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The Best Rice Cooker

Updated: Jan 19

The Best Rice Cooker Can Streamline Meals with Minimal Effort

Rice cookers are one of the most popular small kitchen appliances for good reason - they make cooking rice completely foolproof. Simply measure out the rice and water, press a button, and walk away. The rice cooker does the rest, delivering perfect fluffy rice every time without stirring, monitoring or checking.

With over 90 million rice cookers sold globally each year, these handy appliances are clearly beloved in households worldwide. And it's not just plain white rice anymore - modern rice cookers can cook brown, sushi, and specialty rices at the touch of a button. Plus, many can be used to make porridge, soups, and stews.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to find your perfect rice cooker match. You'll learn:

  • Key features in a good rice cooker include capacity, cook settings, nonstick pot, removable parts, keep warm function, and delay start timer.

  • Reviews of the top models for 2022

  • Rice cooking tips and tricks

  • Common mistakes to avoid

  • How to care for your new rice cooker

  • Creative ways to use it beyond plain rice

Whether you're equipping your first kitchen or upgrading your current model, read on to discover why the right rice cooker can be a game-changing time-saver in your meal planning routine.

The Benefits of Using a Rice Cooker

A rice cooker offers several advantages over cooking rice on the stovetop. If you eat rice regularly, a rice cooker can be a worthwhile investment for your kitchen.

Consistently Cooked Rice

The major benefit of using a rice cooker is it takes the guesswork out of cooking rice and produces perfectly cooked, fluffy rice every time. Rice cookers use precise temperatures and automatic timers to ensure the rice is steamed properly and doesn't get overcooked. This guarantees your rice turns out consistent, whether you opt for white, brown, sushi or another variety.

Set It and Forget It Convenience

Simply add rice and water to the inner pot, select your settings, turn on the cooker and walk away. The rice cooker does the rest, freeing you up to focus on other parts of the meal. It will automatically switch to the keep warm setting when done, so your rice stays ready to serve as long as needed.

Versatile Beyond Just Rice

While cooking rice is their specialty, many modern rice cookers can also prepare a wide array of other grains, legumes, soups and stews. From quinoa and barley, to oatmeal and chili, rice cookers are surprisingly versatile kitchen appliances. Some even have specific settings for foods beyond plain rice.

Saves Time and Effort Over Stovetop

A rice cooker eliminates the need to carefully monitor rice on the stovetop, ensuring it doesn't boil over or turn mushy from too much water. It cooks rice completely hands-free and keeps it perfectly warm until serving. This saves busy home cooks time and effort in the kitchen.

Key Features to Look For

When shopping for the best rice cooker, there are some key features you'll want to consider:


Rice cookers come in sizes ranging from 3 cups up to 10 cups or more. Consider how much rice you typically cook at one time to determine the right capacity for your needs. A standard 5-cup or 6-cup size works well for most households.

Cook Settings

Look for a rice cooker with settings to cook different types of rice like white, brown, sushi, porridge, and more. Some models have settings specifically calibrated for cooking the rice perfectly. Advanced rice cookers may even have settings for cooking other grains like quinoa or barley.

Nonstick Pot

A nonstick cooking pot makes rice release easily and prevents scorching on the bottom. It also makes cleanup much simpler after cooking. High-end rice cookers often use ceramic or diamond-reinforced nonstick coatings for increased durability.

Removable Parts

Removable inner pots, lids, and steaming trays allow for easy cleanup. Some rice cookers also come with dishwasher-safe parts for added convenience.

Keep Warm Function

The keep warm function keeps rice at an ideal serving temperature for hours after cooking completes. This makes it easy to cook rice in advance. Look for cookers with an extended keep warm time of 12 hours or more.

Delay Start Timer

Some rice cookers have a delay start or timer function that allows you to program the cooking to start automatically at a later time. This adds flexibility if you want the rice to be ready when you get home from work.

Top Rice Cooker Models

When choosing a rice cooker, going with a top brand known for quality can help ensure great results every time. After extensive testing of popular models, here are our 5 top picks:

The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy is widely regarded as the best rice cooker you can buy. This innovative Japanese rice cooker uses advanced technology to cook rice perfectly every time.

