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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.
But there are a lot of options out there. To make the buying process easier, our editors took home some of the top rice cookers on the market and put them to the test. They looked at how well each appliance cooks basics like white rice and brown rice (or another grain of their choice), how user-friendly each appliance is to use, how easy each is to clean up and store away, and whether each boasts any particularly helpful extra features. For example, our top pick the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer has a large screen where you can program different settings depending on the type or rice you're cooking.
We'll continue to test the rest of these rice cookers and update this list with more testing data, so make sure to check back! Here are the best rice cookers to add to your kitchen supply.
Best Overall: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-ZCC10/18
What We Love: Easy to set up and use, not much condensation, has ergonomic handles, includes visual how-to guide
What We Don't Love: Removable parts are not dishwasher-safe, only available in one color
With its advanced neuro-fuzzy technology, the Zojirushi rice cooker yields a perfectly cooked batch of rice each time. In fact, our editor Myo Quinn, who has spent a lot of time with Zojirushi rice cookers and is very familiar with them, can vouch for the brand. "In my community where rice is eaten daily, often for all three meals, it’s a brand that’s known for accessibility, reliability, and quality," says Myo, is grew up eating Korean-Paraguayan dishes.
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.
Weighing only a pound, 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.
"My favorite feature [is] the heat-proof handles on two sides. This makes it so easy to pick it up from the rice cooker without having to use a kitchen mitt or towel, or trying to nudge the pot up using its thin outer lip, especially when it’s full and heavy." — Myo Quinn, Editor
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 14.25 x 9.5 x 11.1 inches | What's Included: 2 measuring cups, rice paddle, paddle holder
Best Budget: Aroma Rice and Grain Cooker (6-Cup)
What We Love: Easy to set up, use, clean, and store; no splatter, small footprint
What We Don't Love: May be too small for a family of four or more
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, as well as the minimal number of parts included, make it ideal for those looking for a user-friendly option—and recipe editor Milagro Cruz found this to be true in her testing.
"The rice cooker was so easy to set up: You have the rice cooker base, the pot that cooks the rice, a lid, and the only functions are "cook" and "warm," so I didn't have to look at the instruction booklet to make the rice," she raves.
This 1.5-quart rice cooker is perfect not only for plain white rice (which turned out fluffy and there was no splatter on the cooker or lid, says Milagros), but also for making one-pot meals, like the yellow rice she made in the cooker complete with shrimp, sausage, and beans as add-ins. "[This] filled it all the way to the max line, and there was no splatter then either, which was great," she adds. She even made oatmeal in the cooker, which came out just the way she liked it.
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. "I love [that] I could cook rice and steam veggies if I wanted all at the same time," Milagros says.
When the meal is done, cleaning up is easy too—the inner pot and all the accessories are safe to go in the dishwasher. Plus, "This can easily be stored where I keep other pots and pans. And it's small enough that you won't feel like it's taking up too much counter space," she says.
"It automatically turns to the warming setting when the rice is done cooking, which I love because I could make rice hours ahead and have it stay warm the entire time." — Milagro Cruz, Editor
Capacity: 3 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.8 x 7.9 x 10 inches | What's Included: Steam tray, measuring cup, rice paddle
Best for Big Batches: Comfee' Programmable All-in-One Multi Rice Cooker
What We Love: Nonstick inner bowl makes it easy to clean, no splatter outside the cooker, cooks perfect white rice, sleek design
What We Don't Love: Large and heavy
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.
Our associate commerce editor, Fran Sales, put this to the test by making white rice in the cooker for a small dinner party of four to go alongside her Instant Pot chili—and there ended up being leftovers after people got seconds. The rice itself turned out perfectly fluffy, she says, adding that the grain reached that happy place between very al dente and mushy.
This 875-watt model is 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.
Fran and her roommate decided to try making congee (an apartment favorite) with short-grain rice using the porridge setting, to less stellar results than cooking plain fluffy rice. After the first round of the porridge setting, it turned out too watery, and yet after a second cycle, it became too mushy and gelatinous, they observed. "I think that, in hindsight, we should have only done one round of the porridge setting and then let it cool so that it sets and thickens a bit as it cools," she notes.
This large-capacity rice cooker is not as space-saving as others, however. "It does need counter space, but it is a little shorter than a typical rice cooker (but has a similar width), so it fits well on one of our storage shelves," says Fran. But, she likes the cool-touch handle that makes it easy to carry and move around. If you choose to display this rice cooker on the counter, the stainless steel design is pleasing to the eye, and its surface and nonstick inner pot are easy to clean.
