If you love rice, you need one of the best rice cookers.
Rice has been a standard dish for many different cultures around the world. There are tons of ways to serve the grain as a main dish, side dish, or dessert.
If you don’t like hovering over a pot of rice when you want to make one of those delicious foods, a rice cooker can help. And today’s electric rice cookers are helpful kitchen tools that do more than make a pot of fluffy rice. They can also cook other types of grains, and some are also able to cook a full meal instead of just rice.
If you’re new to this type of appliance, you might need help when it comes to choosing the right one.
See the five best rice cookers and everything you need to know about this handy appliance.
Editors' Choice: Cuckoo CRP-P0609S
If you’re looking for a rice cooker that’s a cut above the rest, consider the Cuckoo CRP-P0609S.
This model might be a big machine, but it makes up for it with all its capabilities. Not only can you make a pot of rice, but it can also bake bread, boil chicken soup, or make a fresh helping of sushi rice.
With the digital timer, you can choose from the 12 cooking options. And if you don’t feel like doing all the cleanup, don’t worry. The Cuckoo CRP-P0609S can steam clean itself.
Cuckoo CRP-P0609S Pros
- Multiple cooking functions: You can choose from a variety of preset settings.
- Self-cleaning function: It has an auto steam clean function.
- Smart voice guide: It can operate in English, Chinese, and Korean.
Cuckoo CRP-P0609S Cons
- Heavy appliance: It weighs 14.3 pounds.
- High price: It can set you back more than $250.
- Short warming period: It does not warm the rice for long.
Best Value: Aroma 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
If you’re looking for an affordable rice cooker that is easy to use, the Aroma 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer may be a good option for you.
It has a tempered glass lid, so you’ll be able to see how your food is cooking. There’s also an inner cooking pot for your rice and a steamer. You can steam any proteins or vegetables while the rice is cooking.
Aroma 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer Pros
- Compact design: Because it’s a six-cup rice cooker, this one won’t clutter your kitchen counter.
- Easy cleaning: The non-stick surface of the inner cooking pot makes for easy cleaning.
- Simple operation: Press one button, and it’s ready to go.
Aroma 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer Cons
- Browning rice: Because there’s no temperature control, it might turn the bottom of your rice brown.
- Not durable: Some components like the buttons and steamer rack are a little flimsy.
- Sporting water: Once it gets hot, it can spurt water everywhere.
Best Japanese Rice Cooker: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC 10
If you’re looking for a Japanese rice cooker, Zojirushi is the right brand to pick.
Coining the term, “Neuro Fuzzy” to describe a technology particular to the company, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC 10 is one of the best rice cookers you will find.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC 10 Pros
- Multiple rice textures: You can cook different types of rice with ease.
- Neuro Fuzzy tech: The idea is that these rice cookers can instantly adjust cooking time and temperature based on what’s happening in the machine.
- Warm setting: With the warm setting and reheating cycle, you can use the machine as a serving vessel for the table.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC 10 Cons
- Bulky design: Whether it’s the 5.5-cup or the 10-cup rice cooker, the rice cooker is bulky and may not fit easily in your kitchen cupboards next to other kitchen appliances like slow cookers and air fryers.
- Limited availability: This model may not be readily available at many retailers, which means you may have to wait a while to get one.
- White exterior: Because it’s white, you’ll need to wipe it down a fair amount.
Best Small Rice Cooker: Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker
If you’re looking for no frills, straightforward rice cooker, you’ll need to get the Hamilton Beach two-eight cup rice cooker.
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Pros
- Compact design: It’s small, so it fits nicely on your kitchen counter.
- One-pot cooking: You can steam seafood or veggies in the steam basket will the rice cooks.
- Whole grain options: From quinoa to farro to buckwheat, this rice cooker can do it all.
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Cons
- Difficult cleaning: Some consumers have complained that it’s not the easiest to clean.
- Longer cook times: It can take longer to cook rice than in other machines.
- Lower quality: It won’t last you forever.
Best Multifunction Rice Cooker: Tiger JAX-S
Are you ready for something more of a one-pot deal? Invest in the Tiger JAX-S.
