How to Cook Black Rice in Rice Cooker: 7 Simple Steps

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Have a rice cooker at home, but feeling a little experimental, then perhaps you’re wondering how to cook black rice in rice cooker. The task is nowhere near impossible, but naturally comes with some simple steps. Black rice is very versatile, useful and deliciously healthy, it can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, depending on what you fancy.

Table of Contents

What is Black Rice?

Black rice, also referred to as purple rice, forbidden rice and Chinese black rice is a type of whole-grain rice that is quite dark in colour. It can appear completely black, or more of a dark purple or burgundy, with some multi-coloured grains. When black rice is cooked it transforms to a dark purple shade. Black rice gets its colour from an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is the same nutrient that is found in many purple coloured fruits and vegetables such as blueberries and aubergines.

What Does Black Rice Taste Like?

Black rice tastes very similar to brown rice, with a distinct nutty flavour as described by those who have eaten it. It’s quite dense and chewy, and depending on the cooking method, black rice can also be quite sticky. It is a great source of iron, and is packed with protein and fibres.

Black Rice vs Brown Rice

Black rice and brown rice are often chosen as healthier alternatives to white rice, and other simple carbohydrates. The most obvious difference between the two is their colour. Essentially brown rice is white rice that hasn’t had all its nutrition milled away. Black rice contains ten times more antioxidants than brown rice. The phytonutrients in its outer layer may:

  • Protect against heart disease
  • Prevent hay fever and asthma attacks
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Support eye health

Black rice also has amino acids, and most vitamins and minerals, packed in its thick black grains. Both black and brown rice are much more flavourful than white rice. Though the difference between brown and white are much less dramatic, with black rice having distinctive flavours that may need some time to get used to.

How to Make Black Rice in Rice Cooker?

Rice cookers are great for making your rice in, especially when you’re planning to make more than one dish for your meal. Simply turn on the rice cooker, and allow it to cook your rice for you, while you rummage through your cupboards, getting your cutlery ready. Here are some simple steps outlining the process:

  1. Start by rinsing and draining your rice, to remove the excess starch. Place 1 cup of black rice into a mesh strainer or colander with small holes. Place the strainer with the rice under cold running water. Stir the rice with your fingers a little to ensure all of its grains has been thoroughly cleaned. You will notice purple stained water coming off the rice, and once the water becomes clearer, you can stop washing it. Turn off the tap and shake off any excess water. Bear in mind, that black rice is very starchy, so it will always need a thorough rinse and clean before cooking in the rice cooker, otherwise you will end up with very gummy rice.
  2. Take the strainer to your rice cooker and dump the rice from the strainer right into the cooking pot of your rice cooker. If you notice a lot of excess water from the rinsing step, try soaking it up with a paper towel. A little water shouldn’t be a cause for concern, but you want to avoid too much starchy water. Always keep the inner pot inserted into the exterior pot whilst doing this.
  3. Measure out your water, as you would do for any other type of rice, and add it to your rice cooker. Black rice requires more water than white rice when it comes to cooking it. So for every cup add about a 1/4 extra water to the rice cooker.
  4. If you’re planning to make a savoury dish with your cooked black rice, you should add your salt and pepper to the pot with the rice in it.
  5. Put the lid over the rice cooker, plug it in and set the time for 30 minutes. Alternatively, if your rice cooker has a brown rice setting, you can use that, since both brown and black rice require similar cooking times.
  6. After the rice has finished cooking, you can let it sit in the rice cooker – covered – for a further 10 minutes, allowing the rice to absorb the extra moisture that has built up inside the cooking pot. After the rice has had its 10 minute of settling, remove the lid from the rice cooker allowing the steam to escape, then stir the rice.
  7. Now you’re ready to serve your beautiful purple-black rice with your favourite topping.

How to Serve Black Rice?

Black rice can be served as a simple side dish, much like you would serve brown or white rice. Black rice makes an excellent base for grain and veggie bowls as well as grain salads. It also tastes great in burrito and wraps. Since its naturally sticky, its also great for sushi. Black rice is also often used to make desserts and puddings.

How to Cook Black Rice in Rice Cooker 7 Simple Steps

Should I Soak Black Rice Before Cooking?

Pre-soaking hard grains such as brown or wild rice is a popular method of reducing its cooking time. Since black rice takes a while to cook, you can try soaking it before cooking it, however this doesn’t reduce the cooking time by much. Pre-soaking the rice for an hour won’t affect its cooking time at all. However, soaking the rice overnight will reduce its cooking time by 5 minutes, but will also change the texture of the rice a little. You’ll find that pre-soaked cooked rice is a lot more mushy, than black rice that has been cooked from dry.

Other Ways to Cook Black Rice

Apart from cooking rice in a rice cooker, there are some other techniques that can be used for cooking black rice, and these are:

  • Absorption method
  • Pasta Method
  • Pilaf Method

Absorption Method

This method is the most basic, and popular method of cooking grains. This technique requires the grains to be cooked in a specific amount of liquid that should be fully absorbed by the grains of rice by the end of the cooking. When using the absorption method you can use broth instead of water if you wish for your dish to acquire more flavour.

