Cooking Up a Storm: Making Meals in a Japanese Rice Cooker


Buying a Japanese automatic rice cooker may be the best culinary investment a person can make. Aside from simmering up perfectly cooked rice, these versatile gadgets can also knock out an array of gastronomic delights like fluffy desserts and hearty mealtime staples. Simply mix the ingredients in the pot and the appliance does all the work.

Having previously explored the world of rice cooker pancakes, we step into the realm of the main course by offering three filling dishes that will satisfy even the most discerning palates.

A Savory Standard of Common Japanese Cuisine

Okonomiyaki is a popular pancake-like dish chock-full of hearty fillings like meat, seafood, and vegetables. Broadly associated with western Japan, debate over the most authentic version of the food centers on Hiroshima and Osaka.

Whichever version you prefer, okonomiyaki gives diners plenty of culinary room to mix and match ingredients to their liking. To avoid stepping into the regional okonomiyaki fracas, we offer a recipe borrowing generously from each style.

Rice cooker okonomiyaki smothered in special sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.


  • 100 g pastry flour
  • 150 ml water
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g peeled shrimp
  • 150 g shredded cabbage
  • 20 g chopped green onion
  • 80 g yakisoba noodles

It takes about an hour, including preparation, to create our okonomiyaki. First, mix the batter (flour, water, and eggs) in a bowl and then fold in the other ingredients. Next, line the bottom of the rice cooker pot with yakisoba noodles (if including meat, place it at the bottom as well) and pour the batter concoction on top. Run the rice cooker on the standard setting, repeating if necessary.

Making rice cooker okonomiyaki is as easy as mixing the batter, layering the ingredients, and pressing start.

Transfer the finished pancake to a plate (be careful not to burn your fingers) and top with specialty okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes. Benishōga (red pickled ginger) is another tasty condiment.

Golden brown and ready for toppings.

Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise are standard condiments.

Crossing the Rubicon

For our second recipe we took a crack at the egg-rich frittata. Also known as an Italian omelet, this dish is easily whipped up using readily available ingredients and can round out a breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu.

Hearty and delicious, a frittata is a perfect fit for any meal.


  • 7 eggs
  • 100 ml milk
  • 80 g diced potato
  • 60 g broccoli
  • 60 g maitake mushrooms
  • 80 g chicken (precooked and diced)
  • 60 g shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Oregano, garlic, and other seasonings (to taste)

First, whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl until foamy. Next, add the other ingredients (we recommend precooking fillings like potatoes in a microwave oven) to the mixture, and pour everything into the pot.

A versatile dish, frittata can be made with a wide range of ingredients.

Run the rice cooker once on the standard setting. When finished cooking, place the omelet on a plate and enjoy as is or with your favorite condiment.

Enjoy as is or top with your favorite condiment.

The Big Cheese

For our third recipe we take on macaroni and cheese, a cheap and easy dinner-table classic loved by singles, families, and people looking for a quick tummy filler.

You can never go wrong with mac and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese

  • 200 g macaroni
  • 200 g grated cheese
  • 50 ml milk
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

First, add the macaroni and water to the pot and run the rice cooker on the standard setting until the pasta is al dente (around 10 minutes). Drain the macaroni and stir in the cheese and seasonings. Let the dish set for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt, give it a final stir, and serve. We added some broccoli to our version (precooked in the microwave) for a dash of color and vegetable goodness.

Cook the pasta, add the other ingredients, and voilà, mac and cheese!

(Originally published in English.)

food Japanese cuisine