Did you know that you can bake a cake in a rice cooker?
With so much functionality and features, it can seem impossible to know where to begin.
That is where we come in.
We have scoured the furthest reaches of the internet to bring you everything you need to know about rice cookers and some of the best ones on the market.
Here are our top 10 rice cookers for 2018.
Top Rated Electric Rice Cooker in 2018
|Rice Cooker||Best For||Price|
|Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker (Editor’s Pick)||Best for Brown Rice||Price|
|Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker (Editor’s Pick)||Best for Different Rice Variety||Price|
|Proctor Silex Rice Cooker (Editor’s Pick)||Best for Small Space||Price|
|Panasonic Induction Rice Cooker||Best for Professional Rice Cooking||Price|
|Gourmia Rice Cooker||Best for Large-Scale Rice Cooking||Price|
|Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker||Best for Home Cooking||Price|
|Midea 3-Cup Small Rice Cooker||Best for Small Families||Price|
|Panasonic Rice Cooker||Best Portable Rice Cooker||Price|
|Aroma Rice Cooker||Best for Large Meals||Price|
|Tiger Corporation Rice Cooker||Best for Easy Dinners||Price|
1. Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker — Best for Brown Rice
This rice cooker is great for whipping up white and brown rice.
It may lack some of the functionality of more expensive rice cookers, but if you want perfect rice every time, then you have come to the right place.
You can make up to six cups of rice with this nifty little rice cooker, and when you are done cooking your rice, the cooker will automatically turn on the keep warm function to keep your rice warm without cooking it further.
This is great if you ever forget about your food when it is cooking. Even if you are delayed in getting back to your rice cooker, you will still have perfect rice when you get there.
This rice cooker also has a non-stick bowl which makes it extremely easy to remove the food when you are done and offers you easy cleanup too.
The steaming baskets are a great addition, and they really open up your options when you are deciding what to cook for dinner.
You can cook vegetables or fish as you cook your rice and have all of your food ready at the same time and prepared in the same appliance.
The steamer basket is also large enough that you can steam up large batches of delicious and nutritious vegetables.
The glass lid on the top is made from tempered glass, so it is hard to break, and you will be able to see the food inside.
This is a great benefit if you like to check on your rice as it is cooking. If you have to remove the lid, you can suffer from rice which is not moist enough.
Being able to keep the lid on and also see what is going on inside allows you to keep an eye on the food without losing out on any of the quality.
We love that this rice cooker comes with extra utensils.
The steaming trays will give you options. The measuring cup ensures that you get the perfect quality of rice every time. The ladle helps you to dish up your food without scratching the inside of the bowl.
This is a great rice cooker for anyone who wants to focus on rice mainly.
It is an easy cooker to use, and the controls are intuitive. This is an affordable product and does precisely what it is set out to do.
- Keep-warm function
- Suitable for both brown and white rice
- Removable inner pot
- Steaming basket
- Lacks functionality
2. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker — Best for Rice Variety
This rice cooker is perfect for those who love to cook rice and cook it a lot.
It was made to prepare many varieties of rice, and there are dedicated functions for white, brown, sushi, and more.
You can even cook mixed rice in this without having to worry about the different cooking times.
This takes the pain out of cooking multiple varieties of rice and keeps you experimenting in the kitchen.
The brown rice setting will cook even the hardest and toughest brown rice. The rice is cooked at a lower temperature for longer, resulting in a well-cooked but not mushy rice.
The sushi rice setting will ensure that you get rice which is firm and easy to handle.
The mixed-rice setting uses preheat for better absorption. The temperature is lowered, and the moisture is given a chance to be absorbed.
The flexibility of this rice cooker means that you do not have to worry about tackling rice that is notoriously harder to cook that simple white rice.
You also have the option to cook porridge in this rice cooker.
The result will be a fluffy breakfast which will get you started for the day.
With the delay function, you can set the rice cooker to have your breakfast ready when you wake.
There are also options to create cakes in your rice cooker (who knew you could bake cakes in there?) and steam foods.
The Micom technology also means that you get perfect rice every time.
If you want to get serious about your rice cooking, then this technology will ensure that you get the perfect rice every time, no matter which variety of rice you are cooking.
