Is your rice cooker not working or heating up? Its energy source might be severely compromised. Here’s 6 fixes to try.

Rice is probably one of the most versatile foods out there. It can be served with almost anything, and is present in the majority of the world’s gastronomy. It’s simply amazing.

Having an appliance that can conveniently prepare it for you at home whilst guaranteeing a well-cooked, soft and rich result, is a blessing that definitely makes our lives easier. So, what happens when your trusty rice cooker stops working or no longer heats up? Your meals are ruined, that’s what.

There’s a wide variety of reasons why this could be happening, from something as simple as a bad wall outlet or a damaged cord, to more technical issues such as a faulty thermostat, or the dreaded fried circuit occurrence.

Whatever the case, you need to start troubleshooting and ruling out possible causes to keep serving full-bodied, delicious meals. This is why, I’ve prepared the list below to explore all possibilities and find the solution in no time.

Are you ready? Let’s dig in!

Your Rice Cooker Might Be Giving You Trouble Due To…

  • A bad cord/outlet
  • Internal leaking
  • A faulty thermostat
  • A blown thermal fuse
  • A broken heating element
  • A fried circuit board

The cause behind your problem might not require you to open your rice cooker at all, as it could be related to the appliance’s power sources, or improper use. This list is organized with efficiency in mind in order to avoid unnecessary repairs and wasted money.

Taking out cold rice from rice cooker
Whether you only eat rice a few times a week or multiple times a day, a rice cooker is a game-changer. Let’s check the reasons that make your rice cooker not function properly!

#1 Your Outlet/Power Cord Is Bad

Test your power cords and wall outlets

One of the most important components of a rice cooker is its power source. Without it, you might as well make it part of the kitchen decorations. A damaged power cord can cause issues such as overheating, underheating, short circuits, and general malfunction.

If your rice cooker doesn’t turn on or heat up no matter how hard you try, a problem in its power sources is likely the cause. And while it might seem like the cords in kitchen appliances are sturdy, something as negligible as having them tangled or pressed against a wall can break them.

That being said, there’s also the possibility that your cord is fine, but the outlet it’s drawing power from, is not.

You’d be surprised at how many times people think their appliances are dead, only to find the solution by plugging them into a different outlet. Counterintuitive, I know, but it works.

Solution: Test both your power cord, and your wall outlet.

First, unplug your appliance and plug it back into a different wall outlet, preferably in a different section of the house. If this did the trick, you have confirmation that your outlet was to blame.

Alternatively, if that didn’t fix your issue, the culprit is likely the power cord. In case you have a spare one lying around, plug it into your rice cooker and test it. It should be working normally again.

Now, I’m aware that not everyone has a spare rice cooker power cord just waiting to be used, but worry not, you can find one for less than $20 at any online marketplace.

As a nice bonus, if you feel like improving your DIY skills and have determined the outlet was to blame, you can use a multimeter to test it. Just remember to be careful and take all safety precautions prior to attempting this.

#2 Something’s Leaking

Even small cracks can cause trouble

We all know that rice needs copious amounts of water to cook properly, but what happens when the liquid seeps in through even the tinniest crack inside your rice cooker? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

You might not have noticed them, but even hairline fractures on your rice cooker’s pot can let small amounts of water through and into your electronics.

Most rice cooker pots are made of steel, so breaking them is not easy, but it’s possible, on some rare occasions. If your rice cooker is no longer working, it’s likely due to internal leaking and short-circuiting.

Solution: Having leaks can cause a wide variety of issues, ranging from broken components, to a dead circuit board, but we’ll get to that later on.

In order to prevent this, pay attention to any leaking when you’re soaking or washing your rice cooker’s pot. This will allow you to fix it or replace it before putting it back into your appliance.

#3 A Broken Thermostat

If your thermostat is broken, your appliance might be struggling to accurately sense how hot it gets while operating. This component not only prevents overheating, but also communicates with others to regulate temperatures.

