Anyone who cooks dinner at home knows the value and versatility of a pot of rice. Brown or white, long-grain or sticky, rice is a staple for stir fries, sushi, burritos, casseroles and more. But stovetop cooking requires careful attention, and vigorous clean-up.
With a Japanese rice cooker you simply add water, uncooked rice, and push a button. The rice cooker takes care of timing, so the rice is ready when you are, with minimal mess to deal with later. But with so many on the market to choose from, which one is the best rice cooker for you?
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1. Toshiba TRCS01 Cooker
Cooks 6 Cups Uncooked (3L) with Fuzzy Logic and One-Touch Cooking
Toshiba is the original automatic electric rice cooker, and a leader in the rice cooker industry.
- The steam valve and inner nonstick pot preserves the steam and heat for perfect fluffy rice every time.
- 7 pre-programmed cooking settings to cook white, brown or mixed rice, short or long-grained, oatmeal, porridge perfectly in terms of texture, flavor and aroma.
- 12 cups cooked rice for family serving.
- Quick rice feature: the specially designed sensor accelerates the cooking time to 30 minutes, an excellent time-saving option.
- The keep-warm setting activates automatically when cooking is complete, holding contents at an ideal serving temperature for up to 24 hours.
- 2 delay time options: set the timer allowing rice to be ready when needed. Just add rice and water in the morning and come home to delicious ready to eat rice.
- Removable large steam vent – as you cook, steam rises through the vent without bubbling over and no messy overflow.
Amazon rating: 4.8 / 5
2. Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer
Cooks up to 3 cups
- Stainless Black
- This is a small, but versatile rice cooker, best for singles or couples.
- Includes a menu setting for steel cut oats, and other multi-menu cooking functions: Special cooking settings for white/mixed riced, sushi rice, brown rice, GABA brown rice, long grain white rice, steel cut oatmeal and quick cooking
- Triple heater (bottom, side and lid) generate heat all around for even heating. Capacity is up to 3 cups / 0.54 liter. Capacity is measured in the approx. 6 oz. / 180mL rice measuring cup, using raw short grain white rice. Other grains may vary.
- Dimensions (W x D x H):9-1/8 x 11-7/8 x 7-1/2 inches. Detachable and washable inner lid.
- Easy to store retractable cord.
- Interchangeable melody and beep signal.
- Removable steam vent cap allows for high-temperature cooking without messy overflows. Electrical rating : 120 Volts or 450 Watts.
- Micro computer automatically adjusts cooking temperature and time, and includes a delay timer for making overnight oatmeal to be ready in the morning.
- The reheat function is only available during the keep warm cycle. Reheating is only recommended for white rice because other types of rice might scorch or discolor. It takes about 9 minutes to reheat white rice that has been kept warm.
Amazon rating: 4.8 / 5
3. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
2, to 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked), 1.0-Liter
- Stainless Steel
- Micro computerized fuzzy logic technology. Capacity Up to 5.5 cups / 1.0 liter, makes it suitable for a family of five.
- Dimensions (W x D x H) 10-1/8 x 14 x 8-1/2 inches. The electrical rating is 120 volts / 610 watts.
- The Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer not only cooks flawless rice but also comes with a steaming basket to double as a steamer and a cake menu setting to bake cakes. Built-in retractable power cord for easy storage.
- Automatic keep warm, extended keep warm and reheating cycle.
- Easy to clean clear coated stainless steel exterior, 2 delay time settings.
- Interchangeable melody and beep signal.
- Built in retractable power cord.
Amazon rating: 4.7 / 5
4. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
- Premium White
- 5-1/2-cup computerized rice cooker and warmer with advanced Neuro Fuzzy logic technology.
- Multi-menu selections; automatic keep-warm, extended keep-warm, and reheat cycles. Electrical Rating – 120 volts / 680 watts
- Spherical, nonstick inner pan allows for uniform heating; LCD clock and timer; retractable cord
- Menu settings include white (regular/sushi, softer or harder), mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, brown, rinse-free and quick cooking
- Measures approximately 14 by 8 by 9 inches; 1-year limited warranty, Dimensions (W x D x H) : 10-1/8 x 13 x 8-1/8 inches
- Includes 2 measuring cups, nonstick rice spoon/scooper, rice spoon holder, and recipes. Important to measure rice in the cup that comes with the product.
Amazon rating: 4.7 / 5
5. COMFEE’ 5.2Qt Asian Style Programmable All-in-1 Multi Cooker
This one is a Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Stewpot with 24 Hours Delay Timer and Auto Keep Warm Functions
- Stainless base, black lid
- Perfect Rice Every Time – To achieve the ideal cooking performance, COMFEE’ has developed the intelligent 6-step cooking process that the steam valve and inner pot can preserve the steam and heat for perfect, fluffy rice every time.
