Contents - Click a link to skip to the section you want to read
- 1 Benefits of a rice cooker
- 2 Types of rice cookers
- 3 What can be made in a multi-use rice cooker other than rice?
- 4 Considerations to make before buying a rice cooker
- 5 Top features to look for
- 6 Best rice cooker reviews
- 7 Zojirushi NS-TSC10 rice cooker and warmer
- 8 Tiger JKT-S10U-K Induction Heat (IH) Rice Cooker, 5.5-Cup
- 9 Hannex RCTJ300S Ceramice Rice Cooker
- 10 Elechomes CR501 electric rice cooker, steamer, and warmer
- 11 Zojirushi NS-VGC05 Micom electric rice cooker and warmer
- 12 Hamilton Beach 37548 rice & hot cereal cooker
- 13 Aroma Housewares digital rice cooker, slow cooker, and food steamer
- 14 Tiger JBV-A10U-W Micom rice cooker with food steamer and slow cooker
- 15 Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1.8 L
- 16 One cup Livart rice cooker/warmer
- 17 Tiger JNP-1800-FL rice cooker and warmer
- 18 Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 multi-functional pressure cooker
- 19 T-fal RK705851 10-In-1 rice and multicooker
- 20 Hamilton Beach rice cooker with rinser/steam basket
- 21 Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer
- 22 Best rice cooker reviews: Final thoughts
Have you ever boiled rice and discovered that some bits were undercooked or, even worse, burnt? Nightmare, right? Especially when throwing a dinner party or trying to convince non-vegans that our food is delicious…eek!
Overcoming problems like these is where a dedicated electric rice cooker shines. With these brilliant devices, you can cook your grains evenly and keep your rice warm for hours once it’s done. So convenient.
The process is simple. All you need to do is measure out your rice, add the appropriate amount of water, programme the machine to the desired setting, and wait for your deliciousness to cook. Plus, the best rice cooker will also have additional features that will sweeten the deal even more.
There are a wide variety of rice cookers on the market, so there are models out there that will fit just about anyone’s budget. Rice cookers are great for families who need a quick and easy method of preparing hearty meals, and even college students who are strapped for cash will find them invaluable.
There are models which are ideal for people who need an single-solution appliance; one which offers some great overall versatility. Anyone living in a small apartment with limited storage space doesn’t want a multitude of different gadgets taking up space, and a good rice cooker can come to the rescue.
Many of these natty appliances double up as slow cookers, pressure cookers, steamers, and more, giving you a convenient solution to your storage problems.
But, back to the main reason why we’re here.
The rice produced in most of these devices, even the mini rice cooker models, is usually perfect. Before we dig deeper into which rice cooker is best, however, let’s take a look at some of the benefits these handy gadgets bring to a home kitchen.
Benefits of a rice cooker
So why buy a rice cooker? Well, there are several key benefits that make these appliances a near must-have. Here are a few that you should consider:
Have you ever overcooked rice and had to deal with the mushy, mashed together mess? I know I have…ugh!
One of the primary benefits of having a dedicated machine for the task is its ability to produce wonderful rice with a perfectly cooked and separated consistency. Some models may leave you with a bit of a residue on the bottom of the rice steamer, but even with these more value-based models, the majority of the rice is sushi-perfect…vegan sushi, of course!
Conversely, a good rice cooker will never undercook your rice either, so you won’t get those crunchy kernels which can sometimes ruin your favorite dish. Effectively, rice cookers take the guesswork out of preparing rice; they’re simply designed to make sure your grains are at their delicious best every time you serve them.
Another way these gadgets can take the guesswork out of rice preparation is the fact that they have several ways to measure your rice.
Rice cookers often come with their own measuring cup for accuracy, but you’ll often find they have lines inside and outside of the bowl as well. This means you’ll always know exactly how much water you’ll need too. Handy!
One of the most useful features of a rice cooker is the keep-warm option. As you may have guessed, your rice will stay warm when used, but it won’t dry out and go nasty.
While the keep-warm times may vary based on the model of the rice cooker and the manufacturer, some of the best rice cookers on the market can keep your rice warm for up to 12 hours.
This is incredibly useful for busy people. It means you can start your rice in the morning before work and have it ready to eat when you come home. After all, who wants to be messed around with pots and pans after a long day? Not me!
Making rice on the stove can be a limiting affair, especially if you’re looking to prepare other food at the same time. Fortunately, you can use a rice cooker anywhere, which frees up space for you to work on other dishes.
However, the benefits extend beyond the kitchen. Want to serve perfect rice straight from the machine at your table? No problem. Many of the models we look at below have removable or retractable cords and carrying handles too. You can even take your rice maker with you to a friends house, if you so wish.
Types of rice cookers
When you purchase a rice maker, there are basically four types of cooker that you can select:
Traditional rice cookers
An traditional rice cooker is designed to simply cook the rice and then turn itself off. These rice makers will shut down automatically, so you don’t have to constantly watch the time. However, once cooked, they generally won’t keep your rice warm for prolonged periods.
Traditional rice cookers usually come with a single heating element placed in the base of the machine. While this works well enough, it can sometimes leave your rice with somewhat crusty texture, especially if you leave the grains in the pot for too long after cooking. Some people love this and see it as a plus, but if you want properly cooked, fluffy rice, it’s something you need to be aware of.
As these are at the lower end of the price range, they are a great option for someone who does not want to spend a lot of money on a rice pot.
