Rice Cooker VS Steamer: What’s the Difference?

A rice cooker is typically used to cook rice. It’s an electric appliance that has an inner pot with a lid and a heating element. A steamer is typically used to steam vegetables or fish. It usually consists of a metal bowl which sits over an open pan of boiling water.

Although they look similar, there are some differences in how these two appliances work. So, if you’re confused about the difference, don’t worry! Here’s what you need to know in order to make your choice in the kitchen.

What’s a rice cooker?

A rice cooker is essentially a pot with a lid that has an inner heating element. It’s used to cook rice by soaking it in water before boiling. Once the rice is cooked, you can turn off the heat and it will keep warm until you’re ready to serve your meal.

What’s a steamer?

A steamer is typically used for boiling vegetables and fish. It consists of a metal bowl which sits over an open pan of boiling water. It also has a lid that covers the top of the bowl.

Typically, a steamer will have a tray that sits on top of the metal bowl to allow you to stack ingredients. The steam from the boiling water will cook the food in the tray and keep it moist and tender.

The biggest difference between a rice cooker and steamer is that a steamer cooks by steam rather than by dry heat. Generally, rice cookers use electric heat, but they do have some settings for cooking with steam as well. A steamer usually does not have any heat settings at all.

The differences between these two appliances

The first difference between the two is that a rice cooker cooks rice at a constant temperature, while a steamer will only cook at the boiling point of the water. So, if you’re looking for an appliance to prepare vegetables, fish or anything with low cooking times, you might want to go with a steamer.

A rice cooker is ideal if you want your rice ready in 20 minutes or less. A steamer takes more time to cook fish and vegetables because it’s not constantly heating.

If you’re deciding which appliance to buy, think about what kind of food you’ll be preparing and how long it needs to cook before making your decision!

Which one should you get?

Since rice cookers are mainly used to cook rice, they typically have a steaming function. If you’re looking for an appliance that can steam veggies, then a rice cooker may not be the best choice for you.

Rice cookers are usually better at cooking long grains of white or brown rice. They also allow you to adjust the cooking time and heat level according to your preferences.

If you want an appliance that can steam food, then a steamer is more appropriate for your needs. It will be able to serve the same functions as a rice cooker but with less versatility in terms of cooking other types of food.

A steamer’s pot is made of metal or bamboo whereas a rice cooker’s inner pot is made from non-stick material.

This means that you’ll have to take care when cleaning the steamer after use in order not to damage it while removing leftover food particles stuck on its surface.


Rice cookers and steamers can both cook rice, but they operate in very different ways. A rice cooker, such as the Aroma Digital Rice Cooker and Multi-Cooker, cooks rice through induction heating. This distributes heat evenly and uses less energy than a stovetop.

A steamer, such as the Aroma Electric Stainless Steel Steamer, cooks rice by boiling water and allowing it to rise up through a basket and into the rice and then out of the pot.

It also might be better if you’re cooking rice in a lot of batches for a large group of people. A rice cooker is better if you’re cooking for fewer people or are looking for more precision in your cooking.