The 10 Best Rice Cookers

Updated May 13, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best Rice Cookers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. While Japanese chefs spend their entire lives perfecting its preparation, making a quality batch of rice at home will take you well under an hour, thanks to the marvels of modern technology. Not only will these cookers produce fluffy and moist grains, many of them can also prepare accompanying foods at the same time, all at the touch of a button. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rice cooker on Amazon.

10. Instant Pot

The 6-quart Instant Pot is a wildly popular, all-in-one device that can take over for a variety of appliances. Aside from the starchy stuff, it can caramelize onions, and even ferment yogurt, although there is a bit of a learning curve involved.
  • an affordable pressure cooker
  • also comes in 3- and 8-qt versions
  • doesn't make the best rice
Brand Instant Pot
Model Duo 60
Weight 15.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Aroma Professional

Priced to fit into any budget, the Aroma Professional is a powerful machine that serves several purposes. Its self-adjusting smart technology ensures consistent results, and its saute-then-simmer function turns making broths and braising liquids into simple procedures.
  • great for one-pot family meals
  • detachable cord for easy storage
  • keep-warm mode tends to dry food out
Brand Aroma Housewares
Model ARC-616SB
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. VitaClay 2-in-1

The VitaClay 2-in-1's all-natural insert provides an artisanal feel, as well as more even heat distribution than metal, though it can be tough to clean. It's completely free of Teflon and similar compounds, for those concerned with potentially harmful chemicals.
  • extremely energy efficient
  • clay pot makes a good serving dish
  • may crack if not cooled properly
Brand VitaClay
Model VF7700-6
Weight 9.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Pars Persian

Serious cooks will appreciate the Pars Persian for its adjustable timer, which lets a skilled user create a perfect golden-brown layer on the bottom of the pan. This crispy goodness is so delectable that some cultures reserve it for their most honored guests.
  • 6 capacities from 3 to 15 cups
  • a rather steep learning curve
  • not intended for multipurpose use
Brand Pars
Model DRC
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Tiger JBV-A10U

A must-have for sushi lovers, the Japanese-designed Tiger JBV-A10U delivers a succulent end product that won't clump together. Its "synchro-cooking" feature lets you steam additional foods in a separate tray, without mixing any flavors.
  • straightforward one-touch interface
  • warming mode stays on indefinitely
  • no programmable timer
Brand Tiger Corporation
Model JBV-A10U-W
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Zojirushi NS-TSC

Available in 6- and 10-cup versions, the Zojirushi NS-TSC excels at almost any type of rice, and it includes advanced settings for traditional porridge and cakes. Offering premium functionality at a moderately high cost, it's one of the best multipurpose options around.
  • performs highly in hands-on testing
  • sleek and attractive finish
  • relatively long cooking times
Brand Zojirushi
Model NS-TSC18
Weight 11.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Tiger JKT-S

Fivr layers of bonded metal and a magnetic heat-induction system help the Tiger JKT-S excel at a range of culinary tasks. It's even equipped to prepare perfect whole grains, like quinoa or farro, or bake a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread.
  • isolated tray for separate foods
  • heat-safe grips on the inner pan
  • a bit too expensive for most people
Brand Tiger Corporation
Model JKT-S10U
Weight 12.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

3. Cuckoo M1059F

The Cuckoo M1059F's powerful, pressurized heating method will get food ready for the whole family faster than most other options. It offers a 5-liter capacity, and its intelligent cooking algorithms ensure that the entire batch is done to perfection.
  • standard and turbo modes
  • nonstick inner pot
  • quite effective at soups and stews
Brand Cuckoo
Model CRP-M1059F
Weight 19.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Aroma 6-Cup

Meals for one or two are a breeze with the Aroma 6-Cup, which is just big enough to whip up some fish, veggies, or Chinese pork buns along with your starch. Plus, at only about twenty dollars, choosing this one's as good for the wallet as it is for the body.
  • simple one-button operation
  • convenient see-through glass lid
  • ideal for small households
Brand Aroma Housewares
Model ARC-743-1NGB
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Hamilton Beach 37548

