Rice cookers are small kitchen appliances meant for steaming rice, and depending on the model, preparing other foods like steamed vegetables. The cookers have several movable and removable parts that can break or get lost easily. To choose the best replacements for parts that attach to the cooker, buy from the manufacturer for your specific model. For parts that don’t attach to the cooker, look for appropriate sizing, the ability to withstand heat and the condition of the parts, which must be in good condition with no splinters or cracks. Most rice cooker replacement parts are available through the original manufacturer, online stores or specialty stores.
Stick with the original manufacturer for rice cooker replacement parts that attach to the cooker or fit inside areas molded specifically to that part. This is especially true for the inner pan, removable lids and inner liners for cookers with non-removable lids. If a part doesn’t fit exactly as it should, the seal won’t be as tight as it should, letting too much steam out. If the inner pan is too small, the cooker won’t distribute heat as evenly as it should. The rice cooker replacement parts should be in good condition, without any cracks, nicks, cuts, scratches, rust, dents or peeling nonstick material.
Don’t buy used rice cooker replacement parts unless you are sure they are the correct brand and are in excellent condition. Bring the cooker with you if possible to ensure the parts are for the correct size of cooker. An inner pan, for example, could look bigger or smaller than it really is when you don’t have the rest of the cooker as a guide.
Finding the best replacement for the rice paddle, the utensil meant for scooping rice out of the cooker, is much easier because the paddle doesn’t have to fit into anything. Some cookers come with a bracket for a rice paddle holder. In those cases, a paddle and holder set for that model of cooker is best, but the paddle can always rest on a plate if need be. Generic replacement paddles are available in Asian grocery stores and specialty stores. Plastic rice paddles should be able to withstand heat and have a bumpy surface to prevent the rice from sticking to the paddle, and bamboo rice paddles should be smooth and not cracked or damaged in any way.
Do not substitute spatulas or spoons that can’t withstand heat. They may soften and leave residue on the rice. Avoid using metal utensils because most rice cookers have a nonstick coating on their inner pan, and metal can scrape this off. A paddle meant specifically for use with rice cookers is the best replacement paddle.
The measuring cup in most rice cookers follows Japanese measures, with “one cup” equaling 200 ml. Some models use cups that measure 180 ml. Replacement rice cups are very easy to find online, through manufacturers and in Asian specialty stores, but the cup must measure the correct amount for that cooker. If it measures too much, the rice could push up against the lid, damaging the seals on cookers with hinged lids.
If the power cord is detachable at both ends, it is replaceable as long as it is in one piece and not frayed or damaged in any way. Use a replacement cord meant for the specific cooker, and inspect the plugs to ensure they are not bent or torn where they meet the cord. Power cords that have one end permanently attached, and other electronic parts such as the heat element, might not be replaceable.