Multifunction rice cookers
Next up are machines which allow you to do far more than simply cook rice. These multifunctional gadgets can double up as slow cookers, pressure cookers, vegetable steamers, and more.
Thanks to the microcomputers found within their housing, these rice cookers can replace many other kitchen appliances; making them ideal for those who are pushed for kitchen storage space or anyone who simply wants to get the biggest bang for their gadget buck.
While it’s often the case that multifunctional machines don’t perform as well as their single use counterparts, when it comes to cooking rice this generally isn’t the case. These machines tend to fare pretty well at making perfectly acceptable rice, but they won’t be anywhere near as good as next-gen or induction heated rice cookers (see below).
Naturally, with the added technology comes an increase in price. However, as we’ve touched on, this is offset by their versatility. Expect multifunction rice cookers to fall in the mid to high price range.
Next-gen traditional rice cookers
These are pretty much the same as the standard rice cookers mentioned above, but they’ll usually have a few added extras such as a steaming setting and improved functionality which allows you to cook different types of rice effectively.
Next-gen rice cookers may have side heating elements as well as the one found in the base of the pot. They’ll often have more technological features too, such as Fuzzy Logic, which gives a more even cook and ultimately results in better quality cooked rice.
As one would expect, next-generation rice cookers are a little more expensive than standard ones, but they are still very affordable – especially if you eat a lot of rice.
Induction heating rice cookers
Last, but definitely not least, are induction heated rice cookers. These are amongst the best rice cookers money can buy and they provide users with everything we’ve already mentioned, but they’ll do it more accurately…and faster, too. This is thanks to the extremely even heating that induction technology brings to the party.
If you get through a lot of rice and like to eat it throughout the day, induction heat rice cookers should be given very close consideration. Not only is the quality of rice unsurpassable, you’ll also be able to cook a far greater range of grains too.
You’ll also have far greater control over the way you keep your grains warm, which means you’ll have perfect rice ready to eat whenever you want it.
Induction heated rice cookers aren’t cheap, however. Not only will your initial outlay be greater than the other types of rice cooker we’ve mentioned, you’ll also use a little more energy as well.
That being said, they are far and away the best type of rice cooker you can buy.
What can be made in a multi-use rice cooker other than rice?
Some of the rice cookers on our list are multi-use machines (like the Instant Pot, for example), and there are lots of amazing dishes you can make in them.
Although standard rice cookers are often associated with dinner or lunch, multi-use appliances can make spectacular breakfasts too. With a good multi-use rice cooker in your kitchen, you can expect to be able to make:
Quinoa breakfast bowls
Delicious lunch items and sides
Lentils and beans
Stews and soups
Certain cakes and puddings
Obviously, we’ve only listed vegan options here (why would we include anything else!) but, if you share a household with non-vegans, your rice cooker will also be able to handle things such as boiled eggs, mac and cheese, and more.
Considerations to make before buying a rice cooker
Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to a rice cooker, but there are some considerations that you should take into account before you make a purchase. These include:
The capacity description of rice cookers can vary from model to model. Some will be listed as the amount of uncooked rice that you place in the pot, while others will state the amount of rice once it’s cooked. Be aware of this variation and make sure you check the model’s description prior to purchase to ensure you get the best rice cooker for you and your family’s needs.
How much rice do you typically need to make in a single setting? A single cup of uncooked white rice will typically yield about two to three cups of cooked, and the average serving size for an adult is about a half of a cup of cooked rice. Knowing this will give a better idea of which size rice cooker will suit you best.
How often you prepare rice
If you don’t make rice regularly, then maybe a rice cooker isn’t really for you. While stove cooked rice can be a hassle, if you only do it once in a blue moon you may want to stick with that method.
However, it’s also important to remember these are versatile can do all manner of things, including steaming vegetables and cooking oatmeal. Making rice is obviously the primary use of an electronic rice cooker (duh!), but you can get more out your machine if you’re willing to make use of the increased functionality the more modern models have to offer.
Rice cookers and other appliances like slow cookers can take up a lot of counter space. While one of the greatest features of a rice cooker is its ability to be used almost anywhere, especially when using a portable rice cooker, keeping one ready-to-use in your kitchen can be tough. A three cup rice cooker can be more than a foot in diameter!
So, if you have limited space, you might want to take this into consideration before you make your purchase. You can either stick to the stove method of cooking rice, or you might want to select the best mini rice cooker instead of one of the larger models.
Material of the pot
There are typically four types of bowls when it comes to rice cooker pots. These include:
A Teflon rice cooker pot
Teflon is nonstick, which is great, but it does have a major drawback. When Teflon’s heated, it can release fumes which may actually cause people to get sick. Additionally, the material is known to fleck, which is definitely something you don’t want in your rice.
An aluminum rice cooker pot
Aluminum is a lightweight and strong material for a rice cooker pot, but it’s not known for its nonstick properties. Therefore, the majority of aluminum inner pots will come with a non-stick coating which can leach into your food if heated to excessive temperatures.
Remember, Teflon, is a trademark, so the non-stick properties used on aluminum pots may still result in poor health, whether they’re called Teflon or not.
As with Teflon coatings, other non-stick materials can also fleck after time, which isn’t exactly what you want when preparing food.
