Cooking rice hasn’t always been easy
Overcooked, undercooked, swimming in a pool of rice water, stuck like glue to the bottom of the pan, all can be common occurrences for the home cook.
Well, science and innovation have brought us to the Cuckoo Rice Cooker. A rice cooker made in Korea that works like pressure cookers.
This appliance uses technology to up the ante on what a rice cooker is. But if you’re a newbie, how can you choose the best Korean rice cooker?
I’ve got you covered.
If you want a quick peek on what’s ahead, here’s my summary:
- Cuckoo Q5 CMC-QSB501S Premium 8 in 1 Multi Rice Cooker (Best Korean Rice Cooker)
- Cuckoo Multifunctional Micom 6-cup Rice Cooker & Warmer (Best Rice Cooker on a Budget)
- Cuckoo CR-0655F Rice Cooker & Warmer 6 Cups (Best Simple Rice Cooker)
- Cuckoo CRP-P0609S Electric Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer (Most Versatile Korean Rice Cooker)
- Cuckoo CRP-DHSR0609FD Multifunctional and Programmable Electric Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker (Rice Cooker with Most Functions)
Why Consider a Rice Cooker Made in Korea?
Maybe you’re just a little bit tired of under or over-cooking rice,
Perhaps you’ve had it with scouring burnt rice off the bottom of your favorite pot.
Or maybe you’re just sick of watching the clock and hoping that this time the rice is perfect.
If any of these are true, it’s time to consider a Korean Rice Cooker.
Yet why focus on Korea? Surely other countries make decent rice cookers?
The truth is that the Koreans have been cooking rice for thousands of years, and may have been the first nation to serve rice dishes.
But many people when they talk about Korean rice cookers, actually mean Cuckoo rice cookers.
What Is a Cuckoo Rice Cooker?
A Cuckoo is a Korean rice cooker brand known for producing amazing appliances. Their cookers use technology to make flawless rice. Think of a Cuckoo rice cooker as a little computer-controlled pressure cooker.
Some of the best Korean rice cookers do other cooking jobs like keeping rice warm, frying, steaming and even baking bread.
Lately, Cuckoo has focused on design, and many models make a visual statement sitting on your countertop.
What to look for in the best Korean Rice Cookers?
Cuckoo Rice Cookers do more than just cook rice; they pride themselves on using advanced technology. But what exactly does this mean in a Korean rice cooker?
Here are some of the features you can expect to see in most Cuckoo Rice Cookers. Refer to the Cuckoo rice cooker reviews below to see which models have what.
- Stainless steel detachable inner lid: This makes it easier to clean
- Automated control system: Once you’ve set it, you can pretty much forget it
- Multi-cook: A good rice cooker will do more than cook fluffy rice, it will have other functions such as pressure cooking and steaming.
- Self-cleaning function: I think that’s-self explanatory
- Fuzzy Logic: This isn’t self-explanatory
What Is Fuzzy Logic?
Fuzzy logic? It sounds like a teddy bear with advanced reasoning skills.
But no, it’s like an experienced cook when they know something is done, needs flipping, or moisture added.
Fuzzy logic is Cuckoo’s version of intuition. If you want to understand the basics of fuzzy logic, then check out the video below:
When it comes to rice cooking, fuzzy logic lets the rice cooker make decisions around how much water, what temperature and how that approximate what a human chef might do.
Fuzzy logic helps turn out perfectly cooked rice every time through intelligent cooking, by a machine.
If this sounds like a little science fiction movie, it kind of is. This Korean rice cooker will probably lead the computer revolution against humankind, but until then, you’ll have great tasting rice.
The first rice cooker I ever saw looked like a cross between a slow cooker and a humidifier. These were not things of beauty.
Cuckoo Rice Cookers are aiming high with design. The higher-end models have stainless steel exteriors that make them fit in more with modern kitchens. One even comes with a faux-leather finish.
Overall, Cuckoo Rice Cookers look a bit like something from a sci-fi movie where onesie wearing astronauts are simply pressing buttons to make all their meals. If that’s not your idea of kitchen style, you may want to store it in a cupboard.
We’re now talking to a variety of machines in our homes. Well, here’s one more trying to get in on the conversation.
But this is not a machine you talk to; it’s one that talks to you.
As you’re programming the Korean rice cooker, a pleasant voice tells you what you have actually programmed it to do, ensuring you’ve programmed the thing correctly—no unpleasant surprises at the end of the cooking cycle.
