Can You Cook Meat in a Rice Cooker? (Yes + 8 More Surprising Foods)

Have you ever cooked rice on the stovetop and ended up with half of it stuck to the bottom of your pan? Rice cookers to the rescue. These handy appliances can have you eating perfect rice within 30 minutes. No sticking. No mush. Just right! Can you cook meat in a rice cooker, too?

You can cook meat in a rice cooker as part of a one-pot rice dish or on its own. Beef, pork, chicken, and seafood are excellent candidates for the rice cooker. Grains, pasta, and vegetables can also be cooked in this versatile small appliance.

Read on to learn how to cook meat in a rice cooker!

What is a rice cooker?

Why should you add a rice cooker to your kitchen appliance collection?

A rice cooker is an electronic cooking appliance that is known for cooking rice perfectly. It is made up of a body, a removable interior cooking pot, an electric heating plate, a temperature sensor, and functional buttons. Some rice cookers even have a slow-cooker option. A rice cooker uses liquid and steam to cook foods.

Japanese rice cookers have been a staple appliance in Asian kitchens for decades. They are simple to use and yield perfectly cooked and fluffy rice.

Can you cook raw meat in a rice cooker?

Isn’t a rice cooker just for rice? Certainly not! Don’t let the name fool you.

You can cook raw meat successfully in a rice cooker. In fact, you can cook any fresh or frozen meat in the rice cooker as long as you like steamed or braised meats . Soft, thin meats like chicken and fish are ideal. You can also cook beef and pork, but they will have a different texture than if they were fried or grilled.

Meat cooked in a rice cooker is steamed. You add liquid, either water or broth, and it heats up to cook the meat through. Most meats, especially smaller cuts, will usually cook in the same amount of time as the rice. To avoid undercooked meat, it is always smart to test the meat with a kitchen thermometer to check doneness.

You can marinate or add your favorite seasonings to the meat before placing it in the rice cooker. Many rice cookers come with recipe books to help guide you when adding different meats and vegetables. If making up your own creations, a little experimentation with meat chunk sizes and timing may be required.

Can you cook meat in a rice cooker? Yes!
You can cook meat in a rice cooker.

Can you fry meat in a rice cooker?

Can you deep fry meat in a rice cooker when that craving for chicken wings hits?

No, you cannot fry meat in a rice cooker. The rice cooker is designed to take water to its boiling point (212 F or 100 C). Deep frying only happens around 360 F (180 C). With the standard rice cooker, it’s impossible to deep fry foods since the temperature doesn’t get high enough.

While you can’t fry meat in a rice cooker, adding a little oil to the bottom of the pot and browning meat or stir-frying vegetables is possible. An air fryer is a better option if you are wanting to simulate the frying experience with a small appliance.

Can you cook rice and meat together?

There are countless rice and meat combinations that taste so good. Can your rice cooker do double duty and cook both your grain and protein at the same time?

Yes, it is safe to cook rice and meat together as long as you cook the meat for long enough to ensure it’s properly cooked through. Bite-sized chunks of meat will cook in about the same time period as rice. Larger cuts of meat will take longer to cook.

When cooking rice and meat together, you need to add sufficient water or broth. Place the rice on the bottom and the meat on top to ensure they both absorb moisture and cook through.

Smart Tip: Before cooking, slice thicker or bigger parts of the meat into thinner slices to cook evenly.

Meat and rice can be cooked together in a rice cooker.
A rice cooker can make a one-pot meat and rice dish.

What is the best meat to cook in a rice cooker?

Meats that taste good steamed are perfect for the rice cooker.

While you can cook any type of meat in a rice cooker, chicken and fish are ideally suited to this style of cooking. Soft, lean meats like chicken and fish cook fast, and the flesh stays juicy without drying out. A firm white fish like cod or mackerel fillets cook well, as do fattier fish like salmon.

Adding raw chicken to the rice is an excellent way to cook these two foods together, so you have a simple one-pot meal.

How long does it take to cook meat in a rice cooker?

How do you know your meat is cooked to perfection?

Cooking time depends on what type of meat you are cooking. A small chicken breast takes approximately 20 minutes, while a beef steak may take more than 30 minutes. The meat’s size and thickness will ultimately determine the cooking time.

Meat thermometers are essential while steaming to ensure that the meats you’re cooking reach a safe internal temperature. Beef and pork must be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62 degrees Celsius) and poultry to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.5 degrees Celsius).

The more you use your rice cooker to cook various types of meat, the better you discover the time frame it takes to cook your meat perfectly.

