Rice cookers are efficient, reliable, and convenient, but you do not have to own one to cook up a delicious rice-based meal. All you need is a Dutch oven, rice, and a smattering of other flavorful ingredients, like buttery miso-mushrooms and sweet shredded carrots or smoked sausage and frozen peas. Scatter everything over the top of the rice, and the steam will warm and cook the other ingredients, creating a satisfying and filling one-pot meal—without any special appliances.

Japanese-Style One-Pot Mushroom Rice

Japanese takikomi gohan cooks a variety of ingredients—from sweet peas to hijiki (a type of seaweed) to bamboo shoots—directly on top of short-grain rice, allowing the steam to soften the vegetables. When the cooking is done and the rice has had a chance to rest, everything is stirred in, along with a mix of butter and miso for richness and added umami. We use sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms and shredded carrots to make what is known as kinoko gohan, with soy for savoriness, mirin for sweetness and fresh ginger for spiciness. We like the meatiness of shiitakes, but feel free to substitute other types of mushrooms, or use a combination.

Shiitake-Scallion Chicken and Rice

This one-pot dinner takes inspiration from a classic Cantonese comfort dish. We use dried shiitake mushrooms, oyster sauce and soy sauce for a triple hit of umami that pairs perfectly with chicken and fragrant jasmine rice. Rehydrating the shiitakes adds a rich, earthy note to the rice-cooking water. Don’t skip the scallions; they provide a hit of fresh, onion-y savoriness that brightens the deeper, richer flavors.

Kuwaiti Spiced Shrimp and Basmati Rice

Murabyan is a Kuwaiti shrimp and rice pilaf that’s fragrant with spices, herbs and alliums. Our simplified version gets its richness from a good measure of butter and a savory-sweet flavor foundation from golden, sautéed onions. To keep the shrimp plump and tender, we briefly sauté them, then scatter them over the still-hot rice to let them gently finish cooking with the rice’s residual heat. Finish the dish with fresh lime juice and zest for a concentrated hit of brightening citrus flavor.

Japanese-Style Rice with Corn, Butter and Soy Sauce

Rich butter, savory soy sauce, and sweet, plump corn kernels combine to make this simple, comforting dish. A final scattering of freshly-sliced scallions adds a layer of sharp, almost peppery flavor. Serve as-is for an easy supper, or slide a fried egg on top and let the yolk mix with the butter for extra oomph.

Lombardy-Style Rice with Chicken

This humble dish from the Lombardy region of northern Italy is known as riso alla pitocca, with tender carrots, sweet onions, savory garlic and finely grated Parmesan for extra umami. With familiar flavors and a creamy consistency from the starchiness of Arborio rice, it’s pure comfort food, Italian style. Riso alla pitocca is similar to risotto, but is simpler to cook because there’s no need to add liquid in multiple additions, nor for careful or continuous stirring. We do, however, stir the rice vigorously at the end, after the grains are tender, to give the dish a rich, thick, velvety consistency.

Tomato Rice with Smoked Sausage and Peas

This homey, comforting one-pot meal is a riff on Cuban arroz con salchichas, or rice and sausage. We first brown slices of smoky kielbasa, then sauté a simple sofrito of onion and poblano pepper to build flavor. Garlic, cumin, dried oregano and bay provide a heady aroma. The concentrated flavor of tomato paste brings umami richness and tints the rice a rusty red hue. To keep the peas fresh and green, we scatter them over the surface of the rice when cooking is complete, then let the rice stand for 10 minutes. The residual heat thaws and cooks the peas, so there’s no need to defrost them before use.

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