6 Best Rice Cookers for the Home
- Automatically switches to warming mode
- Transparent lid
- Holds plenty of rice
- Has different settings
- Non-stick interior
What is the best rice cooker? Well, it all depends on how you plan on using it. Do you want a fast rice cooker to quickly make filling dishes, or do you want one that can replace your crock pot and steam veggies?
Regardless of what you answered, we’ve got the right product for you in the guide below. These are the best rice-cooking machines we know of, and they are all capable of whipping up tasty dishes. Not only that, but they can keep your food warm for very long periods of time. They’re possibly one of the best kitchen appliances you can buy.
First, we’ll go over the 6 best rice cookers, and then we’ll teach you about what makes them tick.
- The Best Rice Cookers
- Best Rice Cookers Buyer’s Guide
The Best Rice Cookers
1. Zojirushi NHS-10 6-Cup Rice Cooker
The NHS-10 is a fairly-priced rice cooker, and it comes with everything you need to start making delicious rice dishes. The unit itself can hold 6 cups of uncooked rice at once, and it will automatically switch to a warming mode when your rice is finished cooking. The pot has a 500-watt heating element that makes it reach pretty high temperatures. Luckily, the handles are designed to remain cool during the cooking process. The lid is also transparent to allow you to watch your rice cook. Beyond the unit's main features, it also comes with a spatula and measuring cup for you to use. The power cord is capable of being removed, and the pot has a non-stick coating applied to its interior surfaces.
- Automatically switches to warming mode
- Transparent lid
- Removable power cord
- Comes with extra utensils
2. Zojirushi NP-GBC05XT Induction Rice Cooker and Warmer
This is a smaller option from Zojirushi. It takes up less space, and it weighs less. It holds 3 cups of uncooked rice, and that's more than enough for most families. It features the same non-stick interior, and it has a machine-washable lid. There's also a spatula holder on the side of the unit to keep your counter from getting cluttered. However, the most interesting feature is its interface. It contains settings for specific types of rice. These include settings for sushi rice, brown rice, instant rice, and even porridge. That makes it easier to cook more complicated rice variants perfectly. This is a 700-watt unit, and it gets pretty hot. So, it's important to wear proper cooking gear while you handle it.
- Holds plenty of rice
- Has different settings
- Non-stick interior
- Detachable cord
- Machine-washable lid
3. Hamilton Beach 37518 Rice Cooker
This Hamilton Beach rice cooker is great for people who like multi-functional products. Rice cookers are typically only designed to cook rice, but the Hamilton Beach can cook everything from rice to seafood. It's a large unit with an 8-cup capacity, and it comes with a steaming basket that you can use for non-rice products. It can also handle different grain-based foods without the steaming basket. Hamilton Beach has also done a great job of making the machine easy to use. It has a simple digital interface, and it has a lot of pre-programmed settings. If you have a small cooking area, or if you just don't want to dirty a lot of dishes, this is probably the best rice cooker for you.
- 8-cup capacity
- Steaming basket included
- Cooks more than rice
- Easy to clean
- Very inexpensive
4. Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W Micom Rice Cooker
The Tiger Micom allows you to cook entire meals without dirtying a dish. It's a bit pricier than the similar Hamilton Beach model we covered earlier in our rice cooker reviews, but it's also a little more flexible. Instead of a steaming basket, it has a BPA-free plate. The plate nests itself inside of the pot, and it can cook meat products, vegetables, and other non-rice ingredients. The Tiger Micom includes a spatula and other cooking utensils, and it can hold a generous 5.5 cups of rice. On top of being a steamer, it can also function as a slow cooker for stews and roasts. If you don't know how to use a rice cooker, you'll find the included recipe book to be a welcome addition to the overall package.
- Holds a generous portion of rice
- Steams seafood and vegetables
- Works as a slow cooker
- Several settings
- Includes a cookbook
5. Cuckoo CR-0631F Rice Cooker
The Cuckoo CR-0631F embodies the idea of simplicity. It's not designed to do 8 different things, but it cooks rice better than just about anything else out there. This rice steamer features different settings for different types of rice, and it has a sealed lid to prevent steam from escaping. It also has a drainage cup that mounts on its rear to keep you from getting water everywhere. It can cook 6 cups of rice at once, but it really shines when it comes to keeping that large amount of rice warm. Its warming mode can efficiently keep your rice warm for more than 24 hours. After that, you'll probably want to just make a new batch, but that's a great feature if you eat smaller amounts of rice often. You won't have to make a new batch every meal.
