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Although both the Instant Pot and the rice cooker look quite similar in design and both do a good job at cooking rice to perfection, they are completely different in terms of their features.
Instant Pots are a type of multi-cooker that can do more than just cook rice, unlike the rice cooker. They have the capabilities to prepare meals including meat and vegetables with great results!
In its essence, the Instant Pot is an advanced rice cooker, but with features that can’t be found on other types of rice cookers.
So to settle the age-old debate of the Instant Pot vs. rice cooker, let’s dig deeper to understand what exactly they are, the key differences, some of the best ones to buy, and some FAQs.
If you end up buying an instant pot, be sure to bookmark our list of instant pot meal prep ideas!
Quick Summary: Who Are Rice Cookers and Instant Pots Best for?
A rice cooker is perfect for…
- Large families. Anyone who needs to cook vast amounts of rice can benefit from a rice cooker! If you have a lot of mouths to feed, you can’t go wrong with the massive capacity of a dedicated rice cooker.
- Those who only want to cook rice. If you’re looking less gadgets in the kitchen, a rice cooker is perfect. Perhaps you already have a slow cooker and an air fryer, so the somewhat limited functionality of a rice cooker would be just fine.
- Anyone who wants perfect rice every time. If you just can’t get your rice perfectly fluffy, you need a rice cooker. You’ll have perfect rice with no effort, you’ll wish you got one sooner!
An Instant Pot is perfect for…
- Busy households. If you have a busy schedule, there’s nothing simpler than throwing some ingredients in the Instant Pot and having your dinner ready soon after!
- Those who want versatility. If you want to do more than just cook rice and grains, the Instant Pot is your new best friend! It can cook just about anything, and well!
What is an Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that does all the cooking for you in one easy device. It’s not just an electric pressure cooker, but also has slow cook functionality and more!
It’s like having your very own personal chef, ready at any time for anything you need, from cooking brown rice to steamed veggies and even making yogurt. The Instant Pot has everything under control, so you don’t have to worry about under/overcooking anything while trying out new recipes!
- Saves time: A pressure cooker is a time-saving appliance that can be used by busy people to cook food with delicious flavors in a short amount of time.
- Saves energy: It has several additional benefits, such as being more energy-efficient than other cooking methods.
- Economical: It prevents steam from escaping while keeping heat inside the pot due to high pressures created when liquids boil at low temperatures (such as water).
- Safe: The high pressure and temperature kill all microorganisms, so you can rest assured that your food is safe to eat!
- All-in-one: It has several cooking functions that eliminate the need for many kitchen appliances.
- Healthier: Pressure cookers retain more minerals, vitamins, and flavor, which means you don’t need to use as much seasoning as usual because there is less water to dissolve the nutrients.
- Simple to use: Easy control panel to set different functions and automatic timing.
- Easy to clean: The stainless steel pot can be removed and washed in the dishwasher or by hand. You can also put the rubber sealing gasket in the dishwasher.
- Costly: Pressure cookers are more expensive than regular stovetop pots or pans
- Cumbersome: Instant Pots are heavy and quite bulky compared to most regular pan sets.
- Potential hazards if used incorrectly: There are some safety concerns with an Instant Pot, but they can be overcome by following instructions carefully.
One thing to watch out for is the c6l and c6h instant pot errors! They can be a big issue in some instant pots, but you can typically get a replacement for free.
What is a Rice Cooker?
What is a rice cooker? Well, if you’re looking to cook up some tasty grains in your own home, then this might be the answer for you! Rice cookers are popular kitchen appliances that specialize in cooking rice – although the modern rice cooker machines have more features.
Most rice cookers will have a bowl, thermostat, and a heat source, either electric or gas, to keep the perfect temperature for your rice – and they can automatically shut off once the rice is done so you don’t have to worry about burning anything.
- Perfect rice every time: Cooks all types of rice with the best flavors, texture, and aroma without fail or error.
- Safety features: They have an automatic shut-off function that turns off after hours of being unused.
- Easy to maintain: Rice cookers have a high safety rating and easy cleaning features.
- Somewhat versatile: A rice cooker not only cooks rice but also other grains like oatmeal.
- Convenient: They have a keep warm feature, so you can always have warm rice.
- Time-consuming: Rice cookers take longer to cook rice because it needs gentle heating in order to not damage the starch molecules, which makes it delicious and fluffy.