For example, let’s say you’ve been cooking your rice for a while, and your thermostat detects unusually high temperatures. It will immediately send a signal to your heating element, so it dials back how much heat it’s generating.

Rice cookers are wonderful machines. They could definitely be part of the Skynet uprising!

All jokes aside, though. When this component fails, it could mistake ambient temperature for excessive heat and send an inaccurate signal to other components, causing your appliance to stay lukewarm at best.

Solution: Test and replace if necessary.

In order to do this, you’ll have to access your rice cooker’s guts by following these steps:

  • Unplug your rice cooker and let it cool down
  • Identify the screws holding the outer case in place and remove them
  • Expose the appliance’s guts
  • Find your thermostat  and access it
  • Test the part for conductivity

Remember, no conductivity means you need no replace it.

#4 Your Thermal Fuse Is Blown

If your fuse is blown, you’ll have to replace it

Fuses are life-savers. They protect your appliances from power spikes and overheating, which means that, when they fail or blow, they must be replaced ASAP.

If your rice cooker is not working or heating up properly after a big blackout, this is likely the reason why. Fuses are designed to interrupt the flow of electricity when there’s a big spike, so it doesn’t reach your circuit board and fries it.

These nifty little components are also great as temperature regulators, as they react swiftly to overheating and work side by side with other internal components in your rice cooker.

Rice cooker thermal fuse
When too much current flows through the low resistance element of the fuse, the element melts and breaks the circuit.

Solution: Follow the steps from the previous point to expose your appliance’s guts, and test for conductivity with a multimeter if you have one. If you don’t, that’s alright too.

Unlike other components on this list, blown fuses can be easily identified by the naked eye, just look for filament interruption and blackening inside it, and replace it if need be.

#5 Your Heating Element Is Dead

Test your heating element for conductivity

If your problem is heat generation, a dead heating element is most likely to blame.

These components are responsible for absorbing electricity and transforming it into heat, which means that, when they fail, they can either generate too much, or none at all.

Whatever the case, this issue must be addressed as soon as you identify it, as operating your rice cooker in this condition (combined with a blown fuse or a broken thermostat), could even result in the appliance catching on fire.

Solution: Follow the steps listed in previous points and test for conductivity. You can find a replacement at any hardware store near you.

#6 Your Circuit Board Is Done For

A power surge might have killed your circuit board

Last, but definitely not least, is the dreaded fried circuit board situation. If none of the previous solutions worked, it’s time to think bigger.

The good news is that, if this is what’s causing your issue, your rice cooker won’t turn on at all, so that narrows down the possibilities quite significantly. The bad news is that, if your circuit board is fried, there’s not much to do about it.

For this to happen, your rice cooker must have had to experience a big shock or energy spike. Sometimes, as good as they are, thermal fuses can’t break the electrical conductivity fast enough, and some of it can reach your circuit board.

Solution: Depending on how old your appliance is and the status of your warranty, you have two options: call a technician or buy a new one.

If you’re still under coverage, go ahead and send it in for repairs, but if you’re not, the cost of labor and replacement parts will be nearly as high as getting a brand-new model.

Sorry for not having better news to deliver, but chin up! There’s a good chance that you can find a good deal online. 

Conclusion

Being rice the cornerstone of so many dishes worldwide, having your rice cooker fail can be catastrophic for your meals.

It might not look like it from the outside, but there are tons of delicate, complex components inside these appliances that work together to guarantee adequate and safe operation at all times.

If your rice cooker is not working or heating up, there’s a very good chance that one, or several of these are failing or broken altogether. This is not only detrimental to your appliance’s life span, but also very dangerous.

Always remember to check your warranty and unplug your rice cooker before tampering with it, as doing otherwise could result in voiding your coverage, or even worse, hurting yourself.

Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you picked up a new skill today, why not keep it going by checking out our other wonderful resources below?

Stay safe, and happy projects!