"The rice was perfect and fluffy—not al dente or too mushy. It was also very easy to set up: Just press the Rice button. There was no splatter outside of the cooker." — Fran Sales, Associate Commerce Editor
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.6 x 12.5 x 11.3 inches | What's Included: Steam basket, measuring cup, rice paddle, soup paddle
Related: The Best Pressure Cookers
Best for Small Batches: Dash Mini Rice Cooker
What We Love: Lightweight, available in fun colors, very easy to use
What We Don't Love: No built-in timer
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 200-watt Dash Mini Rice Cooker, which only weighs 2.4 pounds. 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 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.
Capacity: 2 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches | What's Included: Measuring cup, rice paddle
Best Microwave: Joseph Joseph 45002 M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker
What We Love: Fits in most standard microwaves, comes with a colander, rice paddle ends act as handles when locked in place
What We Don't Love: May require trial and error to determine ideal cook time and power level
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 six-serving batch of fluffy 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.
Only 7 inches high and weighing 1 pound, 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.
Capacity: 2 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.75 x 5.25 x 7 inches | What's Included: Measuring cup, colander, rice paddle
Related: The Best Microwaves
Best Multi-Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker 6 Quart
What We Love: Replaces several other kitchen appliances; does not emit much heat or vapors; great for one-pot meals; removable cord
What We Don't Love: Cord is very short, silicone seal may absorb food odors
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. Weighing 14.5 pounds, the 1000-watt 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.
"It is hands down my most utilized kitchen appliance," Toni Okamoto, author of the cookbook, "Plant-Based on a Budget," says of the Instant Pot. "It not only cooks rice perfectly in half the time as on the stovetop, but it's the best bang for your buck with its multi-use features. It's great for college students in a dorm room, busy parents who want to get dinner on the table quickly, and anyone who is trying to save money by buying healthy pantry staples in bulk."
Capacity: 5 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 13 x 12.2 x 12.6 inches | What's Included: Measuring cup, stainless steel trivet, rice paddle, soup spoon
Related: The Best Instant Pots
Best for Steaming: Aroma Housewares 8-Cup Rice and Grain Cooker
What We Love: Includes removable steamer basket, includes a delayed-cooking feature
What We Don't Love: A bit bulky, rice may burn a little at the bottom of the pot if not enough water is added
Many of Aroma’s rice cookers feature a removable steamer basket that is perfect for steaming vegetables and meat while the rice cooks. Weighing 4 pounds, this model makes it possible to make an entire meal using one appliance.
The five-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. Note, however, that some online reviews say that it does not truly hold 8 cups because the included measuring cup is not the American standard-sized 1 cup. The reinforced nonstick coating is PFOA-free. 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.
Capacity: 4 cups | Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.9 x 8.6 x 9.3 inches | What's Included: Measuring cup, steaming basket, rice paddle
Related: The Best Vegetable Steamers
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.
What to Look for in a Rice Cooker
Wattage is an important factor when choosing any electric appliance, including a rice cooker. While cooking rice doesn’t require as much power as blending fruits and vegetables, you want your rice cooker to be powerful enough to make a variety of recipes. Some rice cookers can have up to 1,000 watts, though a typical rice cooker has around 400 watts of power.
Having multiple small appliances can start taking up your counter and cabinet space quickly. Fortunately, rice cookers are versatile machines that can make much more than just rice. Multi-cookers even have presets for foods like soups, stews, beans, chilis, and more, in addition to rice. Some can also steam vegetables in a separate tray while the rice is cooking. Other options to look for include delaying start time, digital LCD screen, and safety features.
Rice cookers are generally easy to clean. The inner pot is removable and, along with any accessories, might be dishwasher-safe. Rice cooker pots that aren’t dishwasher-safe have a wide opening, making them easy to hand wash if necessary. The outside can be wiped down with a damp microfiber cloth.
If any food crumbs get into the inside of the unit, be sure to remove them before the next use. You can wipe the inside of the unit with a damp cloth, but be sure to wipe it dry.
Do I need to rinse rice before cooking?
It’s recommended to rinse your rice before cooking it. Rice may be pre-washed before being sold, but washing it at home is recommended to remove excess starch. This helps prevent the rice from sticking to each other and resulting in a gummy texture.
How hot do rice cookers get?
Water needs to be boiling hot to cook rice, so rice cookers get pretty hot. The inside can reach temperatures of up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The outside of the unit may become warm to the touch as the interior heats up.
What’s the water-to-rice ratio for a rice cooker?
The general water-to-rice ratio for a rice cooker is 1 cup of water for every 1 cup of rice.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lacey Muinos 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.
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