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The 7 best rice cookers we tested in 2022

best rice cookers : If you’ve ever thought “plain” rice was dull, I have some news for you: it might not be the rice. It might just be a matter of how you prepared it.

Rice is a staple meal in many civilizations throughout the world, and for good reason. When made properly, it’s affordable, satisfying, healthful, and full of subtle subtleties, layers of taste, and exquisite unique smells. You’ll need a nice rice cooker for this.

Rinsing rice for the family cooker was perhaps the first cooking duty I was ever assigned, even before I had mixed cake batter, growing up in a Chinese-American home. And, having grown up in my parents’ Chinese restaurant, where commercial rice cookers were an essential part of the operation, it’s no wonder that I developed a keen sense of what makes good, acceptable, and awful rice. As a culinary writer, product critic, and author of various rice cooker references and instructions, I’ve exploited my pickiness as a princess and the pilaf.

None, however, has been as thorough as this one, for which I investigated 30 rice cookers, home-tested 15, and narrowed it down to the top seven based on grain type, preparation, and other aspects relevant to both Eastern and Western rice connoisseurs.

Table of Contents

Here are the best rice cookers you can buy in 2021

  • Best rice cooker overall: Yum Asia Panda 3.5-Cup Mini Rice Cooker
  • Best budget rice cooker: Aroma ARC-1126SBL 20-Cup SmartCarb Multicooker
  • Best mini rice cooker: Black + Decker 3-Cup Rice Cooker
  • Best large capacity rice cooker: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
  • Best rice cooker for long-grain rice: Zojirushi UMAMI Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NL-GAC10
  • Best rice cooker for brown rice: Cuckoo CR-0632F 6-Cup Multifunctional Micom Rice Cooker
  • Best rice cooker for porridge: Aroma MTC-8008 Professional 8-Cup Champagne

Best rice cooker overall

Best rice cooker overall
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 3.5 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): about 7 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: Yes
REASONS TO BUY

Detachable power cord, easy-to-read display, simple operation, stylish design, small footprint, precise settings, 24-hour keep warm option, additional accessories included

REASONS TO AVOID

The lid has a strong spring-back, the top does not remove for cleaning, the inner pot markings are not high-contrast, there is only one set of water lines, and the rapid rice option is exclusively for white rice.

It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to this modest little powerhouse. Its neat design and thoughtful elements, like as an included steamer basket and ladle, a handle on the measuring cup, and a glossy magazine-style guide, gained immediate marks right out of the box. The built-in carrying handle, modest yet easy-to-understand display, built-in spatula holder, and well-considered cook settings made it evident that utility was a priority. It has several programmes for long- and short-grain rice, brown rice, porridge, rapid and slow cooking, steam, and even cake functionalities, which it provided throughout my testing.

It flawlessly cooked all four varieties of rice, which is a great achievement. Every grain had a distinct shape and was cooked uniformly throughout. Each batch was moist but not wet, gemmy but not dry, fragrant and aromatic, and moist but not wet. The only time the rice lost structure was when it was cooked into a porridge, which is to be anticipated when you sacrifice texture for extruded taste.

Best mini rice cooker

Best mini rice cooker
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 1.5 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 3 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: No

 

REASONS TO BUY

Cooks rapidly and is very affordable, with a retractable clip-on cover.

REASONS TO AVOID

Looks flimsy, design danger of boil-over and burn, difficult to see water markings, outside body becomes extremely hot, rice hardens rapidly and is difficult to scoop out, no Keep Warm timer, no display at all, no audible notifications, no Keep Warm timer, no display at all, no audible notifications

Best Smart Kitchen Gadgets: This child’s toy-looking, simple one-setting, one-button, entry-level rice cooker produced unexpectedly decent rice, beating out many more expensive and complex tiny versions. The quality of its output was nothing like that of the others on our list, but for a one-person home with limited storage space and a strong desire to save money, this utilitarian mono-tasker gets the job done happily and swiftly.

It uses an old-fashioned temperature trip sensor to detect when the rice is done, and the only audible cue you’ll get is the switch flipping from Cooking to Keep Warm. It’s crucial to be patient and allow the rice at least 15 minutes of resting time before it’s truly cooked, just as with other “dumb” rice cooker models. If you try to consume the rice immediately away, it will be very soggy and undercooked. Give it that time to rest, and you’ll be rewarded with sweet, chewy medium-grain rice with a gorgeous semi-translucent, gemmy appearance.

