If you’re on the fence about buying a rice cooker, answer this one question. Is rice a staple part of your diet? If so, then you can benefit from buying a rice cooker instead of making rice on the stove. But even if you don’t eat rice every day, the chances are that you may have heard a friend raving about their newly bought cooker. Or, you may have seen a lot of online ads featuring different rice cookers. If so, it’s time to check out what the hype is all about.
For ages, rice has been one of the easiest meals to cook. Why? Well, you only need to boil some water, add some rice and let it cook. It’s enough to enjoy a soothing meal of rice and curry. However, cooking rice on the stove doesn’t always end well for many people. In this case, a rice cooker can make cooking rice much more convenient.
What is a Rice Cooker?
With a similar mechanism as slow cookers, rice cookers are kitchen appliances/devices that are specially designed to cook rice. The great thing about this device is that a rice cooker can easily and quickly cook your rice to perfection without you having to do a lot of work.
Most rice cookers have a common construction comprising a large cooking pot, a heating source, and a thermometer that measures the internal temperature of the cooker and modulates it.
It also comes with some control buttons and a snug lid that is crucial to cooking well-cooked and soft rice. Some ergonomic features, such as sturdy handles, may differ depending on the rice cooker model. The insides are also covered in a non-stick coating to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Types of Rice Cookers
Automatic rice cookers can be gas or electricity-powered to give you perfectly-cooked rice. However, electric rice cookers are the best choice for most house kitchens, while gas cookers are larger and most suitable for industries and restaurants.
The different types of electric cookers include standard/traditional cookers that may be the most common and simplest form of cookers. Other types of cookers are improved multifunction and induction rice cookers.
Standard cookers come in a simple design with on and off buttons that are easy to use, while the latest models come with a few extra features such as different settings and timing options. On the other hand, multifunction rice cookers allow you to cook a variety of rice, whereas induction heat rice cookers can host other cooking tasks as well.
What Makes Rice Cookers a Good Option?
Rice is now a staple food item/meal in many households. Aside from providing essential carbohydrates for energy, rice is easy to pair with various side dishes and curries. A rice cooker might be your go-to choice if you love eating rice and it’s an important part of meals at home.
Too often, cooking rice over the stove can lead to soggy rice that can potentially ruin your appetite. On the other hand, you may end up with uncooked rice grains if you try to cook your rice in an instant pot.
A rice cooker can be a game-changer if you struggle to prepare the perfect rice. With this device, you only need to add rice and water to enjoy fluffy white or brown rice just how it should be. This way, you don’t need any rice-cooking skills to enjoy a fantastic home-cooked meal.
10 Best Rice Cookers
Aroma Housewares Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker
This cool-touch rice cooker offers multifunctional features as you can cook a bunch of different recipes, especially grains, in it. You can easily try out different recipes and get creative with different recipes as well.
And while you can steam your veggies or even bake a cake in this rice cooker, most customers love how it cooks fluffy, soft rice every time. Anyone, from men to women to newbies and experts, can cook the perfect rice with the help of this automatic rice-cooking appliance.
Not only will it ensure that your rice is nicely cooked, but it is also incredibly easy to use thanks to its digital functions and easy-to-follow instructions. All you have to do is measure your rice in a bowl, rinse it, add enough water, put it in the cooker, press the button, and let your rice cook. The cooker also features an automatic setting that allows it to switch to ‘warm mode’ once the rice is cooked.
You can also use the Aroma rice cooker for cooking two different items at the same time. For instance, you can cook one dish on top and another food item, such as rice, at the bottom.
What’s more? The cooker has different preset timers for different types of rice. So, you can cook all types of rice, including white, brown, and mixed to perfection. Some other great things about it are its non-toxic materials and dishwasher-safe features. You will also get a non-stick rice scooper with your cooking pot, so it’s easy to serve rice without the rice sticking to it.
Dash Mini Rice Cooker
The Dash Mini is a 2-cup rice cooker that’ll be a blessing when you’re cooking for one or two people. Ideally, you should choose a rice cooker model according to the amount of rice you want to cook on a daily basis. This way, you don’t have to deal with leftovers, and you’re not making the cooker do extra work.
So, the dash mini might be your go-to pick if you’re cooking for one or two people or are having rice on the side. It also means that you can quickly whip up a fresh batch of rice with each meal instead of reheating leftovers.
While the cooker is small and compact, it is still more functional than a lot of other rice cooker options on the market. You can use this device to cook small portions of meals, such as a quick breakfast or brunch snacks. It is especially useful for cooking other grains such as beans or lentils.
