I want to cook a lot of chicken in a rice cooker

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Assistant Cook
Aug 30, 2023
Ocean Shores, WA
There is method to my madness. We have a basic rice cooker, 3-4qt. I think. We will have room next year for a proper crockpot but for now this is it. I want to start batch cooking boneless skinless chicken thighs for dinners. I'll be putting the defrosted chicken in the rice cooker in the morning - can I stack the thighs to make more room? I'd like to fit in six thighs. Advice welcome.
Have never done this and have only just learned how versatile the rice cooker is. Did not know you could cook meat alone in one.
Having just read a beautiful article on rice cookers my main concern would be moisture. You will have to have a liquid of some sort in there? Also not too sure about spacing. Will they be able get the proper temperature between them and the thickness?

Should I assume you have done this before? Could you tell me a bit more?
Check your rice cooker's manual. Online or otherwide. I just looked at a manual for a 20-cup Aroma Rice Cooker/Food Steamer and it says you can "steam" meat. For chicken, it says 2.5 cups of water, 20 minutes and temp should be 165F, using the "steaming tray".

Maybe the rice cooker's website has FAQ that might help?
You can't leave them in there all day. they won't stay warm enough to be food safe. And even if they did stay warm enough they'd overcook and dry out
uscgvet, you don't sound like a newbie in the kitchen, so I assume you will not leave them for the day. That being said, as much for the benefit of others, you realize that rice cookers turn off once they reach their temperature, whereas slow cookers can be set to go for hours.

Should your rice cooker reach it's boiling temp (highest I believe they go) it will turn off. Solids like the thighs you are contemplating may not have reached that temperature in the middle. Best to test with a thermometer.

I have a small 2 quart slow clooker and 3 thighs fit in the bottom quite comfortably. 6 thighs IMHO, would only be 2 deep? I would worry if they were deeper - too solid - unless you can find a way to separate the layers?
Actually I am a newbie, just skilled in asking lots of questions (I'm autistic). The temp thing is a good point, actually it is some kind of half rice maker half slow cooker as we have done rice and chicken together in it. But yes, I was thinking of two layers, or stand them all on end - just basically a way to do a lot of chicken all at once. I plan to get a real slow cooker soon. : )))
As a newbie when making something, I start with the end in mind. For example, you want to cook chicken in a rice cooker. I will google and see the results. I got no results for chicken thighs by themselves. (Lots of recipes for them made with rice though!) So I backed off and used a search for chicken only in a rice cooker. Whole chickens in rice cookers came up. A lot of recipes for whole chickens, in fact!

So...I looked at them. Most are likely not what you will want as it seems that you want to make just chicken for other purposes and don't want to add various flavors. (I am making a lot of assumptions, which I normally try to not do, but I am trying to help!) I saw this recipe here. This recipe has a lot of things you might not want to add, but I look for what will likely be needed. (Liquids) I would stick to the total amount of liquid used. The person who made this dish seasons and preps the chicken. You could use your own seasonings, but follow the prep because she likely knows what she is doing.

She adds aromatics and spices, which you can add or omit. I do think some onion and celery might make for good chicken to be used for generic purposes as well as pepper, salt, etc. She marinades the chicken which you may decide not to do. She sets the chicken on aromatics and then describes how to test it for done-ness.

It is likely she uses the whole chicken because there won't be an area overly dense and cooking is going to be more uniform.

There were a lot of recipe ideas for cooking a simple whole chicken in a rice cooker without rice, including several in very simple cookers. If you try it, I hope you tell us how it turned out.
@GinnyPNW If he wants to make a lot of chicken for meals, I guess I was thinking of things like casseroles, salads, etc. A whole chicken would work. I don't think the head or feet are required, but I don't judge! :giggle:

@Sir_Loin_of_Beef I can think of several reasons besides something obvious as in the oven bakes unevenly or doesn't work. Perhaps the OP wants to have something that is more portable or doesn't heat up the entire house, for example. Or wants to try a different technique or expand the use of appliances that have been used for only one purpose. You know?
I like Sir LoB's suggestion of oven roasting on a sheet pan. It may or may not be right for the O.P., but if no one suggests it, we won't know if would work. It might be the ideal solution. It is pretty fast.

@uscgvet Do you have an instant read thermometer? That would make the oven method more reliable.
uscgvet, here's another thought. The thighs are boneless, skinless right? So perhaps roll and tie them. Not all together but individually. Stand them on end but again not all tight together - that would make a solid lump of meat that would probably not cook completely.
Think of how the rice cooker cooks. It is cooking individual grains of rice and small pieces of other foods such as the chicken pieces and vegies cut small. All the pieces are surrounded by the liquid. It is the heat in the liquid that is doing the cooking.

I'm not commenting on that 'whole' chicken mentioned. No knowledge there and don't think I want to, :-p .

I fully understand why you want to use the cooker. It is hands off - don't need to think about. Other than you will have to refrigerate once finished and cooled - don't leave them hanging around, OK?

Let us know how you do!
I was thinking of exactly the same thing. Easy peasy and the chicken will come out a lot better.
Me, too. Steamed chicken is not appealing to me at all. Roasting with salt and pepper will give you a tasty base for other meals. Preheat the oven to 350F, rub chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then put chicken in a container and into the fridge. It's done in an hour and there are no food safety issues.
I like Sir LoB's suggestion of oven roasting on a sheet pan. It may or may not be right for the O.P., but if no one suggests it, we won't know if would work. It might be the ideal solution. It is pretty fast.
Exactly. When I was working, my motto was "I don't give them what they asked for. I give them what they want." They're not always the same thing 😉

What does the OP want? Good-tasting cooked chicken thighs to use as an ingredient for dinner. A rice cooker is one way to achieve that, but it's not necessarily the best way.
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