Wouldn’t it be nice if making the “food” part of your hot breakfast was as easy as making a pot of coffee? Well, the good news is that your rice cooker can deliver if you know how to ask. What if you could fry eggs in your rice cooker?
To fry eggs in a rice cooker, all you need is eggs and cooking spray for traditional frying. You can also “fry” eggs in your rice cooker by cracking the egg into water or hot food. In all cases, you can achieve both “sunny side up” and fully cooked eggs. Either way, your delicious meal is waiting.
This article will discuss why you can fry an egg in a rice cooker and all the different ways you can do this, as each produces different results with several advantages. I’ll also look at why these techniques work. Finally, I’ll consider some safety considerations that go with using your rice cooker to fry eggs.
You Can Cook Just About Anything In Your Rice Cooker
The truth is, rice cookers today are about much more than simply cooking rice. Even the most basic models have a heating element that can boil water with an inner pot that can hold just about anything.
As long as you don’t overfill it, food is unlikely to “escape” the cooker and make a mess. Since cooking is adding heat to food at its most basic, a rice cooker can prepare just about anything. Let’s look at the reason why this is true.
The Inner Pot of Your Rice Cooker Works Like a Saucepan
If you study the inner pot of a rice cooker carefully, you’ll probably notice one thing: It looks something like a saucepan.
There’ll be a “lip” at the top, and the pot usually won’t have a handle, but a cooker pot and saucepan function the same way on the inside. Specifically, they hold food over a heat source. Over time, the heat warms the pan in a process called heat transfer, which then cooks whatever food is in the pan.
Rice cooker pots work the same way but in a different environment.
There are heating elements in rice cookers that warm the pot after you place it inside the cooker. Then, the heat travels up the pot. But because a rice cooker surrounds the pot, there’s much less heat loss.
As a result, the cooking process is more efficient than you’ll typically get on the stove. As a result, you’ll want to adjust the cooking time on recipes written for stovetop preparation.
Rice Cookers Were Designed To Keep Food Hot
Another reason that you can cook just about anything in a rice cooker is that it’s designed to keep foods hot.
Between the “cook” and “keep warm” features, a rice cooker maintains temperatures that are high enough to fry eggs for several hours if necessary. At the same time, they’ll do this, and without human intervention.
Just plug it in, and turn it on. Eventually, anything that fits inside the pot will be thoroughly cooked.
Some Rice Cookers Were Designed To Cook a Wide Variety of Foods
Rice cookers are an increasingly multi-purpose appliance these days. The term “multicooker” refers to rice cookers designed to prepare more than rice.
While you’ve always been able to cook other grains like quinoa and oatmeal, these supercharged rice cookers can steam anything that fits into the pot. For a cost-effective example, check out this Aroma Digital Rice Cooker (ARC-150SB) from Amazon.com.
Why is this important?
Simply put, the multicooker concept demonstrates that rice cookers provide a heat source and vessel for cooking just about anything. For example, some cookers have a high heat function that’s typically used when you’re using the cooker to prepare dishes like stews. The idea is to start your food at high heat, then reduce it to a simmer.
Other cookers include a steaming tray that you can use alone in the pot or above your cooking rice.
Frying Eggs Is Easy With Most Kinds of Rice Cookers
Between the essential functions of rice cookers and the advanced features in more complex models, frying eggs in one is easy. No matter which method you choose, the heat generated by the “cook” cycle is hot enough to fry an egg.
Now the question remains, which method should you use? Let’s look at the options.
The Traditional Frying Method
The first method is to fry your eggs the same way that you would in a frying pan. Here, the difference is the heat source you’re using and the fact it’s in a high-walled pan. In addition, you can modify it to ensure you’re getting the desired results.
To do the traditional flying method, follow these steps:
- Gather the same ingredients you usually use to fry an egg, including eggs, salt, and pepper. You might want to use some cooking fat until you know how easily your rice cooker pot “releases” this type of cooked food.
