10 Super Easy Meals You Never Knew You Could Make in Your Rice Cooker February 2, 2021 08:29

Here's how to really get it to multitask.

The Instant Pot may be all the rage, but there's no need to buy another kitchen gizmo—your rice cooker can do so much more than cook rice. This simple appliance can serve as a soup pot, a skillet, a sauté pan and even a wok. To learn how to make the most out of the device, check out these recipes from The 'I Love My Rice Cooker' Recipe Book, filled with instructions for creating culinary delicacies alongside simplified versions of classics. Each of the delicious dishes are presented with easy-to-follow instructions so you can whip up meals in less time than you would making similar dishes cooked on the stovetop—and with a lot less cleanup. Simply flip the switch and start making these quick and tasty rice cooker meals.

Taco Tuesday Meatballs

Serves 4

A fresh take on Taco Tuesday, your family will ask for this recipe week after week. Serve this dish with saffron rice or with shredded lettuce, sour cream, cheese, black olives and even fresh avocado slices to complete this tasty meal.

  • 1⁄4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1⁄4 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons grated red bell pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and stir to mix. Add the beef, onion, bell pepper, egg, cheese, taco seasoning and cumin and use your hands to mix to combine. Form into 24 meatballs.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the pot gets warm, cook 12 meatballs on all sides for 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat cooking with remaining oil and meatballs. Add the plated meatballs to the pot with the freshly cooked ones. Add diced tomatoes and water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

Indian Vegetable Biryani

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Toss the ingredients in and you're done! Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 4

In Hyderabad, India, where this dish is usually named Dum Biryani, it is slow-cooked. The meat, usually chicken, mutton or lamb, is layered with the rice and cooked under low flame in a sealed container. Instead of doing that, toss everything into the rice cooker and enjoy the company of your guests!

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup cashews
  • 1⁄4 cup raisins
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄2 cup diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt


  1. Rinse the rice in cold water, straining through a strainer or colander. Put the rice in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pot, cover, and set to Cook. When the base gets warm, add the shallots. Cook until shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside, with the rice if you prefer.
  3. Add the cashews and the raisins to the pot and cook covered for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining butter, the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, turmeric and tomatoes. Cook for 3 more minutes.
  5. Stir in the rice and shallots, add the water and salt, and cook covered until the rice is done.
  6. Let rice sit for 8 minutes to vent off some steam, fluff and serve.

Caprese Chicken

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If you love Caprese salad, you'll love this. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 4

All the Mediterranean flavors of an Italian caprese salad are here, but this is a chicken dish—and a truly delicious and simple one at that. Simpler still: while fresh is preferred, you can substitute any mozzarella.

  • 3 (1⁄2-pound) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, quartered
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1⁄4 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces


  1. Add the chicken, tomatoes, stock, vinegar, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to rice cooker; cover and set to Cook. Cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the mozzarella to the top of the chicken. Switch cooker to Warm and heat for an additional 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and tomatoes to a serving dish. Drizzle with the olive oil. Garnish with the basil and serve warm with bread pieces.

Rice Noodles with Beef

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Make sure to prep the noodles before putting them in the rice cooker. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 2

Rice stick noodles tend to stick together during stir-frying, and it may be hard to separate the strands in the rice cooker. Whether the noodles are fresh or dried, soak them in warm water before cooking to soften and loosen up the strands.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 pound ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon black bean paste
  • 1⁄4 pound broccoli florets, blanched
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄2 pound dried rice stick noodles, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes or until softened
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, divided


  1. Add the oil to the rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the rice cooker gets warm, add the ground beef and cook for 10 minutes until the beef completely cooks through, covered and stirring occasionally. Leaving the remaining oil in the pot, remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic, black bean paste, broccoli and water to the pot and cook for 3 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the noodles, soy sauce and half the green onions. Mix well.
  4. Return the beef to the pot and mix well with the noodles. Garnish with remaining green onions before serving.

Sloppy Joe Loaded Potatoes

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No bun? No problem Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 4

A sloppy joe is a different sandwich in different parts of the United States—this one isn’t a sandwich at all! The classic family favorite gets an upgrade here when it’s served inside a baked potato. Together, taste bud magic happens and folks will be asking for more.

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 green onions, sliced, whites and greens divided
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream, for garnish
  • 1⁄2 cup grated Cheddar cheese, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, then place on a baking sheet and bake for 50–60 minutes or until the flesh is soft and easily pierced with a knife.
  2. Add the butter to rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the pot gets warm, add the green onions (reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish), bell pepper, carrot, celery and ground beef. Break beef into smaller bits and cook covered for 2 minutes.
  3. Uncover, stir, and cook covered for an additional minute. Uncover and cook for another 3 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.
  4. Stir in the ketchup, water, molasses, chili powder, mustard, garlic powder and cayenne. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir, and switch heat to Warm. Cover pot and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Cut a slit in the top of the baked potatoes and place in bowls. Squeeze potato on both ends to make a pocket. Ladle sloppy joe mixture over potatoes. Garnish with the sour cream, Cheddar cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon green onion.

