If you’re just looking for the best, take a look at the Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD. It’s fast, simple to use, has a great capacity for the average home, and… well, it’s just great all the way around. Snap it up while you can. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little bit more specialized, then we invite you to dive into our top picks and then educate yourself with our guide to make sure the rice cooker you pick is ideal for your culinary style and home.
Rice cookers are one of the best things you can add to your kitchen. While many “one-hit wonder” styles of kitchen appliances see only rare usage, many people find themselves using a rice cooker on a very frequent basis. Even better, modern rice cookers have been adapted to cook more than just the traditional Japanese-style white rice which most people associate with the devices. Indeed, no matter what kind of rice you may favor, chances are there’s something out there which will ease your preparation.
If you need a solid rice cooker with a generous capacity, then you’ll be in good hands with this one. It may not be the high-end wonderkin dream machine, but it’ll definitely serve the average household for a long time and make your cooking a lot easier.
Top 5 Rice Cookers
|Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD||Fuzzy Logic||4 cups uncooked||Check Price|
|Aroma||Standard||3 cups uncooked||Check Price|
|Instant Pot DUO60||Fuzzy Logic||24 cups cooked||Check Price|
|Aroma Housewares||Standard||30 cups uncooked||Check Price|
|Zojirushi NS-TSC18||Fuzzy Logic||10 cups cooked||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Rice Cooker
Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD
Most people are going to be looking for a blend of size, quality, and great price and the ARC-914SBD delivers. With a 4 cups uncooked capacity and logic sensors to allow you to cook multiple types of rice its super handy.
It can also be used as a steamer for dishes to be served with the rice… while the rice is cooking. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for a rice cooker, but it’s definitely useful and most people will find this feature super handy from time to time.
It even has a delay timer so that you can set up your meals in the morning when you’re high energy and get the food ready when you walk in the door from work. How’s that for convenience?
Pros and Cons
- 4 cups uncooked capacity
- Can steam food while cooking rice
- Easy to program
- Delayed timer
- Doesn’t have the longevity of high-end options
- External build-quality is only middling
2. Best Small Rice Cooker
Aroma 3 Cups Uncooked
Not everyone needs an enormous cooker, and the larger you go the more you hurt the longevity of your rice cooker by cooking small amounts. If you’re in need of frequent, small batches of rice then this smaller option from Aroma will serve you well.
Like its highly recommended bigger cousin, this one can also steam veggies and meat while you’re already cooking your rice.
Unfortunately, there’s one problem: this one only really handles white rice. On the other hand, that also makes it super simple to operate, rather than having to program anything while you’re going along so it’s a tradeoff.
If you’re looking for a small rice cooker, snatch this bad boy up. It’ll make adding rice to your meals amazingly simple.
Pros and Cons
- Small size and capacity for single person or couples
- Amazingly simple to operate
- Affordable pricing
- Great build-quality for the price
- Limited to white rice
- Not programmable at all
3. Best Multi-Function Rice Cooker
Instant Pot DUO60
Perhaps calling this a rice cooker is pushing it a bit, but when it came up in the list of products we were looking at we decided it was way too cool to just overlook. It can handle just about anything you might want to cook, and its performance at every single task it’s made for is utterly fantastic.
The only real problem with it is the price, but when you consider the fuzzy logic circuits and the ability to cook just about anything as well as give you perfect rice it’s awesome for one thing: it’s not a one-trick pony like your average cooker so the substantial space it takes up is well deserved.
If you’re looking to minimize the amount of space taken with your rice cooker and other appliances, then you may want to dig deep and pony up the cash for the Instant Pot. It’s multiple uses truly put it in a league of its own.
Pros and Cons
- 7-in-1 functioning
- Can cook any type of rice
- High build-quality
- Programmable to a high degree
- Can be a bit difficult to understand how to use initially
4. Best Large Rice Cooker
Aroma Housewares 60-Cup
It might be overkill for most homes, but for events and the like it’s sometimes a requirement to fill out huge amounts of rice. If you’re in the market for a rice cooker which can serve a real banquet then this one from Aroma makes a perfect option.
The best part of all: it’s still affordable. We wouldn’t recommend it for a restaurant, but for the occasional big mixer it’ll definitely let you handle an insane amount of rice without an insane amount of pots.
On top of that, it’s super simple to use.
If you’re in need of a serious amount of rice, then this 60 cup rice cooker is right up your alley. It’s a bit much for most home use however.
Pros and Cons
- Fixes an obscene amount of rice at one time
- Simple to use
- Made for continuous usage
- Sturdy design
- Not suitable for daily usage
- Longevity leaves something to be desired
5. Best High-End Rice Cooker
If you’ve been looking to spend some serious money to get the best rice cooker in town, well, you should be looking at a brand like Zojirushi. This rice cooker might be simple, but if you’re careful with it then it may be the last one you ever need to buy.
It comes with delayed time settings, easy-to-use controls, and a retractable power cord. You can also pick the beep or chime that you think will best alert you when time comes for you to chow down.
The main draw, however, is that this one is sure to last for a super long time.
If you’re willing to invest the money, then this may be the last rice cooker you ever need to buy. Snap it up and enjoy the perks.
Pros and Cons
- Great capacity
- Easy-to-use controls
- Brown rice setting included
- Can be used for baking cakes as well
- Very expensive
- Not very fast at cooking
Who Needs a Rice Cooker?