Imagine yourself up to your elbows in dishwater, in the middle of kneading bread dough or, heaven forbid, changing a diaper. Isn’t it nice to know that the machine can tell you what’s happening instead of you having to go over and look at it?
On the other hand, do we really want more sound in our noise-polluted lives?
A good control panel is probably more important to an electric rice cooker than any audio navigation system. It needs a clear lcd display and some basic settings, like:
- A timer function to just set rice cooking for a quick time and leave it
- Keep warm function
- Basic preset programs to help you quickly whip up your favorite recipes
One thing I don’t like about new appliances is realizing that eventually, you’ve got to clean them.
It’s funny how the ads never show them after you’ve cooked with them.
Well, I love the self-cleaning function that some Cuckoo Rice Cookers have. After making rice, you just put some water into the inner bowl and select clean. Because it’s basically a little pressure cooker, it uses the pressure cooking function to sanitize the machine.
Once it’s done, you still have to wipe it down, but it’s pretty easy.
Inner Pot Material
The inner pot is important because this is what comes into contact with your food. There are a few different materials available in the various Cuckoo Korean rice cookers.
A 2-ply clad inner pot is made of stainless steel and aluminum, which is the best for heat conduction. It can withstand high temperatures and is fairly easy to clean.
Some of the Korean rice cookers have aluminum treated with something the manufacturer calls X-wall diamond coating. This is supposed to be a more resilient form of Teflon.
Side note: Cuckoo says its X-wall diamond coating is a ceramic coating and an alternative to Teflon. They don’t say it’s PTFE free, which leads me to think it isn’t. This is a relatively new coating, so there are no conclusive results about its safety.
The cheaper versions have an aluminum inner pot coated with Teflon, which contains PTFE. I do use Teflon, but I use it only when I see no other alternative.
What Size Do I Need?
Korean people are more likely to eat rice for more than one meal per day. So having a ten cup korean rice cooker is necessary, especially if you have a large family.
The idea of these Korean rice cookers is to have hot, delicious rice almost always on hand.
Here in North America and Europe, we’re cooking rice less often. So I’ve kept the big 10 cup cookers off my list.
Calculating the amount of rice needed is a hotly debated topic. The rule of thumb is half a cup of uncooked rice per person.
I will usually use 2 cups of uncooked rice (roughly 6 cups of cooked rice) to feed my family of four, though sometimes I like to use more so that I can have some leftovers to reheat later.
Best Korean Rice Cookers: Cuckoo Rice Cooker Reviews
So, once you’ve decided to get a Korean rice cooker, how can you choose the one that’s right for you?
Well, that’s where I come in. Here are my top five Cuckoo Rice Cookers and also my personal favorite.
Cuckoo Q5 CMC-QSB501S Premium 8 in 1 Multi Rice Cooker (Best Korean Rice Cooker)
This unit has eight smart programs with countless cooking modes. They include vegetables, soup, white and brown rice, meat, porridge, slow cooking, browning, steam cooking, and frying.
If you want someone to walk you through programming, this model will literally speak to you. It makes cooking rice much easier.
If you just want to cook rice, how does having multiple cooking modes help? Well it lets you cook the type of rice you want more effectively. For example:
- Cooking jasmine rice? Use the steam mode
- Want brown rice? Press the rice button
- Feel like mixed rice and beans? That’s what the multicook program is for
- Just want to keep your cooked rice warm? There’s even a mode for that
There are safety features like a digitally-programmed steam release valve, which releases steam automatically at the end of the cooking cycle or during the keep-warm mode.
Another great feature is the auto-clean function, which uses the steam from the pressure cooker to sanitize your rice cooker.
The inner pot is 2PLY Clad, which is a combination of stainless steel and aluminum. It helps with heat conduction and can endure high temperatures, pressure, and steam. It also helps make cleaning easy.
This has an X-wall coating, so it may contain PTFE.
The exterior finish is a sophisticated white and gold. Some of the pictures make the gold look pink. I can assure you it is gold.
This model includes 14 safety features.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s great at cooking rice, making it easy for everyone to do well.
- Voice navigation
- Great non-stick surface
- Advanced safety features
- Auto-clean function
- X-Wall Nonstick
- Simple control panel
- Food warmer function
- Not as good with non-white rice
- Higher price
Cuckoo Multifunctional Micom 6-cup Rice Cooker & Warmer (Best Rice Cooker on a Budget)
This Korean rice cooker has an LCD display with 10 menu options including, multi-cook, multigrain, and steam.
