Why Does My Rice Cooker Burn Rice?

Are you dealing with burnt rice in your rice cooker? Nobody in the kitchen enjoys this, and we are here to tell you how to fix it. In this article, we will answer why your rice cooker burns rice and more.

A common reason that rice burns inside of a rice cooker is due to a lack of water. Instead of turning off when the water has boiled away, your rice cooker continues to cook, and you end up with a burnt bottom layer of rice. Luckily, you can usually fix this if you catch the mistake quickly by adding some extra water to your rice, so that's something to keep in mind.

Now that you know why your rice is burning, how do you stop it from happening? Keep reading as we discuss the answer, as well as the correct ratio of water to rice you'll need to have in your rice cooker.

Fresh cooked basmati rice in rice cooker, Why Does My Rice Cooker Burn Rice?

How Do You Stop Rice From Burning At The Bottom Of A Rice Cooker?

Occasionally, you follow all the directions on your rice package and still end up with burnt rice. How annoying! Not only are you missing out on the rice, but the burnt bottom can make it harder to clean your rice cooker.

However, there are some tips and tricks to prevent your rice from burning. Let's take a closer look at a few.

Rinse Rice Before Cooking

With some types of rice, rinsing before you place it in the rice cooker can decrease burning. Rinsing will also wash away excess starch that can add to a crusty or burnt bottom, so this can make a huge difference.

To do this, place your rice in a deep bowl or strainer and run water over it. Drain all water before placing your rice in the rice cooker.

Washing rice in kitchen sink

Rinsing is ideal for medium-grain, long-grain, and brown rice. However, you should not rinse short-grain rice, as this may wash away its nutrients.

Turn Off The 'Keep Warm' Setting

Most rice cookers will switch into a 'keep warm' mode when they've finished cooking your food. This setting should not be used for very long, as leaving your rice in the cooker can result in it being burned.

To stop your rice from burning, turn off the cooker completely when the cooking cycle is over. If you need to keep the rice warm, pour a small amount of water inside and stir often.

Avoid Lifting The Lid

Although you might be tempted to check on your rice as it's cooking, try to avoid lifting your device's lid. This allows water and heat to escape quickly, meaning your rice will need more time to cook and won't have enough moisture.

If you want to check on your rice frequently, search for a rice cooker with a glass lid. This allows you to look in without releasing the heat and water needed to cook your rice appropriately.

Check out this rice cooker on Amazon.

Add More Rice

Not having enough rice in your cooker can also lead to a burnt bottom. This is because, with too little rice, your rice cooker is capable of overheating. To avoid burning, make sure to cook using more rice.

That said, if you require less rice than what your rice cooker calls for, consider downsizing to a smaller unit.

Upgrade Your Rice Cooker

Do you have an older or cheap rice cooker? Affordable units have a higher chance of malfunctioning or not working as they should. Defective cookers can also reach higher temperatures than normal, ultimately burning your rice.

So if you find you are doing everything right and your rice is still burning, it might be time to upgrade.

Electronic Rice cooker

Additionally, finding a high-end unit with a non-stick pot can reduce the occurrence of rice sticking and burning on the bottom of your food, so it may be worth it to splurge.

What Is The Correct Ratio Of Water To Rice In A Rice Cooker?

You can typically find the rice to water ratio you need by looking at your rice's packaging. You'll find cooking directions on the backside that give you all the information required to cook your rice correctly.

As you know, having enough water is vital not to burn your rice. The recommended water to rice ratio fluctuates depending on which type of rice you are cooking.

A young man closely measures the water ingredient in preparation for a home baking project

In general, short-grain rice requires 1.25 cups of water per one cup of rice. In contrast, medium-grain rice calls for 1.5 cups of water per one cup of rice. Both long-grain and brown rice require two cups of water per one cup of rice, so make sure to keep track of which variation you're cooking.

Furthermore, getting the correct amount of water to rice will decrease the chances of the bottom of your rice burning. Always double-check your measurements before cooking.

Additionally, your rice cooker pot may have measurements along the side. These included numbers can help you determine the minimum and maximum amount of rice your cooker can handle.

Woman hand is scooping jasmine rice cooking in electric rice cooker with steam

How Do You Remove Burnt Rice From A Rice Cooker?

Considering that burnt rice sticks to the bottom of a rice cooker's pot, expect a sticky mess to clean. If you're looking at the bottom of a burnt pot, you may be wondering how to get it looking back to normal.

Luckily, we've found a few helpful tricks to get you started. Let's take a closer look.


One of the most traditional methods to remove burnt rice is soaking your rice cooker's pot. Add dish soap and warm water to your pot, allow it to sit for a couple of hours or even overnight.

Electric rice cooker which was used carelessly

After, your burnt rice should easily scrape away from the bottom. In some cases, you may need to repeat the process more than once to get your rice cooker completely clean.

Baking Soda

Another method you can try for removing burnt rice is using baking soda. Add three tablespoons, or a bit more, of baking soda to your rice cooker with water. Place the unit back on the cook setting.

After the water comes to a boil, turn it off. Once cooled, you can scrape away the rice and clean your pot as normal.


Vinegar is one of the most common household cleaning liquids. Add a mixture of half water half vinegar to your rice cooker, turn the setting to cook, and you should see your burnt rice starting to come to the top.

After the mixture cools, scrub your pot as usual. Finish with a soap and water rinse.


Looking for a natural solution? Lemon is a great choice. Cut up a lemon, place it in your rice cooker with water, bring it to a boil, and let the acidic citrus do its magic.

Limes and lemon on white background

Use soap and water to remove the rice and other residues, and you're left with a clean rice cooker. Lime works just as well.

Dish Soap

You can also stick to plain dish soap. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid with water to your rice cooker. Again, bring to a boil and wash as usual once the water cools.

Like soaking, you may need to repeat this process to get all of the burnt rice out of your device.

Can Burnt Rice Be Salvaged?

Unfortunately, the crusty burnt rice stuck at the bottom of your pan is a lost cause. For this part, your focus is getting your pot back to a clean state. However, rice above the burnt bottom layer can usually be salvaged, so there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

In general, when your rice burns, even just the bottom, you can be left with burnt-tasting rice. This undesired taste can surely ruin an otherwise tasty meal.

To fix this, remove your rice from the rice cooker and place it into a clean pan.

Next, place a slice of bread on top of your rice. Then place a lid over your bread and rice and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. The bread absorbs both the burnt taste and smells, leaving you with an edible pot of rice.

You may also want to place a fan in the kitchen to move out the burnt smell, and next time, follow the above tips to avoid burning your rice.

To Wrap It All Up

In this article, we found that enough water and getting your rice out of the cooker on time are essential factors to stop it from burning. With that said, we hope you found this article helpful when cooking up some rice of your own. Enjoy!

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related kitchen posts below!

What's The Best Pot For Cooking Rice? [Size And Type]

How To Cook Rice In A Casserole Dish

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