A few weeks ago I ordered this Wolfgang Puck rice cooker from HSN. Lately it seemed like everyone was using rice cookers all the time and raving about them, and on special at about $34 I couldn’t turn this one down. Also, it came with a recipe guide for making things other than rice!
First of all, I will say that while the rice cooker is well-made, it feels a little cheap for the “retail value” of over $100. If I had paid that much for it I would feel ripped off. Maybe if it did other stuff, had timers, settings, etc. But all it does is “cook” and “warm.” The steamer basket is just plastic, and the rice pot was scratched up (on the outside) after a couple of uses.
I have been using the rice cooker to do rice (in the pot) and steamed vegetables (in the top steamer basket) at least once a week. Both aspects work great. The rice comes out perfectly done, fluffy, with a little bit of crusty bits on the bottom (which I don’t know if that’s supposed to happen, but I like it, so I don’t mind). The veggies in the basket also steam nicely, but after only a couple uses, it was already permanently stained from the carrots I’d cooked.
I had only one bad experience cooking rice, and I don’t know if it was the cooker’s fault or user error. I had no problems cooking only a little bit of rice (enough for GG and I to each have a serving for dinner and then another serving to take to work the next day), but the one time I filled it to capacity, 10 cups, it started to boil over. Starchy water reached the level of the steamer basket, and got into the seal around the edges of the pot, and it’s been a pain to clean up.
As for making other foods, I was suprised to find recipes for all sorts of things in the guide that came with it, including cornbread, sloppy joes, chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, and of course, mac and cheese. I did try the mac and cheese recipe, and while delicious, it was very greasy, which I think is related to both the cooking method and the types of cheese used. I’d be curious to experiment with it a bit more, though.
Overall, this is a fine rice cooker, but I certainly wouldn’t pay its full “retail” value. For the price I paid, I’m very happy with it.
UPDATE: Days after writing this review, the ricer cooker shut down on its own, midway through cooking some rice. I tried plugging it into different outlets and did everything I could think of, but I couldn’t get it unit to work. The following morning, I tried one more time, just so I could confirm what was happening when I called Wolfgang Puck to get a replacement. But the machine worked! Thinking all was well, I planned to cook my dinner in it the following evening. This time, when I turned it on, the light came on, went out, and came on again. After jostling the appliance around, the light came on and stayed on, and I was able to cook the meal. So while it does appear to be working, I would prefer that it didn’t need to be shaken around to work.