Shopping for the best rice cooker that can fulfill its promise of perfection is never an easy task. Thus, we’re here to put your concern to rest.
However, before we start, I have to confess that I am not a professional in this industry, so it’s not easy for me to detail specifically all the technicalities of these models below. But I can ensure you, in this post, you will get the facts that you want to know.
So let’s get started!
Rice Cooker – A Kitchen Appliance Everyone Should Have
When they first became popularly used in most Asian countries, rice cookers were a revolutionary household appliance. There’s no question about their abilities – they make rice cooking faster for busy people while still dramatically preserve the flavor and texture of rice.
Believe it or not, a rice cooker is much more multiskilled than you could have ever imagined. Apart from being used to cook all kinds of rice, it’s also good for a variety of other uses, like steaming, stewing and baking.
In particular, most rice cookers are provided with steamer racks allowing users to steam vegetables while the rice is being cooked. Moreover, with the help of the cooker, you can easily prepare oatmeal porridge, soups, jambalaya as well as a lot of other healthy dishes.
Since the rice cooker is one of the most versatile household appliances for every single kitchen, there are several benefits in using it on a daily basis. Below are a few examples proving that rice cooker is really a must-have kitchen tool.
- It helps eliminating mushy, crunchy, burnt, or undercooked outcomes.
- It saves money, time and kitchen countertop space.
- It delivers healthy meals.
- It can improve the taste and texture of the rice.
- It does not consume much power.
- It is long lasting and usable for years.
See, it isn’t a unitasker, obviously. Do never let the name itself fool you.
Ways To Determine Quality
At this point, you need to have enough information regarding all important characteristics of the best rice cooker so as to pinpoint the model that makes the most sense to you.
So, let’s highlight some of your common considerations!
1. What capacity is best suited for me?
To answer this question, just think about two things: how frequent you tend to cook rice and how many cups of rice your family eat at a time.
The capacity of your rice cooker is defined as how much cooked or uncooked rice can comfortably fit in the cooking pot. You will find it ranging from 1 to 42 cups, from a small portion to multiple servings.
If you want to choose a rice cooker for home usage, there are models that can handle from 1 cup to 10 cups of uncooked rice. For families with four members, like mine, something in the 4-5 cup range may be sufficient.
On the other hand, if you plan on using one for commercial purpose, then you should find such models that can accommodate 46 cups at one time.
The space you have available in your kitchen is also an important part of the evaluation. Normally, larger products will come with higher footprints. Thus, try to figure out your counter space first so as to go with a model that perfectly fit the bill.
2. Should I get a rice cooker that provides multiple functions?
What does it mean, “multiple functions”? I would say that apart from being employed primarily for cooking rice, a rice cooker should be versatile in their usages. Which means the usage does not stop at cooking a wide variety of rice, but also extends to steaming meat, baking cakes, or even creating a bowl of porridge in no time at all.
However, beyond your specific purposes, it will be your budget that decides your final option.
Anyway, if your financial is still functioning properly, why not pick out an all-in-one model that will provide you with much more modern advancements?
3. What functions do I need?
A timer: With this property, you can delay the start of the cooking process for up to 23 hours after having put the rice and water into the pot. Clearly, it is a great deal for those who usually have rare freetime to prepare meals.
Keep warm setting: The function that keeps your cooked rice warm for extra-long wait time is really handy if you don’t want your rice to get cold halfway during your meal.
Sealed lid feature: A tight seal on the lid plays an important role in blocking too much steam from releasing. In addition to maintaining the inside temperature at a stable level while the rice cooker is operating, it also ensures each batch of fluffy rice will be perfectly done in a reasonable amount of time.
A non-stick cooking pot: The main reason why I prefer a non-stick pot is mostly because it makes cleanup a breeze, protecting you from scrubbing at stubbornly burned rice. However, this removable part is less likely to be long-lasting, so if you are on the seek for durability, I think this part may sadly disappoint you.
