Learning to cook rice on the stovetop is a basic skill everyone should master. However, between balancing other meal prep and trying to scrub up as we cook, we don’t always have time to hover around the pot to ensure our grains come out perfectly prepared. And while a quality rice cooker removes the effort and guesswork involved in making batches, the appliances can take up valuable kitchen space and cost hundreds of dollars.
That’s why this small microwave-friendly tool from Sistema ($19; amazon.com) caught our eye. Amazon shoppers say it’s one of the speediest ways to make rice, using steam to cook grains in just minutes—and it costs less than $20.
Designed with a steam release vent on its lid to minimize splatter and lock in moisture, the plastic cooker is made without BPA or phthalates. It also features easy-lift tabs that remain cool to the touch and transitions from freezer to microwave to dishwasher with ease.
To use, simply add rinsed rice (or another ingredient like couscous, polenta, or quinoa) and water into the 2.5-liter pot, then top with a pressure chamber plate and snap on the lid. Microwave for up to 15 minutes—cook time depends on the grain and the strength of your microwave—and allow the grain to rest for five minutes or so before serving with an included nonstick rice spoon.
The Sistema microwave rice cooker has earned hundreds of positive reviews from customers who confirm it truly does cut down on the time and mess of cooking rice.
“In the past, I’ve cooked rice on the stove and used an electronic rice cooker, and I prefer this microwave one to both,” a reviewer wrote. “I hated how messy cooking on the stove is, and my electric cooker got mold down inside the part that you can’t wash. With this, there’s no mess, and there’s nowhere you can’t clean or that can trap mold or bacteria. I can throw every part of it into the dishwasher after I’m done with it.”
Another added that the tool felt like cheating. “It’s almost unfair how fast this thing cooks perfect sticky rice. It takes half the time compared to stove top and doesn’t make a mess at all.”
Honestly, we’re fine with a cooking shortcut to help get dinner on the table. Head to Amazon to get your own Sistema rice cooker and you’ll have perfectly cooked rice in a flash, too.
To buy: $19; amazon.com.
This article originally appeared on Real Simple.
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