The trusty rice cooker is an essential staple in many homes. Not only is it relatively inexpensive compared to other kitchen appliances, but it’s also a foolproof way to make rice that is consistently soft, perfectly cooked, and ready to be paired with your favorite lunches and dinners (and even breakfasts, if you’re so inclined!).
But did you know that it can also be used to cook your other favorite starchy meals? The process of cooking oatmeal is very similar to cooking rice, which means that making your oatmeal in a rice cooker is a great way to streamline your breakfast prep.
Why rice cookers work so well for making oatmeal
There are many different kinds of rice cookers, but all cook rice by way of the boiling and steaming method. Here’s how it works:
- Add rice and water (usually in a 1:2 ratio) to the inner bowl of the rice cooker.
- Place the bowl inside the main body of the rice cooker, which has a heating element directly beneath the inner bowl. Shut the lid to keep all the heat and moisture locked inside.
- Turn on the rice cooker – the heat will be conducted to the inner bowl. The water will begin to boil.
Note: Depending on the rice cooker you’re using, you may have the option to set different cooking methods/times depending on what you are making.
- As the rice-water mixture boils, the rice absorbs water and cooks. At the same time, steam rises from the mixture, conducting heat away from the bottom of the bowl.
- Meanwhile, an inner thermostat measures the temperature inside of the cooker. It detects when the internal temperature of the rice cooker reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius), which indicates that the rice is done absorbing the water. When this happens, the rice cooker will stop cooking and turn to “warm” mode, allowing your rice to rest and steam until you’re ready to eat.
This process is similar to the traditional method of boiling rice and water on the stovetop, but eliminates room for human error: adjusting the temperature on the stove, guessing how much water has been absorbed by the rice, or burning the rice on the bottom of the pan. By using an automatic rice cooker with the right amount of liquid, you can always achieve the perfect texture and consistency with no guessing or supervision required.
As mentioned previously, this same idea applies to oatmeal, another kind of carbohydrate. In the most traditional way, oatmeal is cooked by combining oats with either milk or water and simmering it gently on the stove until your desired consistency is reached. By adding your oats and liquid into a rice cooker, you can set it and forget it during your busiest mornings -- and come back in about 20 minutes to a perfect bowl of warm oats.
How to cook oatmeal in a rice cooker
- Add one cup of your favorite Yishi Oatmeal flavor to your rice cooker.
- Measure and pour either milk or water into your rice cooker.
- For thicker oatmeal, use about 1 ¾ cup of liquid for every 1 cup of oatmeal.
- For thinner oatmeal, add 2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of oatmeal.
- Set your rice cooker settings. This step depends on the type of rice cooker you have. “Porridge,” “Steam/Cook,” and “Rice” settings all work nicely here. If your rice cooker doesn’t have any customizable settings, the regular cycle should work fine.
- Let it cook! Again, this depends on the type of rice cooker you’re using, but you can generally expect your oatmeal to cook in about 20-30 minutes.
- When you’re ready to eat, give your oatmeal a stir and enjoy a deliciously hot, perfectly cooked bowl of oatmeal.
Other ways to make oatmeal
Don’t have a rice cooker? Oatmeal is incredibly versatile, and can be cooked by other methods as well.
If you find yourself short on time (or if you prefer your breakfast to be cold), try making overnight oats instead. The night before, combine equal parts oatmeal and your favorite milk in a container like a mason jar. Then add some yogurt, fruit, and other toppings of your choice. Mix well and pop in the fridge. Overnight, your oats will absorb the liquid and be ready to eat by morning.
For a sweet morning treat that requires minimal effort, place your oatmeal in the oven for a bit. Check out our recipe for Black Sesame Chocolate Lava Baked Oatmeal for inspiration: we mixed Toasted Black Sesame oatmeal with bananas, milk, baking powder, and chocolate for an uber-decadent breakfast – or even, dessert.
The traditional stovetop method is tried and true, and makes one deliciously creamy bowl of oats. Simply combine equal parts oatmeal and liquid in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Stir occasionally and wait until your oatmeal reaches your ideal consistency.
One of the real beauties of oatmeal is that you don’t need a full kitchen to make it. As long as you have access to a microwave or hot water, you can make a warm bowl of oatmeal from your own office.
Toss your favorite Yishi Oatmeal Cup in your bag to take with you to work. Then add ⅓ cup of water and microwave for 90 seconds for perfectly cooked oatmeal on the go.
Hot water method
Pour ⅓ cup of hot water from a kettle or your office’s water dispenser into your Yishi Oatmeal Cup. Stir and let stand for 3-4 minutes for an easy, healthy, and delicious breakfast.
Whether you’re tossing it into a rice cooker, boiling it on the stove, or simply adding hot liquid and letting it sit, Yishi Oatmeal is a quick, healthy, and delicious way to start your day.