The "neuro fuzzy" logic adjusts cooking time and temperature based on the type of rice, water amount, and other conditions. We found it reliably produces light, fluffy rice with individual grains. The keep warm function will hold your rice at an ideal temperature for up to 24 hours.


  • Advanced 'neuro fuzzy' technology for perfect rice.

  • Multiple settings for various rice types.

  • Extended keep warm function (up to 24 hours).

  • Nonstick coating for easy cleaning.

  • Available in different sizes (3, 5.5, and 10 cups).


  • Higher price point compared to basic models.

  • May have more functions than a casual user needs.


The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker stands out for its precision and versatility. It's ideal for those who appreciate the nuanced differences in cooking various types of rice and want consistently excellent results. Though it's an investment, its advanced features and reliable performance justify the cost for serious rice enthusiasts.

Please let me know if you would like to proceed with the next rice cooker review.

The inner cooking pan has a thick, tapered nonstick coating for easy cleanup. The exterior stainless steel body looks sleek in any kitchen. This Zojirushi model comes in 3, 5.5, and 10 cup sizes to suit different needs.


The Tiger JNP-1800 Rice Cooker is a reliable and straightforward appliance from a well-respected Japanese brand. Known for its durability and consistent performance, this model is a favorite among users who appreciate simplicity and efficiency in rice cooking.


  • Durable surgical stainless steel construction.

  • Simple operation with minimal settings.

  • Nonstick cooking pan for easy cleaning.

  • Extended keep warm function (up to 24 hours).

  • Removable inner lid for easy maintenance.


  • Limited to basic rice cooking functions.

  • Lacks advanced features like fuzzy logic.


The Tiger JNP-1800 Rice Cooker is perfect for those who need a dependable, easy-to-use appliance for cooking standard types of rice. While it may not boast advanced technological features, its sturdy build and consistent cooking results make it a valuable addition to any kitchen, especially for those who value simplicity and durability.


The Cuckoo CRP-P1009SW Pressure Rice Cooker is a high-tech option that combines speed and efficiency. Utilizing pressure cooking technology, it significantly reduces cooking time while ensuring evenly cooked, fluffy rice.


  • Quick cooking with pressure technology.

  • 14 smart cooking programs for versatility.

  • Even heat distribution with an aluminum alloy inner pot.

  • Intuitive LCD control panel.

  • Large capacity suitable for families.


  • More complex to use due to multiple functions.

  • Higher price point than standard rice cookers.


The Cuckoo CRP-P1009SW is a top choice for those seeking a fast and versatile rice cooker. Its pressure cooking technology and multiple programs make it ideal for cooking a variety of grains and dishes. While it may require a bit of a learning curve, its performance and time-saving features make it a great investment for busy households.


The Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB Rice Cooker is an affordable and versatile choice for those who want functionality without a hefty price tag. It's known for its ease of use and large cooking capacity, making it suitable for families and meal prepping.


  • Budget-friendly price.

  • Large capacity, cooking up to 20 cups of rice.

  • Simple, one-touch operation.

  • Nonstick inner pot for easy cleaning.

  • Includes a steam tray for meat or vegetables.


  • Fewer advanced features compared to premium models.

  • Basic design may not appeal to all users.


For those seeking a straightforward, affordable rice cooker, the Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB is an excellent choice. Its large capacity and ease of use make it ideal for families or those who frequently cook in large batches. While it lacks some of the advanced features of higher-end models, it delivers reliable performance and great value for its price.


Panasonic SR-DE103 Rice Cooker Review

The Panasonic SR-DE103 Rice Cooker combines compact design with smart cooking features. It's an ideal choice for smaller households or those with limited kitchen space, offering specialized functions for a variety of rice types.


  • Compact and suitable for small households.

  • Specialized functions for different rice types.

  • Sleek stainless steel exterior.

  • Nonstick inner pot for easy cleanup.

  • Keep warm function for convenience.


  • Smaller capacity may not be suitable for larger families.

  • Fewer cooking programs compared to larger models.


