Top 10 recipes you can make using Japanese rice cookers

Rice cookers are great kitchen aids, especially if your diet includes a lot of rice. Despite that, many people are skeptic about getting one just for boiling rice, as they tend to take up a lot of space in your kitchen. However, the secret is that you can use a regular rice cooker for much more than just that. These units can double up as slow cookers or pressure cookers, depending on the type you have. You can basically use them for any recipe that calls for a slow cooker – which can be anything from soups and stews to desserts. Let’s take a look at the top 10 recipes you can prepare using your Japanese rice cooker.

  1. Grains

    You can use your rice cooker to prepare any kind of grains. And we’re not talking about various types of rice here – you can also cook barley, oats, buckwheat, lentils, even quinoa in your rice cooker. All you need to do in order to ensure your grains are cooked to perfection is look up the cooking time they require in a slow cooker. Or, you could go the easy way and get a Japanese rice cooker that has built-in functions for other types of grains besides rice, such as this Zojirushi IH Japanese Rice Cooker Kiwame-daki NW-AA10.

  2. Polenta

    Polenta is basically corn porridge, which makes a great comfort food, and can be paired with just about anything – be that meat, veggies, or even jam and sour cream. You can easily prepare polenta in your Japanese rice cooker, especially if you have one that has a build-in rice porridge program, such as the Tiger IH Pressure Rice Cooker JPB-R180.

  3. Dumplings

    Steamed dumplings are the ultimate comfort food. All you need is some pre-made or homemade dough, which you can fill with just about anything – from leftover meat stew to vegetables, and from pizza sauce and cheese to fruit jam and chocolate sauce. Many Japanese rice cookers, such as the Zojirushi IH Japanese Rice Cooker Kiwame-daki NP-VQ10, have a built-in steaming function which can help you make the perfect warm steamed buns with little to no effort.

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  5. Curry

    Let’s move on to main dishes. Curry is an easy one-pot dish you can very well make in your rice cooker. Be that Japanese, Indian, or Thai curry, all you need is some meat, vegetables, and spices that you can throw together in a rice cooker and start cooking. Depending on the recipe, your curry can be ready to eat in twenty to sixty minutes. Any pressure rice cooker like the Tiger IH Pressure Rice Cooker JPC-B180 should work for this recipe.

  6. Chili

    Chili is a slow cooker staple, and it can be cooked just as well in a regular rice cooker. All you need is your choice of beans and meat, as well as chili sauce, and you’ll have a steaming bowl of chili in under half an hour. Chili is a non-pretentious recipe that can be made in any rice cooker, but we recommend something like the KN Chiyoda NEOVE Rice Cooker NRM-M35A, which can also keep it warm for when you’re back from work.

  7. Roasted Pork

    You know those soft slices of pork you’d get over a bowl of ramen? You can easily make that in your rice cooker as well! All you need is a chunk of meat, ginger, garlic, scallions, and your choice of marinade, and a cooking bag to place them in. Put all the ingredients in a bag, take out all the air, fill your rice cooker halfway with water, and press the keep warm button for a few hours. The result is delicious and soft pork! A unit like Tiger IH Pressure Rice Cooker JPC-A180, which can keep your rice warm for up to 24 hours, is perfect for roasting pork.

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  9. Mac and cheese

    Yes, even mac and cheese! You can easily prepare this comfort food in your rice cooker. Boil the macaroni first on the standard white rice cycle, then add in the milk, cheddar, mustard, and black pepper, and there you have it! If you’re preparing it for the whole family, a big rice cooker like the Panasonic Japanese Rice Cooker SR-SPX106 is your best bet.

  10. Taco soup

    Another hit with both children and adults, the taco soup is perfect for warming you up on a cold winter day. Just combine chicken, black beans, drained corn, diced tomatoes, and brown rice in your rice cooker, and let them simmer in broth for as long as possible – the longer, the better! An induction heat cooker like the Mitsubishi Electric Rice Cooker Hon-Sumigama NJ-SW067 would be perfect for taco soup.

  11. Cheesecake

    Let’s wrap up this list with a couple desserts you can make in your rice cooker. Cheesecake is one of the easiest to make options. First, you make the crust with crushed biscuits and butter, and you spread it across the bottom of the cooker. Then, you add a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and eggs on top, and turn the rice cooker on. The best unit for this would be a rice cooker with a built-in cake function, like the Tiger Rice Cooker JKT-B102.

  12. Wine poached pears or peaches

    For a healthier and more elegant dessert, try making wine poached pears or peaches. All you need is your choice of fruit, red wine, and some spices – star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, or vanilla. You’ll need them to simmer at low heat, that’s why you want a rice cooker with customizable temperature features, such as the Zojirushi IH Rice Cooker Kiwame-daki NP-VQ18.


As you can see, Japanese rice cookers can be extremely versatile – you can cook anything from main dishes and soups to sides and desserts in them. Most of these recipes can be prepared in any rice cooker – but you might want to look into the functions and features of the unit you want to buy if you know you want to cook any specific dishes in it.