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People all over the world have been cooking rice for centuries with minimal kitchen equipment. So, do you need another small kitchen appliance for one specialized task? Rice cookers are more versatile than you’d think, so it may make sense to add another gadget to your kitchen inventory if it means achieving perfectly cooked rice every time.
If you struggle to make rice or haven’t strayed far from pre-cooked bags of microwaveable rice, a rice cooker may be right for you. You can also use your rice cooker to make a variety of one-pot meals and side dishes, such as steamed vegetables, soup, porridge, risotto, and more.
Here are the best rice cookers to add to your kitchen supply.
Best Overall: Zojirushi 10-cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer
With its advanced neuro-fuzzy technology, the Zojirushi rice cooker yields a perfectly cooked batch of rice each time. The technology allows the cooker to make small adjustments to the temperature and heating time, eliminating the chances of undercooked or overcooked rice.
The standard capacity for rice cookers ranges from 3 to 6 cups, yielding 6 to 12 cups of cooked rice, respectively. The Zojirushi is perfect for large families or batch cooking since the container holds up to 10 cups of uncooked rice, yielding up to 20 cups cooked.
Measuring 14.5 x 9.5 x 11.5 inches, this cooker is made with high-quality stainless steel. The inner lid is detachable for easy cleaning, and the pot has cool side handles for safety. The extra-large and easy-to-use LCD screen has several menu options for cooking various types of rice, including white, sushi, mixed, sweet, brown, semi-brown, rinse-free, and quick cooking.
Best Budget: Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) Pot-Style Rice Cooker & Food Steamer (ARC-743-1NG)
Aroma is a well-known brand of rice cookers, many of which are budget-friendly, which proves affordability does not mean sacrificing quality. The one-touch function of this model cuts out the complexity of cooking rice, making it ideal for those looking for a user-friendly option.
This 11.1 x 10.4 x 8.1-inch rice cooker is perfect for making one-pot meals. The inner pot can hold up to 3 cups of rice, which yields 6 cups when cooked. It is also equipped with a steamer basket for veggies, meat, and other foods. While your rice cooks, you can simultaneously steam salmon and asparagus for a complete meal.
When the meal is done, cleaning up is easy too. The inner pot and all the accessories are safe to go in the dishwasher.
Best for Big Batches: Comfee' Programmable All-in-1 Multi Rice Cooker
Most rice cookers are large enough to feed a small family with some leftovers for the next day, but anyone who cooks in large quantities will benefit from the 5.2-quart capacity of this model by Comfee’. If you need to make big batches of rice for large families or parties, you can get up to 20 cups of cooked rice per batch with this rice cooker.
This 13.9 x 10.8 x 10.5-inch model is not only large, but it’s also versatile. It’s equipped with 17 pre-programmed functions, including white rice, brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, stew, yogurt, cake, and more. Simply choose the appropriate function on the LED smart digital panel display. There’s also a delay timer, and it can keep cooked rice warm for up to 12 hours.
While this large-capacity rice cooker is not as space-saving as others, it has a cool-touch handle that makes it easy to carry and store. If you choose to display this rice cooker on the counter, the stainless steel design is pleasing to the eye and easy to clean.
Best for Small Batches: Dash Mini Rice Cooker
If meal prepping or batch cooking doesn’t appeal to you, why bother with another large appliance when you can opt for one that is much more space-saving? Enter the Dash Mini Rice Cooker, which measures just 8.3 x 6.5 x 16 inches. It also comes in a variety of fun colors so it displays nicely on countertops.
Though it is smaller than other rice cookers, this model is just as efficient. It has a 2-cup capacity that can be used to cook or steam more than just rice. Use this nifty device for grains, soups, stews, and more.
The inner pot is made with a nonstick coating that is PFOA-free and easy to clean. The interface has just two options, cook and warm, making it easy-to-use. However, it doesn’t have a built-in timer, so you’ll have to remember to check on your food after the appropriate amount of time.
Best Stovetop: Milo Japanese Style Donabe Rice Cooker
Most modern rice cookers are electric and some even have digital features, but you don’t need a nifty machine to make perfectly cooked rice. One way to ensure evenly cooked rice is using a ceramic pot or donabe on the stovetop.
This model by Milo is a donabe, which is a popular cooking utensil in Japan. It is often used to cook rice, but it can also be used to cook and steam many other foods. Some enthusiasts believe that rice cooked in a donabe is superior in texture and flavor.
With a smaller capacity of 4 cups of cooked rice, this donabe is ideal for small-batch cooking. This may be a downside for some since it’s not as large as other options, but the space-saving design is a huge perk to others. It also stores easily since it measures just 4 x 6 x 4 inches.
Best Microwave: Joseph Joseph 45002 M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are much faster than boiling rice, but nothing is quite as time-saving as the microwave. One alternative to pre-cooked rice is using a microwave rice cooker. This model by Joseph Joseph yields a 2-liter batch of rice in minutes.
To use, simply measure and rinse the rice before transferring it to the cooking pot with water, and secure the lid with the included rice paddle. Then cook in the microwave for the appropriate amount of time and wait for your fluffy rice to be done. You can also cook other grains in this microwave rice cooker.
Measuring 8.7 x 5.3 x 7.1 inches, this rice cooker fits in most standard-size microwaves. Since microwaves vary, you’ll have to determine the cooking time yourself. This may require some trial and error. The cooking pot is dishwasher-safe, making for easy cleaning.
Best Multi-Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker is a rice cooker. It is also a slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, and more. One of the many functions of a multi-cooker like the Instant Pot is the ability to cook rice under pressure. Since a pressure cooker works by trapping hot steam, it essentially makes rice by steaming it.
If you like the idea of cooking rice easily but don’t want a dedicated one-use appliance, a multi-cooker like this one might be the solution. Measuring 13.4 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches, the Instant Pot is larger than other models but it can also replace several appliances.
The LED screen features 14 smart programs, including rice. It has a large 6-quart capacity and 10 built-in safety features. The Instant Pot is also perfect for saving time since it cooks up to 70 percent faster than other methods.
Best for Steaming: Aroma Housewares 8 Cup Rice and Grain Cooker
Many of Aroma’s rice cookers feature a removable steamer basket that is perfect for steaming vegetables and meat while the rice cooks. At approximately 8.25 x 9 x 8.5 inches, this model makes it possible to make an entire meal using one appliance.
The 5-layer inner pot holds up to 8 cups of cooked rice and is made with ultra-durable bonded granite that lasts up to eight times longer than other materials. The reinforced nonstick coating is free of lead, cadmium, and PFOA for those looking for a non-toxic option. It’s also dishwasher-safe, so you can use and clean repeatedly without wearing out the pot.
Since it has a digital timer, the rice cooker automatically switches to the keep-warm mode when cooking time is up. It also has a delayed cooking feature for people with busy schedules. Place the ingredients in the cooker and set it to start cooking at a later time, so dinner is ready when you get home.
If you’re looking for a way to make consistently perfectly cooked rice, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker (view at Amazon) is the best for the job. It features technology that ensures a perfect batch each time, large capacity, and easy-to-use LCD panel.
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Lacey Bourassa is a health and wellness writer with a specialty in food-related topics and a passion for kitchen gadgets. She has an impressive collection of small kitchen appliances and tools, including a multi-cooker that she has used to make big batches of white rice, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and other grains on a weekly basis for several years.