The cooking time and temperature will be adjusted depending on how your rice is cooked.
The technology will also monitor the pre-soaking and warming of your grains after they are done cooking.
The best part is that the technology will also monitor your rice as it rests before it is ready to eat.
This is the perfect rice cooker for anyone who is serious about cooking rice. If you want to add rice to your diet, then this will let you do that while still allowing you to get creative with your rice cooking.
- 5.5-cup capacity
- Fuzzy logic technology
- Beep signals
- Delay settings
- Stainless steel exterior
3. Proctor Silex Rice Cooker — Best for Small Space
This is a great rice cooker if you are short on space.
There are two ways people use rice cookers: they either use it every day and have it on the countertop or use it occasionally and store it in a cupboard when not in use.
This rice cooker is perfect for both. If you are using this rice cooker every day, then it is small enough to sit on your counter without getting in the way.
If you are only using it occasionally, then it is also small enough to be stored in almost any cupboard.
One thing we love about this rice cooker is how easy it is to use.
You do not need to pick up the user’s guide to figure out how this rice cooker works. One look at the controls and you will see how intuitive and simple they are.
If you are looking for a rice cooker which will get the job done without any of the drama of a complicated rice cooker, then this is the one for you.
When you are done cooking the rice, this rice cooker will also automatically switch to the keep-warm function.
This is great if you are worried about forgetting about your food as it is cooking. The keep warm function will keep your rice ready to eat without you having to worry about overcooking it.
The inner pot in this rice cooker is also non-stick to help you with the cooking and the cleaning.
It is also dishwasher-safe, so you do not have to worry about the cleaning when you are one cooking. Simply empty the pot and throw it in the dishwasher for a comfortable night of eating.
We like that you also have the option of a steam basket for creating nutritious vegetables alongside your rice, or for steaming fish as the focus of the main meal.
This is a great rice cooker for saving space in your kitchen, but do not be fooled by the size of this rice cooker. It may be small, but it is incredibly versatile and powerful.
- Non-stick inner pot
- See-through lid
- Cooks a variety of rice
- Lower quality than others
4. Panasonic Induction Rice Cooker — Best for Professional Rice Cooking
This rice cooker is for those who want to elevate their rice cooking and take it to the next level.
If you care about getting the best from your rice, and rice is a big part of every meal, then this rice cooker will cook the best rice you have ever tasted.
It will cook it consistently, giving you the best tasting rice every time you make it.
There are 13 pre-set functions to choose from. There is a variety of rice which you can cook at the touch of a button.
You can also cook hot cereals, soups, cakes, and more.
You can use this rice cooker as a steamer or as a slow cooker. No matter what you are cooking, the pre-set functions will ensure that you get the perfect results every time.
The induction style of cooking also ensures that the food is heated throughout instead of just from the bottom.
This makes the food more consistent and gives you a professional taste which other rice cookers cannot provide.
The inner pan is made up of seven layers and has a diamond coating, but what does this mean for you?
The pan is one of the most durable on the market. You can expect to use the pan for many years without any wear and tear.
The pan is also one of the most effective at generating consistent heat through the food with no loss in efficiency.
The multiple layers also help to prevent any clumping of the rice, and the rice will not stick to the pan.
Not only will it help you to achieve the best rice you have ever cooked, but it will also give you the easiest cleanup after cooking.
This rice cooker seems to have it all, but there are some extra accessories thrown in too to make your life even easier.
The steaming basket will give you the option to steam food as well as cook your rice in this rice cooker.
The rice and cereal scoops help you to deliver the rice from the pot to the plates without disturbing the non-stick coating.
The measuring cup ensures that you are always getting the correct ratio of rice to water. Everything here combines to give you perfect rice every time.
This is at the perfect rice cooker for anyone who is passionate about rice. This cooker may cost a little, but the quality of rice that you get from it really cannot be compared.
- Induction cooking
- Generous capacity
- 13 pre-set programs
- Keep warm function
- Lots of accessories
- Not intuitive
5. Gourmia Rice Cooker — Best for Large-Scale Rice Cooking
This is a great rice cooker for cooking large batches of rice without having to shell out a lot of money.
In fact, the affordability is one of the main reasons why we would recommend this rice cooker.