- Cooking Versatility – The 17 digital cooking programs Japanese style rice cooker perfect for rice, pasta, soup, stew, saute, steamed veggies. Make specialty and healthy food in one cooker without owning 5 or more different appliances
- High Safety – COMFEE’ electric multi rice cooker operating under the normal pressure with power, it is considered a safe alternative of all kinds pressure cooker or cooking on the stove. The cool touch handle ensures your safety when you open the cooker.
- 10 Cup Ultra Capacity – 10 cup uncooked (5.2 Qt) capacity yielding anywhere from 10 to 20 cups of cooked rice, designed for families, parities, or any other outdoor activities. The non-stick coating, the cleaning of the inner pot is like a breeze. Note: Please use the measuring cup which comes along with the product
- Humanized Designs – The rice cooker is user friendly with digital LED display and sensitive touch panel so your cooking could be set by simply pressing a button. It’s flexible for meal planning with 24-hour delay timer and auto keep warm for 12 hours.
- Easy to Clean – The cleaning of the stainless steel external housing and removable steam valve is like a breeze. The anti stick inner pot and all of the BPA Free plastic accessories that comes with the cooker can be washed in the dishwasher.
- Warranty from COMFEE’ – This programmable electric rice cooker is made of BPA-free food grade material. UL certificate approved. COMFEE’ will provide 1 year manufacturer warranty together with your purchase.
Amazon rating: 4.6 / 5
6. Zojirushi NHS-06 Rice Cooker
- Easy-to-use single switch control.
- See-through glass lid with stay cool knob.
- Stay cool handles for easy transport.
- Durable nonstick inner cooking pan.
- Every Zojirushi rice cooker comes with a plastic measuring cup. This cup has a capacity of 6-ounces, or about 3/4 of a U.S. measuring cup. The capacity of the rice cooker is counted in these 6-ounce cups of uncooked short grain white rice. One 6-ounce cup of raw rice makes about 2 to 3, 6-ounce cups of cooked rice.
Amazon rating: 4.6 / 5
7. Instant Zest 8 Cup Rice Cooker
8 cup capacity. This is a Steamer, Cooks Rice, Grains, Quinoa and Oatmeal, No Pressure Cooking Functionality
- 4 smart programs make cooking your favorite rice and grains to fluffy perfection super fast and one touch easy.
- 4 smart programs for one touch cooking white rice, brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal. From millet, farro and freekeh, to polenta, barley, rice pudding and more, this cooker offers ample versatility. Even hearty grains like spelt and wheat berries, which typically require lots of cooking time can be cooked to perfection quickly, and efficiently.
- Quickly steams veggies, fish and more with the touch of a button: Makes 8 cups and doubles as a warmer for all kinds of foods.
- Built in protection against overheating
- Compact, lightweight and easy to st
- Accessories included: In addition to the non-stick ceramic coated pot, the Zest Plus also comes with a dishwasher-safe steamer tray, rice measuring cup and rice spoon.
- 120 volt 60 hertz power supply: Please check your voltage if not in North America.
- Extra thick inner pot with non stick ceramic coating for better, more even cooking.
- Stainless steel 18/8 lid interior.
Amazon rating: 4.6 / 5
Things To Consider Before Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
Rice is a versatile and essential ingredient for easy, nutritious dinners, so you want the rice cooker that will ensure ease of preparation. As well, you want the fluffiest and most delicious rice to serve at your dinner table, with all your favourite meals.
Some rice cookers do more than simply cooking rice, so versatility, as well as ease of use, safety, functionality are all features to consider before choosing a rice cooker.
As well, different rice cookers come in various looks, shapes and sizes. One thing to consider is your overall, existing kitchen decor.
But first, capacity. How many people are you serving at a sitting? Determine whether you require a 3 or a 6 cup capacity rice cooker. Note that most manufacturers cite the amount of cooked, not pre-cooked rice, in their capacity description.
Do you want the option for serving two regularly, but more if you have guests? Carefully consider capacity – the size of your household, how often you have guests – before you go and buy a larger, more expensive rice cooker.
Versatility: Are you looking for more from your rice cooker than simply the ability to cook the best rice dish for your dinner? Would you also like to steam vegetables, make porridge, or how about make a stew?
Menu options are an important consideration in choosing your product. Some rice cookers have the functionality of a slow-cooker, some also have a setting for baking a cake.
If you already own a slow-cooker, or if you do not bake, you may want a simpler model of rice cooker, rather than a multi-tool cooker.
Also consider ease of use. A non-stick pot makes clean-up a breeze, and handle size makes carrying the cooker to the table easier. A sealed lid contains the pressure in the pot, while other types of lids, such as those that function more like a stovetop pot, may rattle while the rice is steaming.