Top-rated Rice Cookers Comparison Chart
|Smart Built-In Programs||Warranty|
|Instant Pot Duo Mini|
|Stainless Steel||12-cup||Yes||1 year|
|Aroma Housewares 6-Cup||Aluminum||3-cup||No||1 year|
|Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT||Stainless Steel||3-cup||Yes||1 year|
|Aroma Housewares 20-Cup||Aluminum||10-cup||Yes||1 year|
|Tiger JNP-S10U-HU||Plastic||5.5-cup||No||1 year|
Review of the Best Rice Cookers (Updated List)
At last, we have come to the most important reason guiding you here today – our selection of the best rice cookers.
- Instant Pot Duo Mini Pressure Cooker – Best Overall of 2019
- Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Rice Cooker – Best Small (Mini) Rice Cooker
- Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Rice Cooker – Best Zojirushi Rice Cooker
- Aroma Housewares 20-Cup Rice Cooker – Best Brown Rice Cooker
- Tiger JNP-S10U-HU Rice Cooker – Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
Here’s our picks for the Best Rice Cookers.
1. Instant Pot Duo Mini Rice Cooker – Best Overall
If you’re a busy housewife, like me, you’d have already known how much convenience a pressure cooker can bring, and the one included in this deal is not an exception.
Why you will like it
Frankly speaking, the Instant Pot has made cooking so much easier, faster, and a lot more fun for me. Thanks to it, dinner is done and ready to serve in no more than an hour. Healthy food will turn into fast food right in our home.
Although the device uses less power than its bigger brother-the Instant Pot Ultra 6-Quart, it’s still an ideal companion that can be exploited as a rice cooker, a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a steamer, a saute, a yogurt maker and a warmer.
The more you go with it, the more you get a feel for it and you’ll find it works even much greater than some other traditional pressure cookers. Simple and compact in shape and size, this item seems to be designed to make itself unnoticeable over the countertop.
For extra accessories, this 3-quart baby comes with a cute little rack, a rice cup, a rice paddle and a soup spoon, providing all kinds of potential for every individual and every family.
Along those lines, the quality of all its components, especially the stainless pot are definitely awesome. As many others have said, stainless is the way to go, and cleanup is never going to be a matter.
Although not really a drawback, the fact that: (1) The machine is not very intuitive if you have never used it before. So, to take full advantage of many things it can do, you should read the manual first to understand all its settings and functions. (2) The valves don’t seal properly which results in a jet column of steam escaping, leading food to be cooked to some unknowable stage.
Thought it has a perfect size for most of my needs, it could be less efficient for cooking a whole chicken, a big pot of soup or a large dinner gathering. It’s too small to perform all those uses skillfully.
Whether you want to eat healthier or would rather spend your evenings hanging out with your family than hanging out in a kitchen, do yourself a favor and give this handy pot a go. So far, it has been doing the incredible job, richly deserving to be a trustworthy addition to your kitchen armament.
2. Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker – Best Small (Mini)
The Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked), 3-cup (uncooked) is an ideal option for singles, couples, or small families. It’s not too advanced but quality enough to support your food choices and, perhaps, make them a little less time-consuming.
Why you will like it
The beauty of this rice cooker is that there seems to be no secret to it. In other words, there’s nothing you need to be in-the-know so as to get the demanding results.
Simply rinse the rice, put water into the pot, and set your desirable function. 20 minutes later, cooked rice comes out impressively nice and pretty much evenly cooked, which for me is the most important part. It’s even made a little faster than the directions say.
This baby is also a good food steamer which is really attractive for the price and size. In the first test, I tried some carrots and broccoli at the same time that the rice is being cooked; and surprisingly, they were steamed to excellence. What a satisfactory performance!
Like other one-touch control rice cookers, once the rice has been cooked to perfection, the indicator light will change color. And the machine will automatically switch to warm setting, meaning you don’t have to worry about eventually overcooking your rice.