Mini Beef Burgers

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There's a simple way to make your burger healthier. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 4

For a less fatty version, use leaner meat. However, remember that lean meat will have less flavor and tends to dry out because it has less fat. That’s why lean patties will usually be less tender, less moist and less juicy when cooked. Or go with a 15 to 20 percent fat beef for a fuller flavor.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1⁄2 medium, onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon grated ginger
    -1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 burger buns, halved
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced and divided
  • 10 lettuce leaves
  • 1⁄2 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Place the beef, grated onion, garlic, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, basil, salt, pepper, and egg in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly combined. Divide into 4 burger patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1⁄2-inch thick.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the pot gets warm, add 2 patties and cook about 5 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Cover rice cooker while cooking. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate, set aside, and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and patties.
  3. Place a patty on each burger bun and add cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and sliced onions.

Pecan Crusted Boneless Pork with Honey Mustard Sauce

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Serve this meal using the Honey Mustard Sauce of your choice. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 2

This fresh take on pork chops is great for kids or the fussy eaters in your house, thanks especially to the the very recognizable and popular honey mustard sauce. Substitute different kinds of mustard for some flair and a change of flavor, or serve more than one variety on the side and let your diners choose for themselves!

Honey Mustard Sauce

  • 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1⁄4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce


  • 2 (3⁄4-pound) boneless pork chops, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely
  • chopped pecans
  • 2 cups water


  1. For the Honey Mustard Sauce: Whisk together Honey Mustard Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the Pork: Season pork chops with salt. Set aside.
  3. Add oil to rice cooker and set to Cook. When the base of the cooker gets warm, add pork chops. Sear until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from cooker. Brush 1 ⁄3 of the Honey Mustard Sauce on the pork chops and place in a steamer basket. Press pecans into the top of the pork chops.
  4. Add water to rice cooker. Insert steamer basket with pork chops and place lid on cooker. Set to Cook and cook for 14 minutes. Transfer chops to 2 plates and serve with remaining Honey Mustard Sauce on the side.

Chicken and Shrimp Pasta

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Adding broccoli to this meal is a clever way to get your kiddos to eat greens. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 2

For crisper, greener broccoli, try shocking it. Boil the florets for 30 seconds, then plunge them into an ice-water bath. This “shocking” process stops cooking the broccoli and helps to preserve its nice green color.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1⁄4 pound boneless chicken (thigh and breast), chopped into bite-sized pieces 8–10 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails left on
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1⁄2 pound shell pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced, for garnish


  1. Add the oil to the rice cooker, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the pot gets warm, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, covered and stirring frequently, until the chicken is almost cooked through. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 more minutes until the shrimp turn pink and cook through. The chicken should finish cooking as well.
  3. Add the oyster sauce and stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Switch the rice cooker to Warm and continue to simmer for about 8 minutes until sauce slightly reduces.
  4. Add the salt and white pepper, cooked pasta and broccoli and mix well. When the liquid gets mostly absorbed into the pasta, dish out and serve garnished with the sliced red chili.

Orange-Maple Chicken Legs

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This recipe is the perfect combo of sweet and sour. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 4

These citrusy, sticky legs are perfect eaten straight from the rice cooker, but if you like your chicken on the crispy side, place these legs under the broiler before serving for about 3 and no more than 5 minutes or you’ll risk burning.

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves


  1. Zest the orange until you have 2 teaspoons. Cut orange in half and juice. Slice orange halves into thin slices and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the zest, orange juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, Sriracha, ginger and salt and stir to combine. Add chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken, sauce and water to rice cooker. Place the orange quarters around the chicken in the cooker.
  4. Cover and set the rice cooker to Cook. After 20 minutes, switch cooker to Warm and simmer for an additional 5 minutes until legs are cooked through. Transfer the legs to a plate, top with parsley, and serve warm.

Blackberry Cobbler

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Dessert is totally doable with a rice cooker. Photo: James Stefiuk

Serves 6

The cobbler was probably the first British colonial delicacy to become a staple back home. That’s right; this dish was invented by American colonists. Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, this is the perfect dessert after a day of berry picking with the family.

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1⁄2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups water


  1. Lightly grease a 7-cup glass bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Toss to combine and then refrigerate.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Stir in the butter and milk until combined. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the greased glass bowl. Pour the blackberries over the dough.
  4. Pour the water into the rice cooker, insert the bowl, cover the pot, and set to Cook. When the water starts to boil, cook for 15 minutes. Switch heat to Warm and cook for 30 minutes more.
  5. Remove the cobbler from the rice cooker and let sit for 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve warm.

Written by Adams Media for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.