- Place your pot inside the cooker and coat the inside of the pot with cooking spray, cooking oil, or butter. Make the coating at least as high up in the pot as you’d do with a frying pan as a way to reduce the chance of having a messy pan to clean up.
- Once you’ve greased the pot, turn on the heat.
According to sushi chef Kaz Matsune, the heat reached by your typical “cook” cycle is higher than what you need to cook eggs, which it will reach very quickly. If you’re in doubt about the highest available temperature, check the owner’s manual for your rice cooker.
Using the high heat setting may be beneficial. Once you’ve set the temperature:
- Break your eggs, and drop them into the pot. Try to avoid having the raw egg slide down the pot edge since it can make a mess and reduce the amount of edible egg at the end.
- Add your eggs one at a time.
- Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.
At this point, you can walk away for a few minutes. Eggs fry relatively slowly in rice cookers due to the lower temperatures from your typical pan. Your cooking time will vary based on the number of eggs and your cooker, however.
After about five minutes, you should check your eggs for doneness.
Now here’s where the “trick” comes in. When frying eggs in a rice cooker, it’s hard to flip them. As a result, most people don’t try to move the eggs until they’re done.
For this reason, if you fry the eggs without doing anything else, you’ll get the sunny side up. If you’d rather have your egg yolks to be firmer, then add a few drops of water to the pot once your whites are mostly cooked. Then, close the pot cover. This generates steam, which in turn cooks the yolks on top.
Once your eggs are cooked to taste, it’s time to remove them. One YouTuber indicates it takes 6 ½ minutes in his small cooker. Take a look at his video:
If you regularly fry eggs in a pan, you’ll know that fried eggs don’t stick as much as scrambled ones. This is true of rice cooker fried eggs, so to that end, take a wooden spoon or plastic spatula and scoop your eggs out. Don’t use metal ones, as this can scratch your nonstick pot.
Your eggs are now ready to eat.
The Water “Frying” Method
Another way to “fry” eggs in a rice cooker uses standing water in the pot. While this method is technically called poaching, most people think of this as another form of frying. In addition, it’s super easy to do because you’re cooking in water, and the sticking of food is minimal.
To do the water fry method:
- Add about half an inch (1cm) of water to your rice cooker pot.
- Place it in the cooker.
- If desired, add a little bit of salt to your water, then turn it on.
As with traditional frying, I recommend using the standard rice cooking temperature, because it’ll get the job done just fine. It just goes a bit more slowly than if you have a high heat setting. In addition, be sure to check your manual to see if any high-temperature environment shouldn’t be used with water such as with sauteing.
Then, do the following steps:
- Close the top of your rice cooker so the temperature will rise quickly.
- When the water is close to boiling, break the eggs and add them to the water. By waiting until the water is very hot, you’ll keep the egg from spreading out as much.
- Now close the rice cooker top. This technique allows steam to collect and cook the top of your eggs.
- When the yolk has hardened, you can remove the eggs.
A Few Safety Considerations
Finally, let’s take a look at some safety considerations.
Rice cookers are, generally speaking, a safe kitchen appliance. However, manufacturers designed them assuming their most basic use. When cooking something that has less volume than your typical pot of rice, there are some things to be aware of.
Melting Spatulas Can Be a Problem
For most of us, a pot of rice lasts more than one meal, which is why you typically don’t try to scrape out the whole pot of rice while it is still hot.
However, with fried eggs, you will want to remove all of them right away. Your keep warm feature will work, but most people make eggs just before eating them. So to keep yourself safe, be sure that the tools you use to remove the eggs can withstand the heat.
Watch Out for Burns
If you have a larger rice cooker, the pot can be pretty deep.
To that end, when you take the eggs out, be sure not to burn yourself on the sides of the pot. Cooking burns, while typically minor, can be painful. Plus, who wants to sit at their desk with burns on their hands?
Remember that you’ll have more steam with rice cooker eggs than your typical stovetop ones.