Small white bowl with seasoned rice in front of Zatarain's in the rice steamer all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

I Cooked Instant Zatarain’s Rice in the Rice Steamer

My rice steamer is one of my favorite convenience tools in the kitchen so I tried Zatarain’s Rice in it one evening and this is what happened.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love my rice steamer. I use it for any and every recipe that calls for rice. It works for white rice, brown rice, Spanish rice, long grain rice, and any other type of rice I put in there. The rice maker saves so much time and I don’t have to clean up the mess that cooking it in the microwave makes. Or use another pot to make the rice on the stovetop. But I’ve only ever made instant brown rice in the steamer. What happens if you cook Zatarain’s in the rice steamer?

We typically only eat brown rice. When Justin and the boys went grocery shopping one day they came home with a few boxes of Zatarain’s Rice Sides to go with a few of our meals. I’ve mentioned before, I’m really bad at remembering a side dish to go with our main course.

Luckily, you don’t need anything crazy to make this. A good rice cooker is the one that works for you. I am not making large amounts of rice, so this small Oster brand is an excellent choice for my family. And if you follow these simple steps you have a great way to have rice ready to go with any delicious meal. 

Empty rice steamer next to the lid with a box of Zatarain's rice in front all on a wooden surface

Since the rice steamer has always saved us so much time, I started wondering if I could use it to make the Zatarain’s rice. The instructions on the box say to either cook it in the microwave or on the stove top.

I decided that I would give it a go in the rice steamer and see what happens. After all, the instructions are so similar, why wouldn’t it work?

For best results, you’ll want to measure the amount of rice in the box and use that to know how much water to add. For example, in my rice steamer, there’s a line for water. For every cup of rice you add to the steamer, you fill to a certain line with water. 

Zatarain’s in the Rice Steamer Step by Step


  • 1 box Zatarain’s rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp butter


When I use the rice steamer for cooking plain rice, I measure out a specific amount and fill the bowl with water per that amount. I poured the rice mix from the box of Zatarain’s and measured it to see how much was in there. That way I would know the right amount of water to add. Each box may be different, so I plan to measure every time I make a box like this. 

In the rice steamer I have, the water-to-rice ratio is one-to-one. For every cup of dry rice I add, I also need one cup of water. 

Add the amount of butter suggested in the instructions on the box. This was my first time adding anything other than rice and water so I had no idea what to expect.

Rice with seasonings and water in the bowl of a rice steamer with the lid next to the steamer on a wooden surface

But, I went ahead and turned the rice steamer on to see what would happen. Then I prepared the rest of our meal. We had this box of rice with Super Simple Cilantro & Lime Fish Dinner, but there are many flavor options to do with almost any dish you are making.

I kept watch on the rice steamer as we were getting everything else cooked. It seemed to be handling the Zatarain’s rice without a problem. The machine was working properly, as far as I could tell. It was steaming up as it does for regular brown rice. The butter didn’t look like it was causing any difference, and the rice was getting cooked.

About 25 minutes later, the button popped up to let us know that the cooking was finished and the machine was set to warm. Well, so far so good, the machine didn’t explode! Not that I was expecting that, but I wasn’t sure what it would do. Just know that cooking times will vary based on the machine you have. 

Use a plastic spoon or rice paddle to gently stir the rice. Remember, the edges of the inner pot are hot so use pot holders when handling it. Make sure all of the seasonings and butter are distributed. 

Zatarain's rice with a white rice paddle in a rice steamer on a wooden surface


Moment of truth: How does the rice taste?

I am pleased to announce that the rice was delicious! The rice had all of the flavors that cooking it on the stovetop would give and was still the same slightly-sticky consistency.

Overall, there wasn’t much difference in the final product between cooking the rice on the stovetop versus cooking Zatarain’s in the rice steamer versus microwave ovens. The advantage of using the rice steamer was not having to do anything except measure it all out at the beginning. Which you would have to do on the stovetop as well.

By using the rice steamer, I was able to get the rest of dinner cooked without having to make sure to stir the rice, make sure it doesn’t burn, cover it, uncover it, or anything else. I could set the machine and let it do its job. We will be using the rice steamer for more rice sides in the future when we want something with a little more flavor than plain brown rice.

Since it worked with Zatairain’s brand, I would think it would work with any box rices. The only thing I wouldn’t try is dirty rice since it usually includes bell peppers, diced onion, meat, and more than just the rice and seasonings. 

Small white bowl with seasoned rice in front of Zatarain's in the rice steamer all on a wooden surface (vertical)

Next Test

Now that I know this works well in the rice steamer, I want to try it in the instant pot. I’ve only used that to cook rice at high pressure a few times, but haven’t used it for a box of rice yet. 


