Commercial rice cookers provide a simple way to prepare large quantities of perfectly cooked rice with reliable consistency. Similar in appearance to a soup kettle or crock pot, they can be placed on any worktable or countertop, freeing up space on the range. Cook times vary depending on the size of the unit and type of rice being cooked, but 25 to 55 minutes is typical. With no need to supervise the cooking process, rice cookers automatically shift to “holding mode” once all the water has been absorbed. Maximum holding times vary from 2 to 8 hours depending on the unit.
Rice cookers are extremely useful for institutions and commercial operations that serve large quantities of rice, such as Asian, Mexican, and Sushi restaurants. They typically feature a non-stick internal cook pot that is removable for easy cleaning. Many feature double walled insulated construction to save energy and maintain ideal temperatures. Hinged and insulated lids are a plus. They seal in heat and allow for easy access when serving.
Rice cookers come in a wide variety of sizes capable of cooking anywhere from 20 to 110 cups of cooked rice or more. Various manufacturers use different units of measure. A rice cooker specified for 30 cups of “uncooked rice” will produce about 60 cups of “cooked rice.” Note whether the specification is for cooked or uncooked rice. Note too that some manufacturers use quarts or pounds instead of cups. Make sure you get a unit that will meet your needs.
Know the difference between a “rice cooker” and a “rice warmer”
- Rice Cooker vs. Rice Warmer – They may look similar, but rice warmers cannot produce temperatures sufficient to boil water or cook rice. They are designed merely to hold rice at safe temperatures until served. Although most commercial rice cookers include a holding feature, many operators find it useful to have one or more of each. Rice cooked in a rice cooker can be transferred to a rice warmer for holding, freeing up the rice cooker to begin another batch.
Rice cookers can also be used to cook oatmeal, grains, pasta, beans, vegetables, and more. Most commercial rice cookers are electric, but a few gas powered models are available.