A rice cooker is a handy appliance to have, especially if rice is a significant part of your diet. It handles making the perfect pot of rice without much work – all you need to do is load the cooker with rice and water, start it, and you’re good to go. But storage can be an issue, and many people use the top of their microwave as storage – but is it safe?
A rice cooker is safe on top of a microwave, as long as you have a heat-safe underlay between them, such as a rubber mat or other heatproof material. This is because the top of the microwave gets hot when the appliance is switched on and can damage your rice cooker.
The rest of the article will look at the precautions you should take when storing your rice cooker on top of your microwave and other spots in the kitchen where you can keep your cooker without taking up too much space.
Is a Rice Cooker Safe on Top of a Microwave?
A rice cooker is safe to put on top of a microwave though there are still some precautions to take which I will get into later.
You may find storing the rice cooker on top of the microwave is a great way to save space within the kitchen. It also can use in use while situated on top of the microwave though depending on the overall height you may find it hard to reach.
In turn this can cause an accident of knocking the rice cooker over onto yourself.
You may find it easier to move the rice cooker to surface level for when you are using it to eliminate any dangers and accidents that could occur.
Precautions To Take When Storing a Rice Cooker on Top of a Microwave
Storing a rice cooker, or any other appliance, on top of a microwave should only be done if proper precautions are taken. The top of your microwave can seem like the perfect spot for rice cooker storage, as it’s easily accessible, and you’re unlikely to be doing anything else with that space.
However, there’s one major concern when doing so – heat transfer.
When your microwave is in use, the top and the sides of the appliance get hot, which can transfer to any appliance directly in contact with the microwave, especially if you’re using it for cooking something that takes a significant amount of time.
This heat transfer can cause several issues, including, but not limited to:
- Melting: A plastic rice cooker is especially susceptible to heat and melting.
- Damage to food inside the cooker: If you store rice or other food in your rice cooker, the additional heat can cause it to overcook, causing the food to be ruined. Not only does it taste bad, eating overcooked starchy foods, such as rice, also increases the risk of developing cancer.
- Damage to the microwave: It may seem counterintuitive, but placing a rice cooker on top of your microwave can damage the microwave itself. If the cooker is blocking your microwave’s air vents, it can cause the appliance to overheat and, eventually, stop working.
Given the potential consequences, it’s always essential to take the relevant safety precautions when placing an appliance like a rice cooker on top of a microwave, which might include:
Create a Barrier Between Your Microwave and Rice Cooker
One way to prevent heat from transferring from your microwave to your rice cooker and damaging it is to create a barrier between the top of your microwave and the bottom of the rice cooker. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to do so is by separating the two using a rubber mat.
I recommend using Prep Solutions by Progressive Microwave Multi-Mat from Amazon.com. This mat can not only prevent heat transfer from the top of your microwave but can also be used inside the microwave, making it easy for you to lift out hot dishes of food without worrying about injuring yourself.
When using a mat, make sure to double-check that you’re not blocking your microwave’s air vents. If the vents are located at the top of the microwave, you may have to consider an alternative solution.
Use a Microwave Cart With Multiple Levels
If you’ve got limited space, consider investing in a microwave cart with multiple levels, which allows you to stack your rice cooker on top of your microwave while leaving enough space to allow the heat to vent out of the microwave.
It also protects your cooker from being overheated when the microwave is switched on.
I recommend using the Amazon Basics Rolling Microwave Cart from Amazon.com. This cart has two shelves, as well as a wooden top that can double as a third shelf. Additionally, the wheels allow you to easily move it around your kitchen if you’re ever looking to change the look of the space.
Install a Shelf
If you’re looking for permanent stacked storage space, consider installing a shelf over your microwave unit.
Like a microwave cart, it allows enough ventilation space for the hot air to leave the microwave and also ensures that you don’t have to worry about your rice cooker or the rice within it, getting damaged every time you use your microwave.
Additionally, a shelf allows you to use the vertical wall space that would otherwise go to waste. With a shelf, you can make the most of the limited space in your kitchen without worrying about safety concerns.
A shelf also gives you more space to store more delicate items that shouldn’t be placed directly over a microwave under any condition, like kitchen plants and temperature-sensitive foods.
Move the Rice Cooker When Using Your Microwave
If none of the other options are feasible for you, a simple solution is to simply move the rice cooker from the top of your microwave when using it.
You want to make sure that you never use your rice cooker while it is stacked over another appliance, which removes the worry of the heat from the microwave affecting your rice cooker and ensures that the microwave’s vents remain free when the appliance is in use.
For the greatest safety, avoid placing the rice cooker on top of the microwave until the appliance in use has completely cooled down.
Alternative Storage Spaces for Your Rice Cooker
If you have limited shelf and cooking space in your kitchen, it’s understandable that you need a safe storage spot for your rice cooker so you have enough space to go about your daily kitchen tasks. While a microwave may not be the best option, this doesn’t mean you have to leave your cooker lying on top of a counter that you could otherwise be using.
Some storage spaces you should consider in the kitchen include:
Even if you can’t install a shelf over your microwave, check to see if you can use existing shelves in your kitchen to store your rice cooker. If you’re looking to create custom shelves for your cooker and other small appliances, one great option is to install shelves in the corners below your countertops.
Most people tend to forget about the excess storage offered by their cabinets, as reaching in to pull out an appliance can take some effort – especially if you’ve forgotten which cabinet the appliance was in the first place.
That said, if you’ve got limited counter space, you’ll want to make the most out of the rest of your kitchen, and that means making use of your cabinets.
If you don’t have enough cabinet space either, but do have extra wall space, consider installing a few additional cabinets. Not only will you have room to store your rice cooker, but it should also make arranging the rest of your kitchen easier.
Pull Out Drawers
Is the space below your counters going to waste?
Consider investing in a counter with pull-out drawers or installing custom-built ones. These drawers are tall enough to fit appliances that can’t fit into a regular drawer, like your rice cooker. You can also use them to store pots and pans when you’re not cooking.
Additionally, depending on how you position them, you may be able to use pull-out drawers to hide the unsightly pipes in your kitchen, making it look more attractive to the eye.
Do you own your home? If so, you may be able to remove a portion of your kitchen wall and dedicate it exclusively to appliance storage instead. Not only does this take care of the worry of storing your rice cooker, but it also opens up more storage space in your kitchen – perfect if you were running low on space.
Outside the Kitchen
If you’re someone who only uses their rice cooker occasionally, you might be able to store the appliance somewhere else in your home. There’s nothing that says it must be stored in your kitchen, but that doing so is convenient, particularly if you’re using your cooker daily.
For individuals who only make rice a few times a month or prefer to cook it on the stove unless they’re short on time, a rice cooker can be stored in your bedroom cupboards and cabinets. If there’s any storage space in your home that’s not being used, and it is not too humid or hot, you should be able to store your rice cooker there without any concern.
That said, make sure to store it in an easily remembered place, as the last thing you want is to go looking for your rice cooker in an emergency, only to discover you’ve forgotten where it was stored!