The Panasonic SR-DE103 is an excellent choice for couples or small families. Its compact size, combined with its specialized cooking functions, makes it a versatile and convenient appliance for everyday cooking. While it may not have the capacity for large groups, its efficiency and design make it a smart addition to a smaller kitchen.


Rice Cooking Tips and Tricks

Getting perfect rice from your rice cooker every time requires learning some tips and tricks. Here are the most important ones to help you make restaurant-quality rice at home:

Rinse Rice First - It's essential that you rinse rice before cooking to remove excess starch. This prevents the rice from getting gloopy or sticky. Place the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under running water, swirling the rice with your hands, until the water runs clear. This will only take 1-2 minutes.

Use the Right Rice to Water Ratio - Using the correct ratio of rice to water is crucial for properly cooked rice. As a general rule, use 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water. Some rice cooker models have handy lines inside the inner pot to show water levels. For brown rice, use a little more water as it absorbs more - around 1 1/4 cups water per 1 cup rice.

Allow Rice to Rest - Once the rice cooker switches to the keep warm setting, resist the urge to immediately dig in. Let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes with the lid on. This allows the moisture to distribute evenly for light, fluffy rice.

Experiment with Different Types of Rice - A rice cooker isn't just for white rice. Try out different varieties like brown, jasmine, basmati, sticky or sushi rice. Just adjust the water ratio as needed. You can even cook grains like quinoa in a rice cooker.

Steam Vegetables - Many rice cookers come with a steaming tray attachment. You can steam vegetables or fish above the rice as it cooks for a healthy, complete meal. Add veggies and seasonings to the tray, then simply remove when done cooking.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A rice cooker makes cooking rice easy, but there are still some common mistakes people make that can lead to less than perfect results. Avoid these pitfalls for fluffy, delicious rice every time.

Not Rinsing the Rice

This makes the biggest difference! It's important to rinse rice before cooking to remove excess starch. This prevents the rice from getting gloppy or mushy. Place the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under running water, swirling the rice with your hand, until the water runs clear.

Not Using the Right Proportions

Using the correct rice to water ratio is essential for proper absorption and texture. Most rice cookers come with a measuring cup and water lines to follow. For white rice, use 1 part rice to 1 part water. Rinsed brown rice needs a little more liquid - try 1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cups water.

Opening the Lid Too Much

Lifting the lid frequently releases steam and affects the cooking process. Only open the lid once rice is finished. Some advanced models have clear lids so you can peek inside.

Not Readjusting Water for Altitude

At higher altitudes above 3,000 feet, you'll need to decrease the water slightly. As a general rule, reduce the water by 3% for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Forgetting to Season the Rice

Plain rice straight from the cooker can be bland. Jazz it up by stirring in a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil and seasonings like salt, pepper, herbs or lemon juice. Adding a splash of vinegar brightens up the flavor too.

Following these simple tips will help you avoid rice cooker pitfalls and enjoy perfect rice, every time. With the right techniques, your rice cooker will turn out fluffy, tender grains ready to complement any meal.

Care and Maintenance

Properly caring for your rice cooker will help it last for years. Follow these tips:

  • Clean after each use. Remove the inner pot and wash it thoroughly with soap and water after cooking. Avoid abrasive scouring pads. Wipe the outer housing with a damp cloth.

  • Descale regularly. Mineral deposits from water can build up in the inner pot over time. Fill the pot half way with water, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar, and bring to a boil. Allow to soak for 30 minutes, then scrub and rinse.

  • Wipe the heating element. Gently wipe the heating element at the bottom of the rice cooker to remove any stray grains of rice or residue.

  • Store with the lid open. Don't close the lid tightly after cleaning. Leave it slightly ajar so moisture can escape and prevent mildew growth.

  • Replace removable parts. Over time, the nonstick coating on the pot may wear out. Look for replacement pots, steaming trays or other accessories from the manufacturer.

Following these care tips will help your rice cooker stay in top working order for many years. Be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions as well for any specific maintenance recommendations. With proper care, your rice cooker can reliably deliver perfectly cooked rice every time.

