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If you’ve ever wondered why someone would spend money on a rice cooker when you can easily cook rice on the stove or even in the microwave, I am guessing you haven’t actually used a rice cooker.
I was skeptical of the need for a rice cooker (or, honestly, spending money on any single-use gadget), too, but after getting the chance to test out this Dash Mini Rice Cooker, which Dash sent me to review, I am now convinced it is a must-have kitchen appliance.
Not only does the rice cooker make something as simple as cooking rice even easier, but it also cooks up a variety of other things like soup, oatmeal, bread and even pancakes. The real kicker, however, is that it’s only $25 on Amazon, which is a pretty good price for a kitchen appliance that multitasks as much as the Dash Mini Rice Cooker.
The Dash Mini Rice Cooker has a 2-cup capacity, so it is best for an individual if you’re making a main dish of soup or oatmeal, for example. But it makes enough rice to serve two people, if you’re using the rice as a side dish. Because of its small size, your food is ready in 20 minutes or less, regardless of what you’re making. When it’s finished cooking, it will stay warm until you remove the lid. The prep work for cooking rice, pasta or veggies is exactly the same: add water and the food you’re cooking and press the button.
Plus, it comes in eight colors, including aqua and pink, so it would make a great off-to-school gift for a college graduate or be perfect for a housewarming present. This little workhouse has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating from more than 34,000 reviewers.
For my test, I started with the basics and of course made some rice. As someone who has both undercooked and overcooked rice before, using the rice cooker was the easiest and quickest way I’ve ever cooked rice — and it was done perfectly with no boiling over and no mess. The recipe book that comes with the rice cooker includes rice-to-water ratios for a variety of rice types, so there was no guesswork when it came to measuring.
The “keep warm” function worked well for rice because it finished more quickly than I expected and I wasn’t ready for it just yet. When it was time to use it, I found the nonstick pot was indeed nonstick and I had no problem getting the rice out with the included mixing paddle, which I used as a scoop.
I made sushi rice and white rice, but the photo below is of the sushi rice. As you can see, it is perfectly cooked with no excess water and no mess.
The following morning, I decided to test out how it works for something other than rice and made a pancake. Again, it couldn’t have been easier, as all I did was combine pre-made pancake mix and water, pour the batter in and let it cook until it flipped to warm.
There are two downsides to the rice cooker that don’t really affect my review (I am still in love!), but are worth noting, as you may notice some Amazon reviews cite them.
First, the rice cooker doesn’t let you know how you long it will take to cook your food. For me, this isn’t a huge problem since everything is done in less than 20 minutes, and the cooker goes into warming mode once it’s done cooking, so everything is still hot. Once you use it a few times, you can easily take a guess at how long something will take, and if you don’t mind assuming it could be up to 20 minutes, this might not bother you. I didn’t have any issues with timing my meals within that window, but some users might want to know the exact timing.
The rice cooker also does not beep or make any type of sound to tell you when it’s done cooking — unless you happen to be near it and hear the switch flip from “cook” to “warm.” If you’re busy prepping other food, you might not notice the rice cooker is done without a visual check. But the good news, again, is that the cooker goes into warming mode when it’s done, anyway.
Now, back to that pancake, here’s how it looked on a full-size dinner plate. Perfectly large, thick and fluffy!
It’s hard to beat the price of the Dash Mini Rice Cooker. Still, if you need something bigger, you’ll find plenty of larger rice cookers on Amazon, including this Black+Decker rice cooker with different sizes that will prepare anywhere from 3-16 cups of rice.
Normally priced at almost $45, the 16-cup version is currently on sale for $35, a savings of 21%. Because of its large size, it would be great for cooking a very large meal or for making a lot of rice at once to use as leftovers. The rice cooker also includes a steaming basket, which you can use to make vegetables, fish and more.
After nearly 39,000 reviews on Amazon, it has a total rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, with 73% of customers giving it a full 5 stars.
Will you be adding a rice cooker to your kitchen?