Smart Tip: To avoid overcooked meat, you may have to set the timer yourself, as the rice cooker will only turn off by default when all the water is vaporized, not when your meat is cooked.

How long does it take to cook beef in a rice cooker?

Tired of chicken and fish and want to add beef to your meal rotation?

Beef cooking time in the rice cooker depends on the beef cut. The quickest-cooking beef is ground beef. It can be done in as little as 10-15 minutes. Thicker cuts of beef can take 30-45 minutes.

You can cook ground beef solo in a rice cooker by adding a small amount of oil to the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is warm, add the ground beef and saute it for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While it’s not really recommended to cook a solo steak or a large cut of beef in a rice cooker, it can be done. However, you must cook them for at least 30-45 minutes to ensure they are well cooked through. Thinner, stir-fried strips of beef will cook much faster.

Can you steam meat in a rice cooker?

Steaming is a healthy way to prepare food without a lot of added oils.

You can steam meats in a rice cooker. Adding water or broth will cause steam to build up in the cooker, cooking your meat to the desired temperature. Any meats you would normally steam, like lobster, crab legs, shrimp, fish, and chicken, turn out nicely in the rice cooker.

Seafood and fish take 3-10 minutes to steam-cook, depending on the thickness and size of the food. In comparison, chicken takes about 7-10 minutes to steam-cook. Steaming occurs at 212°F/100°C.

Can I use my rice cooker as a slow cooker?

The beauty of a rice cooker is its “set it and forget it” function. This sounds similar to how a slow cooker works. Are they interchangeable?

A rice cooker can also be used as a slow cooker for pork, chicken, and other meat dishes. Since it uses moist heat for a prolonged period of time to cook food, the rice cooker is similar to the slow cooker in principle. Some rice cooker models have a slow cooker function built in.

Using a rice cooker as a slow cooker is possible. However, the process isn’t always “set it and forget it” because the rice cooker doesn’t cook for many hours at once. Some rice cookers boast multiple cooking functions, including a slow cooker feature. In this case, it will operate more like a traditional crockpot.

Since most slow cooker recipes include liquid and protein, they are well-suited for rice cookers. Moist heat cooks proteins through. You can even brown the meat in the bottom of the rice cooker pot before adding the other ingredients.

If your particular model rice cooker doesn’t have a slow cooker feature, you will need to figure out how many cook cycles it will take to equal the slow cooker time. For example, if your maximum rice cooker setting is an hour and your slow cooker recipe calls for 4 hours of cooking time, you will need to go through 4 different cooking cycles to achieve the same results.

Can you steam frozen vegetables in a rice cooker?

Steaming is a healthy way to prepare our favorite vegetables.

A rice cooker is ideal for steaming frozen vegetables. For the best results, use a steamer basket that fits inside the rice cooker. The process is very similar to stovetop steaming.

Many rice cooker come with additional cooking accessories. Even if your rice cooker doesn’t come with a steaming basket, you can buy a collapsible stainless steel steaming basket that will fit any size rice cooker.

As soon as the pot is filled with water, place the basket of vegetables inside, then close the lid. A steam button may be included in your rice cooker. The vegetables will begin to cook as soon as the water reaches boiling point.

You may need to experiment with cooking times at first. The length of time you steam the vegetables will depend on their size, texture, and preferences for crispness or softness.

The total cooking time will be shorter than that of rice, so if adding to a rice dish, wait until a few minutes are left before adding the vegetables to avoid an overcooked, mushy mess.

You can also use your rice cooker to gently stir-fry vegetables using a bit of oil on the bottom of the pot.

How to steam meat in a rice cooker?

Now you know you can steam meat in a rice cooker, so how do you do it? The best way is to refer to your specific model’s instruction manual, but here are the basics.

To steam meat or fish without rice, you need a steam rack that fits into the basin of your rice cooker. This is important to prevent the meat from touching and sticking to the bottom of the pot. If cooking meat and rice together, put the rice in first and the meat on top.

To steam your meat in a rice cooker, here are the steps:

Step 1: Pour in the recommended amount of water or broth

Generally, 500ml or 2 cups for fish and 625ml or 2½cups of water for chicken, beef, or pork should work. Beef, chicken, or vegetable broth instead of water will add more flavor to the final dish.

Step 2: Place the seasoned meat on the steam rack

Place your seasoned meat on the steam rack and set the rack inside the rice cooker.

