If you ask us, perfectly cooked rice is practically a delicacy. Whether it’s prepared with flavor and served in a new way we’ve never tried before or simply set down in front of us quite plain, we’ll enjoy it no matter what when the texture is just right.
Of course, cooking rice in a pot on the stovetop is quite simple, but nothing really beats the results of rice that have been made in a quality rice cooker. Suddenly it’s like you’re eating something that was made in a reputable restaurant that puts care and time into even its side dishes until they’ve reached perfection.
Overall, we find that not many people realize just how easy to use and affordable rice cookers can be. That’s why we’ve been gathering the links to the best rice cooker models we could find online. Shopping online gives you a better opportunity to consider the pros and cons of the appliances you’re looking at so that you can make the best choice for yourself in the end.
What does a rice cooker do?
The best rice cookers are pre-programmed with heat and time combinations that are proven to be the best for different kinds of rice. Most of them also come with measuring cups that help you add the perfect amount of water and rice in the right ratio. The rice cooker heats the inner pot, stops at the right temperature so the water will boil and be absorbed by the rice, and then cools to a lesser temperature to keep the rice warm and perfectly textured until it’s served.
Who should use a rice cooker?
Anyone and everyone can benefit from investing in a rice cooker for their home! In fact, even people who only enjoy rice sometimes might still find a rice cooker useful since they’re actually effective for making all kinds of other things too. Mainly, people who want to streamline their cooking process or need help not over-or under-cooking their rice are the ones who will benefit the most from buying a rice cooker for their home.
Best Rice Cookers
If you still feel like you need some guidance in choosing the rice cooker model that will work the best for you, check out this list. We’ve compared and contrasted the best machines we came across in our search.
Even though you’re a rice enthusiast, are you actually looking at rice cookers in hopes of finding one that’s ideal for more diverse use too? Then you’ll appreciate how this model from Aroma Housewares was specifically made with settings that work for not just rice but also things like jambalaya and even sponge cake. This rice cooker has a digital panel that’s simple to navigate and comes with a non-stick inner pot, rice spatula, measuring cup, and ratios guide for making different things successfully.
Some previous purchasers, though happy with the actual food results, found a flaw in the hooking clamp that closes the lid tightly during cooking. Individuals who used the cooker heavily found that the hook wore out quickly and broke because it is made from plastic rather than metal.View price on Amazon
- Durable, easy to clean machine
- Good range of useful accessories
- Pre-programmed settings meant for perfect rice, but also other entrees and even desserts
- Plastic lid hook is prone to breaking with heavy use
If you haven’t experienced the diverse ease and joy of cooking with an instant pot-style multi-cooker, then we’re sorry to tell you that you’ve been missing out. This model from the actual named brand Instant Pot is the perfect example of what we mean. This machine has over 10 built-in safety features, including overheating protection. It features sensors that can automatically adjust the temperature during cooking to account for the food inside. It also comes pre-programmed with 14 one-touch cook settings that ensure making essentially anything is easy and accurate.
In some select units, some previous buyers found a flaw in the pressure indicating valve. This meant that their machine stopped some of its advertised sensing capabilities after a lot of use and would therefore just continue to boil instead of swapping to warm after the right period of time. The problem is not a common defect, but it’s a possibility for those who intend to rely on their hot pot heavily.View price on Amazon
- 14 diverse one-touch cook settings for different dishes
- Over 10 built-in safety features to protect the food, machine, and you during use
- Generous but reasonable size that enables you to make various portions
- Hard usage might cause failure in sensors on some units, preventing swap from boiling to warming
Are you actually more concerned with the quality of the machine and your rice than with how many different dishes it can make, so you’re looking for something durable but slightly more simple? Then maybe this model from Zojirushi is the one for you. This model, though sizeable, is built with a handle and a retractable cord that makes it quite portable. It’s durable and easy to clean on both the outside and the inside. It also features different warming settings and delayed start timers, letting you set it up long before the dish is actually needed, but get the food cooked and keep it warm just in time, hours later.
Although most previous buyers report complete satisfaction with the machine itself and its cooking results, it’s worth noting that the company doesn’t offer a warranty on this model. This means that, should the unit you receive turn out to be defective in any way, there is no automatic repair or replacement policy in place like most other rice cookers have.View price on Amazon
- Easy to clean interior and exterior
- Simplified features for perfect rice with extreme ease
- Portable thanks to lifting handle and retractable cord
- Good range of useful warming settings and delayed start times
- No warranty offered, making the low risk of defective hardware more of a serious consideration
If you’re going to invest in any kind of new kitchen appliance, would you prefer it to be something super convenient that will help you make an entire meal in itself? Then this combination rice cooker and food steamer from Aroma Housewares is just the kind of thing you’re looking for. This doubled stacked cooker features a larger pot in the main appliance interior, where water and rice (or other ingredients) are added, but it also gives you a steaming tray that nestles right into the top of the rice pot, letting the steam from the water cook the food above as the rice boils and soaks it up. It all happens with the flick of a single switch!
Now, most people see the lack of customizability and pre-programming in this model as a pro since there’s an appeal and ease to having such a simple, on-switch design. Others, however, found the temperature a little stronger and higher than they were anticipating, so they became disappointed at the lack of adjustability this machine features.View price on Amazon
- Perfectly-fitting steaming tray sits on top of the rice pot
- Super easy to both clean and use
- Eye-catching color
- One-switch feature means temperature and warming time are fixed and cannot be adjusted
If you’re still interested in a design that will let you both cook and steam with simplicity, but you never like to settle on the first you see, here’s a slightly more durable option from Cuisinart. This square cooker is made from brushed stainless steel that makes the exterior of the cooker just as easy to clean as the inside pot. It operates on a one-switch system, making things extremely straightforward. It comes with an effective steaming tray, a measuring cup, and recommendations for water ratios for rice, vegetables, meat, and other foods that can be steamed.