The mini rice cooker is not only great for cooking rice, but it is also incredibly easy to use and quick. In fact, it is as easy as prepping your ingredients and forgetting about it until your rice is cooked. Not to mention, the prepping also only takes up a few minutes as you only have to add in some water and your uncooked rice, other grains, or pasta. And, you get a freshly-cooked warm meal in just 20 minutes.
Just like other high-quality rice cookers, the dash mini cooker also comes with a ‘warm mode’ function that keeps your rice warm once it’s cooked. Besides this, it has an indicator light that informs you when it’s done, so you don’t have to keep an eye on the time.
Black + Decker Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
As the name suggests, this rice cooker is more than just a rice cooker. It is also a food streamer, which means it belongs to the multifunctional category of rice cookers. You’ll have a field day cooking up all kinds of foods in this durable rice cooker.
While you can cook other grains and try out different recipes in almost all kinds of rice cookers, the Black + Decker rice cooker comes with a separate steaming basket. You can use the basket to steam other food items, such as veggies and pasta too.
If you live in a bigger family, this rice cooker and food steamer is just what you need. It’s suitable for bigger families of up to 4 to 6 people as it offers enough space to cook large amounts of rice. Loads of people love using this device to cook for family gatherings and get-togethers as it can cook enough rice without keeping the host preoccupied.
You can easily use the cooker to prepare your rice or steam some vegetables with only a few minutes of prepping. All you need to do is put your ingredients in the steaming basket and water in the inner pan to enjoy perfectly-cooked meals in around 20-30 minutes.
Not to mention, the rice cooker automatically switches to the ‘keep warm’ mode once the rice is ready. This function ensures that you get fresh and warm food, even if you decide to take a nap while your rice cooks.
Another great feature of this particular device is that it is dishwasher-safe and comes with a non-stick bowl that you can clean easily. Not to mention, you also get a plastic spoon and measuring cup with your rice cooker appliance.
IMUSA Electric Non-Stick Rice Cooker
The IMUSA Electric Non-Stick Rice Cooker is best for anyone who has never used such a device before. If you’re scared about using an automatic rice cooker, the IMUSA is a hood model to start your journey.
Not to mention, it is also a great option for anyone who struggles to cook rice. So, whether you deal with soggy or uncooked rice on a regular basis, or you’re just worried about buying something too complicated, this model is for you.
Moreover, it has a large enough capacity for around 8 cups of uncooked rice. This makes it suitable for larger families and people who like to have guests most of the time.
It is an unbelievably easy-to-use rice cooker that only needs you to prep the ingredients. Then, you can relax as the cooker does the rest. The rice cooker takes around 20-30 minutes and gives you perfectly-cooked rice, regardless of its type. Brown rice and mixed give relatively more trouble than the white type, but this cooker solves that issue as well.
The cooker features a tempered glass lid with an air vent and a removable non-stick cooking pot. While the lid allows the extra moisture to evaporate, you can use the removable bowl to rinse the rice as well.
What’s more? This device also has indicator lights labeled ‘cook’ and ‘warm’ so you know whether your food is cooking or ready. If you’re worried about messing up the measurements, don’t worry! The cooker also has raised measurement markers on the pot to help beginners.
While the rice cooker has a simpler design compared to most modern rice cookers, it doesn’t compromise on results. It is convenient, quick, simple, and cheaper.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi 3-cup rice cooker is great for people who don’t need to make large quantities of rice. This product is a favorite among users with smaller families.
Compared to other fancy and advanced rice cookers, the simple Zojirushi is easy-to-use with fewer buttons and quick performance. While most modern rice cookers offer more functions and serve more purposes, they also tend to be a lot more confusing and complex.
Not to mention, a lot of multipurpose rice cookers can take as much as 45 minutes of time to cook around 3 cups of rice. With the Zojirushi 3-cup cooker, you can enjoy warm and tasty rice in about 20 minutes of turning it on. On top of that, it cooks well and only has a single-switch control for easy and simple usage.
What’s more? It has a glass lid that you can see through to have a look at your rice while the knob stays unaffected by the heat. The handles are also stay-cool, so you can easily carry your cooker to your dining area without having to wait for the handles to cool down.
Moreover, the non-stick inner pan of the cooking pot is durable and prevents rice from sticking or burning. The rice cooker comes with a plastic measuring cup, so you don’t have to worry about inaccurate measurements
Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
If you are looking for a small and simple rice cooker, then this no-frills cooking appliance maybe just for you. The Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker and Food Steamer is a 3-cup rice cooker that has everything you’re looking for in a rice cooker. It is compact, simple and easy to use, and budget-friendly.
But more than that, the aroma cooker and steamer is great at preparing perfectly-cooked rice. This kitchen appliance’s quality is sure to leave you impressed. The rice does not create a soggy mess, nor do any rice grains remain uncooked. If you are someone who struggles to prepare a fantastic plate of rice, then this cooker will make you feel like a chef.
