Why Buy a Rice Cooker?
Perfect rice cooked on a stove needs constant attention. Rice that is not cooked long enough will have a hard, grainy taste, while rice cooked too long tastes mushy and leaves a difficult clean up job afterward. Rice cookers take the guesswork out of this versatile meal base. The most basic models make cooking rice as simple as flipping a switch. More sophisticated rice cookers allow you to adjust for different kinds of rice, from basic basmati to perfectly prepared sticky rice for sushi. Keep in mind, rice cookers aren’t only for cooking rice. Models like the Aroma 6-Cup Pot-Style, Zojirushi NS-TSC10, and Panasonic SR-DE103 can be used for cooking food such as oatmeal or jambalaya, and even for steaming vegetables or baking.
Rice Cookers: What to Look For
When you’re shopping for an electric rice cooker, you’ll need to consider the needs of your household. How much rice will the entire family require? Do you need this for only white rice, or are you interested in other grains? Consider the size, the pot design, and the features you’re likely to want.
Rice cookers measure capacity by the cup, and should be used at or near full capacity for best results. Small rice cookers can make as little as three to four cups, which is ideal for a dorm room, while larger models will produce as much as 10 cups or more, such as you might need for a family gathering.
Rice cookers generally fit into one of three design styles: pot style, cool-touch style or egg shaped. Pot-style rice cookers are perfect if you’re buying your first cooker. Based on the original Japanese design, an inner pot is placed in a rice cooker body and can usually be removed. This design also usually comes with a clear, removable lid. Cool-touch rice cookers reduce the chance of injury by being completely cool on the outside. The lid opens with a hinge and locks during cooking, producing fluffier rice. Most units allow for the inner pot to be removed as well. Egg-shaped rice cookers have a sleek, futuristic look. The design allows for a panel of advanced digital programming in front of the pot. These models are the closest you can get at home to the restaurant quality of commercial rice cookers.
Some of the best rice cookers use fuzzy logic, which basically means the machine is programmed to think the same way a human would about cooking rice. It can incorporate non-definitive terms like “slightly” or “almost” in its process, and it can take into account varying conditions. For example, rice often cooks more slowly on a cold day. The machine will consider this, and increase the heating element. Fuzzy logic cookers will even compensate for human errors in measurement and allow you to choose the consistency of the rice you prefer.
Always choose a non-stick pan when you can. It will save you time on cleaning. Some rice cookers also come with utensils, like attached plastic spoons or steamer baskets. These models will steam vegetables while the rice cooks, adding extra flexibility in the kitchen.
Rice is a staple in nearly every culture, from Spanish rice and sushi rice to Arborio for risotto. A rice cooker is a great solution; you can enjoy fresh, perfectly cooked rice and appreciate the convenience of not needing to constantly monitor the pot.
Rice cookers help home cooks deliver tasty, fluffy rice without worrying about burning precious grains on the stovetop. These easy-to-use appliances make sense for any house where rice is a staple: They don’t take up much space, they’re easy to clean, and you can spend as little — or as much — as you want depending on the features you’d like. ConsumerSearch editors evaluate expert and owner reviews to find the overall best rice cookers. We also pick the best microwaveable, induction, steamer, and small rice cookers.
Best rice cooker
Reviewers say the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer is an all-around star that should please most serious rice lovers, but at a lower price point than some other fully featured models. A wide range of menu settings lets users cook several types of rice to perfection, including sushi rice, sweet rice, and brown rice. A programmable timer and an easy-to-clean insert add to ease of use, and a unique memory feature helps the rice cooker remember your preferences for each type of rice.