This $16.99 ALDI appliance is back for a limited time—it's my favorite

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In college, I learned about the wonders of a rice cooker from my friend Michelle. He had one in his dorm room, and we used it all the time to make rice and ramen noodles. I have had one in my life ever since.

Ambiano rice cookers are featured in ALDI's specials aisle at least once a year. This year, they are only $16.99 at my local store. They make six cups of rice—enough for the average household—but they're not big enough to take up all of your cupboard or counter space. Most rice cookers of this size cost $25 to $40, so ALDI's rice cookers are a steal.

How do I use my rice cooker?

They also make perfect rice every time without any supervision. For maximum flavor and texture, I rinse my rice several times until the water runs clear, then add the rinsed rice and water to the rice cooker, toggle the switch from hot to cooked. Do it, and leave. While the rice is cooking, I prepare the rest of the meal or start the laundry, and later I come back to the perfectly cooked rice. It's that simple.

My whole family is a fan.

One year, I spied rice cookers in ALDI's AOS (Isle of Shame), and I picked up three of them—one for my mom and one for each of my two sisters. I've had so many good experiences with ALDI appliances that I couldn't get rid of them. My mother later told me that she didn't eat enough to justify eating rice. It's the thought that counts, right?

However, a few months later our family dog, Jordan, was diagnosed with cancer. He couldn't eat regular dog food anymore so my mom started cooking him chicken and rice in a rice cooker. After treatment, Jordan was declared cancer-free, but he still couldn't eat regular dog food, so my mom cooked him chicken and rice for years, all in this little ALDI rice cooker. .

“I've never used a kitchen appliance so much,” my mother told me later. “I have never been so grateful for a gift.”

Simple recipes / photo examples by Wanda Abraham / Retailers below


What do I cook in my rice cooker (besides plain rice)?

When I get tired of plain rice, I make lime and red pepper rice by simply adding lime juice and chopped red pepper. When I have more time, I make a “fancy” rice pilaf with butter, white wine, lemon zest and juice, onion and garlic powder, diced apples, and almond flakes. I have also used the rice cooker to season sushi rice.

Once in a while, I make rice pudding or congee, and I've also used the hot setting to make spiced cider and mulled wine. I've seen some people make omelets in a rice cooker, and others convert a rice cooker into a steamer with a collapsible steamer basket.

Ultimately, the best thing about having a rice cooker from ALDI is that you get the best rice every time, all for a very affordable price.

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