Why Is My Rice Cooker Bubbling Over? 3 Common Causes You Can Easily Avoid

A rice cooker bubbles over when you overfill it with water or there is too much starch in the rice you cook. So, before cooking, wash your rice 2-3 times and refer to your user guide for your rice cooker’s minimum and maximum capacity.

If you’ve ever had a rice cooker boil over, you know how annoying it is to end up with so much sticky water on the countertop after cooking. I mean, what’s the point of a rice cooker if we have to end up with such a huge mess.

When I first started using my rice cooker. I had no clue how to stop the bubbling over every time I cooked, and it was quite frustrating. I guess that’s why you’re here too!

Before you throw your cooker in the bin, have you considered that perhaps your rice cooker isn’t the issue? Maybe you are missing out on some crucial steps when cooking rice or pasta in the rice cooker, or you simply don’t understand how the rice cooker works.

In this article, I’ll be sharing the major causes of your rice cooker bubbling over and how to avoid it. But first, you should understand how the rice cooker works.

why is my rice cooker bubbling over

How Does A Rice Cooker Work?

The components of a rice cooker are the cooking bowl, heating elements, a thermostat, and some buttons. When you fill a rice cooker with rice and water and initiate the cooking process by pressing the start button, the rice cooker begins to heat up and can reach a maximum boiling temperature of 212°F.

When the cooker reaches its boiling point, it stops automatically. And that’s the primary function of the thermostat; it regulates the temperature of the rice cooker.

The cooker then either turns off or switches to the “keep warm” mode to keep the rice at a reasonable or safe temperature until it is time to serve.

3 Reasons Your Rice Cooker Is Bubbling Over

A rice cooker is designed to regulate its cooking process and boiling point, so ideally, there should be no reason to bubble over. So what then causes the rice cooker to bubble over?

Here are the 3 main reasons you should be aware of If you want to make the most of your rice cooker.

rice and water in a rice cooker

Quality of Rice

Wait! I’m not saying your rice is bad or of poor quality. By quality, I am referring to the starch content of rice. Rice comes in many different varieties, with some containing more starch than others. For example, the Risotto rice has shorter grains and more starch than the Basmati rice.

When you cook rice with a high starch concentration, the starch reacts with the boiling water, resulting in large, soapy, and foamy bubbles. Aside from bubbling, too much starch can also cause the rice to become sticky and moldy, much like porridge.

Excess Water

The different rice varieties often require different amounts of water to cook them. While some types require a 1:1 rice-to-water ratio, others require a 1:2 water-to-rice ratio. Using more water than needed will almost certainly result in bubbling over.

Overfilling The Cooker

Every rice cooker has a maximum amount of water it can hold, which is usually specified in the user manual. For example, you can comfortably get 8 cups of cooked rice off an Aroma rice cooker according to its manual

That is, you can’t cook more than 4 cups of raw rice because raw rice is assumed to double in size after cooking, and you risk exceeding the rice cooker’s capacity.

If there is an excess of rice and/or water in the cooker, there’s a higher possibility of your rice cooker bubbling over.

How To Prevent Your Rice Cooker From Bubbling Over

Now that you know why your rice cooker is bubbling over, let me walk you through the simple steps to avoid nasty bubbling when cooking your rice. 

I was a bit intrigued when I found these remedies. It’s a little bit of science and a lot of common sense. 

Wash Your Rice Before Cooking

If there’s one thing I’ll recommend when cooking rice, it’s to take your time and wash the rice thoroughly until the water is clear. Because the 5 minutes you fail to spare to wash the rice before cooking results in a huge mess that will take much longer to clean up afterward.

Aside from removing dust and other materials from the rice, rinsing also helps remove excess starch from the rice and keeps your rice cooker from overflowing.

washing rice by hand

To properly get rid of excess starch thorough rinsing; 

  • I recommend washing your rice 2-3 times before cooking. The goal is to achieve clear rinsing water before transferring the rice to the cooker. 
  • You can also soak starch-rich rice in water for a few minutes before rinsing.

Use A Low-Starch Rice

Long grain white rice, such as Basmati, Jasmine, and other regular long-grain white rice, is the best rice to cook in rice cookers. These varieties contain less starch and produce minimal bubbling when cooked.

Don’t Overfill Rice cooker

To keep your rice cooker from bubbling over; 

  • Make sure you put in the right amount of rice and water. You can find the recommended gauge in your user guide. And some rice cookers have markings inside the pot to regulate your measurement.
  • It’s also a good idea to understand the variety of rice you’re cooking, how to prepare it, how much water you’ll need, and how long it needs to boil.

Add Oil To Rice When Cooking

Although this isn’t the best way to stop bubbling, it is by far the healthiest. 

  • Add a little olive or coconut oil to your rice when cooking to help reduce bubbling over.
  • A little oil or butter can also help keep the rice grains from sticking together, making the rice less clumpy and adding flavor to your meal.

Get A Bigger Rice Cooker

A bigger pot does not stop the bubbling; however, it allows larger bubbles and water to cover the grains adequately. This will help you avoid having a cluttered countertop after each cooking session.

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Rice Cooker To Keep Bubbling Over

It may be tempting to leave the rice cooker bubbling over due to a bit of laziness or tiredness. However, here are reasons why it’s always going to be a bad idea.

  • Aside from the fact that cleaning up the mess left by the bubbles can be a bit stressful. It may also ruin the rice, turning it mushy or soggy.
  • Also, allowing bubbling steam to sit consistently on the exterior of your rice cooker may cause damage to the appliance, as sensitive parts of the cooker can become soaked with moisture.

FAQs On Why Is My Rice Cooker Bubbling Over

Is It Safe To Open My Rice Cooker Lid While Cooking?

No, you should wait until the cooking is finished. When you open a rice cooker while cooking, steam escapes, which can disrupt the cooking process. Furthermore, opening the lid can result in serious injury due to the heat buildup within the cooker.

How Long Does Rice Cooking In A Rice Cooker Take?

This depends on the type and quantity of rice being cooked. Some rice varieties require more water than others, resulting in a longer cooking time. However, cooking time typically ranges between 20 and 35 minutes. 

Is it Worth Having A Rice Cooker?

A rice cooker makes life so much easier when cooking rice. You can set the timer for when you want dinner ready, and all you have to do is turn it on. Then, when the cooking is complete, the rice cooker shuts down automatically or switches to a keep warm mode. So yes, it’s definitely worth getting one.

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