You can cook up large batches if you like, or you can do some small-scale cooking, but you will not find a rice cooker anywhere close to this size at the listed price.
If you have a large family or are getting into commercial cooking, then this is the rice cooker you need.
You start with the included measuring cup to get the exact ratio to cook the perfect pot of rice.
The digital controls are where you stop next. The digital display is clear and practical. It is easy to see what the controls do, and you should be able to start out with this rice cooker without having to read the instructions.
The digital screen will help you to control the cooking of your rice.
You can set a timer to delay cooking of your food if you have to go out and cannot start it on time, and there is also a keep warm function which will keep your food warm and ready to eat until you are ready for it.
Once your rice is cooked, you can use the included spatula to remove the rice without damaging the inside.
The lid is also removable, so getting into the cooker is easier, and when you have served up the food, the removable cover makes it easier to clean.
No matter how much rice you are cooking, you are going to get the perfect batch of rice, every time.
If you need to cook a lot of rice, look no further than this rice cooker. It has enough space to cook up to 20 cups of rice, and each batch which you cook is going to come out perfectly.
- Generous capacity
- Cookbook included
- Steam basket
- Keep warm function
- Delay Timer
- Large footprint
6. Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker — Best for Home Cooking
This is a great rice cooker for whipping up meals at home.
The whole family is going to enjoy the rice you cook, and they will also enjoy the other foods which you can cook up in this rice cooker.
It is built to handle regular rice exceptionally well, but there are also settings for brown rice, multigrain, cereals, and other grains.
It will cook them all exceptionally well, allowing you to surprise your family with a variety of rice and grains for dinner.
The great thing about this rice cooker is that you can also create entire meals in the single pot.
Included is a steam tray and has easy to use push button controls plus a delayed start function and an automatic keep-warm setting.
The steaming baskets allow you to steam up fresh fish and vegetables.
Not only does this mean that you can lock in the nutrients and serve up healthy foods, but you can create a one-pot supper for all of your family.
Imagine laying down plates of salmon and asparagus on a bed of wild rice.
Home cooking does not need to be difficult, and with this rice cooker, it is not, but what about the cleanup?
Well, you will be happy to know that the cleanup is also a breeze.
The inner pot is removable and non-stick, meaning that you can almost wipe the residue from the inside, but you will not have to as the container is also dishwasher safe, so you can throw it in the dishwasher and not have to worry about it.
We like that there are pre-programmed functions, and you can set the rice cooker to cook at the touch of a button.
The countdown timer will let you know how much cooking time is left, and if you are not there to remove the rice when it is cooked, then the keep warm function will keep the rice in pristine condition until you do get there.
This is the best rice cooker we have found for cooking rice at home for your family. It gives you the versatility to make a large batch of the rice of your choice or to steam up an entire meal (with or without rice).
- 8-cup capacity
- Steamer basket included
- Measuring cup
- Stainless steel
- Lacks professional functionality
7. Midea 3-Cup Small Rice Cooker — Best for Small Families
The Midea rice cooker is an ideal rice cooker for a small family.
Cooking rice is quick and easy if you have an on-the-go lifestyle, especially since the cooker switches off automatically and turns the cooker into ‘’keep warm only’’ mode.
There is also a steam basket included which not only allows you to cook rice, but you can also steam fish and vegetables.
The rice cooker lets you enjoy several different settings, which include Congee, White rice, Brown rice (Wholegrain or Wild rice), Quick rice, Oatmeal, Baby porridge, Soup, Stew, Slow cook (up to 10 hours) and Reheat.
The inside of the cooker is constructed of five kinds of different material. This allows the cooker to heat fast and to reserve the heat for longer.
By doing this, it also allows the rice to fully absorb the water, which gives extra moisture to your rice. The vessel of the cooker is also safe for the dishwasher which makes cleaning up a breeze.
This is the perfect rice cooker for small families. If you love to cook rice but want an appliance which can do more than just that, then this is the appliance for you.¯
- Ideal size for a small family
- The inner-pot is non-stick
- Can also be used to steam vegetables
- The instruction manual is not easy to follow
8. Panasonic SR-G06FGL Rice Cooker — Best Portable Rice Cooker
The Panasonic SR-G06FGL rice cooker can offer up to 6 cups of cooked rice which makes it the perfect size for a small family.