- Costly: Rice cookers cost more money than standard kitchen pots and pans.
- Limited functionality: Most rice cookers only have one function to cook rice and other grains – limited functionality.
Instant Pot Vs. Rice Cooker: The Main Differences
The differences between an Instant Pot vs. rice cooker are often conflicting.
Many people who own both appliances claim that they can’t live without their respective types of cooking equipment. While both look similar in shape and design, the inside functionality is very different!
If you want a versatile machine that can do everything apart from washing the dishes, you’ll want an Instant Pot!
Instant Pots can cook many delicious meals from stews to bread, and cakes – and most models come with a cookbook with lots of recipes to try out.
Modern rice cookers, on the other hand, only offer limited versatility with the rice cooking and porridge function. However, these machines will cook any type of rice perfectly from brown rice, white rice, wild rice, etc.
The Instant Pot is the clear winner in the race to get food on the table the quickest. Instant Pots are designed for speed cooking, and the rice cooker is basically a slow cooker for cooking rice.
For example, if you were to cook 5 cups of white rice in the rice cooker, you would be waiting for one hour vs. an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) that will do it in under 10 minutes and give you 10 cups of cooked rice.
Electric rice cookers are far cheaper than their pressure cooker counterparts by almost half. You can pick up rice cookers in various models for less than $50, whereas the electric pressure cookers cost around $100, depending on the quart size and features you want.
Most Instant Pots come as standard with seven cooking modes, and because of their multi-use cooking system, they require a higher price tag than the rice cooker and other kitchen appliances.
Saying that, Instant Pots are worth the money. For 100 bucks, you essentially get your own personal chef! If you aren’t the best at cooking rice, then spending $40 on a rice cooker is also money well spent!
Most traditional pressure cookers have a 6-8 quart capacity that gives enough servings to feed around 8 people, which isn’t bad compared to how quickly it takes the machine to make the food.
When you want enough rice to feed a small army platoon, the rice cooker certainly wins with a whopping capacity of 20 cups of perfectly cooked rice.
In terms of safety features, the Instant Pot comes out on top once again because they are equipped with a pressure release valve that protects users from hot steam escaping when the lid is open.
The pressure cook system works great to release the steam before you can open the lid, whereas the rice cooker lacks this safety feature, and users can easily burn themselves from hot steam when opening the lid too soon.
Ease of Use
Both the Instant Pot and the rice cooker machines are easy to use with a digital control panel.
Since Instant Pots have far more functions than the rice cookers have, they take more time to understand the many options available to you, from slow cooking at different temperatures to sauté mode with options of simmering, browning, or thickening – and also a yogurt maker mode.
Most Instant Pots have a quick one-touch cooking setting to make life easier, and the rice cookers just cook rice! Once you have decided which rice you are using, you press the button, and the dedicated rice cooker cooks the rice for you.
All cooking appliances come with a manual if you’re in doubt about how to use a certain function.
Ease of Cleaning
The stainless steel interior of the Instant Pot makes it easy to clean. Some models have a nonstick coating that can go in the dishwasher as well, while other parts are detachable for thorough cleaning yourself!
Rice cookers are also easy to clean and have nonstick interiors. Although, some models have interior parts that don’t detach from the inner pot, making it harder to keep them clean.
Most Instant Pots are well-built and durable stainless steel appliances with many lasting five years or more – provided they’re treated well and kept clean!
Rice cookers, on the other hand, have a guarantee of 1 year and can become faulty over time.
A common issue with rice cookers is that they can catch fire when there is an imbalance of not enough rice and too much water, which causes excess steam to build up inside.
When it comes to what types of meals these machines make, the Instant Pot wins!
Instant Pots have several cooking functions ranging from slow cooking, rice cooking, soup, pot roast, yogurt, and cakes. In contrast, rice cookers have one main function of cooking rice perfectly.
However, some newer rice cooker models have extra features to cook porridge, oatmeal, and beans.
Some Of The Best Instant Pots
The new, innovative, and cool Instant Pot Duo is a dream come true!
- The appliance has so many features that make your life easier. It can slow cook food, maintain high temperatures while reducing cooking times, and it perfectly cooks meats/fish/veggies.
- Unlike the Lux 6-in-1 Instant Pot with ten built-in programs, this pressure cooker has a massive 14 built-in programs, making it the ultimate convenience appliance.