The aroma rice cooker and food steamer is multifunctional as you can use it for cooking rice at the bottom while steaming meat or vegetables in the top compartment. Besides saving time and energy, it also ensures that you serve perfectly-cooked meat and rice to your guests. During the cold winter months, it’ll come in handy to prepare soups.
While being extremely functional and useful, the 2-in1 cooker and steamer product is also simple and easy to use with its one-touch operation. Not to mention, you only need to follow a few simple steps and then sit back as the cooker does its magic.
Make sure you correctly measure the rice and water with the measuring cup that comes with it. Pour the water and place your rice and wait until the cooker informs you when your rice is ready. Not to mention, it automatically switches to warm mode once it’s done cooking your rice and steaming your veggies.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is a special kind of modern rice cooker due to its neuro fuzzy technology. This technology allows the appliance to think on its own and make different decisions regarding the heat and cooking time. The cooker uses its thermostat to regulate the heat as needed and steams only for as long as the rice is uncooked.
As a result, the cooker successfully delivers well-cooked and tasty rice. The rice perfectly cooks by itself, and you can enjoy soft, delicious, and fluffy rice in a matter of a few minutes. While other rice cookers can produce soft-textured and well-cooked rice, the neuro fuzzy rice cooker has another advantage over them.
Well, your rice does not turn out soggy or undercooked even if you mess up the water ratio. So, you can be brave and experiment with other grains, too, as there is nothing you can do to ruin the texture or taste of food this device produces.
Not only can it adjust itself to deliver perfect rice, but it also comes with a lot of convenient functions and menu settings for new chefs. Using its menu settings, you can choose the kind of rice you want to cook. Then, it functions accordingly to give you your desired results.
You can either make sushi rice, porridge, white rice, brown rice, or mixed rice with the unique neuro fuzzy rice cooker. It also comes with other options such as ‘extended warm’ and ‘quick cooking’ and reheating cycles.
Toshiba Rice Cooker with Fuzzy Logic
The Toshiba Rice cooker also features fuzzy logic technology. It can easily adjust its settings according to what the rice needs.
The cooker pays close attention to the texture of the rice and then decides what actions it needs to take to prepare the perfect rice. For instance, it can prolong the time if the rice is still uncooked after the recommended cooking time. Or, it can also adjust the internal temperature of the cooking pot to avoid any accidents.
This rice cooker by Toshiba is perfect for you if you’ve always wondered what’s so special about the fuzzy logic technology. Why? Because the cooker is has a 3-cup capacity and is small in size. This means that it is also half the price of the expensive fuzzy logic rice cookers. Not to mention, it is also great for people who have smaller families as it can easily help you make dinner for 4 to 5 people.
The cooker produces well-cooked and tasty rice without any burning, sticking, or sogginess, even on the ‘warm mode.’ Not to forget, it is also a multipurpose cooker that can cook white rice, brown rice, mixed rice, and porridge. You can also use this cooker for a cake or egg and be impressed with the cooking, flavor, and texture.
Not only does it give you well-cooked food, but it is also highly convenient and easy to use. You can remove the detachable steam vent and inner lid for easy cleaning. What else? The non-stick pot also offers storage facilities. You do not need to transfer your cooked rice to another serving dish.
Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer
This kitchen appliance by Aroma Housewares is a 3-in-1 product with multifunctional features. It is a rice cooker, slow cooker as well as a food steamer to help you out anytime you struggle with large quantities of food. Not only is it helpful for occasions of gatherings and parties, but you can also use it as an everyday appliance for quick and easy meals.
This Aroma Housewares3-in1 product offers a lot of room for creativity and experiment on a regular basis. You can steam your veggies, cook different kinds of rice, and even bake a cake with this cooker and steamer device.
Not to mention, you can cook your meals simultaneously as well. For instance, keep rice at the bottom and steam vegetables or cook an egg in the top compartment. This will not only save your time, but you are also sure to enjoy high-quality perfectly-cooked meals.
Despite its many functions, the device is rather simple and easy to use. You only need to place your uncooked ingredients such as rice, pasta, vegetables, or meat in the cooker and let it cook. The cooker/steamer cooks on its own and automatically switches from cooking to warm mode once the rice is done cooking.
Since the rice cooker also functions as a slow cooker, you can also allow your meals to simmer low and slow in this product. This multi-cooker is pretty large, with a capacity of 10 cups of uncooked and 20 cups of cooked rice. This makes it a great option for larger families as well as for smaller meals.
Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker
Cooking rice in a saucepan can be quite messy and troublesome. Not to mention, the rice doesn’t always turn out well.
If you struggle to cook rice that has the perfect texture and taste, the Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker is just what you need. This cooker is absolutely great at what it does. You do not have to worry about dealing with soggy or uncooked rice with this rice cooker.
The cooker is small and has a capacity of around 4 cups of cooked rice, which makes it great for small families or when you want to avoid leftovers. Not to forget, the compact size also makes it easy to clean. You can easily use this rice cooker for cooking other grains, such as lentils and beans.
If you wish, you can use an additional steamer with the Hamilton cooker to prepare a whole meal. You can steam meat and vegetables or even cook pasta in your rice cooker. What’s more? You can steam meat and veggies while rice cooks at the bottom of the cooker.
How to Use a Rice Cooker the Right Way
While a rice cooker is highly capable of giving the best rice cooking experience, it’s also important that you’re aware of how to use it. Following the correct usage instructions will ensure that you don’t face any troubles with your appliance.
- Figure out the amount of rice and water you need
- Rinse your rice (optional)
- Transfer the rice to the inner pan of the rice cooker
- Add the right amount of water to the rice cooker pan
- Place the pan inside the rice cooker and put on the lid
- Plug in your cooker and turn it on
- Let it cook
- Once your cooker informs that the rice has been cooked, let the rice sit in on the ‘warm mode’ for at least 15 minutes
- Use a rice paddle or plastic spoon to scoop out rice for serving
Rice Cooker Buying Guide
Since there are so many different types of rice cookers available in the market, it can leave you feeling confused as to which one is right for you. Rice cookers are electrical kitchen appliances that will serve as a good investment if you choose the right one according to your needs and usage.
It is important that you pick a rice cooker that makes your rice-cooking experience a pleasant one rather than complicating it further. So, consider the different types of rice cookers along with the following factors:
Rice cookers that can perform different types of jobs can make it confusing to choose one. Therefore, make up your mind on the main purpose of an automatic rice cooker in your kitchen. Do you need your rice cooker to only prepare rice for you or go beyond and fulfill the duties of a slow cooker and pressure cooker as well?
The amount of rice you need to cook on a regular basis is a crucial factor to consider when investing in a rice cooker. This will increase the longevity of your appliance while also giving you well-cooked rice.
Cooking small amounts of rice in a large cooker can ruin the top and inner part of the cooker. On the other hand, overloading a small cooker can result in undercooked rice. It is also dangerous if water flows out from an electrical appliance.
You must always look at and read the manufacturer’s instructions on care and maintenance before buying a rice cooker. This is because most rice cookers are not as tough on their own and need proper care to last longer and give desired results.
Without proper maintenance, a cooker can cause your rice to stick and burn. Usually, rice cookers have non-stick inner coatings, so you might need to use rice paddles or plastic spoons in order to avoid scratching and scraping.
What is a rice cooker, and how does it work?
Rice cookers are electrical appliances that automatically cook perfect rice, eliminating the risks of soggy or undercooked rice. They use a cooking pot, an internal heating element, and a thermostat to produce well-cooked rice in a matter of 20-30 minutes.
All you need to do to cook rice in a rice cooker is to add the ingredients, close the lid, turn it on and leave the appliance until your rice is ready. The internal heater of the rice cooker boils up the water that further steams the rice in the rice bowl. The thermostat measures the temperature throughout the process and regulates it along with the aluminum or steel outer casing of the cooker.
What are the different types of rice cookers?
The different types of rice cookers are:
- Standard Rice Cooker: These cookers are good for home use as they are simple to use and easy to clean.
- Improved Rice Cooker: They come with extra features such as separate settings for white and brown rice and delay timers with countdowns and readouts.
- Multifunction Rice Cooker: A multifunction rice cooker can cook a variety of rice such as mixed rice, brown rice, and sushi rice. They also come with a lot of multipurpose settings, such as timer functions and a detachable lid.
- Induction Heat Rice Cooker: These are the best rice cookers as they offer a lot of other cooking options as well. For instance, you can steam your vegetables or fry an egg in these cookers along with getting perfectly-cooked rice.
It is important that you understand what a rice cooker is and how it functions to deliver perfectly-cooked rice before you finally invest in one. There are quite some types of rice cookers available in the market with a wide variety of features and functions.
This can make it hard for you to decide on a rice cooker best-suited for your kitchen. If you can’t decide, refer to our top rice cooker picks to choose the ideal one for you!
About the Author
Lori Bogedin is a health and wellness writer and editor of TwigsCafe.com. She is in the restaurant business since 1999. In 2016 she was named one of the "Top Women in Business" by Northeastern Pennsylvania Business Journal.