Yes, You Can Make Chicken In A Rice Cooker

A lot of kitchen tools seem to over-promise and under-deliver, like the not-so-Instant Instant Pot (sure, it cooks in a flash, but you'll have to wait all day for it to heat up, de-pressure, and go through whatever other series of complicated steps it deems necessary). Others, such as the slow cooker or crock pot, have names that seem to undersell their all-around utility. And then there's the rice cooker, an appliance whose somewhat misleading name makes it seem far less versatile than is actually the case. Even the simplest of rice cookers, ones with no more than cook and keep warm settings, can still be used for cooking soups, while more elaborate models may allow you to soak, simmer, and steam all manner of things.

Among the foods that can be prepared in a rice cooker are hard-boiled eggs, homemade yogurt, steam-cooked cakes, and meats including chicken. In fact, if your rice cooker model allows, you may even be able to steam chicken thighs or breasts above or even in a pot of rice so both your main dish and side will be done at the same time. If your bird is on the smaller side and your rice cooker is a larger one, you might be able to fit a whole chicken in there. 

How to make rice cooker chicken

If you're cooking an entire bird, rub it with your choice of seasonings, maybe add some additional flavoring agents like garlic, onions, or citrus fruit, and then pour in a small amount of water (about ¼ cup ought to do it). Run the rice cooker for two cook cycles, then check the chicken's temperature. If it's at the USDA-recommended 165 F inside, then it is safe to eat.

If you're cooking rice and chicken together, your best bet may be to use boneless chicken, even chicken cut into pieces, so the meat will finish cooking at the same time the rice is done (typically one rice cooking cycle). If you really want to cook bone-in chicken, though, you could try it with smaller pieces like thighs or drumsticks (though not entire quarters encompassing both). You might also want to use a slower-cooking type of rice like the brown, black, or red varieties.

One caveat with rice cooker chicken is that the skin will not be crisp, nor will it be golden brown. If you want to fix the color, you can brown the chicken in a pan prior to putting it in the rice cooker. If you want crispy skin, though, your best bet may be to finish up the steam-cooked chicken with a few minutes under the broiler.