Are you looking for modern and nutritious ways to cook rice? Then stop stooping over a stove top waiting ages for your rice and buy a rice cooker. Cooking can often be a tedious and temperamental process with plenty of opportunity for error, but now there is a solution to make the job quick and easy. We did the legwork and found the top candidates for the best rice cooker suitable for a range of cooking needs: nutritional value, efficiency, high-quality material, safety, and simplicity.
This review will cover five top rice cooker models, profile why they are so popular, and how you can benefit by using them. You’ll not only gain a foundation on the essential requirements of a rice cooker, but it will be far easier for you to decide which model best suits your needs.
So, let’s get started.
Top 5 Best Rice Cooker Reviews
|Picture||Top Picks||Our Rating||Size||Price||Our reviews|
|Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom Rice Cooker||4.9/5||3-Cups||Read review|
|Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker||4.8/5||5.5-Cups||Read review|
|Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Micom Rice Cooker||4.8/5||5.5-Cups||Read review|
|Aroma Simply Stainless Rice Cooker||4.6/5||6-Cups||Read review|
|Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker||4.5/5||8-Cups||Read review|
How a Rice Cooker Works
If you’ve ever found yourself busy and in the midst of cooking a meal, then you know how game-changing it could be being able to whip up some rice quickly and efficiently without a lot of required maintenance.
A rice cooker is unlike a typical kitchen appliance. It not only cooks rice but also gives it the perfect shape and taste that traditional cooking pots cannot. It does this through a variety of components:
- Rice cookers normally consist of a stainless steel inner pot for quick cooking, which is also detachable for cleaning convenience. In general, good rice cookers have non-stick inner pots, so that rice at the bottom does not stick as well as leaving it easy to clean.
- The inner pot goes inside the external casing which is what provides and retains the heat.
- Rice cookers are always electrically powered. And besides plugging it in, the only thing left to do is pour the rice, water, and other ingredients into the cooking pot, switch it on, and leave the rest up to the machine.
That’s it, no stirring or continual checking! However, you do have to follow certain protocols:
- The amount of rice must be precisely measured depending on the capacity of the cooking pot If you are adding uncooked rice, the cooking pot needs a little more space to account for expansion. Follow the marks in the pot, and add water according to the measurements.
- Always make sure the lid is placed securely, as it will seal the rice in the cooking pot. The seal helps rice cook quickly because there is no space for air or steam to escape.
- The increasing temperature allows the water to convert to steam. The steam has no way to escape, and pressure builds causing the rice to cook fast. The addition of these vapors also help keep the rice warm and moist.
- In addition to this process, the keep warm feature also comes in handy. It activates automatically as soon as the temperature inside the rice cooker hits a certain point and then keeps the rice warm until you’re ready to indulge.
In general, the entire process can take between 30 minutes and an hour depending on factors such as the quantity of rice, the quality and condition of rice, the heating technology of the cooker, the motor speed, and power supply.
Kinds of Heating Technology Used
Your decision to choose a perfect rice cooker will largely be influenced by just how well the rice cooker is able to function. But often, the functionality (and price) of a rice cooker depend on its heating technology. Based on this technology, rice cookers can be segregated into different categories: conventional rice cookers, high-pressure rice cookers, and hi-tech cookers.
The differences between the different modes of technology are outlined as follows:
- Conventional Models: Conventional rice cookers feature all the basic and traditional components, such as the heating plate, cooking pot, and external pot. These models are capable of simply cooking and heating rice, and they automatically turn off when the rice finishes. The only require you to add rice and water according to the measurement and press the start button. Conventional rice cookers are best for families that stick to white rice and/or brown rice, though some conventional models may have settings for sushi as well.
- Micom Rice Cookers: A slightly advanced version of rice cooker featuring a computerized microchip is the Micom rice cookers. These cookers are smart enough to automatically adjust cooking time and the temperature thanks to thermal sensors. If you can stretch your budget, micom rice cookers can help you save tons of cooking time. They are made for all types of rice and are great for some of the more temperamental recipes.
- Micom Rice Cookers with Induction Heating: Induction heating means the cooking pot/pan (the inner pot) is what heats up while the built-in micom technology can fine-tune temperature and monitor the cooking time. These models consistently produce perfect rice. However, these models also tend to be quite a bit more expensive.
