Top 5 best rice cookers + shopping guide 2020
Updated: Jul 19
We love rice with pretty much anything. From a Mongolian beef stir fry to chicken teriyaki or some delicious vegetable green curry, we better stop right there because our mouths are watering, and to create such dishes we need the help of the best rice cookers.
Rice is also a staple food, it is very cheap and will fill you up fast, ideal for those on a tight budget, or big families.
If you are interested in replacing your old appliance, buying your first one ever, or looking for a present, check out our top five selections from Amazon. We also include a complete shopping guide to help you find the best rice cooker.
Comparative table between Rice Cookers
Quick tips for finding the best rice cooker
The first aspect to consider, how many do you plan to feed, are you a single person, live with your partner or a large family? Luckily there are plenty of options to choose from in the market with different capacities.
How fast do you want your rice to be done? On average most rice cookers work with a power of 350w; the higher it is, the faster your food will cook, but keep in mind it will also mean more energy consumption.
Nowadays, rice cookers can more than just cook rice; some models steam vegetables, dumplings, and fish. Besides making soups and stews, we recommend trying to find the most versatile model your budget can afford as you will make the most out of your appliance.
Not all rice cookers are equal, and it is important to check the materials, some are plastic and other metallic, but one crucial part is the coating of the rice bowl, some are ceramic, and others have a non-stick surface, the way you clean it will depend on this.
If it does not fit your kitchen, it is a wrong purchase, so measure the space you want to store or place your rice cooker before actually spending your money.
How much should you spend on your rice cooker?
If you have no ideas about rice cooker prices, we have some averages.
These models are simple and with capacities up to four cups, ideal for single people or couples.
Between $50 and $100
The average models include more features and more options for materials, both interior and exterior. Capacities vary between 5 and 8 cups.
The more expensive models, usually Japanese rice cooker brands fall into this category, they have the most function besides rice cooking, and they serve many dishes, ideal for large families or gatherings.
Top 5 Best Rice Cookers
Recommended Products and Best Rated
Our first rice cooker in the list comes by the company Aroma; this digital rice cooker holds 10 cups of uncooked rice, ideal for big families, or big meal preps.
It is multifunction besides cooking rice, also steams, makes soups and stews, and even fluffy cakes!
The locking lid is perfect for making a soft and even rice, because steam is released slowly, use the digital display with big buttons, intuitive and ideal for new cooks and people short-sighted.
The design is compact, great to store even in a smaller kitchen, and the exterior is cool to touch even when the rice cooker is on. The set includes a steamer, measuring cup and rice spatula. Perfect to steam some veggies while the rice cooks.
Easy to clean.
Cook rice in 45 minutes max.
Tells you how long the rice has been kept warm.
Pot is scratch resistant (as long as you don't use metal utensils).
The steamer is white and tends to dye when steaming vegetables like carrots.
Water tends to collect inside the rubber flap of the lid, remember to wipe it with a dry cloth to avoid mold growth.
Condensation on the lid will create floods that will fall outside the rice cooker.
A popular rice cooker on Amazon because for an affordable price lets you cook plenty of rice to serve many people at once, or to meal prep, we also love how easy and big the buttons are, ideal for people who have sight issues. If you are a single person or cook every once a while, this might not be the best choice.
Our second choice is one of Amazon's best-rated models; it also holds 10 cups of uncooked rice and doubles the amount of cooked rice.
The LED display digital control screen includes twelve preset meals, such as pasta, soup, stew, steamed vegetables, and stir fry. It also offers a setting to keep your rice for 24 hours (although we do not recommend having a rice cooker plugged for that long, as it is a waste of energy).
The design is compact and modern, ideal for most kitchens, the rice container has a non-stick coating, and the exterior finish is cool to touch.
Easy to clean.
Includes twelve preset cooking methods.
Can keep the rice warm for up to 24 hours.
Pot is scratch resistant (as long as you don't use metal utensils).
Releases a lot of steam, so don't place it under a kitchen cabinet, or it will be wet.
The user manual is not properly translated.
Another perfect rice cooker for big families, meal prepping, or dorms where friends share the kitchen. Not only will you be able to cook rice but create twelve different dishes with the preset feature, the amount of meals you could potentially make with this appliance is endless.
Our third choice is for one the cheapest or most affordable according to the price-quality ratio.
This small rice cooker can make between three to sixteen cups of cooked rice, so it works perfectly for small families and couples and single people.
The mechanical control is effortless; push down the switch to turn it on, and once it is finished cooking, it will go back up and maintain your rice warm until you unplug the appliance.
The design is super compact and will fit any small space in any kitchen and is easy to carry. The tempered glass lid and the non-stick coating pot are dishwasher safe, but we recommend handwashing instead.