It is constructed of aluminum (non-stick) which distributes the heat evenly to ensure the rice is cooked thoroughly. The non-stick also ensures an easy clean-up process.
One of the main features is the automatic shut-off setting which switches the cooker off automatically once it is fully cooked.
When the rice is done cooking, you can seal it in with the hinged lid.
There are carrying handles on the side to allow for easy transit. You do not need to worry about the rice cooling or escaping from the container.
The rice cooker could roll around in the back of your car, and the rice would stay sealed in.
Since it makes up to 6 cups of cooked rice, it is suited for singles, students, busy professionals or a small family of 2-3 people. If you are a busy person, you will also appreciate the fact that it can easily be cleaned.
- Glass Lid
- Stainless steel
- Easy to clean
- No vent on the cover for steam to be released
9. Aroma Rice Cooker — Best for Large Meals
This rice cooker will cook a lot of rice.
If you are having a family gathering or lots of friends around, this rice cooker will take care of all of the rice for you.
You can cook up to 20 cups of cooked rice, enough for up to 20 people, and there are dedicated functions for both white and brown rice.
When you are done cooking, there is a keep-warm function which will automatically be turned on, allowing you to dish up the rice as it is needed without having to let the remainder of the rice cool down.
As with most rice cookers, it has a delay timer, keep warm setting, and a rice measuring cup is included, plus a soup ladle, serving spatula, and steam tray.
This rice cooker is also great for cooking large meals for your family.
There is a large-sized steaming basket which can hold a lot of fish and vegetables. These foods can be cooked along with the rice to give you a complete meal which is not only incredibly healthy but which will also be utterly delicious too.
One extra function which we love is the Sauté-Then-Simmer (STS) function. This is perfect for foods such as Spanish rice.
The feature allows you to first brown foods. It will then switch over to the simmering function once liquid is added.
This opens up a whole new avenue of functionality which is not readily available in other rice cookers.
This is the perfect rice cooker for large family gatherings. You can cook a lot of rice for a lot of people. The STS function also adds something which a lot of rice cookers do not have.
- 20-cup capacity
- Stainless steel
- Display screen
- Large footprint
- Not as simple to use as others
10. Tiger Corporation Rice Cooker — Best for Easy Dinners
This rice cooker gives you some powerful functionality which allows you to create great rice and great meals.
At the touch of a button, you can switch between white and brown rice, cooking either perfectly every time.
There is also a synchronicity setting which allows you to cook main meals without having to worry about the different cooking times.
This is a great benefit if you are trying to plan an entire meal and do not want to have to worry about calculating the exact time to add each ingredient.
We also love that you can use this rice cooker as a slow cooker.
You have some great functionality with this rice cooker which opens you up to trying new things in the kitchen.
We love that you can cook the main dish in the slow cooker, rice afterward, or cook both at the same time as the synchronized option.
The added benefit of this nifty little cooker is that it is also effortless to clean once you are done cooking. Simply remove the non-stick pot and throw it in the dishwasher.
This is a great rice cooker for creating fluffy rice or entire meals. The fact that you can cook rice and other foods at the same time without worrying about overcooking or undercooking them is a big selling point.
- Steams food
- Slow cooker
- Easy to use
- Less functionality than others
Rice Cooker Buyer’s Guide
You do not have to go far back to see that rice was not a staple of households in the Western World.
Up until 20 years ago, rice was hardly a part of regular mealtimes. Now, most people will cook rice once a week.
How many other foods do you cook at least once a week?
A rice cooker will help you to prepare that rice to perfection.
How Does A Rice Cooker Work?
Cooking rice should be easy, but how often do you get clumps of goopy rice or hardened rice stuck to the side of the pot?
With so many things to go wrong, how exactly is rice cooked in a rice cooker?
Cooking rice occurs in four main stages.
The rice needs to sit in the water, the water needs to boil, the steam is absorbed by the rice, and then the rice needs to rest. Basically, you need water and heat to cook rice.
With a conventional rice cooker, the rice and the water sit inside the inner bowl. This bowl is inserted into the rice cooker shell (or outer bowl), and a lid is placed on top to keep the heat in.