Other varieties of rice performed less well: long-grain rice became soft but did not go mushy, and brown rice was tasty but slightly underdone. Its small stature has its own set of drawbacks. It can only hold 1.5 cups of uncooked rice, which doesn’t leave much space for manoeuvring, especially while washing the rice because the inner pot was about the size of my (little) fist.

The lightweight inner pot makes it unstable, forcing you to clutch it when scooping out rice, and the vent in the top focuses the steam into a sharp plume, posing a burn danger. I did, however, love the detachable lid’s clip-on function and the fun of being able to visually check the rice’s health via the glass top. It was chosen above other tiny choices because of its simplicity of cleaning and the final flavour of the rice.

Best budget rice cooker

Best budget rice cooker
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 10 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 20 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: No

 

REASONS TO BUY

SmartCarb function, huge capacity, various included accessories, sauté-then-simmer capabilities, Keep Warm countdown starts right away, eight one-touch routines, 12-cup size available 

REASONS TO AVOID

Inner pot prone to scratching and denting, stainless steel SmartCarb basket is not nonstick, big for smaller households, non-removable lid is difficult to clean, components like steamer vent and condensation catcher tend to pop off, condensation catcher eventually leaks,  inner pot prone to scratching and denting, inner pot prone to scratching and denting, stainless steel SmartCarb basket is not nonstick,

This multicooker’s jack-of-all-trades has nailed one: chewy, toothsome rice that holds its scent and taste. It also has a number of additional features, such as Aroma’s patented sauté-then-simmer technique and the SmartCarb feature, which lifts the rice above the cooking water after boiling, preventing the starchy water from being reabsorbed and thereby reducing carbohydrate content. (This feature appears to be too wonderful to be true, and it is.) On this setting, the rice texture is overly mushy, and the grains are blasted out.)

This model was named the best budget workhorse because of the quality and flavour of its regularly cooked rice, which it excels at. This is even more interesting because it’s a more traditional cooker, a “dumb” one despite the name’s use of the word “smart.” It is not a micom (microcomputerized) appliance, unlike the other sophisticated cookers on this list.

Rice (particularly brown rice) comes out just on the right side of al dente thanks to sensors that detect “done” by a quick temperature increase as the rest of the water evaporates. The fluctuations of the Fuzzy Logic micom cookers, on the other hand, which dynamically alter the temperature while the rice cooks, have a propensity to overcook brown rice.

White rice, sweet and steam-cooked rather than boiled, is ready to eat as soon as you break up the lid. If you’re willing to wait a little longer, the 12-hour Keep Warm option works nicely for three hours until the steam catcher collects more moisture than it returns to the rice.

Best rice cooker for long-grain rice

Best rice cooker for long-grain rice
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 5.5 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 11 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: Yes

 

REASONS TO BUY

Compact footprint, removable inner lid, extended Keep Warm, sturdy handle, detachable cord, included steamer basket, ambidextrous spatula holder, sleek design, easy to read display, easy to use, clearly marked water lines for nearly all programmes, hyper-specific settings, compact footprint, removable inner lid, extended Keep Warm, sturdy handle, detachable cord, included steamer basket, ambidextrous spatula holder

REASONS TO AVOID

The Keep Warm countdown does not begin immediately, there are too many options for beginner users, and brown rice cooks too softly.

The cooking settings on this microcomputerized (micom) cooker are extremely accurate and comprehensive. The jasmine rice setting was a nice touch, a reference to the delicate texture of this long-grain variety. On this setting, the batch I prepared was great from the start, with distinct, intact grains that were chewy and only became sweeter with time on the Keep Warm option. The batch even lasted for over 66 hours without showing any signs of deterioration.

It functioned admirably with medium grains as well. They turned out perfect: chewy, gem-like, moist, airy, and without soggy or damp patches, with a 14-hour shelf life.

The UMAMI option, which lends this model its name, increases the soaking and steaming time to bring forth more sweetness and nuance in the rice. I don’t recommend putting it on brown rice, though. It became soft, moist, and puffed out as a result of the longer cook.

Best large capacity rice cooker

Best large capacity rice cooker
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 10 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 20 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: Yes

 

REASONS TO BUY

Detachable inner cover and rounded nonstick inner pot for simple cleaning, well-marked rules, and a variety of textures for personalised rice

REASONS TO AVOID

With its large buttons, it appears old; the sheer number of options might be intimidating for new users; brown rice cooks too softly.