Easy to clean, dishwasher safe.
Makes between three and sixteen cups of cooked rice.
Keeps your rice warm until you unplug the appliance.
Ideal for dorms.
Medium lifespan with proper care.
When the water boils, it splashes a little outside even with the lid on.
This small appliance will make a lot of rice for small families, couples, and even dorm friends. The set includes a steamer tray perfect to do veggies or seafood to go with your rice. The lifespan is not the longest in this list, but it should last for many years with proper care.
The fourth pick is by the Japanese brand Tiger and this JNP series includes two models, the black and silver, and the white one with pink flower drawings. Both have the same functions.
It perfectly cooks between three to ten cups white rice and automatically switches to keep it warm for up to 12 hours, we recommend this rice cooker for meal prepping and couples.
The design features a retractable power cord, making storing the rice cooker easier as you don't have to deal with annoying cables everywhere. The set includes a measuring cup, and a spatula.
Easy to clean.
Makes between three and sixteen cups of cooked rice.
Keeps your rice warm up to 12 hours.
Can last for decades with proper care.
Great drain system.
Expensive compared to other rice cookers, but might save you money in the long run.
An ideal rice cooker for couples to do meal prep, the rice cooker is expensive, but the quality justifies it. Unlike most rice cookers, these are made in Japan, so the standards are much higher if you are a new or inexperienced cook, then this might not be the best choice for a first rice cooker.
Our last pick for the best rice cookers, is also a top brand from Japan, probably the most recognized, and expensive.
This rice cooker has an LCD digital display with clock and timer functions that lets you make up to twenty cups perfect white or brown cooked rice and includes a steam and cake set.
The rice cooker includes a measuring cup, spatula, steamer, and removable inner lid. The design is modern and bulky, so find the right spot to store it before purchasing it. The stainless steel coating exterior gives it a sleek look that is very easy to clean with a damp microfiber cloth. A plus is a retractable power cord for neat storage.
Easy to clean.
Makes up to twenty cups of cooked rice.
Japanese restaurant-quality rice.
Retractable power cord.
Intuitive operation, no need for manual.
Made in China (but has Japanese quality standards).
Unlike most rice cookers, you can't store the measuring cup and spatula inside the appliance.
The cooking cycle takes an hour, this is longer than the average rice cooker, but the quality is much higher.
One of the most recognizable rice cooker brands in the market, these models will last for decades, the rice cooker can make 20 cups of cooked rice, ideal for big families, as it creates perfect restaurant-quality rice it takes longer to do so, if you don't mind to wait the extra time, it is worth it.
Rice cooker shopping guide
Still not sure about which rice cooker is the best one for you? Please read our full shopping guide below.
Can I make sushi rice with a regular rice cooker?
Yes, most rice cookers are capable of creating sushi rice, the points to consider are buying sushi rice, rice vinegar, and sugar for best result, we are no sushi rice experts, but you can Google how to make sushi rice and find plenty of answers.
How much rice can I make?
It will depend on two factors, how many people are you feeding, and if you are using the rice cooker to meal prep, the most substantial rice cookers can hold up to 10 to 11 cups.
Are all rice cookers made in Japan?
Even though Japanese rice cookers are extremely popular nowadays, plenty of brands worldwide manufacture rice cookers, which has helped make them cheaper. Japanese rice cookers are among the more expensive models.
Is it easy to clean?
All modern rice cookers have a non-stick coating to make cleaning easier. However, you must keep in mind two tips, clean your rice cooker as soon as it is cool to touch, the reason behind is rice will release starch. It will be stuck to the surface, and when you wash your rice cooker pot, use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth, scratching the non-stick coating is terrible for the food quality.
Cook rice on a pot vs. a rice cooker?
Both ways to boil rice are ok, but rice cookers offer certain benefits that pots do not. New cooks rice cookers are the best option as they might not be able to time the cooking correctly and end up with burnt rice.
Rice cookers also free cooktop space, ideal for small kitchens, and they once finished it keeps the rice warm ready to serve, as you finish other dishes.
How do rice cookers work?
It is straightforward, for regular rice, add equal parts of rice and water, and press the turn on button; the rice cooker's bottom will start to heat and slowly will cook your rice as it absorbs the hot water till it completely disappears.
After this rice cooker will turn off or keep the rice warm, depending on the model settings and selections.
What is a rice cooker?
Rice cookers are a great appliance for those who want to make perfect rice without worrying about burning it or serving it undercooked.
For large families or people who meal prep rice cookers are a must-have, as it will help create a lot of rice to serve on proportion.
Rice cookers work by heating a metallic plate below the rice cooker pot and transmits the heat evenly throughout the container, cooking the rice evenly.
How to use a rice cooker?
