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I originally bought an Instant Pot pressure cooker to use it as a rice cooker. It cooks rice very well. However, I decided to buy a rice cooker separately just for cooking rice only. Instant Pot pressure cooker is so great that I ended up using it for most of my cooking other than rice. Therefore, I decided to have a separate rice cooker. I can’t cook dinner if rice is already in the instant pot! So I researched for a non toxic rice cooker with a stainless steel inner pot. Rice cookers just like pressure cookers or slow cookers, they can be toxic with non stick coating materials. In this post, I share with you, how rice cooker can be toxic and what non toxic rice cookers are available.
How Rice Cookers Can Be Toxic
As I have mentioned in my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Pressure Cooker – Is Instant Pot Pressure Cooker healthy?‘, many rice cookers have an inner pot made of aluminum coated with non-stick Teflon. This non-stick coating is used for preventing rice from sticking to the pot. However, if non-stick Teflon is scratched, the pot can release dangerous chemicals. Teflon is safe if it is not scratched or overheated. Teflon becomes a problem if it is exposed to the temperatures exceeding 500 °F. However, Rice cooker cooks rice around the boiling point (212 °F). Therefore, there is a no concern with Teflon being overheated.
Teflon, on the other hand, is easily scratched with metal utensils. If teflon gets scratched, aluminum will leach out of the pot into food. When aluminum enters our body, it accumulates in our brain, kidneys, lungs, thyroid and liver. Some studies show that elevated aluminum content has been found in the brains of persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, some research suggest that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants contribute to the development of a breast cancer.
Teflon can also leach other toxic chemicals if it is scratched or overheated. Teflon nonstick coating is coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) was made with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the past. However, due to its toxicity to cause liver disease, thyroid disorders and testicular cancer, it was replaced with another chemical called Gen X. However, Gen X is supposedly just as toxic as PFOA. In addition, for some PTFE, PFOA is still used. Therefore, teflon is toxic and it should be avoided.
Safe Alternative Material To Non-Stick Teflon Coated Aluminum
Uncoated stainless steel is a safe alternative material to non-stick teflon coated aluminum. Stainless steel is a moderately reactive material and it can leach nickel, iron and chromium into food. However, this is the case only when you cook acidic food such as tomato sauce in the pot or cooking something for a long hours of duration. Rice is not acidic nor it needs hours to cook. Therefore, cooking rice in the stainless steel is very safe.
There are many rice cookers with a ceramic coated inner pot. Although this material is not Teflon, I would not choose a ceramic coated material since the coating can be scratched. Ceramic coated pots are often coated over aluminum. In addition, ceramic coating contains nanoparticles which can enter our bodies through air or food. If ceramic coating is scratched, the pot will release nanoparticles and aluminum into food. A study published in 2016 concluded that nanoparticles get released when ceramic coated pots or pans has surface wear or damage from scratch. Ceramic coating wears off over time with normal use, making the coating thin. When the coating is thin, it can be scratched easily.
Keeping Rice Warm
Cooked rice should be placed in a closed container and refrigerated after 2 hrs. Uncooked rice has bacillus cereus, a species of bacteria that causes severe food poisoning. They survive from cooking and they can grow rapidly in room temperature. Therefore, cooked rice is recommended to be stored in the fridge after 2 hrs.
Bacteria doesn’t grow at the temperature higher than 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Most bacteria grow between 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) and 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Therefore, if the keep warm function of your rice cooker is 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit higher, rice can be kept warm in the rice cooker. However, rice will also dry out over time and change texture when you leave rice in the rice cooker for a while. Therefore, keeping rice in the rice cooker for a long time is not recommended. Some electric rice cookers say they can keep rice up to 12 hours depending on a model. However, if you are not sure if keep warm temperature of your rice cooker is below 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, store rice in the fridge after 2 hours.
Non Toxic Rice Cookers With A Stainless Steel Inner Pot
Now, let’s take a look at non toxic rice cookers that have a stainless steel inner pot.
Aroma Simply Stainless Steel Rice Cooker – Non Toxic Rice Cooker
Aroma Simply Stainless Steel Rice Cooker has automatic keep warm function to keep the rice warm. It has no “Teflon ®” nor other non-stick surface materials. Aroma recommends to keep rice warm up to 12 hrs or less before rice begins to dry. You can get 6 cup (cooked rice) or 14 cup for this rice cooker.
Aroma strives to be environmentally responsible and put efforts in sustaining our environment. They use bi-degradable, recyclable packaging materials. They also adopted molded pulp in place of polystyrene foam in just Aroma’s rice cookers, Aroma is projected to keep over 40,000 cu ft of polystyrene foam and plastic out of landfills in one year – an amount that would fill over 20 semi tractor trailers.
