how to steam veggies in rice cooker

How to Steam Veggies in Rice Cooker

There are many ways to cook vegetables, some of the simple and others more complicated; some healthy, others more indulgent; some utterly scrumptious, others a tad unappetizing. 

I was so happy to learn how to steam veggies in a rice cooker because this is the best way to cook your veggies. Over the years, I have played around and experimented with many different ways to cook veggies, and steaming them definitely wins, hands down!

Steaming your veggies is the healthiest way to cook them, retaining all of the nutrients in the veggies; it is quick, clean, and easy; and it is the most delicious way to cook veggies, preserving all the natural flavor of the veggies, without adding anything else.

There are numerous ways to steam veggies. You can use a stock pot on the stove, with a colander inside. You can use a bamboo steamer or even an electric steamer. But the easiest and most efficient way to steam veggies is in a rice cooker.

Having a rice cooker has proved to be totally revolutionary for me. The name Rice Cooker is really a misnomer because it can do so much more than just cook rice. I love experimenting with my kitchen gadgets and appliances, and I have discovered, by trial and error, that my rice cooker is probably one of the greatest assets in my kitchen.

What Can You Do With A Rice Cooker

Steam Veggies in Rice Cooker

Well, for starters, as its name suggests, the rice cooker is a fantastic way to cook rice. It comes out perfectly soft, fluffy, and every grain is separate. If you cook rice in a rice cooker, you will never get burnt rice or rice with the consistency of gooey porridge.

And speaking of porridge, cooking your morning porridge for breakfast cannot be easier or nicer than cooking it in a rice cooker. Oatmeal in a rice cooker, for example, comes out with just the right texture, smooth and creamy, with NO lumps, and full of flavor. The best way to start your day.

Now that I know how to steam veggies in a rice cooker, preparing dinner has taken on a whole new level of simplicity. The rice cooker has been a complete game-changer. Read on to see some other hints and tips of things to do with a rice cooker, further down.

Related Article: How to Cook Chicken in Rice Cooker

What Veggies Can You Cook In A Rice Cooker?

So many people ask this question, not believing that there is such a simple way to cook veggies. Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but the answer is that you can cook virtually any veggies in a rice cooker.

Different vegetables have different textures, and they are not all the same density. Some are much lighter and have more air in them than others. Some are bigger, while others are smaller. 

Because of these differences, there are different ways to steam different veggies in a rice cooker. The differences are usually only regarding the period of time that the steaming takes, but sometimes you also have to adjust the amount of water that you place in the rice cooker.

How Do You Steam Veggies In A Rice Cooker?

Steam Veggies in Rice Cooker

In order to steam veggies in a rice cooker, all you need is a rice cooker, your veggies, and some water. If you prefer your veggies to have a more salty flavor, you can also add some salt, according to your personal taste preference.

Let us take a look at how to use a rice cooker in order to steam a few of the more popular veggies. Follow our step-by-step instructions for those veggies that you are constantly trying to get down your kids. They will love them if cooked like this. 

NOTE: Although we do give you cooking times, these times are only a guide, not a hard and fast rule. Cooking times will vary, depending on the model of your rice cooker, as well as the size of your veggies and the quantity that you are cooking in one session. For small quantities, you may need to cook for a shorter period, and vice versa.

  • Broccoli

Many people are used to boiling their broccoli in a pot of water. This works, but it is not the ideal way to cook broccoli. If you leave it in for a moment too long, you will be left with limp, soft, mushy broccoli. All the nutrients will have been lost, due to over-cooking.

For the crunchiest, most flavorful broccoli ever, use a rice cooker.

  1. Place 2 cups of water in the pot of the rice cooker.
  2. Rinse the broccoli florets well under running water.
  3. Arrange the clean broccoli florets in the steam basket.
  4. Position the steam basket in place in the rice cooker.
  5. Close the lid tightly.
  6. Select the Steam Cook function on the rice cooker.
  7. Set the timer for 4 minutes.

Your broccoli should come out perfectly; slightly crunchy, but soft and tender inside, and filled with all the natural vitamins and minerals that it contains.

  • Cauliflower 

Cauliflower is very similar to broccoli, but the texture is slightly firmer. Therefore it will require a slightly longer cooking time. 

For perfectly steamed cauliflower, follow the same steps detailed above for broccoli, but cook for 5 minutes instead of 4. 

Some heads of cauliflower are much bigger than others, with different-sized florets. Cooking times, both for cauliflower and broccoli, will depend on the size of the florets.

We recommend that you experiment a little with your rice cooker until you know exactly which time settings will give you the desired result.

  • Carrots

Carrots, along with most carrot substitutes, are hard vegetables, with a crunchy texture. Therefore they need to cook for quite a long time to soften them sufficiently. But there is a way to reduce the cooking time. If you cut the carrots into smaller pieces, they will take less time to cook.