Once the inner pot is in place and the rice cooker is plugged in, the heat will be turned on. This heat brings the water to a boil.
There is also a thermometer which checks the temperature of the water and adjusts it as necessary.
As the water reaches a continual boil, the rice will begin to absorb the water and become fluffy and delicious.
When this happens, the rice cooker will sense the change in temperature internally and turn the heat off (or switch to a keep-warm setting).
Why Do I Need A Rice Cooker?
Why would you need a rice cooker? Have you ever suffered through a meal of soggy rice? How about rice that had a little too much bite to it? How about stodgy and sticky rice?
Rice seems as if it should be a simple dish to cook, yet there are many things which can go wrong with it. A good rice cooker will give you perfect rice every time.
Rice cookers are not usually any quicker than conventional cooking methods (such as boiling the rice on a stovetop), but they are more consistent and convenient.
With a rice cooker, there are fewer mistakes to be made. You do not have to monitor the water once the correct amount is added.
You do not have to worry about the water boiling over the sides of the pot and making a mess.
You do not have to worry about having to change the temperature of the water once you have the rice started.
There are also many rice cookers which react to what is happening in the pot, delivering you the most consistent rice possible.
As with most modern kitchen appliances, you get more than what you bargained for.
With a rice cooker, you can often do more than just cook rice. Even the most basic rice cookers will often have settings for pasta and other grains (such as quinoa and couscous).
You will also find rice cookers with multiple cooking options, allowing you to cook foods such as risotto, brown rice, porridge, and yogurt.
You can also find rice cookers with slow cooker options, as well as models which will cook your food quicker than conventional methods.
One of the main problems in cooking rice is burning it.
If you put in too much water, then you are not going to have perfectly fluffy rice at the end of the cooking time.
If you put in too little water, then you run the risk of burning the rice at the bottom of the pan.
Even if you put in enough water, you can forget about it on the hob and burn it anyway. A rice cooker stops you from ever burning your rice.
When the water is gone from inside of the rice cooker, the temperature begins to rise. A rice cooker will sense this and turn off the heat. No more burnt rice.
Types Of Rice Cookers
When you think about rice cooking, you imagine a pot on a stove.
The rice and water go in, and delicious rice comes out. You would imagine that with food as simple as rice, there would not be a lot of choices when it comes to rice cookers.
While there are not an abundance of rice cooker types, there are some different models on the market. They range in price, quality, and the way they cook the rice.
Microwave Rice Cookers
Microwave rice cookers are the most inexpensive rice cookers to buy, and they are also among the simplest to use.
There are no electronics contained in a microwave rice cooker, so there is less which can go wrong, but you do need to have a microwave to be able to use one.
Microwave rice cookers are typically manufactured from plastic.
They have room for the rice and the water, and when you set the microwave to cook, the water will heat up and cook the rice. You can also use a microwave rice cooker to steam vegetables.
Conventional Rice Cookers
Conventional rice cookers are the most common rice cookers on the market and the type of rice cookers which you will see in most homes.
They generally have four main components. There is a heating plate, which is usually found at the bottom of the rice cooker.
This is the plate which will heat up the water to cook the rice. There is an external pot which contains all of the rice cooker components.
There is an inner pot which holds the rice and water while it is being cooked. There is also a lid to keep the heat inside.
Conventional rice cookers plug into the wall and use electricity to heat the inner bowl.
Conventional rice cookers are simple in their operation and use heat to warm the water in which the rice is cooked.
Most will come with a time and an auto-shutoff function. They usually also feature keep-warm functions.
Conventional rice cookers usually range from as small as 3 cups to as large as 10 cups. If you are looking for a commercial rice cooker, then you can find them in sizes as large as 60 cups.
Micom is a combination of the words ‘microchip’ and ‘computerized.’
There is a microchip inside of the rice cooker to adjust the cooking time and the temperature based on the information which is fed back by the sensors inside.
These cookers also plug into the wall and use electricity to heat the water inside, but the addition of the sensors and microchip means that they can adjust the settings of the rice cooker to give you perfect rice every time.
Micom with Induction Heating
We already discussed the micom aspect of the rice cooker, and you will also find that micom rice cookers also come with induction heaters.
