Are Rice Cookers Allowed in Dorms?

If you eat a lot of rice, a rice cooker is definitely for you. It doesn’t take up a lot of space either. But for college students and their parents, it’s common to wonder, are rice cookers allowed in dorms?

I checked into it and discovered:

Most college dorms won’t let you have rice cookers. This, along with any other appliance that has the intention of cooking food, is typically prohibited due to being a fire hazard.

Of course, this is dependent on the college you go to, though.

And whether you are in the dorm buildings or off-campus apartment factors in also. Every college has its own opinion on appliances in your dorm room, and some will let you have them as long as you only use them in the central dorm kitchen.

Let’s dive into it.

What appliances are allowed in college dorms?

Most college dorms allow a mini-fridge and coffee maker. Some will allow microwaves too. Large appliances are not allowed, and typically anything that could potentially catch fire will be prohibited.

Later I’ll give you a complete list of no-no appliances for most college dorms. For now, though, let’s focus on the ones you can have, starting with the most obvious.

Most college dorms will allow you to have a mini-fridge of some sort in your dorm. This way, you can keep drinks and leftover food good and safe from spoiling. 

Most dorms will also let you have a coffee maker. Usually, a small Keurig is allowed.

Some dorms allow microwaves with or without conditions. You might even be able to bring a small humidifier with you!

Notice how this list isn’t that long.

Remember that every appliance you can or can’t bring to a college dorm is based on that college. If you go to a college out of the country, you might have a whole list of different things to consider.

Always check with your dorm!

Is a rice cooker a fire hazard?

No. A rice cooker properly used and in good condition is not a fire hazard as it does not use an open flame or heat the external part of the cooker. But any electric appliance can be a fire hazard is used improperly, or if the power cord is old or frayed.

Overall there are precautions taken in rice cookers that will make sure a fire doesn’t start.

Some circumstances can make a rice cooker a fire hazard.

Most rice cookers have a time and a fail-safe auto-off, so if you forget about it, your house won’t burn down. However, it’s never recommended to rely on this feature.

And you should never leave your rice cooker alone for long periods. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

You can technically leave your rice cooker on overnight.

This is not recommended, though. A rice cooker does have a keep warm option that can be used for a few hours at a time, but as I said, you should never leave a rice cooker without any monitoring. 

While a rice cooker isn’t a fire hazard most of the time, it doesn’t mean it can’t become one.

A rice cooker boiling over, for instance, is a user error most of the time, but if left unsupervised, this might be a fire hazard.

I actually have a recent article that talks about why rice cookers boil over and how to prevent it from happening. Simply click the link to read about it on my site.

How long can you keep rice warm in a rice cooker?

Rice cookers can keep rice warm for up to 12 hours without spoiling. The rice cooker needs to keep the rice above 149 degrees Fahrenheit to keep bacteria from multiplying but not so hot that it burns the rice.

Rice cookers are made with a lot of detail in mind. This includes the keep heated option on the rice. 

If you have family over for a big meal and everyone eats at their own pace, this is a fantastic feature to have. It’s also brilliant for if you’re just serving you and you’re a slow eater, or you know you’re going to eat more rice soon.

Regardless, there are still concerns about how long rice should be left to warm and if that is even okay in the first place. 

But how does a rice cooker know when it’s done cooking?

I have a recent article that talks about how a rice cooker knows exactly when the rice is done cooking. It goes more in detail about how rice cookers work in general.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

To stay on the safe side, you should only keep rice warm for a few hours and never leave it warming overnight.

Not to mention that if you leave rice warming all day, it will dry out your rice. The best course of action is to put the rice in the fridge when done with it and reheat when needed.

While it’s more likely to get sick from left-out meat than it is over left out rice, you should still be careful.

Are Instant Pots allowed in dorms?

Much like rice cookers, Instant Pots are not usually allowed in dorms, due to the potential fire hazard. But both also have the potential to create a smell issue with dorm roommates.

But just how dangerous are Instant Pots?

I have a recent article that goes more into any dangers Instant Pots can make, such as whether or not they can explode.

Simply click the link to read it on my site. Let’s get back to here and now, though.

You have to remember that college dorms don’t want fire’s happening. Even if you are a capable adult of monitoring your own things, accidents happen.

This is why dorms don’t allow things with open-source heat like a candle, hot-plate, grills, or frying pans.

Some dorms don’t even allow space heaters or personal microwaves. Some colleges will have you buy the microwave from them in order to have it.

Ironically, many colleges do allow small space heaters.

A lot of it boils down to how much money the college has and the area it’s in. If the building is ancient and the heating system in poor shape, they probably will allow space heaters to avoid the flack from parents who are spending boatloads on their kid’s tuition.

Overall though, here is a basic list that most college dorms follow regarding what ISN’T allowed.

  • Halogen Lamps/bulbs
  • Candles
  • Electric grill
  • Electric crepe maker
  • Electric frypan
  • Electric griddle
  • Deep fryer
  • Popcorn maker
  • Hot plate
  • Waffle iron
  • George Foreman type grills
  • Convection oven
  • Hot dog steamers
  • Low heat warming tray
  • Instant-pots
  • Rice cookers

Remember, these are all different for every college. Many colleges accept Instant Pots, but they’re also not accepted by a lot of colleges.

Always check up on your dorm rules and whether you can use it in the main kitchen or your dorm room.

This is important as you can get kicked out of the dorms if your college doesn’t allow appliances in dorm rooms, or your appliance will simply be taken away.

What is the best rice cooker for a college dorm room?

If your college allows rice cookers in dorm rooms, the best choice is the Instant Zest Plus 20 Cup Rice Cooker, Steamer, and Slow Cooker. You can even get an 8-cup size when space is limited.

As we’ve talked about earlier, most college dorms do not allow any appliance that intends to cook food. This includes a rice cooker.

However, if your college does allow it or you have an off-campus apartment, I do have a recommendation on which rice cooker would be the best for you.

This is the Instant Zest Plus 20 Cup Rice Cooker, Steamer, and Slow Cooker. Just click that link to see it on Amazon.

It’s a fantastic rice cooker that can do it all with the size you need. It comes with a dishwasher safe steam tray, rice measuring cup, and a rice spoon.

This rice cooker is perfect for making oatmeal, rice, and much more while being easy to clean up after.

This cooker comes with nine settings for cooking rice, grains, oatmeal, and more. It also comes with four extra programs for sauteing, steam, slow cook, and a keep warm option.

If you’re still wondering if a rice cooker is good for you and your dorm room, check out my recent article on what makes a rice cooker better.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about rice cookers in dorms?

We learned about more than just rice cookers in today’s article.

We talked about Instant Pots and every other type of appliances you can and can’t have in your college dorm.

We went over rice cookers being fire hazards and why a college dorm wouldn’t allow them.

On top of that, we even dug deep to find the best rice cooker for a new college student in the case that your dorm does allow it!

Remember, most colleges don’t allow rice cookers or any appliance that is meant for cooking food. Most dorms have the main kitchen for everyone to use and share that sometimes has pots or pans. 

Always be safe when cooking whether you are at college or home, and always enjoy the food you make!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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