Inner Pot: 100% surgical-grade 304 stainless steel cooking pot
Aroma Nutriware Stainless Steel Rice Cooker – Non Toxic Rice Cooker
Aroma Nutriware Stainless Steel Rice Cooker is a little fancier version of Aroma Simply rice cooker above. This rice cooker makes 14 cups of cooked rice. It has white rice, brown rice, sauce and steam function. It also has automatic keep warm function to keep the rice warm. Aroma recommends to keep rice warm up to 12 hrs or less before rice begins to dry. Inner pot of this rice cooker has no “Teflon ®” nor other non-stick surface materials. It comes with a stainless steel steam tray, a spatula and a measuring cup.
Inner Pot: 100% surgical-grade 304 stainless steel cooking pot
Oyama Stainless Steel Rice Cooker – Non Toxic Rice Cooker
Oyama Stainless Steel Rice Cooker has automatic keep warm function. It has no “Teflon ®” nor other non-stick surface materials. It also comes with a stainless steel steamer tray. Oyama recommends to keep rice warm up to 12 hrs or less before rice begins to dry.
Inner Pot: Stainless Steel (304 Grade) inner pot
Tatung Stainless Steel Rice Cooker – Non Toxic Rice Cooker
Tatung Stainless Steel Rice Cooker has automatic keep warm function. It has no “Teflon ®” nor other non-stick surface materials. It also comes with a steam plate, an inner pot lid, a rice spatula, and a measuring cup. This rice cooker has four modes of cooking: braise, steam, rice and stew mode.
The Tatung Company strives to be environmentally responsible and sustain our environment. They have been working out greenhouse gas emission inventory in the factories and subsidiaries since 2009. They also have been focusing on the development of energy-saving technologies and renewable energy service such as acquiring green mark and energy label, developing LED parts and products, solar energy wafers, film/single/multi crystal solar energy module, and critical materials for C-LiFePO4 batteries.
Inner Pot: Stainless Steel – 18/8 (food grade 304) inner pot
Lotus Foods Stainless Steel Rice Cooker – Non Toxic Rice Cooker
Lotus Foods Stainless Steel Rice Cooker has automatic keep warm function. It has no “Teflon ®” nor other non-stick surface materials. It also comes with a steaming tray and a rice paddle.
Lotus Foods puts efforts to sustain our environment and got awarded for implementing the ‘More Crop Per Drop’ system, allowing farmers to dramatically increase yields while decreasing water consumption, seed use and methane gas emissions. They were also recognized for educating their supply chain and customers about the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) ecological rice production methods.
Inner Pot: Stainless Steel (Surgical grade 304) inner pot
All of the above rice cookers do not contain teflon or any type of non stick coatings. They all have an uncoated stainless steel inner pot which food is in direct contact with. They also have automatic keep warm function which will prevent rice from sitting in a room temperature. However, rice dries out and will change texture if rice is left in the rice cooker for too long. Therefore, try cooking rice in a small portion rather than cooking in a large portion and keeping rice in the rice cooker for a day or two. Some of the brands above also come with a stainless steel steamer which you can use it to re-heat refrigerated rice.
My favorite non toxic rice cooker is Aroma Simply rice cooker. It doesn’t come with a steamer but you can purchase it separately here. I need a bigger size than 6 cup so I got myself a 14 cup Aroma Simply rice cooker.
I really like Aroma Nutriware rice cooker as well since it has a little more functions such as brown rice, white rice options and sauce, steam functions. It also comes with a steamer tray. I will be actually recommending Aroma Nutriware rice cooker to my parents since they want to get a large size rice cooker with brown rice option. Aroma not only makes great rice cookers (they are one of the leading rice cooker brands) but also they put efforts in sustaining our environment. I like what they are doing as a company. Although Aroma Simply and Nutriware are my choices for a non toxic rice cooker, any of these rice cookers I listed will work well as a non toxic rice cooker.
If you are interested in the popular Instant Pot pressure cooker, please read my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Pressure Cooker – Is Instant Pot Pressure Cooker healthy?‘,
If you are interested in non toxic cookware, please read my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Cookware Guide – What Is The Healthiest And Safest Cookware?‘
If you are interested in non toxic bakeware, please read my next post, ‘Non Toxic Bakeware Guide – Which Bakeware Is Safe And Non Toxic?‘
You can read my review on Instant Pot Duo Plus 60 9-in-1 pressure cooker in my post ‘Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Review – How Instant Pot Changed My Life.’
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