Multi-grain is useful if you cooking mixed rice, for example jasmine and brown rice. Multi-cook is useful if you want to cook other food with your rice.
I recommend using the steam mode when cooking jasmine rice.
This product has a customized function called My Mode, which lets you select the degree of softness, glutinosity, and tastiness you desire.
Another great feature is the turbo setting, which can help you make rice in a hurry.
There’s no audio navigation system, so you’re on your own when programming.
The inner bowl is aluminum coated with Teflon. It’s strong and durable. This could be a minus for people avoiding Teflon, which contains PTFE.
As far as safety goes, it has an automatic steam and pressure emission, a locking lid and auto-temperature control.
The white and pink exterior is cute, but it may not appeal to everyone.
- Easy to clean
- Turbo mode for fast cooking
- Economical price
- Easy to get fluffy rice with My Mode
- No steamer basket
- No voice navigation
- English directions aren’t well written
- Teflon coated inner bowl
- No auto-clean function
Cuckoo CR-0655F Rice Cooker & Warmer 6 Cups (Best Simple Rice Cooker)
This is an excellent option if you just want to cook some rice. It doesn’t have the various bells and whistles of the other Korean rice cookers on this list, but it still makes great rice.
The rice cooker does have fuzzy logic technology that adjusts the cooking process to give you perfect rice.
The Cuckoo CR-0655F appeals to users who just want a simple way to make rice. You just wash your rice, throw it in, and it will cook it for you.
There’s no audio navigation, but this adds to the simplicity.
It can make smaller quantities of rice, so it’s ideal for singles and couples.
The inner bowl is Teflon coated–great for some, not so much for others!
- Cooks rice very fast
- Great for singles and couples because it makes small quantities
- Doesn’t take up much space on your countertop
- Rice cooker jumps when the lid opens
- A little heavy for its size
- Dim display
- Inner bowl is just aluminum coated with Teflon
- Only good for rice cooking
Cuckoo CRP-P0609S Electric Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer (Most Versatile Korean Rice Cooker)
This is a fairly versatile model. Rice is just one of the many foods it can cook. You can also make yogurt, soup, porridge, and even bake bread.
The inner pot is only aluminum, so heat induction isn’t as good. It also won’t wear as well as stainless steel ones.
It does come with an X-wall diamond non-stick coating in the inner pot. As mentioned above, this is a ceramic-based coating that may contain PTFE.
Like some others, it has audio navigation and an auto steam cleaning function.
The design is sleek and simple. It comes in an eye-pleasing black with a copper-colored band around the top.
- Inner pot is non-stick
- Lid is detachable for easy cleaning
- Has voice navigation
- Self-cleaning feature
- It’s a little heavy
- Changing the voice language is tricky
- The lid pops open too fast
- Inner cooking bowl is aluminum
Cuckoo CRP-DHSR0609FD Multifunctional and Programmable Electric Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker (Rice Cooker with Most Functions)
This model has 14 different cooking functions, making it more like a personal kitchen assistant than just a rice cooker.
It features a voice navigation system to help guide you through the menus.
The Cuckoo CRP-DHSR0609FD has an X-wall diamond-coated inner bowl, which is brilliant if you want to avoid having rice stuck to the inside. Again, it’s not listed as PTFE free, but it’s called a ceramic coating.
Another great feature is the cover lid release button, which makes for easy cleanup, and there’s also an alarm if the unit gets overheated.
A big drawback here is there’s no auto-clean function like others at this price have.
- Sophisticated design
- Voice navigation system
- Easy cleanup
- X-wall diamond-coated bowl
- Lots of functions to learn
- Instructions hard to understand
- Not great with oats
- No stainless steel in the bowl
- No auto-clean function
My Top Choice
I would choose the Cuckoo Q5 CMC-QSB501S Premium 8 in 1 Multi Rice Cooker as my personal best Korean rice cooker.
I like rice. But in any given week I’ll cook it maybe once or twice. So how much counter space am I willing to give up for a Korean rice cooker?
For this reason, the fact that this model does more than just cook rice is a big bonus for me. I also like the slogan: I cook, you rest.
Frequent readers know about my feelings about non-stick coatings, including Teflon. I see their benefits, but if I can avoid them, I usually do. So this 2-ply clad pot of stainless steel and aluminum is right up my alley.
The voice navigation seems like a good idea when just starting out. To be honest, I could see this function eventually driving me crazy. Hit mute! But I’ll need it at the beginning.
Of course, the easy cleaning functions had me at hello.
If your want more alternatives, then Japanese Rice Cookers are also known for their high quality.