A stainless steel rice cooker pot
Similar to aluminum, stainless steel is very strong and durable, and it’s also not the best when it comes to non-stick. However, stainless steel cleans up exceptionally well and is widely considered to be one of the better options in terms of health implications.
That being said, some manufacturers still coat their stainless steel inner pots with a non-stick coating, defeating the object of using this metal somewhat. Opting for a plain stainless steel pot may need a little more soaking when cleaning, but your health may benefit from your decision in the long run.
A ceramic rice cooker pot
Ceramic rice cooker pots have a unique feature that makes them very valuable when it comes to preparing rice: they’re virtually nonstick without needing an extra coating. This means, even if you find a layer of burnt rice on the bottom of your cooker, food can simply be scooped up without too much scraping.
Ceramic pots are a great alternative to metal inner pots, but they are rather hard to find. Oddly, this seems to be especially true in really good rice cookers, which is a shame.
Top features to look for
As we’ve already seen, many rice cookers come with lots of different functions, but what are some of the main things you should be looking out for when shopping for a good rice maker? Let’s take a look:
Not all types of rice cook the exact same way. If your rice cooker is primarily designed for white rice, you may find brown rice will burn and stick to the bottom of the inner pot, sometimes taking on a gummy consistency. This is why the better rice makers will have presets for each individual type of rice.
Taking the guesswork out of the equation helps ensure you always end up with perfect rice, regardless of whether you’re cooking long grain jasmine, brown, basmati, or any of the many other wonderful variations available.
These are commonly underrated features. There are many purely analog rice cookers on the market, but ones with digital displays will give you more information about the rice cooking process, including temperature and time needed to cook your rice to perfection.
The best rice cookers with digital displays will also show how much cooking time remains. While this may seem like a minor point, I can’t tell you just how handy this feature is when preparing other dishes at the same time. Cooking is largely about timing, so knowing exactly how long your rice has left to cook is a great way to ensure your accompanying dishes get started at the right moment.
Additionally, touch-sensitive buttons are far easier to use than dials and switches. Simply look down, push the button, and the rice will start with your preferences set. Touch-sensitive buttons also make the external unit easy to wipe down when you need to.
The name tells you exactly what this feature does; it keeps your rice warm after it has been cooked. Some of you may not need this setting, but for those who do, it’s invaluable.
As we mentioned in the benefits section above, being able to prepare rice ahead of time is great for dinner parties, busy families, and even those of us who simply want an instant hot meal when we return home from work.
From keep-warm to stay-cool! Obviously, rice makers rely on heat to cook your grains to perfection, but you want that heat to stay on the inside, not outside where it can potentially burn you.
While the vast majority of modern rice cookers will have stay-cool housing, it’s definitely worth double-checking before you buy.
Retractable (or removable) power cord
Wires! Grrr. Not only are they ugly things that seem to attract grease and fluff like nothing else, they can also hinder your ability to store your rice cooker effectively.
Having a retractable or removable cord will help with this, and you’ll be able to serve your rice straight from the cooker at the table too, should you so wish.
Unbelievably, some rice makers are not supplied with a measuring cup. This is fine if their cooking times are in line with the standard kitchen cup measurements we all use, but some are clearly operating on different quantities.
Having a specific measuring cup for that particular rice maker ensures that you and the appliance’s cooking guide are singing from the same song sheet, so keep an eye out for this.
Best rice cooker reviews
Now you know a bit more about rice cookers, their benefits, and the features you might want to look out for, you can make an informed decision on which rice cooker is best for you.
Nevertheless, there are still dozens of rice makers on the market to trawl through, so we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you and listed some of our favorites below.
Zojirushi NS-TSC10 rice cooker and warmer
Zojirushi is one of the best Japanese rice cooker brands available. This particular rice maker has some excellent technological features that make cooking perfect rice easy. One of its most amazing features is its Neuro Fuzzy tech. This technology uses an onboard computer so that the cooker can “think.”
When cooking rice, this 5 ½ cup, big rice cooker can adjust the internal temperature of the pot to best suit the food being prepared. Its black inner pan is completely non-stick, which is an excellent feature that makes cleanup an absolute cinch. The pan is also removable so that you can store the leftover food for another day with relative ease.
When it comes to storage, the rice cooker has a detachable lid and a retractable cord that makes it pretty easy to stow away when it’s not being used. Anyone who has a more value-oriented rice cooker knows that sometimes you might night hear the click that let’s you know your rice is done. This rice cooker, however, features an audible beep so you can have your rice at its absolute freshest.
As for overall design and user-friendliness, the Zojirushi NS-TSC10 is very well made. First, it incorporates an LCD display that features many menus for monitoring your rice. Also, this is best stainless steel rice cooker for aesthetic design out of the models on our list; it simply looks very sleek indeed.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ This rice cooker is very easy to clean; in fact, the lid is removable and the cord retracts to make the device easier to wipe down
✅ It has a number of settings, including brown rice, sushi, and cakes
✅ There’s a timer which chimes to let you know when the rice is fully cooked and ready to eat
✅ The rice is cooked perfectly in this device. It will even retain its consistency if left in the cooker overnight
✅ Water doesn’t tend to spill over the rim, which ensures an easy cleanup
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ It seems like the rice takes a little bit longer than some other models, but the extra time makes it deliciously light and fluffy
❌ If you are expecting a plug and cook system, the programming may seem a little complicated to figure out
❌ The LCD display is not backlit, so it can be difficult to see when the lighting is not just right
Tiger JKT-S10U-K Induction Heat (IH) Rice Cooker, 5.5-Cup
The Tiger JKT-S10U-K takes a step up from what we’ve already seen in our list. This induction heated rice cooker is amazing, but you can expect to pay a fair amount more for it than you would with a standard model.