Beyond Plain Rice: Creative Uses for Your Rice Cooker

Rice cookers aren't just for cooking plain white rice. With a little creativity, you can use your rice cooker to make a variety of dishes beyond the basic grains. Here are some ideas to try:

Make Perfect Oatmeal

Your rice cooker is great for making oatmeal. Here's how:

  1. Add 1 cup oatmeal and 2 cups water or milk to the inner pot.

  2. Set to the "porridge" setting if available, or cook on regular rice setting for 10-15 minutes.

  3. Add mix-ins like fruit, nuts, cinnamon or maple syrup. The oatmeal will come out perfectly creamy.

Cook Up Risotto

Don't sweat stirring risotto on the stove - the rice cooker does the work for you.

  1. Add arborio rice, broth, white wine, onions, garlic, parsley and Parmesan.

  2. Cook on regular rice setting, stirring a few times until creamy.

  3. Finish with butter and extra Parmesan. Restaurant-worthy risotto with minimal effort!

Make Chili

Your rice cooker can cook up a mean pot of chili.

  1. Brown ground meat with onions and garlic in rice cooker pot on sauté function.

  2. Add beans, tomatoes, spices and 4 cups broth. Cook on stew or soup function for 2-3 hours.

  3. Top with cheese, onions, sour cream for an easy chili dinner.

Steam Veggies

Use a steaming tray or basket to steam fresh or frozen vegetables. They'll turn out perfectly crisp-tender.

Bake Cakes

Yes, you can bake in a rice cooker! Make mug cakes, small loaves or even a cake in a pan set on a trivet. Takes less time than conventional oven.

The rice cooker is one versatile appliance. With a little creativity, you can make far more than just rice. Experiment and enjoy cooking up new rice cooker recipes.

Rice Cooker Alternatives

While dedicated rice cookers excel at cooking perfect rice, you have other options if you don't want to buy another appliance. Here are some popular rice cooking alternatives:

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is an electric multicooker that can cook rice along with many other dishes. It uses pressure cooking to quickly cook rice in as little as 10 minutes. You'll get tender, fluffy rice without having to watch a pot on the stove. Just add rice and water, seal the pot and select the rice function. Instant Pots come in different sizes from 3-8 quarts.

Slow Cooker

You can make rice in a slow cooker, but it takes much longer - usually 4-6 hours on low. Add rice and liquid to the stoneware, cover and cook. The rice will turn out consistently without sticking or burning. Slow cookers are only for small batches of rice though, usually 4 cups or less.


The old fashioned way is still reliable. Combine rice and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Watch closely near the end to avoid burning. Harder varieties like brown rice take longer - up to 45 minutes. This method takes more effort but can make any amount of rice.


Microwaving rice is super quick and easy. Just combine rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high, stopping to stir occasionally, until tender. Timing can vary based on your microwave wattage and amount of rice. While not quite as foolproof as other methods, the microwave can cook rice fast in a pinch.

So while a dedicated rice cooker is ideal, don't let lack of one stop you from making tasty rice at home. With the right technique, you can still achieve great results using appliances you already own.


A rice cooker is one of the most versatile, useful, and affordable additions to any kitchen. With the models we reviewed, you can be assured that your rice will turn out perfect each time.

Our top overall pick, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy, consistently delivered excellent results across all rice types with its advanced fuzzy logic technology. For those seeking maximum versatility, the Instant Pot Duo is an all-in-one multicooker that can make rice along with many other dishes. And if you're looking for a basic, affordable model, the Aroma Housewares digital rice cooker is easy to use and budget-friendly.

No matter which rice cooker you choose, following our tips on proper rice cooking techniques will help you achieve fluffy, delicious rice. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the rice, use a rice-to-water ratio appropriate for your variety of rice, and allow the rice to steam after cooking for the best results. Avoid common mistakes like neglecting to rinse the rice, or improperly measuring water.

With some trial and error, you'll be able to master your new rice cooker in no time. Think beyond just plain rice, and try out different grains, porridges, or even cake recipes in your rice cooker. Following the care and maintenance guidelines provided in your user manual will keep your rice cooker working efficiently for years.

Investing in a high quality rice cooker pays off through convenience, versatility, and delicious meals for your family. Give one of our top picks a try, and you'll see why a rice cooker can be a game changer for your kitchen.


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