Just like a slow cooker or an electric pressure cooker, rice cookers also come with the keep-warm function. And a rice cookers’ keep warm function does the same thing, keeps your rice warm for later consumption.
But what happens when you overuse this function? Is your rice cooker keeping temperatures around the safety level?
A rice cookers’ keep warm function allows you to skip the reheating process, but at what cost?
Rice Cooker Keep Warm Temperature Function
Normally an above-average rice cooker will keep temperatures around 60 degrees Celsius. But since there is no temperature indicator, it’s best to check it with a thermometer.
60 degrees Celsius and above is the temperature range where your food is safe from bacterial infestation. But according to scientific studies, a bacteria known as Bacillus Cereus can sometimes survive the boiling process and create a heat resistant bacteria within your rice when it’s kept at temperatures around 60 degrees Celsius for periods longer than 24 hours, and sometimes 12 to 15 hours. A bowl of rice infested with the Bacillus Cereus bacteria doesn’t smell ruined, and upon consumption can cause a mild stomach ache to a more serious case of full-blown diarrhea.
This is why you have to make sure your rice cooker – on warm mode – is keeping the internal temperature above 60 degrees Celsius.
There are a few cons of using the warm mode for periods longer than 5 hours, some of them are detailed below.
Dry crunchy rice
Heat over time will evaporate every bit of moisture from your rice and will leave you with a pot of – unappetizing – dry rice.
A temperature around 60 degrees Celsius is no joke. This temperature is high enough that people use the rice cooker – on warm modes – like a slow cooker. A rice cookers’ warm mode can cook soup, sponge cake, stew, and a lot more. So having something as delicate as a grain of cooked rice sit in this hot atmosphere for hours will most certainly lead to undesirable results.
Power use and malfunction
The Rice cooker is an electrical appliance, meaning it will require electricity to keep the warm mode turned on. Longer periods of usage will drain substantial amounts of electricity.
Using the warm mode continuously for 2 days can also lead to overheating and may end up burning the thermal fuse.
Therefore rice manufacturers always advise their customers to use the warm mode for no longer than 12 hours.
Some high-end rice cookers come with dual warm mode functionality. They have a low warm mode and a high warm mode. The high warm mode can take temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius. A temperature that can be used to diversify a rice cooker usability.
So we advise you to pack your rice into a plastic container for refrigeration. Because not only will it help retain the moisture, refrigerated rice is also the best rice for cooking fried rice. It will also keep your rice edible for a longer period.
Although the warm mode is extremely convenient, it’s in your best interest to take proper precautions.