Not only does this fantastic machine cook rice to perfection, it can also make bread too! However, you may find its biggest use in the bread making department to be the “ferment” feature, which makes bread proofing (proving) quick and easy. The actually baking stage is still best done in an oven if you’re looking for a really good result, but the Tiger JKT-S10U-K will turn out a decent loaf, nonetheless.
Packed with features and setting, this machine may take a little time to master, but it will be time well spent. We love the fact that you can easily remove the lid for cleaning, something that is definitely lacking in some of the other models we’ve looked at. The inner bowl is strong and sturdy and, best of all, the little handles on each side actually stay relatively cool. This is a huge plus, as removing the rice bowl can often be an awkward experience when hot.
The JKT-S10U-K also comes with a Synchro-Cooking function, which allows you to cook both your rice and another dish together. This is great, and a real time-saver, but the rice doesn’t appear to be as good as when it’s cooked on its own. It’s still great, but not quite as good.
Downsides are similar to other machines of this ilk: it’s expensive, has a non-stick bowl (would rather see a ceramic or stainless steel pot), and, possibly most surprisingly, doesn’t have a retractable or removable cord. This is, however, an extremely good rice cooker, and we’re sure you’ll be delighted with it should you decide that it’s the one for you.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ Does the main thing well: it cooks great rice!
✅ Fully removable lid makes cleaning so much easier than with other models
✅ Small “stay-cool” handles on the inner pot make it easy to remove when the rest of the pot is hot
✅ Good, solid inner pot (unfortunately, however, it does have a non-stick coating)
✅ Steaming feature works very well
✅ Packed with setting, functions and features
✅ Comes with a designated cookbook
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Pricey, but you get what you pay for
❌ Cord cannot be removed and doesn’t retract, which can make storage and transportation a little more difficult
❌ Would rather have a ceramic pot
Hannex RCTJ300S Ceramice Rice Cooker
The Hannex RCTJ300S Ceramice Rice Cooker is next on our list. This rather plain looking rice cooker will inconspicuously sit on your kitchen counter, waiting for you whenever you need to quickly whip up your favorite rice-based dish.
The Hannex has a decent amount of tech driving its operation, but it remains simple to use. It’s 3-D heating system ensures even cooking and minimises energy usage too. This cooker has a number of presets and a handy 9.5 hour programmable timer, which makes preparing food in advance a breeze.
One of our favorite things about the Hannex RCTJ300S is the fact that the inner bowl is ceramic. Not only is this wonderfully non-stick, it’s probably about the healthiest material currently available in all the rice makers on the market.
As one would expect, the Hannex also comes with a multitude of safety features and can also be used for soups, stews, and porridge.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ Pure design, will fit in any kitchen
✅ 3-D heating system cooks evenly and saves energy
✅ Easy to use, minimal control panel
✅ Ceramic pot, probably the healthiest material used in rice makers
✅ Despite having few controls, can still be used for more than just rice
✅ Very easy to clean
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ May have to “break in” to remove the new smell
❌ Rice takes longer to cook, but that’s probably because of the ceramic pot so it’s a fair trade off
Elechomes CR501 electric rice cooker, steamer, and warmer
Another very sleek-looking and stylish gadget, the Elechomes CR501 also packs in a lot of great features, including a steamer function for those who like to steam their veggies. Similar to the Zojirushi appliance, this Elechomes product can also use “fuzzy logic” to determine the proper temperatures for the food being prepared in the pot.
Another good feature that may be useful for those looking for efficiency is the heat preservation honeycomb lid. This lid locks in the heat, so less energy is needed to keep your rice at the optimal temperature. In fact, when this is combined with the fuzzy logic tech, the rice cooker will actively help your food lock in its natural fresh flavor profile.
As a seven-in-one cooker, you’ll also be able to use this product as a steamer, rice cooker, stew pot, slow cooker, and it also has several key settings for different rice types as well. When you’re done eating, but don’t feel like putting your rice away, this cooker also has a keep-warm setting that will keep your rice warm for hours.
Additionally, this cooker also has an intelligent cook function that will ensure that you never have to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove burnt rice.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ This steamer cooks rice perfectly, regardless of whether it is white rice, brown rice, or long grain rice
✅ It has a timer so that you can easily set your rice to start at a specific time, making it perfect for having oatmeal ready to go in the morning when you wake up
✅ The beep that lets you know that the rice is fully cooked is nice and loud; in fact, you will have no issue hearing it from another room
✅ Once the rice is cooked, the machine automatically enters into warm mode to make sure that the food maintains its heat while you prepare the rest of your meal
✅ Has a built in handle, which is ideal both for storage and moving cooked rice to the table
✅ Perfect for cooking hearty soups as well as rice
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The base of this rice cooker is on the large side. If you have a small counter space, it may take up more than you’d like
❌ The steam basket is a bit small for a fully steamed meal, but it is adequate for a side dish
Zojirushi NS-VGC05 Micom electric rice cooker and warmer
Our second Zojirushi product is another great item from the Japanese rice cooker manufacturer. Like the first, the Zojirushi NS-VGC05 uses the Neuro Fuzzy technology which allows the unit to determine the perfect cooking conditions for the food being prepared.
