Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Rice Cooker And Steamer + Bonus Rice Cooker Reviews
This guide aims to assist you to make the right decision when buying a rice cooker. Top rated rice cookers aren’t easy to find – simply because there are so many choices. There is no one best rice cooker brand. They all offer something different, so we’ve categorized our rice cooker reviews for you.
Hands down the best way to cook rice is in a rice cooker. It’s set and forget. Because rice is a staple food for many families, rice cooker models have become cheaper, quicker and better made. Cooking rice on a stove top needs constant attention and too much guesswork to get perfect results every time.
With a rice cooker, not only do you simply combine rice and water and hit ‘go’, using a cooker reduces the cooking time when compared to other methods and frees up your hands to finish dicing, chopping or just drink a glass of wine before dinner.
Best Rice Cookers
We’ve taken the time to research for you the top rice cookers for brown rice, the ultimate sushi and Persian rice cooker models and also finding you the best cheap rice cooker – among others.
We’ve added links to many in-depth best rice cooker for brown rice reviews to help you make up your mind as to which is the best brown rice cooker for your needs. We have also provided our own rice cooker reviews for your convenience. At the end of the article, you can use our rice cooker comparison chart to help you select your next pot rice cooker.
The Best Rice Cookers Comparison Chart
We took the best rice cookers, features, price and made this easy-to-use table to help you review and decide which one suits you best. Click on any heading to sort the table accordingly.
Price Range: $= less than $100, $$ = $100-$300, $$$=$300+
Zojirushi Rice Cooker NP-NVC10. The NP-NVC10 5-1/2-cup Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer is the most intelligent rice cooker ever made. The Cuckoo vs Zojirushi and Tiger vs Zojirushi rice cooker debates will go on for a while, but friends of mine who lived in Japan have commented that this is the best Zojirushi rice cooker available on the US and Australian markets. Having been on the market for several years (since 2012) the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 is not new, so any bugs and faults have been ironed out now.
The cooker uses induction heating combined with pressure cooking. What that means is that the machine automatically adjusts the amount of pressure depending on the menu selection. This little robot learns from each new cooking experience, giving you the best-cooked rice over all other rice cookers.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker Review: NP-NVC10 Best Features
The platinum micro-particles removes undesirable smells and tastes in tap water, and alkaline draws out the sweetness in the rice
Delayed timer. You can set the cooking up to 24 hours in advance
The inner cooking pot and the lid are all removable for easy cleaning
Multi-menu cooking functions for various types of rice
Umami setting extends soaking and steaming time for better rice
Steam-reduce setting reduces steam to 50-percent of regular setting
Scorch setting toasts rice to a crispy golden brown, ideal for Persian style rice
Zojirushi Rice Cooker NP-HBC10. This Zojirushi stainless steel rice cooker is arguably the best 10 cup rice cooker for brown rice made in Japan. In order to cook brown rice, you need a good rice cooker that has an extended preheating time to better absorb the water. The best brown rice cookers also cook at a lower temperature to allow the rice to cook longer without becoming mushy.
In my experience, a multi-functional product never cooks brown rice as well as a rice cooker designed for one purpose – cooking rice. This is where NP-HBC10 steps in. The Zojirushi NP-HBC10 has several specific rice settings:
Quick cook mode
You can make the rice ahead of time and leave it on warm and use it over several days. The cooked rice stays just as fresh as day one. An additional bonus to this 10 cup rice cooker is just what hungry families of 4-6 people need.
Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Best Features
Made in Japan. Premium quality
Stainless steel inner bowl
Cook as little as 1.2 cup
The unit’s clear-coated stainless-steel exterior not only cleans easily, but also matches any kitchen decor.
Instant Pot IP-DUO60. This baby is cheap and very functional, quite possibly the best budget rice cooker available at the moment. You get a real bang for your buck here. At under $120, your family won’t regret this purchase. The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is a 7 in 1 Multi-functional pressure rice cooker
It can take 5 cups of uncooked rice, which is plenty for four people. But the reason it’s #1 for families is that as well as being a rice cooker, it also functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, porridge maker, steamer, and yogurt maker. That’s taking all-in-one to a whole new level!
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 Best Features
Cooks with high pressure which reduces cooking time by up to 70%
14 in-built programs including soups, stews, chili, poultry, sauteing, steaming, rice, porridge, multi-grain, slow cook, keep-warm, yogurt, pasteurize and slow cook from 30 mins up to 20 hours
Yogurt maker function can heat milk for pasteurization and fermentation, making yogurt in either jars or cooking
PARS Automatic Persian Rice Cooker. The big difference between Asian rice cookers and Persian Rice Cookers is Fuzzy Logic. Fuzzy Logic is designed to avoid burning, which makes Tahdig – the Persian style of making rice impossible. The PARS Persian rice cookers range from 5 cups all the way up to a hungry family 15 cup model.
Dinner parties, kids sports trips, and even a road trip are all times you’d want perfectly cooked rice. The Wolfgang Puck 3 Cup, portable rice cooker, has a carry handle, removable nonstick-coated cooking pot inner lid, detachable power cord and measuring cup.
Tiger Rice Cooker JKT-S18U. This Tiger rice cooker both is a high-quality cooker and makes meals. This 10-cup rice cooker and warmer comes with the new ‘tacook’ synchronized cooking function where you can prepare two dishes simultaneously with Synchro-Cooking function and the power of induction heating. Unlike other rice cookers, Tiger’s cooking plate is specially designed, so the flavors from the cooking plate do not affect the flavor or texture of the rice.
