What is the difference Between a Rice cooker and a Steamer?

What is the difference Between a Rice cooker and a Steamer

Hey there, cooking enthusiasts and kitchen wizards! Today, we will go into an exciting world of cookware and explore the key differences between two kitchen superheroes: the rice cooker and the steamer.

Picture this: you’re craving a perfectly fluffy rice bowl or a plate of steamed veggies that retain all their nutrients and flavours. That’s where these fantastic devices come into play. But wait, what differentiates them? That’s why we’re here to find out. Whether you’re a chef or a newbie, this knowledge will surely take your cooking game to another level.

In this article, you will get a brief overview of both appliances and their detailed comprehension to help you make an informed decision. So let’s begin!

Rice Cooker

Rice cooker

Now let’s start our culinary journey and explore the incredible world of rice cookers. A rice cooker is a specialized kitchen appliance that simplifies rice cooking. It takes the guesswork out of achieving fluffy cooked rice by automating the entire process.

The appealing aspect of a rice cooker lies in its simplicity and efficiency. You can have a steaming pot of delicious rice ready with your favourite dishes with a few simple steps. So you don’t have to constantly check the stove or worry about water ratios.

Related Read: Best Cuckoo Rice Cookers

Rice Cooker Features

  • Rice cookers have different cooking modes for various meals, like white rice, sushi, vegetables, soups, and more.
  • You can set a specific time for the rice cooker to start cooking, which is a great feature.
  • Modern rice cookers use fuzzy logic technology with microprocessors and sensors.
  • Rice cookers provide various settings to match your cooking preferences.
  • The instant rice cooker pot is a non-stick cooking pot that makes cleaning it a breeze.



Now, So, let’s talk about steamers! These kitchen appliances use a fantastic way to cook food using the power of steam. They’re all about healthy and efficient cooking, keeping the flavours and textures of your ingredients intact.

Steaming is a healthy cooking method. You don’t require much oil; your meal retains its richness. Plus, the gentle steam heat helps maintain vitamins, minerals, and those lovely textures you crave. These steamers are versatile too. You can steam a wide range of ingredients, from veggies to seafood, all in one go. It’s a time-saver and a great way to create a balanced meal.

Steamer Features

  • Steamers offer various steaming options, including vegetables, seafood, poultry, and dumplings.
  • They come in different sizes and capacities, allowing you to choose the one that fits your needs.
  • Many steamers have dishwasher-safe components or removable parts that make cleaning easy.
  • An external water refill mechanism allows you to add water without disrupting the steaming process.

Rice Cooker Vs A Steamer

Rice Cooker Vs A Steamer

Rice cookers and Steamers are there to elevate your busy kitchen. As they meal cooking easier in an effective way. There are a few key factors to consider when shopping for them. Here’s a guide to help you make the right choice.

1. Capacity

Regarding capacity, rice cookers and steamers can vary in size to suit consumers’ needs. Rice cookers come in various sizes to fit household sizes and cooking requirements. They typically measure their capacity in terms of cooked rice volume and are indicated in cups.

 Here’s a general guide:

  • Small capacity (1-3 cups): These rice cookers are perfect for individuals or couples. They’re compact and take up less counter space.
  • Medium capacity (4-6 cups): These rice cookers are popular for small to medium-sized families. They can cook enough rice to serve several people.
  • Large capacity (8 cups or more): They can handle cooking significant amounts of rice to feed a crowd. If you have a large family and entertain frequently, get this larger-capacity rice cooker.

On the other hand, the capacity of steamers is usually measured in terms of the number of tiers or the volume of food they can steam. Here’s a general guide:

  • Single-Tier Steamers: These steamers usually have one steaming compartment or tray. They’re suitable for individuals or small households.
  • Multi-tier Steamers: These steamers come with multiple compartments or trays. So, they allow you to steam different types of food simultaneously. They’re great for families or those who like to prepare various steamed dishes in one go.

2. Design

The design of both appliances improved over time with technological advancements. These designs aim to make your cooking experience more convenient, efficient, and safe while adding a touch of modern elegance to your kitchen.

The rice cooker can have a sleek design with a stainless steel or ceramic exterior. It is complemented mainly by a clear glass lid that makes it simple to check on the cooking. At the same time, the steamer has a modern design with a combination of stainless steel and heat-resistant plastic materials.

