10 Best Rice Cookers | April 2017

We spent 27 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Preparing family meals couldn't be simpler than with one of the rice cookers from our selection, ranked by features, ease of cleanup, and how efficiently they cook. Some can even steam meats and vegetables while simultaneously making rice, for a convenient one-pot meal. Skip to the best rice cooker on Amazon.
10 Best Rice Cookers | April 2017
Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
The VitaClay VF7700-6 is made from healthy, all-natural Zisha clay, so you never have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food. It also has low thermal conductivity, meaning that it provides consistent heat. Keeping it clean can be difficult, though.
  • extremely energy efficient
  • programmable cooking times
  • clay pot can crack
Brand VitaClay
Model VF7700-6
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
9
The Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity cooks rice, beans, whole grains, and even flavored pastas. It is ideal for large families with its 14-cup capacity. However, the aluminum rice pot is on the thin side and can be dented easily.
  • easy to read digital display
  • includes a vegetable steamer basket
  • heat distribution is inconsistent
Brand Hamilton Beach
Model 37549
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
8
Utilizing both a 3-dimensional steaming system for even heat distribution and its steam control technology for locking in moisture, the Rosewill RHRC-13002 is a decent option that works well for standard white rice and sticky rice. It can also be used to heat up soup.
  • 10-cup capacity for uncooked rice
  • cooks rice in just 20 to 25 minutes
  • plastic steam vents are fragile
Brand Rosewill
Model RHRC-13002
Weight 10.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
The Aroma Professional is an affordable option for those who want to be able to cook rice and steam food at the same time. It also has a 15-hour delay, so you can set it before heading off to work, and it automatically switches to "keep warm" once it's finished cooking.
  • includes a steam tray
  • easy-to-use digital controls
  • it is also capable of slow cooking
Brand Aroma Housewares
Model ARC-616SB
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The Tiger JNP-S10U has a retractable power cord and a sleek stainless steel exterior, so it offers a clean look when sitting on any countertop. It comes in a lot of sizes perfect for any family, from 3 cups all the way up to 10 cups.
  • 12-hour keep warm function
  • includes a measuring cup and spatula
  • quality made in japan
Brand Tiger Corporation
Model JNP-S10U-HU
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
5
The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 includes a 3-ply stainless steel inner pot and has a brushed stainless steel exterior. Its embedded microprocessor automatically monitors and adjusts the internal cooking temperature to create a consistent cook every time.
  • can function as a pressure cooker
  • 14 smart programs
  • up to 24 hour delayed start
Brand Instant Pot
Model IP-DUO60
Weight 15.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
Versatility, power, and energy efficiency all describe the Power Pressure Cooker XL , which boasts an impressive 8-quart capacity and an intuitive digital display panel with one-touch settings for preparing delicious meals quickly.
  • can also be used for canning
  • has a manual steam release
  • dishwasher safe inner pot
Brand Power Pressure Cooker X
Model pending
Weight 17 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
Ideal for couples or small families, the Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB rice cooker makes up to 6 cups of fluffy white rice per use. Its removable inner cooking pan has convenient measuring lines offering precise control over ingredients, and it includes a retractable cord.
  • sleek and modern design
  • built-in automatic keep-warm setting
  • takes up minimal counter space
Brand Zojirushi
Model NS-LGC05XB
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
2
If you are looking for a way to cook rice and make healthy meals in one pot, then the Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W is for you. It's available in a 5.5 or 10-cup model, and features an insertable cooking plate for steaming food while simultaneously cooking rice.
  • dedicated brown rice setting
  • includes a recipe booklet
  • profile fits under low cabinets
Brand Tiger Corporation
Model JBV-A10U-W
Weight 8.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH uses an induction heating method that allows for more precise temperature control and ensures that every grain of rice is perfectly cooked. It even has dedicated cook settings for specific types of rice and rice dishes.
  • sleek stainless steel exterior
  • good for making sushi rice
  • lid is detachable for cleaning
Brand Zojirushi
Model NP-HCC10XH
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

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 April 23 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.