I already have a love affair with my slow cooker, and I think I’m about to have one with my rice cooker, too. This morning, I cooked steel-cut oats in my rice cooker and realized that I have neglected its multi-purposefulness for far too long. After an Asian cooking phase my family went through about a year ago, the appliance has been collecting dust on a shelf. No more.

Rice cookers can cook dozens of things. Here are 10 basic foods that a rice cooker can cook (besides rice):

  1. Oatmeal: Quick-cooking, slow-cooking or steel-cut, the rice cooker can cook them all.
  2. Risotto: No need to stir and stir and stir.
  3. Mac and Cheese: First you cook the pasta in the rice cooker, then you add the ingredients for the cheese.
  4. Beans: You can cook dried beans without presoaking them.
  5. Soft or hard boiled eggs: If your rice cooker has a steam function, you can boil eggs.
  6. Chicken: It comes out very moist.
  7. Jam: A hands-off way to turn fruit into jam.
  8. Steamed vegetables: If the rice cooker has a steam basket, you can steam just about any vegetable you want.
  9. Polenta: Cook the polenta, then add cheese or other stir-ins.
  10. Quinoa: Very simple, hands-off way to cook it.
What do you cook in a rice cooker?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

10 everyday foods to cook in a rice cooker
If you use your rice cooker to cook only rice, you're sorely underusing this kitchen tool.