- Keeps rice warm for 24 hours
- Holds 6 cups of rice
- Has settings for mixed rices and other more obscure types
- Drainage cup prevents leaks
- The sealed lid doesn't let steam escape
6. Aroma Simply Stainless Rice Cooker
This Aroma rice maker was made with health-conscious people in mind. The cooking pot is made entirely from stainless steel. So, you won't have any non-stick coatings leeching chemicals into your food. You can also buy it in two different sizes. The smaller model can hold 3 cups of uncooked rice, but the largest pot they offer can hold 6 cups if you really like to make a lot of rice at once. We believe the 3-cup pot will suffice for most people. It's also the easiest model to use on this list. Different settings are great if you want a little help making complicated rice variants, but they require more buttons that you have to figure out. This model is a one-touch machine, and it automatically enters warming mode when it's finished cooking.
- Food-grade stainless steel
- Holds 3 cups of uncooked rice
- Can be outfitted with larger pots
- Doesn't leech chemicals into your food
- One-touch cooking
Best Rice Cookers Buyer’s Guide
Rice cookers seem like simple appliances, but there are a lot of different variants, and each variant is good for a different type of person. In this guide, we’re going to go over everything you need to know to find the right rice steamer for you and your family.
When you’re talking about a rice cooker’s capacity, you’re talking about how much uncooked rice it can cook at once. Rice typically doubles in size as it cooks. So, you have to take that into account when you’re buying a rice cooker based on how much it can cook at once. You might think 6 cups is very little, but it’ll become quite a bit of food when you cook it.
If you’re just trying to cook rice for your family a couple of times a week, you’ll be better served by a smaller rice cooker. Most of them end up creating 6 cups of cooked rice, and that’s usually more than you’ll need for a single meal.
However, you need to consider how often you eat rice. If your family eats rice at every meal, you will get a much better experience from a larger rice cooker with a warming feature. If you pair a rice cooker that cooks 14 cups of cooked rice with 24 hours of warming capabilities, you can make one batch of rice for your entire day. That’s extremely convenient, and it can keep you from having to start up your rice cooker multiple times per day.
Not all rice steamers are solely designed to cook rice. Some of them feature steaming baskets and slow-cooking features to make them more useful in your kitchen. This is extremely useful if you know how to cook rice in a rice cooker, but you also want to make other things without dirtying another appliance.
Steaming baskets are exactly what they sound like. They’re baskets that dangle over the interior of your rice pot, and they cook different foods with the steam that comes off of the rice. You can use steaming baskets for a few cool things. If you ever want to have shrimp and broccoli with rice, you can use your rice steamer to cook the rice, and you can throw the shrimp and broccoli in the steaming basket above it. By time your rice is cooked, the other ingredients will be cooked, too. So, you don’t have to dirty any other dishes, and you’ll have a complete meal.
Slow-cooking features are also found in some rice steamers, but they’re not as common as steaming baskets. Where steaming baskets allow you to cook food that cooks quickly with steam, slow cookers allow you to slowly break down the ingredients inside of them, and you end up with extremely tender food. When you pair one with a rice maker, you end up with one of the most useful kitchen appliances possible. You can’t cook rice in your machine when you’re using it as a slow cooker. You’ll be able to throw a nice piece of rump roast and some potatoes inside of it, but you won’t want to add rice due to the extra liquid that is required to cook rice properly.
The nice thing about these functions is that they don’t cost much. A lot of the cheaper units we covered in our rice cooker reviews have steamer baskets, and a couple of the cheaper ones can be used as slow cookers. So, you don’t have to pay a lot of extra money to enjoy these useful features.
If you’ve used a rice steamer in the past, you know that they can leave puddles of water on your counter. That’s annoying, and it can cause damage to your counters if you don’t clean it up relatively quickly. To prevent that, some manufacturers have implemented some safety measures into their products.
The most common type of leak resistance is a tightly-fitted lid. Some models use glass lids, and some use lids made from the same materials as their shells, and those typically just fold on top of the cooker. Both are equally high-quality. Regardless of which machine you’re looking at, you should pick one with a leak-resistant lid. It’ll keep heat from escaping the machine, and it’ll keep hot steam from damaging your counter.
Some rice cookers even have drainage cups attached to them. Those cups catch condensation as it drips off of the lid, and they keep water from pooling on your counter. This is definitely a feature that you want if you’re not the type of person to hang out in your kitchen while you cook.