3. Cooking Time

Regarding cooking time, rice cookers and steamers have their own unique pace. The cooking time for rice in a rice cooker depends on various factors, such as the type of rice, the quantity being cooked, and the desired texture. Typically, the cooking time for white rice ranges from 15 to 30 minutes.

Related Read: How to Cook Wild Rice in an Aroma Rice Cooker?

Steaming food in a steamer is a slightly different story. The cooking time for steaming can vary based on what you’re cooking and how much of it you have. If you’re steaming vegetables, they usually take around 5 to 10 minutes to become tender. Fish fillets or boneless chicken breasts typically need about 15 to 20 minutes to steam through.

4. Setting

If we talk about rice cookers, you would find many options and setting on both appliances to ensure optimal results.

There are different cooking modes on the rice cooker. The regular mode is perfect for everyday rice cooking. At the same time, the quick mode speeds things up if you’re in a hurry. And if you want to plan, the delay start feature allows you to set a specific time for your rice cooker to start cooking. Rice cookers also have settings for different types of rice, like white rice, brown rice, sushi rice, or fragrant basmati rice.

On a steamer, you’ll find the cooking time. It allows you to set the desired duration for steaming your food. They also come with preset options for various types of food. Whether you’re steaming veggies, fish, poultry, or grains, these preset automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature for each specific food item.

5. Ease of Use

Both rice cookers and steamers are generally user-friendly and straightforward to operate. Rice cookers often have simple control panels with buttons. Measuring rice and water is typically direct, with clear markings on the inner pot.

Related Read: How to Use Zojirushi Rice Cooker

Steamers also have user-friendly controls, allowing you to set the desired cooking time and temperature. Some models may have additional features like food presets that automatically adjust the settings for specific food items.

6. Affordability

When it comes to affordability, rice cookers are generally more budget-friendly compared to steamers. Rice cookers come at various prices, offering options to fit multiple budgets. It makes them accessible to a wide range of households. On the other hand, steamers have a slightly higher price range than rice cookers.

How Can You Use a Rice Cooker as a Steamer?

Some rice cookers are equipped with steam baskets. So, it allows them to function as a dual-purpose appliance. With the steam basket, you can steam a variety of ingredients right in your rice cooker. It’s like having two appliances in one.

Without the steam basket, a regular rice cooker may be unable to steam food correctly. So, it’s crucial to check if your rice cooker has the necessary features before using it for steaming.

Here is a guide to using a rice cooker as a steamer:

  • Fill the inner pot with an appropriate amount of water.
  • Place the steam basket inside the pot.
  • Prepare the ingredients you want to steam.
  • Arrange the ingredients in the steam basket.
  • Close the lid of the rice cooker.
  • Set the rice cooker to steam.
  • Start the steaming process.
  • Carefully remove the steam basket when the food is done.
  • Serve and enjoy your steamed food.


A rice cooker is your go-to appliance if you want perfectly cooked rice without any hassle. It’s all about convenience and consistent results. On the other hand, a steamer offers a broader range of cooking possibilities. It lets you get creative in the kitchen and cook various foods using steam, preserving their natural goodness.

Ultimately, the choice between a rice cooker and a steamer depends on your cooking preferences and the types of dishes you want to make. If you’re a rice lover and want that no-fail rice cooking experience, go for the rice cooker. But if you’re a healthy and versatile cooking fan, the steamer is your best bet. Happy cooking & steaming! 🍚🌱


1. How Can I Steam Buns in the Rice Cooker?

To steam buns in a rice cooker, follow these steps:
1. Put the buns in a steaming basket inside the rice cooker.
2. Add water, close the lid, and set the timer.
3. Steam the buns for 10-15 minutes until hot and fluffy.

2. Can I find a combination rice cooker and steamer in the market?

Yes, combination rice cooker and steamer models are available that offer both functionalities in a single appliance.

3. Can I cook rice in a steamer?

Steamers are not ideal for cooking rice because they need the necessary features, such as a built-in cooking mode or a measuring system for water-to-rice ratios. For cooking rice, it is best to use a dedicated rice cooker.

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