Rice Cooker Pancakes: A Culinary Adventure


The first automatic rice cooker, or suihanki, debuted in Japan back in 1955. Since then, these revolutionary appliances have evolved to crank out an ever-more-perfect bowl of piping hot gohan. Understandably, developers have given precedence to Japan’s glutinous, white staple. Curiosity being what it is, though, a small band of gastronomic buccaneers have succeeded in showing the world that there is more to these kitchen wonders than steamed rice.

One notable instance is the lowly pancake, a dish normally fried up on a hot griddle and served slathered in maple syrup and butter. When prepared in a rice cooker, however, this breakfast standard transforms into a fluffy sphere of edible perfection: a Japanese hot cake, or hotto kēki.

A quick Internet search in Japanese will uncover a startling number of blog posts and recipe sites featuring different renditions of the tasty suihanki treat. Below we gather three recipes that introduce the pancake-making power of the cookers.

Bon appétit, or as we say in Japan, meshiagare!

Just the Basics

Making a straightforward hot cake requires nothing more than the ability to follow the instructions printed on the back of a package of pancake mix. Whisk all the ingredients together until the lumps are gone, dump the concoction into the cooker (lightly oil the pot first), hit start, and then sit back and enjoy the appetizing aroma that wafts forth.

The Nippon.com pancake took about 20 minutes to cook (we used the speed setting hayadaki, 早炊き) and came out perfect. We recommend making a single batch (enough for two to three standard flapjacks) to ensure that your hotcake cooks all the way through. For the kitchen adventurers looking to serve up a double or larger batch, keep in mind you may need to run the rice cooker on a slower cycle or for longer.

Standard pancakes

  • 150 g pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml milk

Making a hot cake in a rice cooker is as simple as mixing the ingredients and pressing start.

Voilà, pancake perfection.

A Matcha Made in Heaven

Infusing hot cakes with a sense of Japanese culinary wa is as easy as adding a generous helping of powdered green tea. Matcha not only provides a pleasant color to the final product, but delights the diner with its fresh smell and taste.

To make it, follow the instructions of the standard hot cake, remembering to add matcha and melted butter during the mixing process.

Matcha pancakes

  • 150 g pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder

We dusted our matcha pancake with powdered sugar, but whipped cream, anko (red bean paste), or any other number of toppings will also go well with your green tea creation.

Bananas and Beyond

This easy banana hot cake comes out so fluffy, fragrant, and flavorful that you may refuse to believe it was made in a rice cooker.

To make it, line the bottom of the rice cooker bowl with banana slices and then dribble on a layer of melted butter. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg until foamy then gently mix in the other ingredients. Pour this over the bananas and butter and give the bottom of the bowl a few firm taps to make sure everything settles nicely.

Banana pancakes

  • 150 g pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1/2 banana (sliced)
  • 110 ml milk

Once cooked, slice and enjoy with your topping of choice (we went with chocolate sauce).

(Originally published in English.)

food Japanese cuisine