Why Is My Rice Cooker Bubbling Over? 5 Easy Ways To Avoid It

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Close-up image of Rice cooker bubbling over with a text rice cooker bubbling over.

Rice cookers save time and energy, making them valuable additions to your kitchen. However, it is frustrating if your rice cooker boils over. Why does your rice cooker boil over, and how can you stop it? 

Rice cookers boil over because the starch on the rice grains mixes with the water and creates bubbles. If there are too many bubbles, they expand up and out of the cooker. The easiest way to prevent your rice cooker from bubbling is to rinse your rice before cooking. 

Is Rice Supposed to Boil Over?

Rice bubbles while cooking, but it shouldn’t boil over. You can hear this bubbling in the rice cooker during the cooking cycle. However, you should only see steam rising from your rice cooker; no bubbles or foam should come out of the steam vent.

Kitchen magic: Rice cooker hums in the dark!

Why Does Rice Bubble?

Starchy foods like rice and pasta create bubbles as they cook. As the cooking water boils, it mixes with starch on the rice grains. This mixing creates bubbles. If there are too many bubbles in the pot, they will rise to the top of the inner pot and come out of the vent. 

Hot pot bubbles with steaming liquid.

How Does a Rice Cooker Work?

Rice cookers heat water until boiling, creating bubbles and steam. The rice grains absorb this moisture and soften. Once all the moisture is absorbed, the rice cooker shuts off. 

Steam and bubbles can get trapped in the rice cooker and create foam. The exact amount of foam depends on the starch content of the rice. Excess starch creates extra bubbles and foam, which increases the risk of your rice cooker boiling over. 

How Can I Stop My Cooker From Bubbling Over?

There are five easy ways to stop your rice cooker from bubbling over. 

Wash or Soak Your Rice Well Before Cooking

Washing my rice before I cook is an easy way to ensure my rice doesn’t boil over. I use a mesh strainer to run the rice grains under water for about 30 seconds. This method helps remove excess starch from the rice grains. The less starch, the fewer bubbles that form, which decreases the risk of your rice cooker bubbling over.

If you’re using high-starch rice, like brown rice, you may want to soak your rice before cooking. I don’t always do this because sometimes I’m in a hurry to get dinner on the table, but it makes a big difference. 

To soak your rice, pour it into a bowl and cover with water. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then drain the water. Repeat until the water runs clear. 

The girl rinses rice in chilly water for making easy cabbage rolls.

Don’t Overfill Your Rice Cooker

I’m guilty of filling my crockpot and casserole dishes to their utmost capacity. Sometimes, I fill them with so much food they bubble over. With my rice cooker, though, I don’t push the line; I never add more rice than my rice cooker can handle. If you overfill your rice cooker, it may boil over. Stick with the correct amounts, and don’t push it!

Add Oil On Top of Your Rice

A small amount of fat can help stop bubbles from rising from the rice cooker. Add 1 TBSP of fat for every cup of uncooked rice. Try using olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.

Use Rice With Less Starch

Brown rice has the most starch of all rice varieties. Long-grain rice, like jasmine and basmati, has less starch. Try a long-grain variety if you often have issues with your brown rice boiling over. I typically use a variety of rice in my cooking, so I always have more than one kind on hand. Experiment and see if a different type of rice is less likely to cause your cooker to boil over. 

Make Sure the Cooker is Clean

Check all the vents and the seal around the lid to ensure there isn’t any built-up starch or residue. Check that the pressure seal moves freely. All parts of your cooker should be clean to function correctly. If you find buildup, wash it off with a sponge or a small brush. 

Two More Tips

  1. Use the cup that came with your rice cooker. Most cooker cups are only ¾ of a cup. If you’re using a regular measuring cup, you could add too much rice.
  2. Follow the manual for amounts to add, and follow the cooking cycle directions. If you have misplaced your manual, google your model, and the online manual should appear. Most information is readily available online.

3 Ways to Manage Boil Overs

Maybe you’ve tried all the methods, but your rice cooker is still boiling over. In that case, try one of the following to mitigate some of the mess:

  1. Place a paper towel over the vent while your cooker is cooking. The towel helps absorb some of the bubbles before they reach your counter. Make sure the paper towel sits loosely over the vent and doesn’t block too much airflow.
  2. Place your rice cooker on a cookie sheet. Any bubbles from the rice cooker will land on the cookie sheet rather than your counter or floor, making cleanup much more manageable. 
  3. Reduce the amount of water. Start by adding 1-2 tablespoons less water than called for. If needed, reduce by up to ¼ cup. Be careful, however, because using too little water will cause your rice to burn. 

If all else fails, consider getting a new rice cooker. If your model is older and well-used, it may be time for an upgrade. I love my Aroma model for cooking rice, veggies, and other grains. 

The Bottom Line

Rice contains starch, which creates bubbles that foam up and out of your rice cooker. There are several easy ways to stop bubbles from forming. Rinsing or soaking your rice is the easiest way to prevent your rice cooker from boiling over.

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