Price VS Features
The best rice cookers balance their price against their features very well. You also have to look at the quality of each component used to make a certain machine. Here, we’re going to go over what makes a rice cooker worth its price.
First, if you see a lot of advanced features and high-quality components, you should expect it to cost a lot. You can pick up rice cookers for less than $50 that cook rice extremely well, but the more luxurious models will cost you quite a bit.
If you’re looking at a plastic model that just cooks rice, you can reasonably expect to pay between $20 and $60. Anything more than that, and you can buy a model with better components or more features. The average person will be served really well by machines in this price range.
If you want a rice cooker that can do everything and has great components, you’ll have to pay a little bit more. As we said earlier, some machines can double as steamers or slow cookers. You can find those inexpensively, but they’ll often be made of cheaper plastic. To get a good one, you’ll have to spend between $60 and $120. Some luxurious units cost well beyond that, but those are for people who really love using rice cookers on a daily basis. A decent rice cooker with multiple functions is a great purchase for college students, people with smaller kitchen areas, and people who travel a lot. They provide a lot of functionality, and they don’t take up much space. They’re definitely worth the investment.
A warming mode is definitely necessary with large-capacity units. If you have an average family, we doubt that you can eat 14 or more cups of rice in one sitting. The warming function on rice cookers allows you to cook large batches, and then you can keep those large amounts of rice warm for as long as 24 hours. That means that you can spend time making one batch, and then you can use it for multiple meals. However, it’s not as necessary with very small units. With those, you’ll probably eat all of the rice during a single meal.
If you don’t know how to use rice cooker machines, you’ll want to buy a model with an automatic warming mode. Those models will automatically switch over to a low-heat mode after a predetermined amount of time, and they’ll just keep your rice warm. They won’t continue cooking it if you forget to check it for several hours.
Ease Of Use
You’ll want a user-friendly rice cooker for the best results. There are several different qualities that determine how easy a rice cooker is to use, and we’ll list them here.
Non-stick coatings will make your life a lot easier. You can get the same results with high-quality stainless steel units, but you’ll also pay a lot more. Non-stick coatings are cheap, and they make it very easy to wash your cooker when you’re done using it.
However, some people worry about non-stick coatings leeching chemicals into their food. If you’re one of those people, that’s perfectly fine. There are options that will suit your needs. Non-stick has been used for a long time, though. If you’re not worried about it, it can easily make your cleaning process a lot easier, and it’s cheap to get a hold of.
There are 3 main types of rice cooker interfaces. The most common is a single button with a preset timer. To use those, all you have to do is load up your rice, press the button, and wait a while. That’s convenient, but it’s not the best rice cooker for brown rice or mixed-grain rice. Those require different cook times to cook properly.
However, the other two models are great for cooking different variants of rice. The best version is one with a simple set of buttons that are labeled for different types of rice. They’re as easy to use as one-touch systems, but they have more options for different foods. We recommend getting a model with this type of interface.
Finally, you can find some overly complicated models with a bunch of buttons. That’s fine if you want to sit around poking your rice machine all day, but there is a better way to do things, and the other two interfaces often come on less expensive models. We recommend staying away from machines that are unnecessarily complex.
One of the biggest draws of rice cookers is that they can be packed up and moved wherever you want with ease. When you get a model that has multiple functions, you can essentially bring a miniature kitchen with you anywhere.
If you want your rice cooker to be as user-friendly as possible, you’ll want one that is small, able to have its lid locked, and capable of having its cord removed or hidden. That’ll allow you to make your rice cooker as small as possible for storage reasons, and you can pack it in a suitcase or bag without worrying about the parts flying everywhere.
Foods That You Might Cook
As we begin to wrap this guide up, we think it’s important to cover one of the biggest factors in buying a good rice cooker. What foods do you want to cook?
They don’t have to be used solely for boring white rice. Not only can you make all of the different variants of rice with a rice cooker, but you can usually make porridge, oatmeal, stew, soup, seafood, vegetables, and other things, too. Of course, you’ll need a model that is made to work with those foods.
While you can reasonably expect to make rice and oatmeal with any rice cooker, you’ll need some special features to make different foods. Seafood and vegetables will require a steaming basket, and the others will often require slow-cooking features. If you want to make those foods, you’ll want to buy a model that can do that. You should look at your rice cooker ratio guide before you attempt anything too complicated, though. Of course, you can always buy a basic model to simply enjoy amazing rice.
Rice cookers are must-have appliances for any home-cook. The best ones can perform multiple functions, and they all make amazing rice. In this article, we go over the top 6 rice makers available.