (5 Things to Know)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “how does a rice cooker work?”. We will study the mechanism with which a rice cooker works and the suitable way to use it.

How does a Rice Cooker work?

The rice cooker works using electricity which changes to heat energy. The Rice cooker heats the bowl which, then conducts heat into the water and rice. After the water starts to boil, the steam rises and causes the rice grains to absorb the water. The water depletes as all of it is taken up by the rice and, the rice cooker turns itself off with assistance from magnetic relays.

Let us explore the inner workings of a rice cooker:

The helpful appliance that cooks rice without any close supervision works together with help from an electric heating plate and thermal sensing device. 

The inner cooking pan is where you let the rice sit in water. The weight of rice and water sends a signal to the thermal-sensing device that makes the heating plate bring the water to boil.

The temperature sensor; located in the base of the rice cooker works with help of a spring-loaded thermometer. It measures the temperature of the rice and water inside the cooker. 

The heating plate is made of a conductive element such as copper or aluminum.  The metals enable heat to travel from the heating plate; located at the bottom of the cooker; to the rice. 

Let us look at the process that involves the components of the rice cooker to work together to cook rice.

When you turn the rice cooker on, the heating plate heats the water up to 212 Fahrenheit. The water starts to boil at this temperature and stays at the same temperature. 

The rice cooks as it absorbs the water and swells up and, becomes tender. As the water escapes and becomes a part of the rice, the volume declines, and the pan’s temperature rises.

 A temperature rise trips the heating source, which makes the rice cooker either shut off or switch to warming mode. 

Rice cookers use two metallic strips, which expand at a high temperature hence trigger the latch to close. The sound produced, as a result, notify you that the rice has cooked.

How do modern rice cookers work?

Modern rice cookers use a technology called induction heating. In contradiction to conventional rice cookers, which draw the heat source from the hot plate beneath, a modern rice cooker uses more advanced technology.

Induction Heating rice cooker uses energy from the alternating current directly from a power source.

The current moves through a coil which then creates a magnetic field. The magnetic field changes to electrical energy inside the cooker. 

Heat is generated when the magnetic fields come across resistance which creates frictions and consequently heat.

Why do people prefer to use the rice cooker?

When you make rice in a rice cooker, it saves you the trouble of keeping an eye on it.

You do not need to stir it to ensure that the rice cooks evenly nor, do you need to worry about overcooking or burning your rice.

 The correct procedure to make rice in a rice cooker is as below:

  • Before you add the rice, use a cooking spray to lubricate the bottom of the pan.
  • Add sufficient water and desired amount of rice into the pot.
  • Put the lid on and turn on the cooker.
  • After your rice ready and the cooker shuts off, let it sit at “warming mode” for a few minutes.

How does rice cook?

Rice is made of starch which easily absorbs water. The starch in rice swells up as it is heated. The water moves inside the grain, which makes the grain swell up. Starch present in rice gelatinizes which, gives it a sticky texture.

A rice cooker will take anywhere between 25 to 35 minutes to cook rice. 

Some additional tips to get the perfect rice cooked in a rice cooker:

  • Check the inner pan of your cooker for damages. If there is a scratch, consider getting a new pan.
  • After you have rinsed the rice and added it to your cooker, stir it a few times.
  • Stirring will agitate the rice at the bottom and separate them from sticking to each other.
  • Adding a lubricant could also prevent the sticking process. Add oil of your choice, which separates the rice and discourages them from sticking.
  • After your rice is ready, steam it while it is in the cooker. Adjust the rice cooker to a low setting for a few minutes and then remove the lid. Any moisture that was left behind will also evaporate.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “how does a rice cooker work?”. We studied the mechanism with which a rice cooker works and the suitable way to use it.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.