What Is the Difference between a Pressure Cooker and a Rice Cooker?

Amy Hunter

There are many differences between a pressure cooker and a rice cooker. Pressure cookers cook all types of foods quickly, while rice cookers are typically only for cooking rice, and do not speed up cooking time. A pressure cooker and a rice cooker are both common in the modern kitchen. There is also a pressure-rice cooker, which uses pressure cooking technology in the rice cooker.

Rice made in a rice cooker.
Rice made in a rice cooker.

These two tools differ significantly with in terms of design. A rice cooker is a self contained unit, while a pressure cooker is a special pot that is used on a regular cooktop stove. Most modern rice cookers are electric, and, like many small kitchen appliances, can be stored in the cabinet and taken out for use when needed. The typical pressure cooker is constructed from stainless steel or aluminum, and is heavier than other types of cooking pans the same size.

Uncooked rice.
Uncooked rice.

Rice cookers allow the cook to measure and place the rice and water in the cooker, then leave it unattended until the rice is ready to eat. Many rice cookers have a warm setting, which will hold the rice at serving temperature, without burning it or having it become too soft, until it is served. Some rice cookers will automatically switch to warm when the rice is cooked, while others require a manual change in settings.

A rice cooker.
A rice cooker.

There are limitations to the type of rice that some rice cookers can prepare. They do not work properly when cooking paella, risotto, and many are not made to cook brown rice, which requires more liquid than white rice. Rice cookers are best for preparing long-grain rice, although they can also be used for jasmine and other scented rice.

Different sizes and price ranges available for rice cookers make them a popular gift. Some are small enough to cook just one cup of rice, while others are family style cookers that can prepare 10 cups of rice at a time. The price of a rice cooker depends on the size and other available features. Some rice cookers can also be used as slow cookers, to cook porridge or other types of hot cereal, to make yogurt, and bake bread.

The method of cooking is the most significant distinction between a rice cooker and a pressure cooker. The rice cooker heats like a traditional stovetop, only in a self-contained unit. The pressure cooker works by trapping steam in the pan, allowing the temperature to be significantly higher than in a pot that is just left to boil. A rubber gasket, or metal to metal seal, prevents any steam from escaping. The only ways to lower the pressure and release steam are through the regulator on the lid, or the safety valve.

The combination of a pressure cooker and a rice cooker resulted in the pressure-rice cooker, which uses pressure to cook rice. The benefits of the pressure-rice cooker are that it can cook the rice faster than a traditional rice cooker, and it is not affected by atmospheric changes, which alter cooking time for traditional rice cookers. A pressure-rice cooker can also be used to cook brown rice.

A rice cooker might not be capable of cooking brown rice.
A rice cooker might not be capable of cooking brown rice.

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Discussion Comments


@Grivusangel: You can get them online, but they cost a *lot* more than either a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Like, twice or three times as much.

Most regular rice cookers have settings for brown rice now, although they take about as long to cook the rice as cooking it in a pan on the stove would take. You just push a button for brown rice, or white.

I can see where a pressure-rice cooker would be practical in an Asian restaurant, if brown rice was on the menu, but not in a home, unless brown rice was a staple in someone's diet, like a macrobiotic one.


I've seen pressure cookers, and I've seen rice cookers, but never a pressure-rice cooker. Where in the world would you even find one?

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