This is a very travel-friendly product. It has a tightly locking lid that seals in your food and it’s swinging handle makes it very easy to carry. It also employs some nice touches that make rice prep simple and hassle-free. One of our favorites is an easy to read diagram for water level inside of the pan that also has illustrations for several types of rice.
In addition to this, when you turn on the rice cooker and begin the process, the Micom will play “twinkle, twinkle little star” to let you know the process has started. The buttons on this Zojirushi product are raised somewhat, which is nice for those people who want a more tactile experience. We love the wide LCD panel and it’s easy to read.
With several key Zojirushi technologies under this cooker’s hood, it’s hard to have rice that is less-than-perfect. Rice is typically uniformly cooked and easy to separate. The cooker’s computer also can adjust the heat level of the cooker, thanks to the aforementioned Neuro Fuzzy technology, which is a great way to save on energy as well.
This may be the cutest rice maker on the market today…and it works brilliantly, too!
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ The power cord is detachable
✅ Great size for smaller kitchens, buy still produces a decent amount of rice
✅ Programming this rice cooker is easy, which means that you will get perfectly fluffy rice every time
✅ This device is unique because it plays a cute tune when you start the rice and again when it is fully cooked
✅ The warmer is perfect for making rice at lunch time and keeping it warm until dinner
✅ The exterior design is round, which gives it a unique look that will look great in most kitchens…it’s so sweet!
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Cup measurements do not match standard American volumes. That said, it does come with the right cups for the machine, so no biggie
❌ Drainage system could be better; condensation needs to be wiped regularly
Hamilton Beach 37548 rice & hot cereal cooker
The fact that the Hamilton Beach 37548 is described as a “rice and hot cereal” cooker is a great illustration of its versatility. It also has a great output; you can cook up to seven cups of rice (resulting in 14 cooked) in this product. Hamilton Beach is a brand that is known for producing excellent budget-level appliances, and this particular model definitely stands out.
As it’s a stainless steel rice cooker, this product will sit very well in most kitchens. The buttons are easy to find and are flush with the console of the device. Additionally, the product comes with a serving spoon, a steam basket (for steaming foods, making this a handy rice cooker and steamer combo), and a rice measuring cup.
If you find that you are frequently on the go, this is a pretty good portable product as well; it’s lightweight and even has a handle that makes it easy to heft around.
Another particularly useful feature is that you can steam while cooking your rice or cereal. Simply put the steamed items inside the steaming basket and cook the other foods below. A real time and space saver!
The Hamilton Beach 37548 has many different settings, including lots for various types of rice. That being said, this isn’t the best brown rice cooker in the world, so if you want perfect brown rice every time, this may not be the one for you.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ Built in steamer allows you to steam veg and cook rice at the same time, very handy!
✅ The steamer basket and the rice bowl are both rather large, so you can make a meal for your family with ease using this rice cooker
✅ Comes with a delayed start timer, so you can prepare your oatmeal the night before so that it is ready when you wake up in the morning
✅ The warm mode is perfect for nights when you need to keep dinner warm for someone
✅ All plastic parts are BPA-free
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The cord on this device is pretty short, which means that you have to keep it close to an outlet that may be located under the cabinets
❌ The instruction manual is not clear, so if you have never used this type of gadget before, it could be confusing
❌ Brown rice tends to cook a bit unevenly with this unit, which makes it more difficult to clean as well. If you like to cook different types of rice, be aware this isn’t the best rice cooker for brown rice
Aroma Housewares digital rice cooker, slow cooker, and food steamer
The Aroma rice cooker has a decent capacity; it can produce 20 cups of cooked rice at a time. There are settings for brown rice on this large rice cooker, making it ideal for those who’d rather not have refined white rice in their diet. Additionally, the Aroma cooker also comes with a large steam tray so that you can prepare vegetables while the rice prepares.
For busy people, one of the better features on a rice cooker is a delay timer. These timers let you delay when the rice prep starts. So set it up, go to work, and the cooker will start the rice at the time that you tell it to do so. This degree of convenience coupled with the cooker’s keep-warm feature makes this a great option for having rice or other foods when you want them.
If you want multiple ways to prepare different types of food all in one gadget, the Aroma is a decent choice. The control scheme for the product is simple. All of the settings are available through touch-sensitive buttons, including the settings for keep-warm, white rice, brown rice, and the 15-hour delay timer. The central display is a red on black digital LCD that is easy to see, even when the lighting is low.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ No matter what type of rice you cook in this unit, it comes out perfect, fluffy, and delicious
✅ Ideal for families
✅ The larger size makes it perfect for creating slow cooker meals as well
✅ This unit has a delay timer, which is convenient for having your rice ready for you as you walk in the door
✅ Steamer attachment works great
✅ Non-stick coating is pretty effective
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The condensation collector is a bit small, which means that you will need to empty it often
❌ The cook times for rice with this cooker tend to be a bit longer than some other units
❌ The lid isn’t removable, which makes it difficult to get clean
Tiger JBV-A10U-W Micom rice cooker with food steamer and slow cooker
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this Tiger JBV-A10U-W rice cooker was limited due to its four button design, but in reality, this is a feature-rich appliance. This rice cooker actually has an onboard computer that manages the temperature inside, which is similar to the fuzzy logic systems found in competing brands.