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a rice cooker for everyone who cooks at home. Rice has rapidly become one of the staple foods in most cuisines, after all, and it’s versatile and filling which makes it right at home alongside pretty much anything you might find.
If you cook rice even a couple of times a week, you’ll probably get your money’s worth in saved effort with one of these appliances within a very short time span.
On the other hand, if you only prepare rice a couple of times a month then you may want to stick with the pot, particularly if you prefer rice other than white rice.
A Littled Tidbit: Cup Sizes
Hands down, the best rice cookers currently on the market are still Japanese ones. They developed them first and they’ve stayed on the leading edge of things.
There’s one caveat when you pick one of these cookers up, however: Japanese “cups” are 200mL, compared to the 240mL American cup. That means you can overload your rice cooker in a hurry when it comes time to load things, so keep the cup that your cooker comes with.
This will save you a lot of frustration. We’re not going to detail how we know, but suffice to say it was a lesson well-learned.
Types of Rice Cooker
The first rice cookers were essentially double boilers. The entire idea was just to be able to put in some rice and water, push a button, and get things done without any further hassle. Nowadays, things can be a little bit more complicated… if you want them to be.
Jar-o-mat and traditional rice cookers definitely have their uses, and the fact that you can just press a single button makes them preposterously simple to use. Of course, you’re also going to be limited to white rice when you’re cooking them since they pretty much just go through a single heat sequence.
The only difference between these two types is that jar-o-mats have a hinged lid with a gasket that keeps things warm for longer than the old glass-styled lids.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on getting into cooking all sorts of different rice, then you may want to consider making the investment into a more expensive computerized rice cooker. These models are much more variable but they come with two main advantages:
- A slower mode which can be used to ensure picture perfect rice. This will take longer than you’d normally spend cooking rice, but the precise temperature control is great for some applications.
- Some computerized rice cookers can handle multiple types of rice. This is awesome for those who like to keep their diet varied, or primarily rely on a different variety of rice than the usual white fare for their cuisine needs.
We recommend a computerized rice cooker for most people. Unless you’re just planning on using your cooker for plain white rice, then there’s really no need and modern technology has lowered the prices of these units quite a bit.
The best cookers will employ fuzzy logic. These cost considerably more, but they’re great for a wider variety of uses than any other type of cooker. The menus are usually simple to navigate and they can make life a lot easier.
There are also induction rice cookers currently on the market. These high-tech variants are almost brand-new technology… so expect them to be quite expensive in addition to being some of the best on the market. They’re mostly useful for those who find themselves making frequent measuring errors, since induction cooking can make up for it and not burn your rice.
How Much Rice?
Most families will find themselves only preparing one or two cups of rice for a night. On the other hand, some people really like their rice and use it as the base for multiple dishes throughout the day, for those people it makes sense to have a larger capacity cooker.
For most people, a 3-4 cup model should be sufficient in all but extreme circumstances.
Keep in mind that many rice cookers have a minimum amount that can be prepared using them as well. For instance, a model which is designed with 14 cups at maximum capacity may not be able to only prepare one or two cups on the lower end of things.
For those who plan on heavy usage and often do dinner for parties: look for a rice cooker with a wide range of sizes.
And remember our caveat above, most of us are used to preparing American cups of rice and the Japanese models will use a slightly smaller “cup” when it comes down to it.
Even if you don’t eat a whole lot of rice, if you pick wisely you can end up with a rice cooker which will allow you to get a lot of usage.
Since these simple devices are made to heat water, they actually have quite a few different options available which can be just as useful as cooking rice to the right household:
- Some cookers will enable you to cook dry cereals. In other words, you can make your morning oatmeal in bulk with the push of a button, which is super handy for those who are busy in the morning but still want to make sure they get a hearty breakfast down the hatch.
- Other cookers are able to steam vegetables. Of course, a lot of us like to serve steamed vegetables with rice… so it’s kind of a dubious extra and you’ll probably want a decent collapsible colander anyways.
- Some of our favorites were those which can be used to heat stews and soups. Talk about a dual-pronged usage, since either rice or a soup occurs alongside most complete meals it can be a serious time saver.
Any of the above have their obvious applications, and some can even be used in other ways. Take a look at what the manufacturer recommends for the best results and you might just be surprised.
If you spend the money on a more expensive rice cooker, it only makes sense to take good care of it so that it lasts as long as possible. In addition to the usual warnings, such as keeping the heating element clean, keep the following tips in mind so that you can prolong the life and usefulness of your appliance:
- Always rinse rice in a strainer or separate bowl rather than in your cooker. Rinsing it within them has a tendency to scratch up the non-stick finish which can turn from an aesthetic blemish into a serious pain if the damage becomes too much.
- Even if it’s rated to do so, try to purchase a rice cooker that uses around what you cook during an average meal. Cooking just two or three cups of rice in a cooker which yields ten or more cups will lead to a shorter lifespan.
- Don’t add oil, salt, butter or whatever other accompaniments you use with your rice directly into the cooker during its heating cycle. Instead, add them afterwards and mix in a bowl if you desire them, they can both do a number on the coating and escaped fats can cause some serious damage.
No appliance is going to last forever, but if you keep the above in mind you’ll be able to end up with a rice cooker that lasts a lot longer than if you were to start making errors right from the outset.
Rice cookers are extremely useful appliances, particularly if you’re willing to bite the bullet and purchase one with fuzzy logic capabilities. It might be a bit of an investment, but the right cooker will leave you with a device that does more than just produce the perfect fluffy rice, it might just become one of your favorite kitchen companions.