Hold Mode Troubleshooting for Electric Rice Cookers

May. 2nd, 2023 | David Soohoo

Electric rice cookers may develop an issue where it goes into hold mode before a batch of rice is done cooking.



Reported issues / Complaints

Common complaints and symptoms are:

  1. Rice cooker is going into hold mode too soon.
  2. Not fully cooking the rice.
  3. Unit does not get hot enough.
  4. Takes very long to complete the cook cycle.
  5. Uneven or inconsistent cooking of rice.

In the vast majority of cases, this problem can be solved with a little maintenance.  It is not considered a warranty issue.  The two causes of this situation are outlined below.  In both cases, the temperature sensor cannot read accurately, cuts the cook cycle short, and puts the unit into hold mode.  It can also lead to uneven heat distribution, inconsistent cooking, and increased cooking times.

Cause # 1 – The heater plate, sensor and/or pot are dirty
Dirty heater plate and sensor Dirty and damaged rice pot


The rice cooker goes from cook mode to hold mode when a specific temperature change is sensed, corresponding to the boiling off of water inside the pot.  If the pot or sensor is dirty, it prevents accurate temperature readings and will prevent the rice cooker from fully completing the cook cycle.  If the pot or heater plate are dirty, it can prevent heat from transferring to the pot, prolonging the cook cycle and causing product inconsistency.

There must be a clean, physical connection between the heater plate, sensor, and pot.  This means any stains, debris, or black/brown marks must be removed.  To clean them, use scotch brite (either dry or damp, not wet and dripping), and scrub away all residue and all brown/black spots.

Do not get water or debris underneath the heater plate!

When cleaning the rice cooker body, unplug the unit and place it on its side.  This way, any water and debris will stay out of the unit’s internals.  


Cause # 2 – The rice pot has been damaged

The rice pot may have been dented or bent out of round.  While the pots are made of commercial duty 1/8″ thick aluminum, they can be damaged if dropped or banged.  These imperfections can lift the pot away from the heater plate and sensor.  This results in uneven or poor heat transfer, and will cause inaccurate temperature readings.

Dented pots can be challenging to identify.  The ideal test is to try it with a new rice pot.  However, if that’s not feasible, consider the following pot integrity tests.  While not definitive, they will provide some insight.

  • Insert the pot into the rice cooker.  With fingers at the opposite ends of the pot, gently “rock” the pot towards the table surface by applying downward pressure with alternating fingers.  Repeat this test in 3 different positions, evenly around the pot.   If the pot wobbles in any of these positions, it needs to be replaced.
  • Inspect the underside of the pot.  Look for shiny spots along the bottom edge.  These are signs that the pot has been struck and dented.  The dented areas are elevated and are subjected to friction against the surface they’re resting on, resulting in a shiny appearance.  If shiny spots are discovered, the pot needs to be replaced.
  • If you have multiple rice cookers of the same model and the other is working, try swapping the pots between them.  If the issue travels between rice cookers, then the pot is the issue and needs to be replaced.
  • Measure the diameter of the top lip of the rice pot twice, in a cross pattern.  Both measurements should be equal.  If the measurements differ, the pot needs to be replaced.

Dents can’t be reliably repaired, so purchasing a new rice pot is recommended.  Follow the table below to find the item number for the appropriate replacement pot.

Rice cooker model # Replacement pot item #
57130 57130P
57131 57130P
57155 57155P
57137 57139
57138 57139
56822 56844
56824 56844
56816 56815


Still having problems?

Town’s commercial rice cookers carry a 2 year mail in warranty, while residential units carry a 6 month mail in warranty.  If your unit is under warranty, submit a repair request inquiry and we’ll be glad to assist.

We’ll process an RMA, and send you details for warranty repair. Per the warranty terms, the customer will be responsible for shipping the unit back to a designated repair facility. The original packaging must be used if available. Town is not liable for shipping damage due to insufficient packaging. If the issue is covered under warranty, Town will take care of all diagnostic, repair, and return shipping costs. We will ship the repaired unit to the shipping address provided. You may find more about our mail in warranty here.

We do not have a loaner program and recommend having a backup rice cooker for restaurants in which rice is a staple.


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