One of the best features of this rice cooker is its portability. This is a very squat and compact rice cooker. It even sports a swing-down handle that you can use it to carry to a friend’s house or just to a different location where you need to set it down in your kitchen.
Additionally, this is a great rice cooker for brown rice; with its brown rice setting, you don’t even have to pre-soak your brown rice beforehand. Some rice cookers burn brown rice, making it stick to the bottom, but this cooker does a good job at cooking it evenly and well.
For those who like a simple food prep experience, the Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U comes with a Tacook plate that rests above the cooking rice. This plate is perfect for cooking up some veggies through the steam being generated by the rice. To remove the Tacook plate, you need to press a fork into one of the grooves and pry it upwards – which can prove to be challenging at times.
The combination of functionality and portability makes this a great rice cooker/steamer for couples or singles. However, if you need a larger option, Tiger Corporation has an equally good ten-cup model as well (see review below).
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ The steam basket allows you to cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time, which is perfect for creating meals quickly
✅ It only takes about 30 minutes to create perfectly fluffy white rice
✅ This rice cooker has a really small footprint; so if your space is limited, you will still have enough space for this unit
✅ The warmer can keep rice at a good temperature for a period of 12 hours
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The lid does not detach, which makes cleaning a bit of a mission at times
❌ There is no place for the condensation to go during the cooking process, so it typically ends up on the sides of the pot
❌ Instructions could be clearer
❌ Inner plate is difficult to remove
Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1.8 L
Another product from Zojirushi, this time it’s the turn of the NP-HCC18XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker. This induction heated rice cooker has enough settings to keep even the most proficient home chef happy, and it does a pretty good job of each of them.
It does, however, seem to take a little longer than some of the other cookers available, but we’re guessing that if you are willing to shell out for an induction heated rice cooker, you’re looking for perfect rice – and that’s what you’ll get from the Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH. However, as with all rice cookers, you still need to go through the thorough rice cleaning process to get the very best results. While this is a pain, it does definitely help.
The instruction manual is clear and relatively concise, and your results will definitely benefit from going through it. This particular model comes with both automatic keep warm and an additional feature which extends the length of time your rice remains perfect after cooking. It doesn’t, however, guarantee anything beyond 8 hours, where some other models state 12 hours.
One boon with the Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH is the ability to cook great sprouted rice using the GABA setting. Using this setting can produce the most wonderfully nutty brown rice that stay separate rather than forming a gloopy mush like so many other machines do.
Unfortunately, the Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH doesn’t have a retractable cord and can be fiendishly difficult to clean. The inner pot is also coated with non-stick, but this is a common occurrence in rice cookers it would seem.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ GABA setting produces great results if you are looking to cook sprouted rice
✅ Lots of different rice types catered for
✅ Triple heating unit gives an extremely even cook
✅ Timer works brilliantly without any calculations needed on your part. If you need to serve your rice at 7.30pm, you simply tell the machine 19.30 and it does the rest. Fantastic!
✅ Good seal between the lid and pot
✅ Easy to use, but do read the manual before you begin
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Cord doesn’t retract
❌ Keep-warm function could be better
❌ Difficult to clean
❌ Lid can get stuck at times, making it difficult to release when hot
❌ Cook times can be long on some settings
One cup Livart rice cooker/warmer
Do you need a rice cooker for small amounts of rice? Then, this single cup Livart rice cooker might be perfect for your needs.
This compact machine is ideal for those who don’t have a lot of space, as you could easily put it on a shelf and forget about it until it’s needed. It’s also pretty light; weighing in at only three pounds or so.
The physical design of this Livart product is very simple. In fact, the rice cooker almost looks like a small bucket save for the lights at the base and the on/off switch. This simple design also makes the Livart rice cooker very durable and travel-friendly. The handle makes it easy to take from place to place as well.
Additionally, it comes with a plastic spoon, a measuring cup for rice, and a side dish container that you can use to heat up small amounts of food.
The internal pan of this rice cooker is made from Teflon, so you will be able to quickly scoop out your rice without worrying about it sticking to the base. But, as we’ve already mentioned, Teflon has its issues when it comes to health, so its inclusion is unfortunate.
That being said, if you need an occasional rice cooker that’s perfect for one or two people and is easy to take from place to place, then this may be the best small rice cooker to fit your needs.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ If you travel a lot, this small, compact rice cooker is ideal for your needs
✅ Ideal for those with limited space
✅ Convenient handle makes it easy to carry
✅ The unit is very easy to clean, which is another reason that it is ideal for travel
✅ Setup for this device is easy; in fact, it only requires you to press one button to start the cooking process
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The rice pan is made with Teflon, and health concerns abound about this non-stick coating
❌ Can leak during cooking
❌ Could be seen as expensive considering it’s only a single cup machine
Tiger JNP-1800-FL rice cooker and warmer
The Tiger JNP-1800-FL rice cooker and warmer has a very traditional design that comes complete with stylized flowers on the exterior.
The Tiger JNP-1800-FL doesn’t have an overly complex control scheme, which is something that’ll be welcomed by anyone who likes to keep thing simple. You simply press down a lever in order to get the cooking process started, nothing more.
While its scheme is simple, that isn’t to say that this rice cooker doesn’t have great features. This rice cooker, like many others, has a keep-warm setting which will keep your food at a good temperature for a full 12 hours.
