Cook rice without all the heat and humidity -- while you do other things!

Beat the Heat: How to Cook Rice in a Thermos

I’ve been a fan of Thermos cooking for a while, but this summer I’ve kicked it up a notch. With temperatures routinely over 100 and high humidity, anything I can do to keep heat and steam out of the boat is a help.

In The Boat Galley Cookbook, I give direction how to cook non-instant brown rice in a Thermos (page 73; Kindle location 2191) — you have to first bring the water and rice to a boil on the stove top, let it cook there for about 5 minutes, then pour it into the Thermos, where it sits and cooks for about 5 hours.

That’s great, but this summer I began using instant rice to do it even more simply and with less cooking heat in the boat — basically, there’s no stovetop cooking and you don’t have to pre-heat the Thermos, either!

I use a 2-cup Thermos Nissan wide-mouth Food Jar (see it here). This will make 2 cups of rice, or two generous servings — see rice servings and amounts.

When I boil our morning coffee water, I put an extra cup of water in the pot. It doesn’t add much to the cooking time or the steam produced (no matter how hot it is, I’m still having my morning coffee).

While the water is heating, I put one cup of instant rice (I prefer brown) in the Thermos.

When the water boils, I fill the Thermos to about 1 inch short of the “full” line (this is almost exactly one cup of boiling water) — rice expands as it cooks and if you fill it all the way full, it will end up being a solid glob of rice. I’ve done it in a larger Thermos (measuring one cup of water) and it works just as well.

Put the cover on the Thermos and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Now here’s the beauty of this — you can let it sit 8 hours or more and the rice doesn’t overcook! So you can start it in the morning, do whatever you want all day, and it’s ready for dinner with no extra heat in the boat.

Great in a cold rice salad or to add pre-cooked rice to dishes such as Spanish Rice or Jambalaya — or for anything you want to serve over rice!

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  • Dave Skolnick
    Posted at 07 September 2015 Reply

    I’m with you in concept. I haven’t found any canned ham I can eat.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 07 September 2015 Reply

      Have you tried Hormel in the little cans about the size of tuna cans? It’s great — break it apart as you put it in the bowl with the other ingredients (not exactly “crumble” but along the same lines). But if you don’t like that, get a refrigerated package of cubed ham — it’s precooked also. Frankly I like the little cans of Hormel better. PS. Do NOT buy the little light blue cans of ham (can’t remember the brand) — they are atrocious.

    • Dave Skolnick
      Posted at 07 September 2015 Reply

      The Boat Galley – I haven’t Carolyn – We’re provisioning Wednesday morning for ten days offshore (Shawn Harlan) and will try a can. Worst case we’ll bait hooks with it. *grin*

      We bought a large canned ham for Christmas in the Bahamas one year. OMG. It was awful. Truly awful. We went back to freezing. I still shudder at the memory.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 07 September 2015 Reply

      I made the mistake of not trying the stuff in the little blue cans before taking several on a camping trip (because the store was out of Hormel). It was so bad the dog wouldn’t even eat it.

  • Cheryl @ Mid-Life Cruising!
    Posted at 10 September 2015 Reply

    Great tip! Can’t wait to start using your cookbook early next year when we finally move on our boat. It’s only 30 ft, so these tips will be a big help!

  • StarWish246
    Posted at 18 September 2015 Reply

    You can turn ‘regular’ rice into ‘quick cooking’ rice by just grinding it slightly. The smaller pieces of rice cook faster than the full grain. And the homemade is cheaper. Also, ‘regular’ rice is more readily found while traveling.

  • Maryanne Grady
    Posted at 30 August 2016 Reply

    We have been doing this for about three years now. So glad I saw your post when I did. I even taught a guy in our marina how to do this. He was so impressed!

  • Steve Wild
    Posted at 30 August 2016 Reply

    Hayley Cheung

  • Candia Kruse
    Posted at 26 June 2017 Reply

    Does this work with regular rice? I’m not a fan of the instant kind.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 26 June 2017 Reply

      You can do it, but it takes about 8 hours and you have to have a very good Thermos (vacuum-sealed) that you fill completely. Occasionally when it’s time to serve up, I find that I have to boil for a few more minutes — it’s not quite done. I prefer non-instant, too, but sometimes convenience and coolness overrides 🙂

  • James Emerson
    Posted at 27 June 2017 Reply

    Great way to cook rice and Steel Cut Oats overnight. 🙂

  • LaMarr Harding
    Posted at 25 September 2017 Reply

    I’ve just started thermal coking again. This time I bought a small immersion heater. 150 watts on 12 volts. and 300 watts for shore power. I measure the water in first. Then the heater until it boils. Remove the element, then the beans, rice, macaroni, dehydrated stew, chili, dehydrated bacon and eggs can be put in the thermos the night before and be ready for a warm breakfast as soon as I get out of the sleeping bag. Never burns or overcooks.

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