Originally Published On: May 8, 2018

Last Updated On: July 20, 2023

Empty rice steamer next to the lid with a box of Zatarain's rice in front all on a wooden surface

Zatarain’s in the Rice Steamer

My rice steamer is one of my favorite convenience tools in the kitchen so I tried Zatarain's Rice in it one evening and this is what happened.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Side Dish
rice steamer
zatarain’s rice
Dietary Needs:
Cooking Method:
Rice Steamer
Servings: 3 servings
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 box Zatarain's Rice
  • water
  • 2 tbsp butter

Recommended Equipment


  • Measure the contents of the box of rice then pour into the rice steamer
  • Add the appropriate amount of water for the measured rice
  • Add the butter then turn the rice steamer on


The nutrition facts will vary based on the flavor of Zatarain’s rice you use. 
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Nutrition Facts
Zatarain's in the Rice Steamer
Amount Per Serving (0.3 cups)
Calories 68 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 60mg3%
Potassium 4mg0%
Carbohydrates 0.3g0%
Fiber 0.02g0%
Sugar 0.02g0%
Protein 0.1g0%
Vitamin A 233IU5%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0.01mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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52 thoughts on “I Cooked Instant Zatarain’s Rice in the Rice Steamer”

    1. 5 stars
      I just want to thank you so much for posting this! I’m making a simple stir fry tonight. And I just love my rice cooker. So I got to thinking, why can’t I make my zatarans cilantro lime rice in my cooker? And when I googled can i, your site came up!
      Just think! In the short time it takes to make a stir fry, the rice can be done at the same time! I’m in heaven and so thankful for your wonderful site! Next I’m going to look into your recipe on simple lime fish!

  1. Great read! I usually stay away from any automatic cooking machines like rice cookers and crock pots bcuz i feel like im gonna have an anxiety attack if i cant watch the food. However, i love the fact that you can turn it on and go and still get the same, if not better results. I’m working on my courage! This rice looks great

  2. That’s so interesting. We have a rice cooker (I guess they’re the same thing??) which we only ever used to cook plain white or brown rice. Now I think we’ll experiment too!

    1. Yes, I believe it’s the same thing. Mine was just called a rice steamer since it also came with an additional tray that you can use to steam veggies at the same time.

  3. I love rice and it is one of the very few foods I can feed my daughter since she has food allergies. This rice is one I will have to try because it looks amazing!

      1. I used the amount of water based on the rice steamer. I measured out the amount of rice in a measuring cup. Then used the water necessary for that amount. For example, if you measure out two cups of rice from the Zatarain’s box, then fill the rice steamer as you would for two cups of rice.

  4. I have that same rice cooker! Girl I’ve cooked so many things in that thing, now the possibility is there you’ll be throwing everything in there now!

  5. I love that it turned out so moist and it looks so flavorful too! Need to try this brand asap! Oh and obsessed with the convenience of not having to cook it at a stove top

  6. We grew up with a rice steamer (or rice cooker), seeing that rice is part of almost every meal lol. It’s really a handy gadget to have.

    1. I’m not sure which markets Zatarain’s is in, but it’s a popular one here. I was so happy it worked in the steamer because I agree, the rice is always better when made in there.

  7. Oh man, it has been a while since I heard Zatarains! I remember watching the promos for the product in the 90s on Wheel of Fortunes (you know the part where they talk about their sponsors). I never ate it as my mom loooooved Rice-a-Roni. But if I ever go back to the States, I will try some Zatarain!

  8. I love when you can start a dish then forget it. It’s such a great option to have a flavorful side dish without having to monitor it while it’s cooking.

  9. I definitely need a rice steamer after reading your post, Stephanie. I don’t know how I never thought about getting one which will make my cooking easier.

  10. One thing that helps is having one that you can program. The more basic models is plug in, flip to cook, and that’s it. Those may work, but for things that have a longer cook time … they don’t handle those very well.

    So, if you don’t have one and plan to get one, make sure its one that lets you set the amount of time to cook.

    I’ve done all sorts of things with a rice cooker, even cooked something akin to scrambled eggs. Think of an egg mcmuffin. So yeah, rice cookers are a wonderful multi-purpose cooking device.

    1. Oh, that would be awesome! I just have the simple one, and it gets the job done for rice. Since it was a gift, I didn’t have much say in which model. But whenever I need to get a new one, I will have to have a look at a programmable one. Thanks for the suggestion!

  11. I toss everything rice made in my rice steamer and it always comes out perfect…try adding fresh onions, jalapenos, and a partial can of diced tomatoes along with chicken stock instead of water add jasmine rice and you get a delish spanish rice…

  12. Just did Zataran’s Red Beans and Rice in my Rice cooker, using same amount of water and butter as stovetop directions, and it turned out perfect. Took a little longer (about 45 minutes), but didn’t have to check it every couple minutes, and was free to do other things with no worries. Thanks for giving me confidence to try, will do this way every time.

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