Unlike other rice makers, however, even after a full 12 hours of warming the rice at the bottom of the pan won’t dry out. The inner pan is removable and non-stick, which will make this rice cooker very easy to clean and maintain.
If you have a big family, this might be the rice cooker for you. The JNP-1800-FL prepares ten cups of uncooked rice, which means that you can feed even the largest family easily. While you don’t get modern features like fuzzy logic or “Neuro Fuzzy”, there’s something to be said of the simple heating element-driven technology of this rice cooker.
While this is a large rice cooker, the Tiger Corporation has included some space-saving concessions like a retractable power cord, which makes it both easier to store and transport.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ The rice warming mode works pretty well; in fact, it can hold rice for about 12 hours or more
✅ Consistently produces beautifully cooked rice
✅ The unit is very easy to use; there’s only a single button
✅ Super-easy to clean
✅ The 10 cup capacity is perfect for big families
✅ The power cord is retractable, which makes it easier to clean, store, and transport
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Could be considered expensive as it’s so basic…but it does work!
❌ Liquid can sometimes form around the steam outlet
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 multi-functional pressure cooker
As another multi-use product, the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is a decent option for those who are looking to consolidate their appliances down to a single unit.
With this device, you can accomplish the functions of a rice cooker, a steamer, a pressure cooker, and a slow cooker. With it, you will also be able to sauté, warm, and brown foods as well.
From an aesthetic perspective, it’s not the prettiest, but it does look quite high-tech. There are a wide variety of buttons available for various functions, and the device also has a stainless steel exterior that is very durable. Looks aside, the buttons are also oriented in a fairly logical pattern with modes clearly labeled as well as individualized cook settings.
This is clearly a complex cooker, so it may take a few uses to really understand the minutiae of its various modes. Fortunately, it does come with a fairly comprehensive instruction booklet, but getting down the additional modes like the pressure cooking function and the slow cooking function may take a few uses.
It’s also great that the rice cooker stainless steel inner pot of this product can be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ It is very easy to clean and the stainless steel bowl can be placed in the dishwasher
✅ The pre-set buttons cover a wide range of options
✅ Energy efficient
✅ Great time saver
✅ It also works as a pressure cooker, so there are more meal choices available to you
✅ The lid is designed to fit snugly, and when it is not closed properly, the machine chirps to let you know. It also has a safety lock which prevents you opening it when using as a pressure cooker
✅ Since the bottom is made from stainless steel, you can easily brown food in it using the sauté mode should you wish
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ The arrows that are designed as an indicator to help you line up the lid is difficult to see, especially in low light situations
❌ The silicone rings in the device can absorb the smells of the food that you are cooking. To prevent this, the rings should be replaced twice a year
❌ The power cord could be a little bit longer
T-fal RK705851 10-In-1 rice and multicooker
Do you want to consolidate your appliances? We’ve already hit on some great versatile rice cookers and the T-Fal RK705851 stands very well with them. In fact, if you need several food settings, this may be the perfect rice cooker for you.
To start, it has ten pre-set programs that are designed to help you cook different types of foods easier. The programs for food include rice, risotto, oatmeal, and yogurt (not sure if plant-based milks will work, however).
Additionally, there are also cook-type presets as well, which include bake, slow cook, reheat, steam/soup, browning, and keep-warm. For perfect preparation, this cooker employs fuzzy logic technology as well.
From a physical design point of view, this is a very functional rice cooker which happens to look pretty good too. Its squat shaping is clearly designed to make it a bit more storable in small kitchens and its button configuration is fairly simple. This is impressive because of the fact that there are ten presets. Also, the digital display shines in red-on-black, which works well for low-light situations.
The cooker’s inner pot is also relatively light, which is pretty useful when you need to store your prepared foods. It’s coated with ceramic also, which should make cleaning very easy due to the nonstick surface. However, things do seem to still get stuck, which makes you question the quality of the coating used.
That being said, the pot is dishwasher-safe, so that’ll remove a lot of the hassle…if you have a dishwasher, of course!
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ This rice cooker cooks rice rather quickly, and it has a large capacity that is perfect for a family
✅ The unit is easy to clean
✅ Digital display is simple to use and easy to program
✅ Delayed timer option, which is convenient for many
✅ Designed with a convenient handle
✅ As the name suggests, it’s capable of cooking using several different methods
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Rice doesn’t cook as evenly as we’d like; the bottom can get dry and burn while the top remains too moist
❌ Condensation can be an issue as it seems to have nowhere to go
❌ Non-stick material could be better
Hamilton Beach rice cooker with rinser/steam basket
Sometimes, you don’t need a huge rice cooker to prepare the meals that you want. When you have limited space or just want a compact appliance, this 4 cup rice cooker from Hamilton Beach will do the trick. The four cup number refers to uncooked rice, so you will actually be able to get a full eight cups of rice out of this device, which can feed several people adequately.
Like other portable rice cookers, this Hamilton Beach product has a large, easy to carry handle that seals shut. The cooker itself is only about three pounds without any rice in it, which makes it pretty lightweight as well.
The lid has a “pop-top” design that lets you swing it open. This also makes the parts quite easy to clean too. Also, with cleaning in mind, the pan removes fully from the inside of this rice cooker so you can clean it without issue.