This type of heating uses induction to create a magnetic field which creates instant heat in the inner pot. The rice cookers typically cost a lot more than ones with conventional heating elements, but they give a better quality of cooked rice.
Instead of the heat being generated only at the bottom of the pot, the heat is within the entire inner pot, so the rice is cooked more evenly throughout.
Micom with Pressurized Induction Heating
If you really want to go all out and have the money to do so, then you can go for a pressurized induction heater.
Pressure cooking allows you to raise the internal temperature of the rice well beyond what you can get with other cooking methods.
This means that you can cook your rice a lot faster, and you can also cook rice in different ways.
The texture, structure, and starches break down differently when you use pressure cooking, so you get more interesting cooking results.
Ease Of Use and Maintenance
A rice cooker, above all, should be easy to use.
Cooking rice is a simple procedure, and doing so in an appliance which is dedicated to rice cooking, should also be easy.
There is no point in buying an appliance which will cost you more time and energy to cook your rice. Having said that, there is also a balance to be had.
Some rice cookers are designed to include more functionality than just cooking white rice so you may have to spend a little time deciphering exactly how to use the rice cooker if there are a multitude of options.
For us, the true test of a good rice cooker is if you can use it without picking up the user guide.
There should be a few buttons on the rice cooker, and you should be able to know intuitively what each of the buttons does.
If you do not have a lot of experience using electronics, then we would recommend finding a rice cooker which has a lot of simplicity.
If you are a kitchen aficionado and want a rice cooker which can do everything, then you are going to want a model which is more complicated than a standard rice cooker.
It is usually easier to clean a rice cooker than it is to clean out a pot which has been used on a stove. The inner pots which are used in a rice cooker will usually have a curved bottom instead of a flat bottom.
They do not need to sit on a flat surface as they sit inside the outer shell of the rice cooker. This makes them easier to scrape and clean out, especially if they come with a spatula (which we recommend looking for).
When it comes to cleaning your rice cooker, we would recommend looking for two more features.
An inner bowl which is non-stick will be easier to clean than one that is not.
A spatula and a non-stick inner bowl will allow you to get all of the rice out easily, and then clean it effectively when you have done so.
You should also look for a rice cooker which is dishwasher safe.
This way, you do not have to worry about hand washing the inner bowl, and seeing as this is the only part which you need to clean, being able to throw it in the dishwasher makes cleaning a breeze.
What To Look For In A Rice Cooker
The price is a big factor in buying any appliance, and it is no different with a rice cooker. We always recommend that you start with a budget and then stick to what you can afford.
You should also be aware that spending a little more money will get you a better rice cooker, so you should make sure that your budget does not start too low.
If you go for the cheapest rice cooker, you may end up paying twice for it. If a rice cooker is cheap, there is a good chance that it will not last very long.
A high-quality rice cooker will cost you more money, but you are paying for better materials and craftsmanship.
With a high-quality rice cooker, you will not have to pay for repairs or even to replace it, until you have used it for a prolonged period of time.
It goes without saying that if you want to cook a lot of rice, you need a large rice cooker.
The capacity of your rice cooker will depend on how much rice you are going to cook and how many people you need to cook for.
We would always recommend buying a rice cooker which is larger than you need than smaller. It is okay to make too much rice, but it can be problematic to cook too little.
Most rice cookers will be measured by the liquid volume, though some will also give you a cup measurement. You generally want to cook one cup of rice for each person.
So, one cup will be enough for one person, two cups will be enough for two people, and so on. 180ml of capacity will give you one cup of cooked rice.
You can take multiples of 180ml to judge how many cups of rice your rice cooker will produce.
At the higher end, 1.8L will give you 10 cups of rice, and will one around the maximum size for your rice cooker.
Non-stick Inner Bowl
Your rice cooker is made up of four main parts (in a conventional cooker).
The inner container is the bowl where the rice and water are combined and then cooked. This bowl can usually be removed which makes it easier to serve up at the table and also easier to clean.
We would recommend always buying a rice cooker which has a removable bowl, or you will find it hard to wash your rice cooker effectively.
You should also try to find a non-stick inner pot as this will help with both the cooking and cleaning.
With a non-stick bowl, you will be able to get the food out easier, and the food will not stick to the bowl when it is cooking.