  1. Wash the carrots well under running water. Because the carrot is a root vegetable that grows in the ground, they often have a lot of soil and dirt that adheres to the skin.
  2. Cut off the tops and tips of the carrots.
  3. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the carrots, removing all traces of skin.
  4. Cut the carrots into pieces. You can slice them into rounds, or cut them into strips. I prefer strips. I find it gives a better result, as the carrots seem to cook more evenly.
  5. Pour 1½  cups of water into the rice cooker.
  6. Place the steam rack into the rice cooker.
  7. Arrange the carrot pieces on top of the steamer, with the bigger pieces at the bottom, and the smaller pieces on top of them. The rice cooker should not be more than two-thirds full.
  8. Cover with the lid.
  9. Set the timer for 12-15 minutes, depending on the number of carrots that you are cooking.
  10. As soon as the timer stops, remove the carrots from the rice cooker and allow them to drain.
  11. Serve immediately, while still hot.
  • Green Beans

There is nothing worse or more unappetizing than limp, soggy green beans. The good news is that green beans that are cooked by steaming in a rice cooker will never suffer this fate. They will be firm and crunchy, and full of natural flavor.

Some people like to cook their green beans whole, while others prefer to cook them cut up. If you leave them whole, they will take slightly longer to steam than if you cut them into smaller pieces.

The step-by-step instructions for steaming green beans in a rice cooker are very straightforward and easy to follow.

  1. Rinse 1 cup of green beans under running water.
  2. Trim the tops and ends of the beans.
  3. Cut the beans up into pieces about 1 inch long. I like to cut mine up because they generally cook more evenly and quickly.
  4. Toss with a light sprinkling of salt.
  5. Pour 1½  cups of water into the rice cooker.
  6. Place the steam rack in the rice cooker, and pile the green beans onto the steam rack. 
  7. Place the lid securely on the rice cooker.
  8. Set the timer for 8-9 minutes and steam the beans.*
  9. Either drain and serve immediately or set the rice cooker to the Keep Warm setting. They will still continue to cook a little on this setting, so do not leave them in for too long. The maximum time you can leave them on “keep warm” is about 10 minutes.

      * If you prefer to keep your green beans whole, set the timer for 12-13 minutes.

  • Shelled Peas

The tastiest way to prepare peas is by steaming them in the rice cooker. In this way, they not only retain their flavor, but they also remain firm and keep their lovely bright green color.

  1. Rinse ½ a cup of shelled peas under running water.
  2. Toss lightly with a pinch of salt.
  3. Pour one cup of water into the rice cooker. 
  4. Place the steam rack in the rice cooker, and put the peas on the steam rack.
  5. Cover with the lid.
  6. Set the timer for 5 minutes if you like your peas firm, with a little bit of crunch. If you prefer them softer, and more like traditional ‘mushy’ peas, steam for 6-7 minutes.
  7. Drain and serve immediately.
  • Corn On The Cob

Most people are used to cooking corn on the cob by boiling the ears of corn in a pot of water. This takes a long time, and the result is often corn that is watery and soggy. By steaming your corn on the cob in a rice cooker, you will get perfectly cooked corn, with just the right crunch.

  1. Remove the outer husks from 4 ears of corn, and wash the corn well under running water.
  2. Pour 1½ cups of water into the rice cooker. 
  3. Place the ears of corn on the steam rack in the rice cooker.
  4. Cover tightly with the lid.
  5. Set the timer for 20 minutes on the steam setting.
  6. Drain well and serve immediately.

Interesting And Unusual Things To Cook In A Rice Cooker

Steam Veggies in Rice Cooker

Apart from knowing how to steam veggies in a rice cooker, you may be interested to know that your rice cooker has many other useful functions. Here are a couple of handy hints and tips of other things that you can do with your rice cooker.

  • HARD-BOILED EGGS

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when your eggs crack as they boil? Then all the white ooze out, leaving you with a big mess in the pot, and eggs that are not evenly cooked.

Well, all this can be avoided by steaming your eggs in the rice cooker. Simply pour 2 cups of water into the rice cooker, place 6-12 eggs on the steam rack, cover, and set the timer for 15 minutes. Voila! Perfect hard-boiled eggs.

  • PASTA

Tired of your pasta turning out like glue because you have overcooked it? If you cook it in your rice cooker, it will come out cooked to perfection, and never stick together.

This works best for pasta shapes like spirals or elbow noodles. If you want to cook spaghetti, it is necessary to break the pieces in half.

Place one cup of dry pasta in the rice cooker pot. Add enough water to cover completely, plus one extra cup. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, and a dash of salt. Cover with the lid, and cook for 6-8 minutes. Your pasta will come out perfectly al dente.

  • SAUSAGES

Cooking sausages in the rice cooker is the easiest thing ever. You can cook them straight out of the freezer. 

Pour 1 cup of water into the rice cooker, place the frozen sausages on the steam rack, and steam for 10 minutes. Bring on the ketchup, and you’re ready to eat!

I’m sure that you will agree that the rice cooker is indeed a very handy appliance. After you learn how to cook veggies in a rice cooker, you can experiment with so many other things, and you will really enjoy its versatility.

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