The pan itself is made of Teflon, which means cleanup should be relatively easy due to the nonstick nature of the substance. However, Teflon has had plenty of bad press of late, so its inclusion will likely put plenty of you off of buying this model.
When it comes to the control scheme, this is a fairly simple machine. It has a single switch for warming and heating, and it has two lights that tell you if the rice is cooking or if it is simply in warm mode.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ The rice cooker is easy to clean. The lid liner can be removed and the liner, the pot, the steamer, and the accessories can all be washed in the dishwasher
✅ The compact design is perfect for small spaces that have limited counter space
✅ Rice is cooked perfectly in this unit, and when the rice is done, the cooker switches to warm mode automatically
✅ The unit also has an easy to carry handle on the lid that makes it simple to take this rice cooker with you
✅ The basket that comes with the unit is perfect for rinsing your veggies, then placing them above the rice to steam
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Contains Teflon, which is a pity
❌ One-touch operation may leave some function hungry consumers wanting more
❌ Warming function can result in “browned” rice
❌ No indicator to tell you when your rice is done
Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer
Yep, it Zojirushi time again! Often referred to as the king of rice cookers, the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 is indeed a brilliant kitchen appliance…albeit a rather expensive one!
So, what does this machine do that others don’t? Well, as you might expect, a lot of it comes down the settings. The Zojirushi NP-NVC10 has features such as an umami setting that deepens the flavor of the rice, adding natural sweetness as it cooks.
Then there’s the scorched setting. While other rice cookers may burn your rice by mistake, this machine does it on purpose, and in an extremely controlled way. Why would you want this? Properly toasted rice is delicious, that’s why! It’s also an important component in many dishes, so if you want to jazz up your culinary repertoire, this cooker might just take your kitchen skills to the next level – without a lot of effort!
This cooker uses induction heating and also has pressure system as well, which is perfect for anyone who wants high quality rice that stays soft and delicious for longer. It can also handle all manner of rice: brown, sushi, wild, basmati, jasmine, you name it, this machine does it. It even has a GABA setting that allows you to cook very good sprouted rice and take advantage of the purported health benefits associated with it.
All sounds great, but there is a downside: the inner pot. The non-stick coating is prone to peeling, even with careful handling. Something you’d expect to taken care of in such an otherwise high-quality appliance. It’s a real shame more care and thought isn’t given the vessel in which your food is cooked, but it seems to be a recurring theme.
Another negative is the thick cord and the fact that it doesn’t retract. Some won’t be bother by this, but for those of us who like to put our appliances away, this can be a real nuisance.
WHAT WE LIKE:
✅ Caters for all types of rice, and cooks all of them very well. Can cook quinoa to perfection too
✅ The different settings can really bring your cooking forward – the umami setting is wonderful!
✅ Keep-warm feature is excellent, and also has a monitor that detects lid movement and how long the unit has been open for. It also “knows” how much rice is left and adjusts heat accordingly
✅ Reheat function can be very useful
✅ Steam-reduce setting can cut cooking times in half
✅ LCD panel is really easy to read and the control buttons are simple to use
✅ Good selection of accessories, including two measuring cups, a spatula, and a holder
WHAT WE DISLIKE:
❌ Poor inner pot, not only is it non-stick, it has also been known to peel quickly
❌ Cord does not retract
❌ Inner lid comes off for cleaning, which is great, but if you click the outer lid shut you’ll have trouble reopening it. A real design flaw, unfortunately
❌ Temperature sensor prevents the unit from being used straight after cooking. Not ideal if you want to cook different types of rice one after the other
Best rice cooker reviews: Final thoughts
As you can see, many rice cookers are highly versatile machines which can be used to perform a multitude of tasks. Some can be used to make rice, steam food, and even slow cook and sauté your meals. However, the rice cooker you decide to get will likely depend on other factors too, such as family size and the amount of rice you cook at home.
All of the models that we looked at here are great, but if we had to pick just one based on value for money, the Elechomes CR501 would probably come out on top. It has a lot of functionality, it’s easy to program, and it’s also one of the easiest to clean too.
The rice cooks perfectly every time the cooker is used, and it is big enough to feed a larger family, which makes it great for homes who have rice a few times a week. Our only real grumble is that it doesn’t have a ceramic pot.
If you are looking for more of a budget option, then the Aroma Housewares digital rice cooker, slow cooker, and food steamer has a lot of the same functionality as the more expensive models, but it is sold at a price point that is a little more affordable.
For those of you who want the very best, an induction heated rice cooker is the way to go. We have three on our list, but the one we like the most overall is the Tiger JKT-S10U-K. While the extra features on the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 are very impressive, we not 100% certain they warrant the extra expenditure. The Tiger makes extremely good rice, has plenty of features itself, and also has a removable lid, which makes cleaning so much easier.
Our ultimate best rice cooker review list is at an end. Thanks for making it all the way to the final paragraph, it’s a long post! We hope you found it informative and enjoy your machine, whichever one you choose, as much as we enjoyed putting the list together for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Williams is a committed vegan, passionate animal welfare advocate, and keen follower of too many v-friendly food blogs to mention.
She started happyhappyvegan.com back in 2016 because she felt there was a need for more straightforward information on plant-based living. Back then, too many sites seem to either concentrate solely on recipes or be too intimidating or inaccessible for the v-curious and she wanted to change that. The landscape is certainly a whole lot different now!
Lisa lives in Sussex with her husband and their three-legged wonder dog, Mable.