The only thing I wish it had is an off button. You can only turn it on/off by plugging or unplugging it. Sounds like not that big of a deal, but it’s a real turn-off to some.
This mini kitchen appliance is not too advanced but excellent enough for a person who lives alone or with a partner. Can’t really say much more than what has already been said, just hope you will like it as much as I do.
3. Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker – Best Zojirushi Rice Cooker
If you don’t already know, Zojirushi is always a top notch brand in Japan when it comes to rice cookers. It is probably the standard by which all the other ones are measured.
And by the way, talking about Japanese, I can confidently say that most of their products will last a long period of time, which is really amazing!
Why you will like it
All the settings work terrifically. The easy-to-use LCD screen and digital functions both offer you the opportunity to personalize your cooking options. The timer can be adjusted for when you want the rice cooker to start cooking. And a musical alert is loud enough that you can hear it from other rooms once your meal is done.
In term of performance, for one meal, it yields up to 6 full cups of cooked rice for at least 5 people. Besides, thanks to the fuzzy logic technology, not only white rice, but brown rice, mixed rice and porridge are also well delivered.
“Can this rice cooker be used as a slow cooker?” you may be wondering.
Although the machine is on the basic side of rice cooker, it provides more useful features than you’d ever expected. It can make cakes, steam veggies, and yes it’ll be the best replacement for your old-fashioned slow cooker.
Plus, I can’t stop loving the retractable cord which has a feature similar to the automatic rewind cords on older vacuum cleaners, making storage hassle-free.
I also appreciate that all the removable parts are dishwasher safe which makes them easier to clean. However, it will be better to minimize using solutions or a little paint can come off after years of use.
What I feel slightly disappointed is the rice can stay warm for up to 24 hours but sometimes it is wet and mushy on the side. Also at the first usage, I did notice a strong burning plastic smell from the unit outgassing. My advice is to thoroughly clean all parts inside out before starting with your first batch of rice.
If you’re now still on the fence about whether it’s worth the extra money to pay for the item, just think about the quality of this rice cooker, and the quality of rice it produces. Then it’ll become a no brainer. Good price for good rice, I would say.
4. Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked Rice – Best Brown Rice Cooker
After comparing several rice cookers, I could surely say you can get the Aroma Housewares specifically for cooking brown rice. So far I have utilized it several times and each time, a single batch of this type of rice has come out absolutely perfect.
Why you will like it
Admittedly, this item appeals to me not only because of its price and brand, but also because it does not simply work as a rice cooker. It provides all the functionality you could ever need, including a steaming feature, a slow cooking function and a keep warm setting.
Its capacity is big enough to yield up to 20 cups of any rice’s type. Especially, by using two separate buttons regarding white and brown rice cooking mode, from now on, you can get for your own many delicious recipes in one appliance.
Other than that it has a 15-hour delay timer which makes sure the rice is always ready to serve when it’s needed, suiting perfectly for families on the go or some outdoor picnics.
I don’t know why it isn’t good at keeping the rice warm for a long duration of time. Rice will get dry or even become brittle and hard, which don’t usually happen with some other more expensive cookers. Clearly, it proves that you get what you pay for.
The difficult-to-clean lid that cannot be taken apart from the entire rice cooker is also an awkward downsize. For me, this part is not very practical. As you must clean it while trying not to spread water anywhere else on the rice cooker, which is a bit inconvenient.
If you are looking for something that is versatile enough to cook various types of rice, especially brown rice for a small gathering of people, then I’d confidently say this machine will greatly satisfy your expectation.
It does well what it’s supposed to do. Although there are still some annoying issues, for the price and the functionality it offers, I can’t really complain too much.
5. Tiger JNP-S10U-HU 5.5-Cup Rice Cooker – Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
One more product coming from a Japanese company that deserves to have a big round of applause for its outstanding performance. Being able to accommodate 10 cups of uncooked rice at one time, the machine promises to get enough rice for those who have a large family or love to host a cosy dinner party.