Step 3: Set the timer to your desired time frame

The time will vary depending on the type and cut of meat. A general rule of thumb is 3-10 minutes for seafood and 7-10 for chicken. Beef and pork may take longer, depending on size. Bite-sized or ground versions will take a shorter time than full cuts.

Step 4: Turn on the rice cooker

It is best to wait until you place the food inside the cooker before turning it on. This will help you avoid burns.

Step 5: Check for doneness

Once the alarm goes off, test the temperature of the meat to ensure it has cooked through. If so, enjoy! If not, set the timer for a few minutes longer.

What else can you cook in a rice cooker?

We’ve discussed how easy it is to cook meat, seafood, vegetables, and, of course, rice in a rice cooker. Is there anything you can cook?

A rice cooker can cook oatmeal, pasta, beans, eggs, chili, beef stew, chicken soup, and cake. This versatile appliance can help out at every meal. The possibilities are endless.

Let’s look at popular foods that can be cooked in a rice cooker:

  • Oatmeal (and other grains)
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Chili
  • Beef stew
  • Dumplings
  • Cake
You can cook a cake in a rice cooker!
You can cook a cake in a rice cooker!

Oatmeal (and other grains)

A rice cooker can cook up a batch of oatmeal for breakfast. Simply add water, oats, sweetener, and fruit for a tasty morning treat. Other grains like quinoa, barley, and farrow work well. Some models have an “oatmeal” button, but this is usually for quick oats. The “grain” button works for old-fashioned, steel-cut oats and other heartier grains.


The beauty of a rice cooker for pasta is no draining! Smaller pasta shapes can go straight into the cooker. You’ll probably have to break up longer kinds of pasta to fit. Cover with water, and add a sprinkle of salt and a touch of oil to prevent excess foaming. Give the pasta a stir about halfway to prevent clumping. You can even prepare risotto in the cooker. Remember that pasta will double in size due to water absorption, so make sure your rice cooker can handle the final amount.


You can cook dried beans in your rice cooker. Soak them in water overnight (you can do this in your unplugged rice cooker), drain them the next morning, add seasonings, cover them with water, and turn on the cooker. Depending on the type of bean, you may have to go through 2 or more cooking cycles. Just check the doneness periodically and make sure to add more water if needed.


A rice cooker is a perfect tool for boiling eggs. Add the eggs, cover with water, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda (this helps them peel easier), and set the cooking time for 10 minutes. Remove from the cooker and immediately submerge in ice water. Perfectly cooked and peeled eggs!

You can even scramble eggs and make a frittata full of veggies and cooked meats. Put butter in the bottom of the pot and add your egg mixture. Cover and cook until set.


Instead of slaving over the stovetop for hours, break out the rice cooker to make chili. Add ground meat and oil to the bottom of the cooker and brown. Next, add broth, tomatoes, beans, and your favorite seasonings. Use the slow cooker function on your rice cooker if it has one. If not, cycle through until the flavors have melded to your liking.

Beef Stew

Beef stew is another excellent pick for your rice cooker because it uses small cuts of beef. Add beef stew meat, broth, carrots, celery, and potatoes for a true comfort meal. This is another great recipe for the slow cooker feature.


The rice cooker makes steaming dumplings easy. Add water and place the dumplings on the steam rack. You’ll be able to satisfy your Far East cravings in as little as 10 minutes.


A rice cooker can even make dessert! You can use your favorite ready-made cake mix or your favorite recipe. Mix up the wet and dry ingredients and pour them into the non-stick rice cooker bowl. Cakes baked this way will take 45-60 minutes, depending on your rice cooker. Believe it or not, some rice cookers even have a cake mode.

Rice cooker-worthy foods.
A rice cooker isn’t just for rice!

Summary of “Can You Cook Meat in a Rice Cooker?”

You can cook beef, chicken, pork, fish, and seafood in a rice cooker. You can even make one-pot dishes with meat, rice, and vegetables. A rice cooker is a versatile appliance that can deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options. This style of cooking is so popular you can find rice cooker recipes with the click of a mouse.


Can you cook hamburger meat in a rice cooker?

Yes, ground meats, like hamburger, cook fast in a rice cooker. You can cook hamburger meat alone or in combination with other ingredients.

How to slow-cook meat in a rice cooker?

Many rice cookers have a slow cook function to cook meat. If your rice cooker doesn’t have this feature, you can achieve the same effect by adding cooking cycles.

What else can I cook in my rice cooker?

You can cook a variety of grains, eggs, pasta, beans, stews, soups, dumplings, and cakes in a rice cooker. The possibilities are endless.

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