- It has so many smart features that make cooking easier and more efficient for any home cook. One of these programs allows you to set the timer for cooking meals and an automatic keep-warm setting.
- There is also a setting for delaying the cooking process for a maximum of 24 hours.
- It will last several years with its extremely durable construction.
Read more: Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova
With its 6 functions, the Lux V3 is an all-inclusive kitchen appliance that can do it all.
In addition to being affordable and offering many different amenities as other models do – such as pressure cooking or warming up food – there are also some extra perks worth noting about this specific version.
- This Instant Pot Lux has 10 amazing built-in programs that can cook meats, eggs, cakes, porridges, steam veggies, and pretty much anything you fancy for dinner – all with the press of a button!
- This Lux V3 is a 6-quart machine that easily handles medium-sized families of 6, or you can choose from smaller and larger options to cater to your needs.
- It’s super easy to use with its state-of-the-art digital control panel display and comes with 10 safety mechanisms that prevent accidents from happening.
Some Of The Best Rice Cookers
- The Zojirushi rice cooker uses the latest fuzzy logic technology to control temperature and heating time, ensuring that your rice is cooked to perfection.
- This rice cooker has an amazing 10 cup capacity! It can be used for white rice, brown rice, porridge, sweet rice, rinse-free, and quick cooking.
- The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy has an indicator that lets you know when it’s done cooking by sounding off with a beeping noise after your desired rice is cooked perfectly.
- The large LCD screen on this rice cooker makes it easy to use, even if you’re not much of a tech-savvy person, much like the Instant Pot Lux V3.
- It’s easily cleaned with a detachable inner pot.
- Meet the best-rated electric rice cooker on Amazon! This South Korea-made product is not only sleek in design but also comes with fuzzy logic technology like the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker to enhance the cooking experience and quality.
- It can cook 6 cups of dry rice perfectly with two functions, allowing you to maximize your meal’s potential by using a slow cooker setting or fast boiling methods for perfectly cooked rice with delicious taste every time! Note that this capacity is smaller than that of the Zojirushi Neuro – it might not be big enough if you have a large family to cook for.
- The inner pot is designed to evenly distribute heat and help create perfect rice. Clean-up is a breeze with an aluminum core covered in Teflon that prevents rice from sticking – unlike boiling it in a stainless steel pot on the stove.
- Lastly, the LCD panel is user-friendly and easy to read – just like an Instant Pot, you’ll be able to select the perfect setting with ease.
How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot
To cook rice in an Instant Pot, first you will need to rinse the rice several times until the water becomes mostly clear. Then, add the rinsed rice, water (follow measurements on the rice package) and a dash of salt to the pot. Next, close the lid and switch the vent to the sealed position. Press the rice button on the Instant Pot, then wait till the instant pot timer counts down. Allow allow the rice to rest for around 10 minutes before releasing the pressure valve. Easy as that!
Yes, the Instant Pot is more than capable of cooking rice to perfection. However, you might want to have both gadgets in your kitchen so you can cook rice and something else at the same time.
Compared to cooking rice in a pot on the stove, a rice cooker absolutely makes better rice. It will be cooked to perfection every time and you won’t need to stand over it!
No, it is quicker to cook rice on the stove than in a rice cooker or Instant Pot. But, a rice cooker can keep your rice warm until you’re ready to eat it.
If price is your biggest concern, then rice cookers are usually the more affordable option. You can find a decent rice cooker for as little as $25, whereas an Instant Pot can set you back closer to $100. With that said, it’s important to remember that an Instant Pot is much more versatile than a rice cooker. Even though you’re paying less for the device, you can only really use it for rice and other similar grains.
Both of these devices are useful additions to a family kitchen, but an Instant Pot is probably going to be a more useful option in the long run. Being able to throw your ingredients into one pot and leave them to cook is a super-easy way to sort out meals after a long day.
Yes, both appliances are great to have in the kitchen to reduce cooking time. If you have the funds (and space!) to pick up both devices, then this is definitely something that we recommend. You can’t beat the perfectly fluffy white or brown rice from dedicated rice cookers.
The comparison of the Instant Pot vs. rice cooker leads to a clear winner – the Instant Pot.
It takes less time than the traditional methods, can be used for more than just cooking rice, and has various additional features that make life easier in your kitchen – all while making delicious meals at the touch of a button!If you need more helping picking between kitchen products, check out our Instant pot vs air fryer comparison!
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.