Because the temperature on this model is not adjustable, since it was built for one-step ease, some customers found they had issues with water boiling over. Although the lid is made to fit snugly, it is not rubber lined or airtight, so it does leave room around the edges for boiling over.View price on Amazon
- Durable and easy to clean
- Simple, straight forward one-switch system
- Bonus measuring cup and recommendations for water ratios for all different dishes
- Some previous buyers experienced issues with water boiling over
Are you still feeling rather enthusiastic indeed about the idea of getting something straightforward and straightforward to use, but you have a large family who eats rice all the time, and you need a larger size? Then this commercial design offered by Panasonic might be the best choice for you. Like many others, this rice cooker gives you a custom-sized measuring cup (along with a scoop) that will help you get the perfect ratio of rice to water for ideal texture in the end. The machine and all its accessories are easy to clean and, despite the machine also being warmer, the pot cools quickly when you remove it, meaning that it also makes a great serving bowl.
Just like with some other rice cookers, this one is swapped between cook and warm with the flip of a single switch. After a certain amount of quite regular use, however, some previous buyers found that the switch became worn out or loose. The most you use the machine, make sure you really click it to cooking mode. Otherwise, you might come back in an hour and find that the switch has fallen back down, and you still just have water and hard rice grains, only slightly warmer than before.View price on Amazon
- Easy to clean inner pot cools quickly to work as a serving bowl
- Simple system that is very straight forward to use
- Larger than average size for cooking more rice at once
- Comes with rice paddle and custom sized measuring cup for perfect rice to water ratio
- Over time and with wear, the switch to swap from warming to cooking can become loose
If you’re still in the market for a rice cooker that’s much larger in size than the average home piece, but you’re not sure a singular temperature model is the best choice for you, then you might get along better with this model from Rinnai. Its stainless steel and porcelain exterior are just as easy to clean as its steel inner pot. A custom measuring cup comes with the set to guarantee the right water to rice ratio, and an adjustable dial helps you set the right temperature according to what kind of rice you’re using and how much.
While some buyers found this feature to be a perk, others were slightly put off by the fact that this rice cooker actually runs on gas power, more like a conventional stovetop element. This is a model that has mostly been phased out in favor of electrical heating elements that are often regarded as quicker heating, safer, and more modern. This slightly more old-fashioned manner of heating is of a kind that would mostly be reserved for restaurants now.View price on Amazon
- Easy to clean (outside and inside)
- Adjustable temperature to account for serving size
- Custom measuring cup for perfect grains to water ratio
- Larger sized pot for making a larger quantity at a time
- Cooker is powered by gas heating element rather than electrical
Would you actually prefer a blend of the model you just saw above with a more automatic unit that doesn’t need adjusting? Then we think you might prefer the way this model from Town Food Service Equipment works instead. This rice cooker is designed to cook the rice exceptionally quickly for its size, despite holding a larger quantity; it reaches the perfect texture in 22 minutes. This cooker works like the one-touch versions but with two separate buttons for the settings. Pressing one sets it to cook, and the other sets it to warm. Like many others, this model comes with a handy measuring cup that helps you get the perfect water to rice ratio.
Besides the fact that this machine being powered by gas might be considered a perk or a drawback, this machine has one other contentious feature. Rather than swapping automatically from cooking to warming on its own at the end of the cycle, this cooker requires that you actually swap settings manually. This theoretically gives you more control over your rice texture, but it also requires that you actually remember to make the swap.View price on Amazon
If you’re still leaning towards the basic, straightforward automatic switch models but you haven’t seen one quite large enough yet, here’s a unit from Aroma that just might save your day. This cooker gives you the classic, easy one-touch option that cooks until the rice is done and then swaps automatically to warming. Unlike some models along those lines, however, this machine has the added bonus of an actual power button, rather than relying on being plugged in or unplugged to turn on and off. Both the interior and exterior and easy to clean, and the custom measuring cup, like the ones you saw before, will help you get your ratios just right.
Even though the interior pot inside the cooker is advertised as being non-stick, some previous buyers report that this wasn’t the case in their experience. Particularly with some stickier types of rice, many people found that at least a little bit of rice will always stick to the bottom of the pot, right in the center, no matter how it’s prepared or cooked.View price on Amazon
- Larger than average quantity in a basic, automatic unit
- Features automatic swapping from cooking to warming
- Turns on and off with an actual power button, rather than just by plug
- Interior pot tends to stick in the bottom center despite advertising of non-stick materiality
What can be made in a rice cooker?
Believe it or not, rice cookers can actually be used to make a lot more than just rice! Sure, they help you get the ideal conditions for cooking perfectly textured rice with hardly more effort than the push of a button, but the average rice cooker’s pre-programmed settings are also helpful for making:
- Oatmeal and hot cereals
- Steamed vegetables
- Slow-cooked soups, beans, or stews (rice cookers work much like small crockpots)
- Poached fruit
Do you know another foodie and rice lover who has been thinking about investing in their own rice cooker but could use a bit of help choosing the best one? Share this post with them, so they have all kinds of quality options to consider.