Why Does My Rice Cooker Make Mushy Rice?

If you make rice often, it makes sense to add a rice cooker to your kitchen gadgets. But what happens when your rice—which always turned out perfectly before—is suddenly mushy? How frustrating to have an appliance not work when you need it. Why does your rice cooker make mushy rice? Well, we've checked high and low and have all of the answers for you.

In a rice cooker, rice is prepared differently than on the stovetop. This means that you may need to learn some new cooking techniques to get the best results from your system. Don't follow the old stovetop directions - mushy rice usually means you added too much water. It can also signify that you need to rinse your rice first to remove the extra starch.

Keep reading, and we'll explain everything you need to know about using a rice cooker. We'll give you some pointers on cooking perfect rice and just how much water to use. We'll also give you some ideas to fix mushy rice. Finally, we'll offer some ideas for foods you can make even if your rice is overcooked.

White rice in a metal pan, cooked cereals. Selective focus with shallow depth of field, Why Does My Rice Cooker Make Mushy Rice?

Why Does My Rice Cooker Make Mushy Rice?

Rice turns mushy for two important reasons. It can be mushy because the rice has too much starch. Alternatively, it can be a sign that you're using too much water.

Different types of rice have varying starch contents. Brown rice, in particular, is prone to becoming "mushy" because of the starch. To avoid this, rinse the rice well in a sieve or a bowl of cold water.

Hands of person pouring tap water in bowl with rice to rinse it

Another common problem is the wrong proportion of water to rice. Adding too much water may be what's making your rice mushy. As a result, reducing the water content in your rice cooker may fix the issue.

What Happens If You Put Too Much Water In A Rice Cooker?

If you've made rice on the stovetop your whole life, it's essential to understand that a rice cooker works differently. You'll have to change your methods for the best results.

On a stove, much of the water boils away. For this reason, many people use two cups of water and one cup of rice. Some cooks reduce the water content to 1.5 cups, but even this may be too much for a rice cooker.

Rural kitchen using wood fuel for cooking.

This is because a rice cooker doesn't lose much water to evaporation as the stove does. Instead, the water stays trapped inside the rice cooker. It creates steam to cook the rice, but it doesn't technically escape.

The extra water can lead to mushy or sticky rice. It's important to note that the directions on the back of your bag of rice are probably for stovetop cooking. So don't follow these - your rice cooker should include its own set of directions.

If you can't find the instructions with your rice cooker, you may need to play around with it a bit. Certain types of rice call for different ratios of water, so this won't be the same for everyone.

A good starting point is 1:1 water to rice. In general, one cup of rice needs to absorb one cup of water to be ideally cooked. That said, depending on your cooking method, you'll need to account for evaporation or lost water.

steamed white jasmine rice in a white plate

Is Mushy Rice Overcooked Or Undercooked?

Mushy rice is overcooked rice - but more importantly, rice has absorbed too much water. You can prevent this by reducing the amount of water you add in the first place. When too much water is added to rice, it eventually causes the grains to swell and break open. This makes the rice starchy and ruins its texture.

As we said, it's important to find the perfect amount of water for your rice. Use the instructions that came with your rice cooker as a guide. Remember, too little water increases the chance your rice will be undercooked or even end up burning.

Vietnamese burnt rice

How Do You Fix Mushy Rice?

If your rice is only slightly overcooked, it may be possible to save it. Ultimately, the only cure is to remove the excess moisture that's making it mushy in the first place. With that said, there are a few alternative steps to consider, which include:

  • You can try adding a slice of bread to the rice. Cover the top and let it cook on low heat for a few more minutes. The bread may be able to trap some of the moisture.
  • Another method is to drain excess water, rinse, and drain again. Then heat your rice (low) on the stove for a few minutes. Since water will evaporate on the stovetop, this can be another way to reduce its overall water content.
  • Alternatively, you can do the same job in the oven. Drain excess water and spread out the rice on a baking sheet. Make sure it's evenly distributed in a single layer—Cook at 350 degrees for about five minutes.

What Can You MrepurposeMushy Rice?

If this sounds like a lot of extra equipment and hassle, it might be easier to repurpose your mushy rice. Luckily, some recipes are perfect for less-than-perfect rice.

Rice Pudding

Turn the rice into a tasty pudding treat. Find a recipe for rice pudding - with some milk, sugar, and vanilla; you can create a whole new dish. Re-cook your concoction (with less water this time).

Rice pudding with cinnamon. Traditional Greek rizogalo.


Make a simple porridge by adding even more water - or stock, if you have it. Cook it until it has the consistency of oatmeal. Then top it with soy sauce and enjoy.

You can get as complex as you like - there are various recipes for this Asian rice porridge, commonly called congee. Some call for different spices and flavors, creating a robust dish. Like the one above, others are pretty simple, just basic porridge.

The nice thing about this dish is that it's a great way to use even the most unusable rice. Mushy is your end goal in rice porridge, making just about any rice suitable.

Rice porridge in white bowl

Fried Rice

For rice that's starchy and sticky but not too mushy, you can turn it into a fried rice dish. Rinse the excess starch off with cold water. Then heat it in a frying pan with oil.

Add whatever veggies or other ingredients you like when it's toasted and crispy. This is another suggestion that can be as simple or complex as desired.

Asian Chinese Fried Rice with Scrambled Eggs and Vegetables Close UP Photo.


Probably the only limit to repurposing rice in a soup is your imagination. Make a hearty chicken and rice, vegetable rice, or even a tomato-based stew.

This is one of the most versatile suggestions. You can turn almost any combination of available ingredients into a soup. All it takes is the right spirit of adventure - soup is, overall, quite accommodating.

Stuffed pepper soup in bowl on concrete background.


You can make a frittata the way you usually would - and add rice to the egg for extra body. You don't have to change the ingredients or toppings.

The rice doesn't change or alter the flavor significantly. It just adds a certain fullness to the dish. Add the rice to the egg before baking, mixing it through evenly.

Homemade vegetarian rice frittata with zucchini, bell pepper and olives

Rice Cake

This is not the pre-packaged snack you find in the grocery store, commonly jokingly referred to as "cardboard." It's more similar to a potato pancake and served hot.

Shape the mushy rice into a pancake or hamburger shape. Aim for about 1/2 inch thick and add salt and pepper for flavor.

Next, coat a frying pan with olive oil. Heat the oil to medium-high, then add your patties. Cook them until they're golden brown, and flip to cook the other side. It should only take about 2-3 minutes on each side.

It's a classic recipe that goes well with most proteins. Serve it on the side, or add a fried egg directly on top. Because the flavor is relatively simple, it can accompany many dishes.

Rice burger with salmon cutlet, avocado and soy sauce, gray background.

To Conclude

If rice prepared in your rice cooker always seems to turn out mushy, you're probably adding too much water. Water isn't lost to evaporation in a rice cooker like on the stovetop. As a result, you don't need anywhere near as much water in your recipe.

For best results, follow the directions that come with your rice cooker. Or, you can experiment with the right amount of water - but one cup of water to one cup of rice is a good place to start. Rinsing the rice in cold water before cooking can also help remove extra starch, making the rice less sticky once prepared.

If you enjoyed this article, check out these helpful related posts!

Does Rice Go Bad In The Pantry? [Inc. Tips for Keeping Rice Extra Fresh]

6 Ways To Strain Rice Without A Strainer

Why Does My Rice Cooker Overflow?

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