It cooks rice and a lot of other dishes.
Tiger JAX-S Pros
- Automatic cooking logic: The rice cooker can monitor cooking temperatures in real time and make sure they’re in working order.
- Different settings: There are options for cooking different things with the touch of one button.
- Multi cooking: You can cook rice and another disk simultaneously without worrying about their flavors mixing.
Tiger JAX-S Cons
- Battery replacement: It’s hard to replace the battery when it gets old.
- Constant cleaning: If you don’t, then some of your things can get moldy.
- Higher price: It can cost almost $200.
Types of Rice Cookers
As technology is getting better, household appliances also get better. So, it’s no surprise that the rice cooker has upped its game.
While there are lots of traditional rice cookers out there, there are no others that will get your rice to the right temperature for sushi or cuts the amount of time it takes to cook it.
Find out how these types differ and what the best and worst parts are about them.
The conventional rice cooker is the rice cooker that some people who have grown up with eating rice have likely brought to their college accommodation.
They usually have two handles (one on each side). They also come with a metal inner cooking pot that often makes around three cups of rice.
The critical thing to point out about the conventional rice cooker is that the heat mainly came from the bottom. This heat can sometimes cause the rice to turn brown at the bottom.
- Affordable: It usually won’t break the budget.
- Easy to clean: Take the lid and pot out, add some soap, rinse out the soap, and then dry the rice cooker.
- Simple design: It’s easy to operate.
- Can make rice brown: Because the heat comes from the bottom, there’s a good chance the rice can be brown at the bottom.
- Less durable: It isn’t the most durable of rice cookers.
- No control: These models don’t always have features that can aid in the cooking process or shorten cooking time.
Micro Computer (MICOM)
Think about having a command center that’s all encased inside your rice cooker. That’s essentially what a microcomputer rice cooker is.
Rice cookers that have microcomputers are usually bigger but have more features and capabilities than conventional rice cookers. One can either select the type of cooking, time frame, or rice type on these machines.
If you like this a certain way, this might be the rice cooker for you.
- Control options: You can choose the right setting or the particular dish you want to cook.
- Fuzzy logic: This kind of rice cooker can usually let you set things to a particular setting or change something in super small increments.
- Lots of options: With the microcomputer in a rice cooker, your cooking options are endless.
- Bulky appliance: Even the ones that don’t cook that much rice will still likely weigh more than a conventional machine.
- Complex design: If you’re not into learning about a new machine, this might not be the one for you.
- Higher price tag: The computer alone means that it has a higher price tag.
Micro Computer With Induction Heating
If you already like the microcomputer machine, maybe you’d like one with induction heating.
- More ways to cook: Similar to the MICOM rice cookers, this will also have a lot of cooking presets and will likely let you cook more things than rice.
- No brown rice at the bottom: Because the inner cooking pot is heated all over, you will no longer have to worry about the brown, mushy grains at the bottom.
- Takes cooking rice to another level: You can fine-tune your cooking time and temperature.
- Counter space: With something that does so much, it’ll need to have lots of storage room on your kitchen counter.
- Higher price: The more features a rice cooker has, the more likely that its price will go up.
- Limited availability: If you have your eye on a particular model that does a lot, there might be a chance that it will be hard to find. A lot of these models come from Asia.
Micro Computer With Pressurized Induction Heating
This type has a microcomputer to pick out specific settings, but it also cooks your rice with induction heat and in a pressurized environment.
You’ll have amazing tasting rice that won’t take as much time to cook.
- Long-lasting rice: This kind of rice cooker will give your rice flavor that lasts longer.
- Precision options: Rice can be cooked perfectly.
- Quick cooking: Between the induction heat and the pressure, you’ll be able to have a fresh pot of rice in a short amount of time.
- Bulky design: Between the minicomputer inside and the steam pressure, these appliances can get big.
- Complicated design: If you’re not good with gadgets or digital things, this might be too much for you.
- Expensive appliances: The more features there are, the bigger the price tag gets.
Rice Cooker Buyer’s Guide
It seems like rice cookers may have been around for ages. And they have been — sort of. Archeologists have found rice cooking vessels that go as far back as 1250 BC. However, those were the type of appliances that would require someone to watch the cooking process.