- Micom Rice Cookers with Pressurized Induction Heating: Sounds complicated huh? The name is large, but so is the quality, these types of heaters provide a combination of the best heating technologies in one place. These models raise the cooking temperature by pressurized heating and can also modify the structure of the ingredients (grains and starch) present in the rice. The result is a pristine fluffier, softer and more easily digestible rice. Plus, it can hold rice for up to 24 hours.
5 Most Common Rice Cooker Types
Rice cookers are available in different types, based on size, design, heating technology, additional features, and functionality. Some of the more common types you’ll encounter are as follows:
- Simple Rice Cookers
These are conventional rice cookers with all the basic components in place, and follow the basic design previously mentioned with conventional heating technology. The only automatic feature is that they shut themselves down when the rice is cooked. While these models are the cheapest of the lot (available at $30 in most markets), they are not as sophisticated as expensive models. The lack of non-stick inner pots and light indicators are often their major downsides. Plus, they lack the exceptional heating technology needed to give the perfect texture to your rice.
- Keep-Warm Rice Cookers
If you can stretch your budget, having an additional option of keeping your rice warm is an exceptionally convenient feature to have for your rice cooker, especially if you have a large number of people to feed. The keep-warm feature preserves the temperature of the rice, even after you switched the cooker off. The food can be kept for hours while not losing taste and temperature. This category includes flexible rice cookers with many of them also featuring non-stick pans and steamers. These cookers usually come for between $35 and $70.
- Rice Cookers Featuring Digital Controls
This category includes the more hi-tech rice cookers, like the ones with transitional designs. These models are expensive yet highly sophisticated. A major improvement in these models is the keep-warm feature that can store rice and maintain the internal temperature for up to 12 hours (on average). Prices for these rice cookers usually start from $100 and keep rising according to additional features
- Rice Cookers Featuring Fuzzy Logic Technology
This category of rice cookers is one of the more modern categories and uses hi-tech designs to make fluffier rice. Rice cookers with fuzzy logic technology are not necessarily new on the scene, but they are quite expensive. The fuzzy logic technology also helps you prepare soups, brown rice, choose rice texture, or even, prepare sushi rice. So, technically, you can cook almost any rice recipe with fuzzy logic technology.
Within this category, you can find the best rice cookers to range from $130 – $150. That’s still a steal, especially your family is crazy about rice, and you will be using it for years.
- Induction Heating Cookers
As mentioned earlier, induction heating rice cookers are the most modern of the lot. They are quite expensive, with prices starting from $180, but they are all about precision and simplicity. Even if you do not know how to cook rice, induction heating will leave you whipping up quality rice with ease.
If you want to cook brown rice or any other variety of rice, an induction heating unit is the perfect rice cooker for effortless cooking. Just pour the rice, ingredients, and water in the rice cooker, and it will adjust itself accordingly and do the work for you. The rice will cook better, look better, feel crisp, and taste excellent.
5 Things to Consider for the Perfect Rice Cooker
Embarking on the path to buying a rice cooker can be a tricky one, here are some things to keep in mind on the journey to ensure you’re traveling right:
- The purpose and use:
A rice cooker is not a general purpose utensil, so you will be making a one-time investment, hoping that it will last more than two or three years. There are some questions to consider:
- What type of rice does your family eats?( plain rice, mixed rice, white rice, brown rice, or all types?)
- How frequently will you be cooking? Once in a day, once in a week, etc.?
- Do you cook rice alone or add other ingredients, such as veggies, meat, or grains, etc.?
- Do you need a simple cooker or a multi-tasking cooker that can prepare soup, chili, and stews too?
- Rice Cooker Size:
Rice cookers come in different sizes, and which one is best depends on the size of your family or household, as well as the frequency of cooking.
- The size of rice cookers can range from 1 cup of rice to 10 cups (uncooked) if you are considering non-commercial options.
- If you are looking for commercial models, you can get a rice cooker that can take as much as 46 cups of rice at one time!
If you already frequent the kitchen, you likely know how much your family eats. But if you are a newcomer, follow this rule of thumb: One person eats up to 1 cup of cooked rice in a meal. And a larger rice cooker can often just mean easier leftovers!
- Features to think about:
Rice cookers have different features, and they can often become confusing when trying to decide between cookers. If your family eats all kinds of rice, you need a utensil that can cook a variety of rice recipes, not just plain white rice. Afterwards, you’ll want to consider other requirements, such as cooking time, cooking related items, size and more. If all you need is plain white rice, then buy simple and save money!