Though we tried the 5.5-cup model, the bigger 10-cup model is comparable in every way save size, with smart design and usage features that make it wonderfully straightforward.

The retractable cable, for example, as well as the dual-sided rice paddle holder, soft-open lid, and easy-grip grips on the inner pot’s sides, are such basic yet great solutions. I could write a whole paragraph about this inner pot, which has a rounded bottom that makes washing grains, scooping cooked rice, and cleaning up a breeze. To ensure accuracy, the pot has high-contrast water marks for different varieties of rice.

The most crucial factor, though, is how wonderful the rice turns out and how well it keeps that quality for hours after it is cooked. Rice porridge appeared sparkling in a thick, deliciously sticky suspension, soft but with a slight bite to it. Chewy, glossy, pearly, fully formed, consistently cooked, and with a nice heightened sweetness few other cookers could equal, medium-grain rice comes out simply brilliantly. The long-grain rice was aromatic, unique, and uniformly cooked, but fluffy and light as air.

After 24 hours on Keep Warm, the rice was better than fresh-cooked rice from some of the other cookers in both white rice tests, with minor degradation and no clumping or crust. Due to the program’s extended cook time, which left the rice limp and blown out, the brown rice setting was its lone underperformer.

Best rice cooker for porridge

Best rice cooker for porridge
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 8 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 16 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: Yes

 

REASONS TO BUY

Elegant design, thick inner pot, reheat function, cake and soup functions, turbo convection, removable inner cover, plethora of accessories, high-contrast markings, two-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

Drips and retains a lot of humidity, the lid rebounds a lot, and the rice dries out faster than most when set to Keep Warm.

Soft lumps of broken down rice grains gather in the bottom of this cooker and, if left undisturbed, reconnect to one another, providing lovely glutinous bites reminiscent of undeveloped mochi. As the starches were eventually extruded into the rice water, a creamy end product in a luxuriously thick liquid suspension resulted from working back this bottom layer. Despite the fact that the grains disintegrated greatly, the subtleties of the high-quality short-grain rice utilised remained. All of the taste ingredients were condensed into a smooth slurry, rather than a mush.

Porridge is best served slightly chilled, as it becomes sweeter and more textured, and the near suctioning force of this cooker’s condensation and steam collector prevents it from becoming washed down. Unfortunately, it was because of this trait that it failed miserably at keeping other rice kinds warm. It captures and keeps a lot of moisture, which collects in the inner lid and spills into the channel surrounding the inner pot, which is inconvenient.

This is most likely why all of the solid rice batches cooked wet and patchily, necessitating a tossing thereafter to better disperse the residual water. Its turbo convection power is meant to help it cook more evenly, but that wasn’t the case for us. However, the rice is good, and if you prefer porridge or congee, this is the best option.

Best rice cooker for brown rice

Best rice cooker for brown rice
SPECIFICATIONS:
  • Rice capacity (uncooked): 6 cups
  • Rice capacity (cooked): 12 cups
  • Fuzzy Logic: Yes

 

REASONS TO BUY

Keep Warm timer begins instantly, My Mode features for customised flavour and textures, appealing coffee-colored inner pot, longer power cable, built-in spatula holder, and easy to clean

REASONS TO AVOID

White rice overcooks, lid has strong bounce-back, water line indications are difficult to see, no handle, condensation collector can leak

You’d think that with all this discussion about soaking brown rice, the cooks who do it the longest would create the greatest. That’s exactly what I did. However, after thorough testing, I discovered that soaking the bran for a lengthy period of time broke down the bran too much, resulting in a mushier bite rather of the firm, gemmy bite that comes with ideal rice. Furthermore, you lose the popcorn flavour that is so characteristic of brown rice – one of its greatest delights.

However, this cooker’s proclivity towards cooking softer, mushier white rice aided its brown rice preparation. Although the rice has a hint of hot-heat burn if eaten right after, it mellows to a nice toasted nutty richness after a few minutes of relaxing. The grains bloom significantly in this cooker, but it stops short of a blow-out. It only breaks down the bran enough to make it more digestible without affecting the chew.

Every piece of brown rice cooked in this cooker exemplified the greatest aspects of this type of rice. For a startling 50 hours on Keep Warm, grains were completely distinct, with no clumping, crusting, or dampness. It also contains a setting for GABA rice, a sprouted kind of brown rice with nutritional advantages, according to the manufacturer. If brown rice is your preferred method of cooking, choose this cooker and use less water than indicated while making white rice.

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