What material the cooker is made of is also a point to consider in choosing a rice cooker. Is it non-stick, stainless steel, ceramic? Does it have a detachable inner lid, which makes for further ease of cleaning?
A removable, or retractable power cord is useful for storage (and for not becoming entangled).
The look and set-up of control panels and settings differ on each cooker, so be sure to scrutinize the one that works best for you. The colouring of the backlit screen, size of digital images will appeal to different people.
Is it programmable? Do you want to be able to set it in the morning, and have your rice cooked at the end of the day, or in the evening to have your breakfast ready in the morning? This could be a useful feature, and well worth the cost.
The fuzzy logic on some rice cookers means less strict timing, so the cooker can adjust to accommodate various cooking conditions. Determine whether or not this is important for you.
Is it good value for money spent? Compare and contrast various products, like the ones described above, to determine what you will need to spend. Your own needs – serving size, timing, screen size – and decor will determine which is the best Japanese rice cooker for your kitchen.
And finally, you will want to consider the look of the cooker – black or white, stainless steel or a mix of stainless and black. Some rice cookers come with measuring tools that attach to the outside for ease of storage.
Consider the shape of the rice cooker – some are cylindrical or egg-shaped, others more square. Think about where you will want to store your rice cooker, and how often you will leave it on the counter, to help determine what look you want.
What makes a good Japanese Rice Cooker?
Before you add another tool to your kitchen, you will want to evaluate your own cooking needs. Consider the inherent advantages of a rice cooker: the ease of use, compared with stovetop rice cooking, clean-up, and additional functionality of the cooker.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you make rice or steamed grains at least a few times a week?
- Do you have trouble making decent rice on the stovetop?
- Do you like being able to get a machine going, walk away, and walk back to find perfectly cooked rice?
- Do you have a tiny kitchen with no cooktop?
- Is being engaged in your rice cookery important to you? For some people, making rice is a collaborative journey.
Once you are sure that a rice cooker is a great tool for you, how do you determine what makes a good rice cooker?
You want to make the most of the rice cooker’s intuition to boil, simmer, and warm your food. The magic of the rice cooker is its functionality, and its simplicity.
Where a stovetop requires precise timing, stirring, and several pots and pans for different ingredients, a Japanese rice cooker reduces the steps to prepare a meal, thereby cutting down your time in the kitchen. Need to finish a report while dinner is cooking?
Use a rice cooker, and you can set it up, go to your desk, and not have to worry about a pot boiling over. Afterwards, clean-up is simple and quick.
You can spend a very little, or a lot on a rice cooker, depending on your needs. At its simplest, a rice cooker will boil (cook), and warm your food. Multi-function rice cookers offer more bells and whistles, cost more, but also do more, like cook more than just white or Basmati rice.
Some of the features to look for are a nonstick pot; multi-menu cooking function for other foods such as porridge, steamed vegetables, or cake; ability to reheat; and built-in protection against overheating.
Rice cookers have been around for decades and were first developed in Japan. So the functionality of the ones on the market today have been perfected, and designed to suit your needs. This is why there is so much choice out there.
A rice cooker’s intuitive cooking method is truly magical. It can detect the grain’s absorption of liquid by utilizing a thermostat: The liquid in the pot can’t reach more than 212°F (100°C) if it’s mostly water.
Once the liquid has all been absorbed, the cooker’s heating element spikes, triggering the thermostat to switch the unit to warm, since there’s no more need to boil the contents. And voila! Perfect rice. Or vegetables. Or porridge. Or casserole.
As long as your expectations of the rice cooker do not include grilled foods, your recipe options are practically infinite with the addition of a Japanese rice cooker to your kitchen tool repertoire.
And the time you will save in the kitchen is miraculous. This is a tool for steaming, which helps preserve valuable nutrients in your food.
Risks and Warnings
Once you’ve decided on your product, it’s important to use the cooker properly to achieve perfect results every time.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never overfill the bowl – if the rice cooker overflows, this could be dangerous for the electrical contact, or cause an unnecessary mess. So always measure the water and rice precisely, either with the measuring cups included (if your rice cooker comes with them), or the tools you already have in your kitchen.
- Use the appropriate cooking settings for the particular rice you are cooking, white or brown, long-grain, etc.
- For products that have a stay-warm feature, never leave the cooker unattended near dangling curtains or in an enclosed space.
- Do not operate the rice cooker if the cord is damaged or mangled in any way.
- Do not plug in the unit without the pot, because this could cause the heater to deform.
Always make sure your rice cooker is switched off and unplugged before cleaning. Never immerse the entire rice cooker in water to clean it. It is only necessary to wash the inner bowl, and wipe the outside with a cloth as needed.