A rice cooker might be considered unnecessary for people who only eat rice once in a while, but for those of you enjoy rice multiple times per week then it is an absolutely essential appliance. They are super convenient letting you make perfect rice every time while not having to pay attention to it while cooking. They also make cleanup very easy as well.
The two main features to look for besides cooking quality, is size and the type of cooker. Most models come in between 3 and 10 cups of uncooked rice. Remember that rice expands to twice the size when cooked so a unit that is listed as 5 cups uncooked will become 10 cups of rice when cooked. Most people eat between 1/2 to 1 cup of uncooked rice per meal. So in order to figure out the size you need, just multiple that amount times however many people you have to feed.
Rice cookers also come in either simple on/off models or ‘fuzzy logic’ units. A fuzzy logic, aka micom, rice cooker cooks fluffy, soft rice automatically even when the measurements of rice and water are not perfect. They may also have different settings for different types of rice or texture.
Prices and features range greatly on various models. Generally speaking, the more often you prepare rice or want better tasting brown rice then you should spend more money on a good quality cooker in the $75 and up range. If you will only be fixing white rice less than once per week, then we recommend one in the $35 and under price range.
Below we review the best rice cookers.
The NP-GBC05 can cook as little as 1/2 cup of rice so it is great for singles and small families. Many cooking functions including white/mixed, brown rice, GABA brown, sushi, porridge, quick, and rinse-free give you lots of different ways to prepare rice.
If you demand the best quality rice and do not need to feed a large family then we highly recommend the Zojirushi NP-GBC05. If you need to feed more than 4 people or are concerned about price then there are better options for you.
As for just the rice cooking capability, the Duo Plus 6 Quart can handle about 6 cups of uncooked rice at a time. The results are quite good, but not quite on par with Zojurushi models.
We recommend the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of quality on the cooked rice in exchange for a much more versatile appliance that you will use more often in your kitchen.
The main downside to the NS-TSC10 is that it cooks very slowly. Brown rice can take nearly two hours to cook.
Overall if want great tasting, nearly perfectly prepared rice including brown rice, but don’t want to spend the extra money on a induction heating equipped model like the NP-GBC05 then we highly recommend the Zojirushi NS-TSC10.
Unique features of the NS-LGC05 include special settings for steel cut oatmeal and brown rice activation or GABA setting. The GABA setting activates GABA which is a type of amino acid that increases 1.5 times when cooked at 104°F for 2 hours.
The Zojirushi NS-LGC05 is ideal for singles or small families that want great rice or oatmeal.
The JBV-A10U-W can make 5.5 cups of uncooked rice and has four buttons for synchrony-cooking, plain rice, brown rice, and slow cooking/steam. With the synchrony-cooking function you can actually cook two dishes – a main dish and the rice – simultaneously.
We think the Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W is the best rice cooker under $100. It is not quite as versatile as some other appliances, but for cooking rice it works really well.
The Hamilton Beach 37548 contains a rice rinser / steam basket that can be used to steam food while cooking rice at the same time. It has six settings for white rice, quick rice, whole grain, heat/simmer, steam cook and hot cereals.
If you primarily cook white rice, then you can save yourself some money and just buy this Hamilton Beach 37548 Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker instead of a more expensive rice cooker.
The ARC-914SBD can steam vegetables and meat while 2-8 cups of rice cooks below (1-4 cups uncooked). Also it has very simple-to-use digital controls including a 15-hour delay timer. It does not make perfect white or brown rice, but it comes close enough that you would have a tough time telling the difference.
For those of you on a tight budget then we would not hesitate to recommend this Aroma model. For those of you who cook rice quite often you probably should consider a more expensive version.
The end result is far from perfect, but it does a decent job with little effort from the user.
Best Rice Cookers Comparison Chart
|Zojirushi NP-GBC05||9.4||$225.98||3 cups||6 cups||white/mixed, sushi, porridge, brown, GABA brown, rinse-free and quick cooking|
|Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart||9.2||$119.95||6 cups||12 cups||Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Cake, Egg, Slow Cook, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Sterilize, Yogurt, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook|
|Zojirushi NS-TSC10||9.2||$141.00||5.5 cups||10 cups||white/sushi, mixed, porridge, sweet, brown, cake, steam and quick cooking|
|Zojirushi NS-LGC05||9.2||$131.34||3 cups||6 cups||white/mixed rice, sushi rice, brown rice, GABA brown rice, long grain white rice, steel cut oatmeal and quick cooking|
|Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W||9.1||$69.95||5.5 cups||11 cups||Synchrony-cooking, Plain rice, Brown rice, Slow cook/Steam|
|Hamilton Beach 37548||8.9||$34.99||7 cups||14 cups||White Rice, Quick Rice, Whole Grain, Heat/Simmer, Steam Cook and Hot Cereals|
|Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD||8.7||$29.92||4 cups||8 cups||Keep-Warm, White Rice, Brown Rice, Flash Rice, and Steam|
|Hamilton Beach 37508||8.6||$29.63||4 cups||8 cups||cook|