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How to Cook Rice in A Donabe (Japanese Clay Pots) with Single Lid

How to Cook Rice in A Donabe (Japanese Clay Pots)

Click here to see all Donabe Japanese Clay Pots.

Japan has a tradition of cooking rice in donabe Japanese clay pots. This is also the most common reason why customers buy a donabe. We designed a video instruction for new users. It's an easy process anyone can follow.

We used a single-lid donabe in the video, but the principle remains the same. Donabe stores high heat, so we only keep the high heat until the water boils.

  • For a donabe with a single lid, we turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • With a donabe with double lids, we shut off the heat completely at the end of the cooking time. If you are using a donabe with double lids, please refer to our article on How to Cook Rice in a Japanese Clay Pot with Double Lids
  • This video is for reference only. Please refer to the step-by-step instructions below.
  • The volume of a rice cup is 150ml, different from the 1 cup used as a standard liquid measuring cup.

We use the proper water ratio (usually the rice to water ratio is 1:1.2 for white rice) and proper heat level (please refer to the following steps) to get the best result.

The first thing is to avoid scorching. Please beware that a clay pot performs with high heat. You must monitor the heat during the cooking process. It is highly recommended you watch some recipes and rice cooking instructions before the first use.

  1. Please note that the water-rice ratio may vary depending on the varieties of rice and cooking time. Some users use up to 1:2. Users need to test and experiment to find the optimal level.
  2. Rinse your rice. Use a water cup to measure. Usually we use a 150ml water cup as standard in rice cooking.
  3. Add rice to the donabe and then add water. Use the water ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1.2 cup of water. Cook a minimum of 2 cups of rice if your donabe is size 8 or up.
  4. Use high heat to bring the water and rice to a boil. Then turn to low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let the rice sit for another 15 minutes before using the rice. 
  5. Our demonstrator partially covered the lid at first when the pot was on high heat, then fully covered it on low heat. This is optional. 
  6. The rice might be slightly crunchy on the bottom. Japanese call the texture of donabe rice Okoge. But it should not be totally burnt at the bottom.
  7. If you do not prefer Okoge or prefer less Okoge, shorten the cooking time after you turn down the heat to low.
  8. The heat levels are for general reference only. Every cooktop is different. If you have a strong cooktop or use less rice, shorten the cooking time after you turn down the heat to low.

We can even cook rice in a donabe over a campfire!

Additional information: 

  1. Remember a reasonably heated cookware and heated oil (not overheating) are key.
  2. Users will need basic cooking techniques and common sense (understanding of proper heat control, knowing how to check the food periodically, and so on).
  3. Heat level, Please note that the heat levels shown below are for general reference only. Every cooktop is different. The following ranges apply if 10 is the maximum.
  • Low heat: the heat level is 1-2.
  • Medium low heat: the heat level is 3-4.
  • Medium heat: the heat level is 5.
  • Medium high heat: the heat level is 7-8.
  • High heat: the heat level is 9-10.

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