I Tried KitchenAid’s New Grain Cooker and It’s the Only Way I’ll Make Rice from Now On

published May 16, 2024
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A pot of cooked white jasmine rice.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I’m a huge rice guy, and my family has been cooking the same recipe for rice that my grandma taught my mom, who then taught me, for decades. (It’s pretty good, if I do say so myself, and maybe I’ll pop it in a future post down the road.) However, the only “issue” with the rice my mom made is that there would always be a layer of crunchy rice (my mom called it pega), at the bottom of the pan after cooking it on the stovetop. Now, while that was arguably the most delicious part of the rice, it also made the bottom of the pot all scorched and covered in bits and pieces of stuck-on rice residue. That meant I’d have to soak my rice pan — which, when you eat as much rice as I do, is a serious pain. I’ve tried rice cookers in the past, with little success. I always found they made a mess, didn’t cook the rice properly, and were generally more of a hassle than just using a pan — that is, until I got to try out the KitchenAid Grain and Rice Cooker.  

What Is the KitchenAid Grain and Rice Cooker? 

This smart small appliance isn’t your average rice cooker — by any means. It features an integrated scale and water tank with an easy-to-use touch screen that lets you choose between 21 preset cook times and ratios for rice, beans, and other grains. It also has an included steamer basket that lets you pop in meats and veggies that can steam while your rice or grains cook in the chamber below. That means you can get all of your cooking done in one simple machine — which is great for people strapped for time or for nights when you really don’t feel like doing a ton of dishes. (Which, for me, is most nights.) 

Why I Love the KitchenAid Grain and Rice Cooker 

I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical of a “smart” rice cooker after perfecting the art of cooking rice in a pan over the last decade. However, the ease and simplicity of this machine is what won me over. First off, it’s not as bulky as it seems, and takes up considerably less space than a microwave oven on your countertop. As a heads up, though, it’s a little too big to store in my shelves or cabinets, which you should consider before purchasing.) Secondly, this machine opened up a world of grains for me. Instead of having to just rely on my trusty bag of jasmine rice every night, I’ve been mixing it up with farro, barley, couscous, and more — and since the presets, scale, and water tank do all the heavy lifting for me, it’s like having my own personal grain chef right in my kitchen. Plus, since the rice cooker is so efficient, I really haven’t had trouble with rice sticking to the bottom of the pan (and when I miss the crunchy rice, I can always go back to the stovetop!), which makes cleanup a total breeze. 

But don’t just take my word for it — with an average rating of 4.6 stars from over 110 reviews, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who’s a fan of this bad boy. “This KitchenAid rice cooker is the bomb,” one reviewer wrote. “It is a great tool for working families. It makes perfect rice every time. This beautiful sleek helpful tool would be a great addition to your kitchen. I was skeptical of a rice cooker, as I still cooked rice in a pan like my great-grandmother, still using her pan. Well, I toyed with it for several meals and even tried a few recipes in the book that came with it. My favorite thing about this rice cooker is that I can set it up in the morning (it has a delay timer) and then come home in the evening to a hot meal. Another point I feel needs mentioning [is that you] don’t even need to measure, this sounds a little crazy. This machine weighs your dry rice and then adds the perfect amount of water and time. I saved the best part for last, only one pot to clean, and this machine even cleans itself. Just WOW amazing!!” 

So, if you’re someone who makes a ton of rice or grains on the regular — and you’re sick of soaking pans and doing mental math to figure out the exact ratio of water to grains, the KitchenAid Grain and Rice Cooker could be a seriously worthwhile investment. 

Buy: KitchenAid Grain and Rice Cooker, $299.99