A rice cooker does not look unlike a crock pot, the only difference is that it is meant for steaming rice and sometimes vegetables. The appearance of the rice cooker will depend on the brand that you choose, as well as the size. There are decorative rice cookers, if you want something that goes with your kitchen décor, or you can choose a plain rice cooker.
The function of a rice cooker is to perfectly cook rice every time. A rice cooker ensures that there is a perfect blend of water in every grain of rice for a full flavor and highly enjoyable meal. Some rice cookers include a soak function that soaks the rice before it starts cooking.
A rice cooker cooks each grain of rice to perfection, without being either too firm or too soft, and never sticking. Many people like rice cookers because they don't want to watch the pot while the rice is cooking. Simply measure in the correct quantities of rice and water and turn on. As long as you follow the instruction manual, the rice will be done perfectly every time, without having to worry about keeping the water at the right temperature. A rice cooker is convenient. You can turn it on when you are on your way out the door and have rice ready for you when you return. Because the rice cooker times itself, you don't need to be home to turn off the cooker or ensure that it hasn't boiled over. For those that previously used boil-in-the-bag rice or other types of "easy rice," there is the cost saving of using bulk rice. If you are cooking a meal with many dishes, a rice cooker will free up space on your stovetop to cook an additional dish.
Some rice cookers have additional functions. One of the more popular features is the "warmer" feature that will allow you to tell your rice warmer to keep the rice warm after it has finished cooking. In addition, many rice cookers will also steam vegetables and other foods, making it more versatile. Vegetable steaming usually involves a specialized insert to keep the vegetables off the heating surface. Some rice cookers have separate functions for brown rice or white rice.
Rice cookers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from quite small, allowing you to prepare just two cups of rice, to quite large, allowing you to prepare 20 cups of rice. When shopping, choose the size that best accommodates your personal needs.