When your rice is done cooking, you might not have everything else together quite yet. If you need to keep rice warm, you probably wonder if a rice cooker can keep it warm for you. Don't worry. We have researched all about rice cookers for you and the keep warm function on different types.
A rice cooker can and will keep rice warm even for an extended period of time if need be. Some rice cookers automatically switch to a "keep warm" function, while others are changed manually.
Keep reading to learn more about exactly what the warm temperature of a rice cooker is, how long that setting keeps the rice warm, whether or not they automatically shut off, and more.
Why do you need to keep rice warm?
Cold rice with warm food just is not the same experience. For your food to taste best and mesh well, you should have all of the food at a similar temperature when eating it. Rice that has gotten cold does not taste very good inside a warm taco or burrito.
The heating element keeps the inside of the pot hot to keep the rice warm. If your rice cooks for too long, it will end up dry, which means it will be hard. It can also yellow. Regardless of if the rice is visibly unsafe to eat, you should be mindful of how long it has been sitting out or on the "keep warm" function.
When using the "keep warm" setting, you need to keep the lid either sealed or on top of the cooked rice to keep the steam inside. An Instant pot lid seals, but a typical rice cooker just has a round glass lid that fits on top of it.
What is the keep warm temperature of a rice cooker?
The keep warm setting on a rice cooker stays at about 150°F. This helps prevent the rice from overcooking, but it still needs to be watched closely. Be careful how long you leave rice on the keep warm setting because it can dry out or spoil.
Room temperature is not warm enough to safely keep rice out for an extended period of time. Two hours is the maximum amount of time that you can leave rice at room temperature. After this point, bacteria multiply and spoil the rice causing it to become unsafe to consume.
How long can you keep rice warm in a rice cooker?
You can safely keep rice warm in your rice cooker for approximately eleven hours before it starts to spoil. However, the rice will not stay cooked the way you want it to or the desired texture if you leave your rice on the keep warm setting for this length of time. One important safety measure to consider is that you can not safely keep rice warm if the rice cooker is not kept in the "keep warm" setting.
Even though it is technically okay to keep rice on the "keep warm" setting for several hours, the best way to store it if you want to eat it later is to cool it off when it is finished cooking. The faster you cool and store it properly, the less of a chance you have to get sick from eating it if you reheat it later. Make sure it is cooked thoroughly before you cool and store it, though.
Do rice cookers automatically switch to warm after cooking?
The answer to this question depends on the type of rice cooker you have. Some automatically switch to warm after cooking, others turn off, and certain types have a manual switch that you click to change the function from steaming the rice to the "keep warm" setting.
Below is an example of a rice cooker with a manual switch to change it to the "keep warm" function. For this type, all you have to do is move the switch up to turn on and down to keep warm. Having the switch level in the middle between the two settings will keep the rice cooker off until you are ready to switch it on.
As for cooking rice in an Instant Pot, it will automatically switch to the "keep warm" setting. A timer also begins when the rice is done cooking based on the time you set, and a new timer begins to count forward instead of backward.
This feature makes it so you can easily keep track of how long the food in your Instant Pot has been finished cooking. This feature is the best way to track how much time has passed since the timer has gone off when using a natural release.
Can you cook rice ahead of time then reheat it?
Yes, you can cook rice ahead of time then reheat it later. Cooking it to the required temperature is important. The internal temperature has to reach 165°F for the rice to be safe to consume. You can use a thermometer like the one below to test the internal temperature.
It is imperative that you add liquid such as water, broth, oil, or butter to warm it up. You can reheat rice using a skillet, an oven-safe dish in the oven, or a microwave-safe dish in the microwave.
Rice can be frozen then reheated as well. We recommend storing rice in your freezer for approximately six months. Any longer than six months, and it may become frostbitten.
Sometimes rice does not heat the best, but it is possible if you do it right. Rice stays good for up to six days in the refrigerator. Add approximately two tablespoons of water to your rice when reheating it. It is good to cover it and keep the steam contained, which keeps the rice moist.
Ideally, you should only reheat rice once. This is because it dries out easily. It is important that you cool down the rice then put it into an air-tight container within two hours of cooking.
Be careful when reheating rice because you need to reduce the chance of bacteria growing. Cooling it quickly and storing it properly are two ways to ensure you will not have to worry about this bacteria [Bacillus cereus]).
To cool rice more quickly before storing it to reheat later, you first lay down parchment paper on a baking pan or cookie sheet. Next, you use a spatula and can spread the rice out to cool it faster. When ready to reheat it, you can wait until everything else is almost ready because it doesn't take long.
Reheat Rice by way of a Microwave
Using a microwave, you can reheat rice a couple of ways. You can either microwave it on a lower power setting such as 20% power or in intervals of about fifteen seconds. Stir in between. Another option is to add rice to a mug or microwave-safe juice glass with about two tablespoons of water in it to help keep your rice stay moist as it heats back up.
The main thing to remember is not to overheat the rice when reheating it because it will burn. Burnt rice is tough to get off of pans. A microwave is a more reliable way to reheat rice. Do so in short increments of time, such as fifteen to twenty seconds, and stir in between cycles.
Since rice does not take very long to cook, most people prefer to make rice fresh with meals. It does not hurt you to make it ahead of time. It just has the potential to dry out or sour before you eat it.
Reheat Rice in a Skillet
To reheat rice using a skillet, it is necessary that you add enough liquid to ensure your rice does not burn or dry out. Stir it often and reheat on a low heat setting.
Reheat rice in the oven
You can use an oven-safe dish such as a casserole dish to bake rice. It is essential that you cover the dish with aluminum foil to keep the moisture inside. This takes approximately twenty minutes if it is baked at 300°F.
Rice cookers keep rice warm as long as you are using one that automatically switches setting when it is done cooking or the type you have to change the function manually. Rice cookers will safely keep rice warm on the "keep warm" setting for up to eleven hours before risking it spoiling and becoming unsafe to eat.
Before you go, check out the following links related to answering questions about rice cookers and about cooking chicken to have with your rice: