Though the name can be misleading, rice cookers do much more than just cook rice. They can also steam vegetables and meat! You can steam meat and veggies by themselves, or you can steam them while you cook rice.
Steaming vegetables in your rice cooker while you cook rice is simple. Prepare your rice as usual, then add the veggies to your steamer basket. Let your machine cook, and soon, you have a delicious meal. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can make one.
How Do You Cook Rice And Vegetables At The Same Time?
It’s easy to cook rice and vegetables simultaneously in your rice cooker. Prepare your rice as you usually do. Then, place your steamer basket on top of your inner pot. Place the veggies you want to steam in the basket. Close the lid and select the appropriate cycle based on what type of rice you are cooking.
About halfway through the cycle, open your rice cooker and check your veggies. If they are fork-tender, remove the steamer basket and replace the rice cooker’s lid to let your rice finish cooking. If the veggies need more time, close the lid and check on them later in the cycle.
What Else Can You Steam While Cooking Rice?
In addition to veggies, you can steam meat while cooking rice. Ensure that your meat reaches the correct internal temperature in the same length of time as it takes to cook your rice. You can also steam dumplings or fruit. Choose foods that complement your meal.
For best results, choose thinner cuts of meat like boneless chicken thighs or strip steak. Cut thick chicken breasts into more petite strips to ensure they cook thoroughly. Sprinkle soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper on your meat. The seasonings will add delicious flavor to both your meat and rice.
How To Steam Vegetables Without A Steamer Basket
Many rice cookers come with a removable steamer basket. If you don’t have one, you’ve got a few options:
- Make your own steamer basket.
- Place your veggies directly on top of your rice and cook as usual.
- Order a steamer basket online.
How To Make Your Own Steamer Basket
There are a few ways to make your own steamer basket. Here’s an easy way that uses aluminum foil.
- Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that’s almost twice the width of your rice cooker.
- Fold your aluminum foil in half and then in half again.
- Use a fork to poke 10 to 15 holes through the layers of foil.
- Unfold the foil and place it over your rice cooker.
- Gently fold and push it into your cooker until it sits about ½ inch down.
- Cut off excess foil and make sure the lid closes easily.
Then, remove your foil and prepare your rice. Once your rice is ready to cook, add your foil “steamer basket” back into your pot. Add veggies or meat and your preferred seasonings. Close your rice cooker and set it to cook.
How Long To Steam Vegetables In Your Rice Cooker
The exact steaming time depends on what type of veggie you have and how big they are. Always chop thicker veggies like broccoli into small pieces. Here are suggested steaming times for fresh veggies. Frozen veggies may take a little longer, depending on their size.
- Asparagus: 20 minutes
- Broccoli: 20 minutes
- Cabbage: 25 minutes
- Carrots: 30 minutes
- Cauliflower: 20 minutes
- Corn on the Cob: 30 minutes
- Green Beans: 15 minutes
- Peas: 15 minutes
- Spinach: 10 minutes
- Squash: 30 minutes
- Zucchini: 20 minutes
Most meats take between 25 and 35 minutes. Always check the internal temperature of your meat with a meat thermometer before eating.
Easy Steamed Broccoli and Rice Recipe
If you’re looking for an easy steamed broccoli and rice recipe, check out the recipe below.
- 2 cups jasmine rice, uncooked
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 bag frozen broccoli florets, or about 1 head of fresh broccoli
- Soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil: optional for flavor
- Wash your rice and add it to your rice cooker.
- Add the water. I usually fill to the appropriate line in my rice cooker, but you can also use a measuring cup.
- Add salt and pepper and other seasonings as you desire.
- Place the steamer basket on top.
- Add your broccoli.
- Close the lid and push the “white rice” button.
- Check your broccoli after 15 minutes. It may need as much as 15 more minutes, depending on how big the florets are.
- Once your cooker finishes, let the rice and broccoli rest for about 5 minutes.
- Take out the steamer basket. Stir the rice to combine.
- Serve with chicken or fish.
Steaming vegetables in your rice cooker while cooking rice is easy. Simply add all your ingredients to your cooker and let it cook. When it finishes, you’ll have a delicious meal ready to serve.