No better value for money for a first-time cooker for students. It consistently makes excellent rice for one (maybe two people). It’s a very small rice cooker so it’s great where space is limited and it is light enough to move into cupboard each time.
A definite must-have for any kitchen that needs fast, healthy meals. This little fastest rice cooker for the microwave allows you to steam vegetables, cook pasta, and it also makes excellent Japanese sticky rice. Cooking tip: You need to set your microwave at 70%, or the rice will boil over and leave a sticky mess in the microwave.
Now that we’ve answered questions like “what is the best rice cooker brand?” and “which Zojirushi rice cooker should I buy ?”, all you need now is to get out your best rice cooker recipes and master how to cook in a rice cooker like a pro.
How To Pick The Best Rice Cooker
You need to factor in a few variables before deciding on the best home rice cooker for your family. We’ve given you a review of the main buying factors that we’ve used over the years to decide on our favorite rice cookers. Cooking tip: spend more now, and save buying a second in a year when your cheap rice cooker stops working. Trust me; all rice cookers are not created equal. I made that mistake, not once, but twice. Never again.
Types Of Rice Cookers & How Does A Rice Cooker Work?
There are three types of rice cookers.
Induction Rice Cookers. Some rice cookers apply heat directly from an electrical plate below the inside pan. However, induction heating rice cookers take heat from the alternating electric current from the wall outlet. There are three big pros to having an induction rice cooker:
The temperature sensor is more accurate
The heat distribution area is larger – meaning more evenly cooked rice
The temperature can be changed in an instant
Cooking tip: Cooking rice in the Middle East has a brown chewy crust. You need to get a Pars rice cooker to make Middle Eastern style rice – fluffy – not sticky and with the excellent crust on the bottom.
Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers. Fuzzy Logic rice cookers have built-in computer chips that allow them to make adjustments to cooking time and temperature. Check out Fuzzy Logic rice cooker review to find a new rice cooker that can make adjustments based on what it thinks best for cooking times and temperature.
On-Off Rice Cookers. Also known as cook-hold rice cookers. In this type of rice maker, you have an inner pot that sits on a heated plate and brings water in the pot to a boil. A sensor then detects once the temperature has risen to that of boiling point for long enough to cook the rice, and then switches over to a keep warm mode. Cooking tip: sometimes the keep warm function overcooks rice and will make it stick to the bottom, so do not allow it to sit too long.
This one is easy. How many people do you need to feed regularly? Depending on if your rice is for the main meal or a side dish, you’ll need to think about how many ‘cups’ of rice you will need. As a general rule in our (famished) family, we cook 1/2 of a cup of rice per person. We like big helpings and love leftovers. Rice cookers are labeled in how many cups of rice they can cook at one time. 2 cups, 4 cups, 6 cups and so on. Just check if it’s marked uncooked or cooked rice. It makes a big difference as rice doubles in size when cooking.
Buying a good quality rice cooker in a slightly larger capacity than you think you may need is advised. A quality cooker will last you years, and you don’t want to be starting the search for the best rated rice cooker again because yours is too small.
Ease Of Cleaning
Who wants to spend time scrubbing and cleaning a machine that is supposed to save us time? Not me, that’s for sure. Check comments about the ease of cleaning in any rice cooker steamer reviews (we have some below) before choosing what is the best rice cooker on the market for you. Cooking tip: Always unplug and allow the rice cooker to cool completely before cleaning, but do wipe away any hard, burnt pieces of rice with a paper towel quickly to avoid it sticking.
Many rice cookers also have the ability to steam vegetables, make stews, baby food, chili, soups, and desserts. That said, the very best rated rice cooker brands have a single function – making rice. Keep in mind, what is more important to you? A multi-function rice cooker or A+ cooked rice?
What makes choosing the best rice maker the most tricky is all of the features, options, and gadgets. Try to look for a few key features:
Removable inner bowl. Makes cleaning so much easier
Steam tray option. Rice and steam veggies are a great mix
Delayed timer. You can set it to have rice ready as you get home from work
Reheat function. It’s so nice to cook rice, and be able to eat it again the following day – or for late night leftovers.
Quick cook functions. Press and forget is my motto
A transparent lid. This way you can see your rice as it cooks – with no need to take off the lid
Unless you are a professional cook or have a huge family, there is certainly no need to spend $1000, but as I mentioned early a $20 cooker can leave you with the task of making a new purchase far too soon. Once you have a rice cooker, you can’t live without it, though. So, we suggest you spend a little extra, and you’ll get the best quality rice cooker!
How Much Water To Add With Rice & How Long To Cook Rice?
The standard rule is 1:1. Use one cup of uncooked rice, to one cup of cold water. The exception being for brown rice when it becomes 1:2. Cooking tip: rice cookers come with an 180-ml cup – whereas, an Australian cup is 250, and American cup is 240 ml. So long as you use the 1:1 or 1:2 rule you will be fine – just keep in mind your hungry dinner guests.
Here is a general guide to rice cooking times – but, please do check your rice cooker’s instruction manual and also the rice packet instructions – as five mins too long or too little cooking time and you won’t be able to eat it.
White Rice. Approximately 17-25 minutes
Brown Rice. Approximately 40 minutes
Wild Rice. Roughly an hour
Basmati Rice. Is the same as white rice + an extra 5 minutes steaming time