Using a rice cooker is straightforward. If you lost your user's manual, we could help you out with this general use steps, but we recommend searching for the manual online with the model code. Most manufacturers have them available for download.
Plug your rice cooker
Inside the pot put equal parts of rice and water
Place the lid and turn on the rice cooker
Please wait until it is done and unplug the rice cooker.
As we say, this is a basic guide, clearly there are more different ways to make rice and give it more flavor, such as using garlic, olive oil, ginger, etc.
Benefits of using a rice cooker
Among the many benefits they offer, we can mention:
Whether the rice is inside the pot, it will cook evenly, if it is at the bottom or the top.
Saves times as you just put the ingredients and forget about it until you want to serve.
You cook without oil, which is a healthier option.
Rice cookers can keep rice warm for up to 24 hours, which reduces the risk of bacteria growth.
Most rice cookers' interior has markings to let you know how much water or rice you are adding.
Rice cookers, when empty, are usually lightweight, easy to carry around whether you are moving out, or for a gathering or event.
The market has many models to offer with different designs, capacities, and features to fit all needs.
Some models also include extra parts for steaming vegetables, fish, or seafood.
They are easy to clean and wash.
How to choose the best rice cooker for you?
Now that you have made your mind, you are wondering which model you should choose? This shouldn't give you headaches; we are here to help you out.
The inner pot must be removable with a non-stick coating for easy cleanup. When it comes to capacity, calculate that one cup will serve one adult a full dish, so an average rice cooker with four to five cups of size will serve a family of four or five.
Rice cookers offer different features, but one we deem necessary is a warm feature, once your rice is cooked, you want it to stay warm if the rest of the food is not done yet. It will save you time as you won't have to heat the rice on the microwave.
Why buy a rice cooker?
It is a versatile appliance that not only cook rice but also steams, makes soups or stews, and potatoes. Besides, rice will help you stretch your budget by creating filling meals with little money.
What to consider before buying a rice cooker?
Rice cookers are a must-have in many modern homes, thanks to their practicality, consider these essential aspects, to find the rice cooker that suits you the best.
Do not think exclusively of the rice cooker's price and quality, but also of what you plan to do with it. The more ways you can find to use your rice cooker, the more you make out of your investment.
Luckily rice cookers are not expensive; most good quality models have prices that range between $25 and $100; there are models above that price; it is entirely up to you depending on your needs.
Unlike other appliances, rice cookers do not need to have a lot of power to make perfect rice, as a matter of fact, the more power they use, the more it will increase your energy bill. Always check the rice cooker energy efficiency, many people forget to look into that, when it is an essential factor.
At the most basic level, make sure your rice cooker includes an automatic turn off system and a setting to keep the rice warm. If it includes a rice and water cup is a plus.
It will keep rice from sticking to the sides and bottom of the rice cooker, but as we mentioned previously, do not let leftover rice dry inside the pot, as the starch will stick the rice to the coating, making the cleanup more difficult.
Before buying the rice cooker, measure the space where you plan to place it, sometimes we miscalculate, and the appliance won't fit, forcing us to keep it on the countertop, taking up valuable prepping space.
Not an essential but always welcomed, a rice cooker capable of doing more than just cooking rice will allow you to expand your meal variety.
How to take care of your rice cooker?
We recommend always reading the user guide before using any appliance, as they are all different models and may have different requirements; in general terms, you can follow these steps.
Use the rice cooker for something else.
Unless the rice cooker offers other cooking options, we would never do boil pasta on a rice cooker.
Do not cook rice without the lid on
Most rice cookers lids include a small opening to control steam release; if you cook without the cover, the rice will be undercook and uneven.
Do not use a metallic spoon or spatula to remove the rice.
As it will scratch the surface and release toxic chemicals into your food, always use silicone or plastic paddles, most rice cookers nowadays include them as part of the set, if not you can purchase them, they are affordable.
Check the power outlet
Make sure it works correctly as it will affect your rice cooker, also unplug the rice cooker when not in use, this is one of those appliances that we may forget to unplug but will still draw energy, increasing your bill unnecessarily.
Take care of the rice cooker
Handle it with care to avoid external damages, and also do not use the rice cooking container to wash and rinse the rice before cooking as tempting and practical as it may seem, doing so scratches the container non-stick.
Instead, use a colander to wash your rice before placing it in the rice cooker.
Properly clean the rice cooker
As soon as it is ok to touch, wash the rice cooker pot with lukewarm water, liquid soap and a soft sponge. For the electric parts, you can use a damp microfiber cloth to clean splashes and a dry cloth for the interior, let it air dry before storing.
We hope this top 5 best rice cookers selection has been useful to you and our shopping guide helps you find a model that suits your lifestyle and needs.
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