This cuts down on your waste. A non-stick pot will also be easier to clean and will save you from the headache of having to scrape food from the bowl or cook it overnight.
Some rice cookers can do a lot more than just cook your rice.
The combination of water and heat also make rice cookers great for steaming food, especially vegetables.
Some models of rice cooker will come with various steaming trays which can be used to cook your food. These trays allow you to steam vegetables, meat, fish, and more.
These perforated trays sit above the water as it is heated. The steam then passes through your food. The great thing is that you can steam food with rice cooking or not.
As the rice nears the end of the cooking cycle, you can add some food above it to steam. You can also use the rice cooker as a dedicated steamer and steam food without having rice cook below.
A timer is convenient for timing the cooking time of your food and setting your food to cook at specific times.
Some rice cookers will test the rice as it cooks, so you do not have to worry about judging the cooking time. Many rice cookers will cook the rice over a period of time.
If you like your rice a little firmer or softer, then you can adjust the cooking time to suit your needs.
The added bonus of having a timer is that it usually makes a sound when the cooking is done. This alerts you when your rice is ready, and you can serve it up when it is cooked to save it from becoming overcooked.
A good timer can also allow you to delay the cooking of your food for a certain amount of time or until a particular time.
This means that you can set the rice cooker to begin cooking at a certain time and have the rice ready when you want it to be.
You could set it up in the morning and then come home to a freshly cooked bowl of rice.
Some rice cookers cook by time and some cook based on the firmness of your rice.
Both are able to make your rice softer or firmer by changing the duration of the cook time. Some rice cookers will allow you to select the firmness of your rice.
This means that you are able to choose between soft, regular, and firm rice. This means that you can choose the density of your rice and always cook the perfect meal.
Reheat and Keep-Warm Function
When your rice is cooked, you do not always want to serve it straight away.
The rice may be cooked, but your other ingredients may not yet be ready. You may want to delay your rice so that it coincides with the other elements of your dinner.
There is also a chance that you can be interrupted when you are cooking your meal. You may be done cooking your rice, but someone rings your doorbell.
With a keep-warm function, you can set the rice cooker to keep your rice warm without overcooking it.
A rice cooker can also have a reheat function. This allows you to take rice which has had time to cool and heat it back up.
It only takes between 5-10 minutes to get your rice up to the correct temperature, and the great thing about reheating your rice this way is that you know that it will get to a hot enough temperature to kill off any bacteria in the rice. You can have perfect rice which is also safe.
Many people will cook congee for breakfast. This delicious food is made of rice and stock.
It is cooked for long enough that the rice becomes soft and begins to break down. The natural starches on the rice thicken the water, and you end up with a flavorful oatmeal-like breakfast dish.
An oatmeal cycle on your rice cooker will allow you to cook congee in the morning and also to cook oatmeal when you want it.
It may sound like a kids’ TV show, but fuzzy logic is the technology which many high-end rice cookers use to adjust the temperature and cooking time of the rice.
A rice cooker with fuzzy logic will not only be able to cook white rice perfectly, but you will also be able to cook and steam brown rice, risotto rice, sushi rice, grains, and more.
You have two choices when it comes to the lid. You can opt for a sealed or an unsealed lid.
Unsealed lids generally make the rice cooker cheaper, and they are easier to use. They are usually made of glass so you can check the rice as it is cooking.
They are completely removable, and this often makes them easier to clean. On the downside, they can let splatters of starchy water escape and get onto your countertop.
If the rice cooker is workmen at capacity, then they can also make a rattling noise as steam escapes.
A sealed lid will provide a barrier between the rice inside and the outside world.
This is better for keeping the heat and moisture in. It also prevents any rattling or splatters.
They are, however, more difficult to clean. They sometimes come with a smaller inner lid, but, even with this, you will still need to clean the outer cover from time to time.
Higher quality materials will mean spending more money, but they are definitely worth it.
A stainless steel rice cooker will last much longer than a plastic one and is a lot safer than iron or lead rice cooker.
Even the cheapest rice cookers will often feature stainless steel in the areas which are heated. We recommend finding a completely stainless steel rice cooker if you can.
With so much functionality included in many modern rice cookers, there are a lot of extras which can be useful to have. Here are some which we recommend looking for.
