The 5 Best Rice Cookers

By Jeffrey Pu on 6 June 2013 (Updated 21 August 2013) 8 comments

While it is entirely possible to cook rice with a pan on a stove top, if you prepare rice often enough, it may be worth it to invest in a dedicated rice cooker. Cooking rice with a cooker is significantly easier and takes most of the work out of the hands of the chef. All it takes is to measure the correct amount of rice and water and flip a switch; the machine takes care of the cooking while you prepare the rest of your meal.

What Is a Rice Cooker?

A rice cooker is a small kitchen appliance dedicated to cooking rice. Most modern electric rice cookers come with a removable bowl where rice and water are placed. Inside the cooker, the bowl sits on top of a heater and a thermostat. The mixture of rice and water is heated until the water reaches its boiling point. Once all the water is absorbed by the rice or is boiled off, the temperature of the mixture continues to rise and trips the thermostat, causing the machine to shut off.

Best 5 Rice Cookers

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Very well-reviewed by users, the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 consistently prepares excellent rice and is remarkably simple to operate. Its 5.5-cup cooking capacity makes enough rice in one batch for a family of five. This Zojirushi also comes with a number of advanced features and is capable of preparing a number of different types of rice, including brown, long, and short grain. Currently $165.21 on Amazon.

Zojirushi NP-HBC18

With a high-end price tag, the Zojirushi NP-HBC18 is for those who are serious rice consumers. Instead of the simple hot plate found in most rice cookers, this Zojirushi model utilizes induction heating, which cooks rice much more evenly than other models. Users claim it produces perfect rice every time and it does an excellent job handling many different types of rice, including white, brown, sushi, and porridge. Currently $290.57 on Amazon.

Panasonic SR-G06FG

The Panasonic SR-G06FG is a perfect purchase for those looking for a budget, basic rice cooker. This particular model can’t quite compete with more advanced models, but it still produces excellent white rice, is extremely simple to use and takes up very little counter space. However, its small size means that it can’t accommodate larger families. Currently $29.95 on Amazon.

Aroma ARC-838TC

A favorite among users, the Aroma ARC-838TC is lauded for preparing excellent rice and including advanced features for a budget price tag. This Aroma has a carrying capacity of 2-8 cups of uncooked rice, can simultaneously steam meats and vegetables, and prepare soups and stews. Finally, this model also has a 15-hour delay timer to allow you flexibility on when your rice is prepared. Currently $34.99 on Amazon.

Sanyo ECJ-N55W

The Sanyo ECJ-N55W is best known among users for excelling at preparing brown rice. Aside from its ability to tackle the more difficult grain of rice, it can also prepare soup, porridge, and steamed vegetables. Finally, its 5.5-cup uncooked rice capacity means that a full batch will churn out 11 cups of finished rice. Currently $89.95 on Amazon.

 

And these are our recommendations for the five best rice cookers. Be sure to check out the Wise Bread Shopping Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!

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Guest's picture

I have the Aroma Rice Cooker and I absolutely love it. It seems like it should be easy to make rice on the stove, but I was constantly having issues (boiling over, etc). The rice cooker has made it so easy to make tasty rice, and I like that my new Aroma rice cooker has other abilities too!

Guest's picture
Guest

Any rice cooker from Aroma is good. Why ? Aroma is the only company which provides replacements for the teflon coated container...which incidentally wears out pretty fast.

Guest's picture
Rich

I use the Zojirushi and it was a great purchase. Plus there are uses other than rice.

Guest's picture
NJGill

I use brown rice, which cheaper rice cookers don't handle so well, and I can't afford the "good" ones ($200+/- is more yhan my food bil for a month), But I have begun using the "pasta cooking" method to prepare brown rice - i.e., bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup of brown rice and bring the water back to a rolling boil, cover and lower heat, cook at a low boil for 45 minutes, drain and return rice to the cooking pan with the lid on for 10 minutes to let the last bit of water be absorbed, uncover and fluff.

Guest's picture
Nelson

Very nice review, to me Zojirushi Rice Cooker always the best

Guest's picture

I have had the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 for a few years now and it is great. Perfect rice every time.

Guest's picture

Only get the ones with the latching lids!!! The other kind don't keep rice half as well. :(

Guest's picture

As far as I'm concerned, Zojirushi make the best rice cookers on the planet! I've been using the Zojirushi NP-GBC05 heavily for the last five years. This is a 3 cup Induction Heating rice cooker similar to the NP-HBC18 above. I recently purchased a Zojirushi Induction Heating + Pressure rice cooker however, even though it is a "better" rice cooker, I can't really tell the difference in the quality of rice it makes.

If you want to eat lots of rice, in my opinion, you should definitely go for an Induction Heating rice cooker.