Add water and the rinsed black rice to as saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not attempt to lift the lid to check how much the rice has cooked, as this will disrupt the cooking process. Continue until the rice is tender and chewy and all the water has been absorbed. Turn the heat off, and let the rice stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Pasta Method

This technique requires the grains to be cooked just like pasta in a large pot of water without the lid. Once the grains have cooked the water can be discarded. This is an excellent method for cooking black rice, as you don’t have to measure the exact cupful’s of water needed to cook the rice. It results in black rice, with a very nice non-sticky consistency. It’s also great for testing midway to check if the rice has cooked thoroughly. The disadvantage for this method is that you can only use water.

Pilaf Method

In this method, the grains are lightly toasted in oil with aromatics such as vegetables, herbs and spices first, then simmered in water or stock. To prepare a fragrant pilaf, you can use carrots, onions, shallots, garlic, ginger, fennel, celery, green peas, bay leaves, cumin, thyme and more. You can also experiment by cooking the black rice pilaf with chicken or vegetable stock instead of water.

Black Rice Recipes

If you’re looking to widen your options when it comes to cooking your favourite black rice recipes, then you might want to switch from savoury to sweet. Here are some delicious recipes you may want to try:

  • Black Rice Pudding
  • Black Rice and Spinach Salad
  • Black Sticky Rice Mango Dessert

Black Rice Pudding

Commonly served as breakfast in some parts of southeast Asia, this dish also makes a great dessert. Chinese black rice, or forbidden rice, works well for most dessert dishes. If you can’t find black rice, then brown rice works well too.

Bring your 3 cups of rice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer, beneath a tight-fit lid for 45 minutes. Stir in some sugar, some more salt, and 1 1/2 cups if coconut milk and bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, and stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes the mixture should be thick, with tender rice but still slightly chewy.

Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow it to cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy this for breakfast, or for dessert after a hearty meal.

Black Rice and Spinach Salad

This healthy black rice, and spinach salad is packed with fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 3 cups cooked black rice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup your choice of vinegar
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all these ingredients in a large bowl. Then mix your olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and orange juice in a jar and shake well. Pour this over your salad, and enjoy the crunch and juiciness of the juicy strawberries, combined with moist grains of black rice. Yum.

Black Sticky Rice Mango Dessert

Here’s a dessert soup you’re gonna love. Thai black sticky rice, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and shaved ice. The combination of mango and black sticky rice is a common favourite in Thailand, though the dessert is often a little dryer than you’d expect. Black sticky rice is served alongside sliced mango, and a sauce of sweet coconut milk is usually added.

Rinse the black rice and soak it overnight in 2 cups of water. It should be soaked for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours. Pour the rice and the water it was soaking in into a rice cooker and add 1/4 cup coconut milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir everything together and turn on the rice cooker. Once the rice is cooked, cool it completely. And in a separate bowl, combine 2/3 cups of coconut milk, with 2/3 cup of regular sweet milk and 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk. Taste and add more sweetened condensed milk if you prefer a sweeter taste.

Shave some ice and divide it among 4 bowls, topping each bowl with half of a sliced mango and 1 to 2 scoops of black sticky rice. Divide the milk mixture among each bowl, pouring it over the mango, ice, and sticky rice. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to each bowl if desired.

Bottom Line

Cooking black rice in a rice cooker might seem a lot easier than cooking it in a pan, especially if your rice cooker has a brown rice setting. This should give you some time to prepare other aspects of your meal, until the rice is ready to eat.


How Much Water do You put in Rice Cooker to Make Black Rice?

If you’re wondering how much water for how much rice you need, the ratio of water to black rice is 1 3/4 to 1. Meaning, than for each cup of black rice, you’ll need 1 3/4 cups of water, chicken stock, or vegetable broth.

Does Black Rice Need to be Soaked?

If you want the cooked rice to have a tender and moist texture, you should always pre-soak the rice before cooking. On the other hand if you prefer to have a more spongy and chewy texture, then you should steam black rice without pre-soaking.

How Much Water do You Use Per Cup of Black Rice?

For one cup of black rice you’ll need 1 and 3/4 cup of water.

How do You Cook Black Rice in an Electric Rice Cooker?

Add water or stock at a ratio of 1 and 3/4 cups per cup of black rice. Set your rice cooker to brown rice mode. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then open the lid, let the steam pout out and gently mix the rice.


Black Rice and Spinach Salad

This healthy black rice, and spinach salad is packed with fibre, antioxidants and vitamins.

  • Author: Alice
  • Total Time: 5 mins


  • 3 cups cooked black rice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup your choice of vinegar
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Combine all these ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Then mix your olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and orange juice in a jar and shake well.
  3. Pour this over your salad, and enjoy the crunch and juiciness of the juicy strawberries, combined with moist grains of black rice.

Keywords: black rice spinach salad

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