It can be handy to have a measuring cup with your rice cooker to measure both the water and the rice.
You need to get the ratio correct to get perfect rice every time, and a measuring cup will ensure that you have that.
A spatula will help you when you are serving and when you are cleaning.
When you are serving up your rice, you want to be able to scrape the sides of your inner bowl without scratching it.
The same is true for when you are cleaning it. If you have a spatula which is metallic, it will scratch up the sides of the bowl, and it will lose its non-stick coating.
A wooden spatula will not stick, but it will not be flexible either. We recommend a plastic or silicone spatula.
A silicone spatula will be able to flex around the inside of the inner bowl while being durable enough to work at getting the rice off the sides and holding up to the heat.
Silicone spatulas are also easy to clean when you are done using them.
You want your rice cooker to be steady when you are cooking your rice.
Especially when hot liquid is involved, you do not want an appliance which can be easily knocked from your countertop.
Look for rubber feet which will keep your rice cooker planted no matter the condition of your surface.
This is not a must for many rice cookers.
As the device itself will take care of the cooking of the rice for you, but if you want to keep an eye on your rice, without taking the lid off and letting the heat out, then a glass lid is the way to go.
This way, you can see how your rice is doing without having to remove the lid.
Steamer baskets will also allow you to use your rice cooker as a steamer.
This will let you steam food as rice is cooking or steam food without rice inside.
Look for multiple inserts which will allow you to cook a variety sizes of food and inserts which will enable you to have various levels of steaming.
Bonus: Rice Cooking Tips
More water in your rice cooker = more cooking time
More water also means soggier rice. The key to great rice is to get the ratio of rice to water correctly.
A rice cooker will turn off when there is no water left in the inner bowl, but this means that the rice will continue to cook as long as there is water in the inner container.
We recommend using an equal amount of rice and water. So, use one cup of water for every cup of rice which you are using.
Rinse Your Rice
Rinsing the rice removes the anti-caking agent on the rice. This helps the rice to cook better and more evenly.
Let Your Rice Rest
After you have cooked your rice, you should let it rest before consuming it; let your rice rest for 5-10 minutes to get the best out of it.
During this resting period, your rice and water will stabilize. Excess water will be released from the rice in the form of steam, and this release of moisture will leave you with rice which is not as gummy or sticky.
Do Not Open Your Rice Cooker While It Is Cooking
When the rice cooker is cooking, and when your rice is resting, you should not open the lid.
If you do have to open the lid, you should close it again as quickly as possible. Any time the lid is opened, the moisture escapes, and this can leave your rice dry.
Keeping the lid closed will keep your rice moist and fluffy.
Do Not Use Metal Utensils
This is especially critical if you are using a non-stick inner bowl.
Metal utensils can scratch the inside and remove the non-stick coating. This will make cooking and cleaning more difficult. Use plastic or silicone where you can.
Dry Out the Inner Bowl for Easier Cleaning
If you are finding it hard to clean out the inner bowl after cooking rice, then use our simple trick.
Place the bowl back in the rice cooker after it has been emptied, and leave the rice cooker plugged in with it set to the keep-warm function.
Leave the lid open, and the heat will dry out the food leftovers inside. After a few minutes, the leftover food should be removable by just your fingers.
Clean your entire rice cooker often
You will no doubt be cleaning the inner bowl of your rice cooker on a regular basis, but you should also take the time to clean the rest of the rice cooker too.
The surfaces, inside and out, can become gummed up with the sticky starch of your rice. These residues are organic and can harvest bacteria.
Take the time to remove any parts which are removable and clean them while cleaning down all the surfaces which you can reach.
With so much disinformation and information out there, it can be hard to pin down precisely what you need from a rice cooker.
Then you have to move onto what you want from one.
Hopefully, our buying guide will have told you everything which you need to know and consider before you go out there and buy one.
Now that you are armed with rice cooker knowledge, you can make an informed choice.
Start by knowing what you need from a rice cooker and set a budget.
Once you have set the amount of money you can afford to spend, you can begin to decide what you want from a rice cooker.
Once you have your needs and wants, you can translate that information into what is out there.
The rice cookers on our list are some of the best rice cookers available.
We know that if you choose one of our recommendations, you will not be disappointed.