Why you will like it
The thing I adore most about this product is its stainless steel design which is solid and of quality in terms of look and build. With this fancy and long-standing body, there’s no doubt that it will fit right with your kitchen decor.
Moreover, the cooker itself is decently made with a good seal and a tight fitting lid that play an important role in keeping the freshness of rice. With the latest technology of keep warm function, your rice can stay hot and fluffy for up to 12 hours after it’s cooked.
More interestingly, Tiger is nominated as the workhorse of all the rice cookers, as it can be used for over 20 years. So if you are interested in something that can go with you for a long time, this brand should be your number one choice.
The first issue I can think of is that it does not cook mixed rice very well, despite the fact that it always makes a perfect batch of brown rice OR white rice individually. I’m still looking for an explanation of this flaw.
As confirmed by many long term users, another reason why they gave it only 4 stars is because while the latch for the lid is metal, the catch for this latch is hard plastic that can easily break in case someone opens or closes it too aggressively.
The Tiger strikes me as a quality unit. Even though you have to pay quite a sum, it’s worth every penny for a durable product from a well-known brand that will go with you for the long haul.
Best Rice Cooker Brands
From my personal experience, when it comes to cooking rice, nobody knows it better than Asians. Since this food is the main staple in most Asian countries, it’s no surprise that the place shifting rice cooking into a science is nowhere else but Japan.
Although, in the New Age market, you can find a wide range of rice cooker brands, there will be nothing better than to buy the models that were made in the country where a lot of rice is consumed everyday.
Thanks to a strong focus on consistent innovations that helped improve the abilities and features in their models, most brand names coming from Japan have been reaching more American hands day by day. Among many items built in Japan, Zojirushi products are my favorite ones, in case you ask.
Other less widely-known names are Toshiba, Cuckoo, and Panasonic. Their products are also reliable and of high quality. However, the delivered rice taste is, as I see it, just average. And due to their marketing strategy with no subtitle in English language, they are not really popular in the US.
Additionally, brands like Aroma, Tiger, and Instant Pot are famous for manufacturing conventional and digital rice cookers but at higher price tags. So if your budget is flexible enough, then these trusted manufacturers deserve your investment.
How To Use A Rice Cooker
For a closer look at how to efficiently use a rice cooker, here, we bring to you the step-by-step instructions that will help you make an ideal bowl of rice.
- Use a measuring cup to measure the amount of rice you plan to cook.
- Put the rice into the cooking pot and rinse it carefully until seeing the final drained water is almost clear.
- Measure the amount of COOL water needed and pour it into the pot. Keep in mind how much water added mostly depends on what type of rice you’re using. For example, usually, 1 cup of white rice may require 1 ½ to 2 cups of water.
- Soak the rice for about 30 mins so as to shorten the cooking time. You can skip this step as it is not really necessary.
- Place the pot into the rice cooker body, make sure that it’s dry from the outside. Then cover it with the lid, plug the machine in and switch it on.
- After the rice has been cooked, open the lid and stir the content thoroughly. And it’s now ready to serve.
- The result will be better when using the measuring cup that comes with your device. The fill lines in the cooking pot are standardized to that measure.
- While the cooker is running, do not open the lid or stir the rice unless you want to prolong the procedure entirely.
- The cooker will automatically switch to a warm setting once the rice is completely cooked. So there’s no need to constantly keep a close eye on the process. Just turn it on and forget about it.
- Most high-end products nowadays do have a wide range of pre-settings to deal with different types of rice. This means you don’t have to worry about whether the rice is evenly cooked or if it is burning.
- How long it takes for the food to be cooked does depend on which material is used for the cooker pot. Therefore, time to produce a perfect batch of rice may be different based on different types of the product’s construction.
Now that you have an overall idea of how to use a rice cooker effectively, the next step is to figure out which one is right for you.