In addition to leading the pack during hands-on testing, the Hamilton Beach 37548 also works great with a host of different recipes and ingredients. Thanks to its tiny holes, the steamer tray can be used for rinsing excess starch from rice for the most consistent results.
  • easy-to-use digital controls
  • separate setting for whole grains
  • quality at a budget-friendly cost
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 37548
Weight 6.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

More Than Just A Hot Pot

I never questioned a rice cooker when I was growing up. Even into my college days, if I put any thought into it–which I doubt I did–I'm sure I just thought that the rice cooker turned off after a preset amount of time relative to an average rice recipe.

It turns out there was a lot more going on, even in those rudimentary rice cookers, than I could have guessed.

At its most basic, the rice cooker is a metal or ceramic pan inside an outer pot with an electric heating element under the bottom of it. That heat cooks the rice. Pretty simple, right?

Well, from there we get to a number of questions. For example, rice is supposed to come to a boil and then drop to a simmer. How does the cooker manage that automatically? And how does it know when the rice is ready?

Most modern rice cookers, in addition to the simple components listed above, also have sensors for both heat and residual steam.

They can tell when the internal temperature has reached a boiling point and immediately reduce the heat to bring the rice and water back down to a simmer. That simmer holds in place until the steam sensor stops picking up a heavy amount of the evaporated water, at which point your rice is done.

This is pretty important, since different rices take different amounts of time and water to cook, and most people ignore those differences and stick to the old 2-1 water-rice ratio. I'm one of those people, and I can attest that a smarter rice cooker, for most folks, is a good thing.

You Can Never Have Too Much Rice

In 2015, human beings consumed 484,592,000 metric tons of rice, give or take a grain.

I'm going to let that sink in with you for a minute. Go ahead. Try to picture that much rice. The image doesn't appear, does it? It's like the economic values placed on international bailouts or the number of stars in our galaxy; they hardly seem like real quantifiable amounts.

This is what's known as a cognitive limitation, which is basically an individual's point of no numerical return.

Fortunately for our shopping purposes here today, none of these rice cookers can approach the average human cognitive limits. They mostly make rice by the cup.

It is important, however, that you have some handle on the quantity of rice you intend to make over the days, and months, and years.

If you're cutting carbs and focusing on green leafy vegetables (because we all should be), you might not want to make yourself 12 cups of rice with each pass. I know that I couldn't withstand the temptation of all those sweet, starchy simple carbs.

For me, smaller rice cookers have the edge in self-control. In addition to limiting the amount of rice you can make in a session, they also limit the size of the cheesecake you can make in your rice cooker.

If you have a big family to feed, or you're a sumo wrestler in training, you should get the biggest rice cooker on the planet. Maybe get two of them.

Capacity is the first place from which you'll want to evaluate each cooker. Worry about the features after that, and you'll be happy with whatever decision you come to.

The Rice Cooker: A Shocking Development

In the lead up to the second world war, while Japan was at the height of its expansion into Chinese and Mongolian territories, engineers were hard at work to develop ways to keep their soldiers fit and fed on the battlefield.

One of these inventions was a portable, electric rice cooker that was installed in a kind of roving automotive kitchen.

It had wooden walls and an electric current running through a coil at the bottom of the bucket. As the water in which the rice cooked reduced, so too did the conductivity and the cooker's heat output. As a result, once the bulk of the water had been absorbed into the rice, the cooker entered a "keep warm" setting automatically.

The big problem with this design? It electrocuted a lot of people, what with that current running through the cooking rice and all.

By the end of the war, Mitsubishi made a commercial version available to the public with an aluminum pan, though it had no automatic functions, so it required constant observation in the kitchen.

In the 70 years since its introduction to the marketplace, rice cookers have become more sensitive and capable, safer and more durable than their predecessors by leaps and bounds.

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Last updated on May 13, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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