A maintenance-free appliance that needs absolutely no cleaning is still outside our current reality. However, there are rice cookers that are fairly easy to use, maintain, and clean.
- Rice cookers can start out a bit tedious, especially if they have many additional features, but they often get easier with time. Make sure to study your user’s manual accordingly!
- Rice cookers, because they are an electric appliance, feature non-stick material. It is also helpful for cleaning and requires less maintenance. Some models can be dishwasher safe, making cleaning even less of a hassle.
In the end, your decision will likely come down to budget. Inexpensive models start from $20, and then there are high-tech models that can reach as high as $350. Again, be certain about your requirements, and only then should you consider the more expensive models.
10 Common Features of Modern-Day Rice Cookers
You know that modern-day rice cookers come with lots of features. However, these features aren’t necessarily needed by all, including you! This is something you need to decide on before purchasing. Here are some of the common features put into three categories. They have become essential elements of the best rice cookers:
- The Lid: The rice cooker lid is often available in different materials. While transparency is a must-have these days, the durability of the lid ensures safe cooking at high temperature. You can find rice cooker lids of different materials, such as metal, clear plastic and glass. If a transparent lid falls within your price range, get it. Otherwise, it is not completely necessary.
- The Pan: The inner pan, or the cooking pot, is the crux of every rice cooker. Non-stick cooking pans are slightly more expensive; however, this is often a worthy investment due to the ease of cleaning.
- Steamer Trays: Some models feature steam trays for steaming vegetables while the rice cooks. However, it can often double to steam vegetables without the rice as well should you be doing a rice-less meal.
- Steamer trays of perforated metal are rather beneficial as it allows you to steam veggies simultaneously and can be another way to save time.
- Other units feature a small tray at the bottom, lying just above the cooking element. This style also tends to be more expensive, but they allow more flexibility and are safer compared to basic models.
Electronic features are constantly improving with time, so models often differ based on updated technological features. This is another reason contributing to higher prices in some models as compared to others. Some features to look for, technologically speaking, include:
- Fuzzy Logic Technology: Enables you to start cooking with just a press of a button on the menu. It offers multiple functions, such as white rice, brown rice, mixed rice, glutinous rice and more.
- Quick cooking: When you are running out of time, press the Quick Cooking option to save time. This feature bypasses soak time and takes you right to the cooking cycle.
- Porridge cycle: If you love slow cooked food, you can use the porridge cycle feature to prepare traditional Asian recipes.
- Reheat Cycle: This feature increases the rice temperature back to maximum and warms for about 5 – 10 minutes, and then maintains the heat.
- Texture: Expensive and high-end models offer a texture feature. This gives you have the luxury to influence the rice texture. You can choose to make it firmer, softer or keep it regular.
Rice cookers are electric appliances. So, serious care must be taken while handling them. At the same time, these appliances also have some built-in safety features, including
- Fuse protector: Every rice cooker has a fuse protector. It prevents the risk of fire, especially should the appliance be left unattended.
- Auto cord reel: An auto cord reel allows you to adjust the length of the rice cooker’s cord to keep it away from kids and pets.
There you have it, we’ve laid out all the information needed for choosing the best rice cooker, and keeping these facts handy will simplify the process of finally purchasing one. Rice cookers come in a variety of sizes, qualities, and prices, and somewhere out there is the perfect cooker for you at just the right price!
As mentioned, we would recommend thoroughly assessing your needs before getting a rice cooker. Buying an expensive model could leave you overwhelmed with unneeded features, and opting for a simply inexpensive one could leave you with a cooker that doesn’t stand the test of time. Exercise caution and try to find the right medium.
Whether you buy a basic model or the really expensive one, you’ll still be able to discover just how convenient having a rice cooker can be. Soon, you’ll be serving up some quality rice to your family with a big smile on your face!
Quick Tips Before Buying
- Do not cook brown rice in a rice cooker that only cooks white rice. The cooking procedures for each of them are entirely different. So, if you want both, buy a rice cooker that also offers a brown rice setting in addition to the basic white rice setting.
- Metal utensils don’t go well with nonstick cooking pots. Metal is bad for a nonstick surface. It scratches the non-stick layer, and soon, you’ll see rice sticking to the scratched part of the pot. So, if you have a nonstick pot, you should go for a wooden or plastic material for the rice cooker.
- Stainless steel pots suit all. But they require a bit of cleaning after cooking. If you can compromise on this aspect, stainless steel inner pots are best for all kinds of rice cookers.
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