The ones we see today have only been in existence since the ’50s. Toshiba distributed the first commercially available rice cooker in 1956.
After some time, rice cookers became more popular, especially in parts of the world where rice is a standard at the dining table. As more people add rice to their menus, rice cookers will become as standard as blenders and waffle makers.
This rise in popularity has led to many varieties and features. Below are some things to consider when selecting a rice cooker for your home.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Before you buy a rice cooker, you should know how much work it will take to clean it.
Cleaning your rice cooker is usually simple. After each usage, take the inner cooking pot and lid out of the cooker. Then you can wash that with dish soap and water. If there are stuck pieces of rice, you can let the pot soak for a while.
The lid and cooking pot are usually dishwasher safe. However, you should check to make sure.
If the hot plate area gets wet, unplug it and wipe it clean after it cools down.
Depending on the type of rice cooker you get, you might have some preset cooking settings.
If you’re the type to change the type of rice you cook or want an alternative to nuking day old rice in the microwave, these preset settings can help.
The warm function keeps your rice warm without overcooking or burning it.
Some rice cookers can automatically go into this mode once the grains cook. Others let you switch to that setting.
The “Quick Cook” option isn’t always available on rice cookers. But when it is, it will help you get dinner on the table faster.
Depending on the model, the quick cook can finish your rice in half the time.
Instead of popping it in the microwave or heating it in the microwave, you can put the cold rice into the inner cooking pot and press a button.
In a few minutes, you’ll be ready for your meal.
You can make many different types of rice and rice dishes. But that also means there are various ways to cook rice.
Luckily for you, some rice cookers have a feature where you can put in the rice texture or type of rice and it will cook accordingly.
Finally, there’s the simmer slow cook setting. This option is meant for rice or grain dishes that you want to cover or for glutinous rice, which needs more time to cook through.
This setting can also help you make porridge or oatmeal.
Inner Cooking Pot
When you get into the rice cooker, you’ll see that there is an inner cooking pot.
This pot is typically stainless steel, aluminum, or ceramic. Know what inner cooking pot is made of to ensure you’re safe from any harmful materials.
Aluminum is a popular material for the inner cooking pot of a rice cooker. While it’s durable and inexpensive, there is a risk when it’s covered in a non-stick material like Teflon.
If you have a pot covered with a non-stick material, be mindful of any peeling or scratches. You don’t want to have that get into your cooked grains.
Ceramic does not have a non-stick coating on it. This material is excellent for cooking.
Ceramic cooking pots are less common than metal.
Stainless steel is a popular choice because it is the only non-reactive metal for cookware. All the nutrients and flavors will stay, and your food won’t absorb any weird smells or flavors.
The heat spreads evenly, and stainless steel is easy to clean.
While it’s easy to think about which one fits on your kitchen counter, it’s more effective to pick the size based on how much rice you consume in a week.
One cup of uncooked rice yields more when it is finished cooking. After the cooking process, your one cup will turn into one-and-a-half cups of cooked rice.
Dry, uncooked rice takes up less space in your measuring cup. When the rice absorbs water, it plumps up and turns into the full and fluffy grains they’re meant to be. Consider how much output the rice cooker has instead of how much dry rice you put in.
If you’re a small household that doesn’t eat rice every day, you might want to go for a small (3-4 cup) rice cooker. If you’re looking for a Japanese rice cooker, it will likely hold up to five cups or more of uncooked rice.
If you purchase a rice cooker from a Japanese company, consider that one Japanese cup is 200ml while one American cup is 240ml. Use the little cup that comes with the rice cooker to measure out your rice instead of a standard American measuring cup.
If your rice cooker didn’t come with a measuring cup, Amazon has several inexpensive options.
Warranties are based on the manufacturer and usually last for a year or 18 months for parts and labor.
If you purchase it from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy, you may be able to buy a separate warranty plan.
A rice cooker can help make dinners easier and expand the number of rice dishes you’re willing to cook.
Use our top picks and our buying guide to help you find the right one for your needs.