Some nights you feel too burnt out to prepare an entire balanced meal and skip to more straightforward, less time-consuming alternatives. And honestly speaking, I think we have all been there after a long tiring day and reached for the boxed recipes from the shelf.
Rice A Roni is one of the healthiest options when you are contemplating options for a wholesome meal on these tiring days. However, the one question that does come to mind is — can you cook Rice A Roni in a rice cooker when you are crunched for time.
Let us look into whether you can cook Rice A Roni in a rice cooker without compromising taste.
Can You Cook Rice A Roni in a Rice Cooker?
The simple answer is: absolutely! As most rice dishes can be cooked with a rice cooker, Rice A Roni is no exception to the rule of thumb. Whether you plan to grab a Rice A Roni mix or make the meal yourself, you easily cook it in a rice cooker.
How to Get Started
As with most boxed meals or rice, the instructions written on the package are directions for cooking Rice A Roni in the microwave. So you will have to make a couple of adjustments of your own while preparing this tasty meal. Below are a couple of factors you should keep in mind while cooking this dish on a rice cooker.
i. Adjusting the Amount of Water
You will need to pour in a lesser amount of water than indicated in the box, as the directions in the package are for microwaving the rice. And when you are microwaving rice or any dish for that matter, a lot of water evaporates.
However, with a rice cooker, the possibility of a significant amount of water evaporating lessens. You can use the good old technique of gently putting your finger on top of the rice and pour water so that it reaches up to your first knuckle.
If you want to be precise, most boxes of Rice A Roni require almost 2 cups of water to be cooked properly if you are cooking the entire package. Or you can measure the water by flattening the rice on top and pour water until the water rises to precisely one inch above the rice.
ii. Browning the Rice
If you want to brown the rice in oils or butter before you start cooking it, make sure to use your frying pan and a proper stove or microwave to do so. If you attempt to brown the rice using a rice cooker, the bottom of your rice cooker might get burned and the entire rice cooker ruined.
The rice cooker is designed so that it requires a good amount of water to heat up and start cooking food properly. That’s why it’s better to resort to other methods if you want to fry the rice beforehand.
You can easily put the browned rice with butter once it has cooled off after a couple of minutes and add water into the rice cooker before you start cooking to ensure tastiness!
iii. Adding Vegetables and Meat
As Rice A Roni makes a great side dish, you always need lean protein or vegetables to complete the meal. You can cut up some vegetables or throw in sausages or cold cuts on your plate as both of these meat options are processed to be cooked simultaneously with white rice.
If you want to add portions of meat that have not been cooked beforehand, make sure to boil them separately before adding them into the rice cooker. The same goes for vegetables that might be a bit too crunchy when cooked with rice.
iv. Adding Seasoning
All boxes of seasoned rice have packets of seasoning inside it, so make sure to add the seasoning into the Rice A Roni and stir after you have added the water. Also, be careful whether the seasoning might make your rice cooker hard to clean or not.
For example, seasonings that have cheese as an ingredient might ruin your rice cooker pot. So if you want to have a cheese seasoning, perhaps you can make a cheese sauce separately and add it to the rice after cooking the rice.
v. Adding Mixes That Contain Pasta
A lot of the seasoned rice mixes contain different varieties of pasta in the Rice mix. You have to be careful that your pasta cooks perfectly along with your rice and does not end up tasting too mushy or raw.
Adding butter or margarine beforehand while frying the mix is a great way to ensure taste. You want to make sure to melt the butter before pouring in the mix, as butter or margarine should not be skipped if your mixture contains pasta.
Frying the mix in butter will also allow the rice and pasta to stay fluffy while cooking the mixture. Do not pour in margarine or butter directly in the rice cooker, as it will taste very mushy or soggy.
vi. Selecting Rice Cooker Setting
Most rice cookers come with a straightforward setting where you do not have multiple options to choose from. However, if your rice cooker has numerous settings, make sure to choose white rice settings, and you’re good to go!
Cooking Rice A Roni in a Microwave vs. in a Rice Cooker
One of the biggest advantages of cooking Rice A Roni in a microwave is that it takes half the time to prepare it on a stove or rice cooker. When you are in a rush, saving time is a crucial factor.
On the other hand, using a rice cooker gives you the advantage of taking a break from cooking, as the cooker will cook rice until there is water left in the cooking pot. You can also say goodbye to hovering around the microwave.
As both options have certain perks, you can choose any of these methods depending on your criteria for preparing the meal.
Q1: Can I cook Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker?
A1: Yes, you can cook Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker. However, it’s important to note that the cooking process may vary slightly compared to cooking plain rice. You will need to make a few adjustments to ensure the Rice-A-Roni turns out well.
Q2: How do I cook Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker?
A2: To cook Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker, follow these steps:
- Start by sautéing the Rice-A-Roni in a small amount of oil or butter in a separate pan until it turns golden brown.
- Transfer the sautéed Rice-A-Roni into the rice cooker and add the recommended amount of water or broth according to the Rice-A-Roni package instructions.
- Close the rice cooker lid and select the appropriate setting for cooking rice. If your rice cooker has a specific setting for mixed grains or pilaf, choose that option.
- Allow the rice cooker to complete the cooking cycle, which usually takes around 20-30 minutes.
- Once the rice cooker indicates that the cooking is finished, let the Rice-A-Roni sit in the rice cooker for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork and serving.
Q3: Are there any specific rice cooker models that work best for cooking Rice-A-Roni?
A3: Most standard rice cooker models should work fine for cooking Rice-A-Roni. The key is to ensure that your rice cooker has a capacity that accommodates the amount of Rice-A-Roni you want to cook. It’s always a good idea to check the instructions and capacity guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your rice cooker.
Q4: Can I add extra ingredients to the Rice-A-Roni when cooking it in a rice cooker?
A4: Absolutely! Cooking Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker provides an opportunity to customize the flavors by adding extra ingredients. You can consider adding vegetables, such as diced carrots, peas, or bell peppers, along with seasonings like garlic, herbs, or spices. Just keep in mind that the additional ingredients may affect the cooking time, so make sure to adjust accordingly.
Q5: Can I use the “keep warm” function on the rice cooker after cooking Rice-A-Roni?
A5: Yes, you can use the “keep warm” function on your rice cooker after cooking Rice-A-Roni. This setting helps to maintain the warmth of the dish without overcooking it. However, it’s recommended to consume the Rice-A-Roni within a couple of hours to ensure its freshness and quality. If you plan to store it for longer periods, it’s better to refrigerate it and reheat when needed.
Cooking with a rice cooker truly lets you sit back and step away from the kitchen for once. And if you get to prepare a yummy dish such as Rice A Roni with minimal effort, going through and ticking off all these precautions is totally worth it.
And now that you know the answer to the question, can you cook rice a roni in a rice cooker, let no amount of workload keep you from enjoying delicious meals even in a rush!