Rice appears on our dinner table multiple times a week. For households all over the world, rice is a staple food. It’s also the foundation for many dishes across all cuisines.
But rice can be deceptively tricky to make. There are plenty of ways it can go wrong. Too much water, not enough time, and uneven stove top heating can ruin a batch of rice in no time.
Fortunately, making rice doesn’t have to be a matter of guesswork. A good rice cooker can deliver perfectly cooked rice each and every time.
The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer is ideal for beginners and experts, alike. It has excellent performance, reviews, and features. But you might want an induction cooker, or perhaps you prefer a multi-cooker. There are other considerations.
Here are the rice cookers I’ve reviewed in this article:
- Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy: Best Sushi Rice Cooker (See my Sushi Rice Cooker guide)
- Zojirushi Induction Heating: Best Japanese Rice Cooker (More in my Japanese Rice Cooker guide)
- Panasonic Rice Cooker: Best Japanese Splurge Rice Cooker
- Tiger JBV Rice Cooker: Best Budget Japanese Rice Cooker
- Instant Pot Duo Plus: Best Pressure Cooker for Rice (See my Instant Pot vs Rice Cooker guide)
- Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel: Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker (More in my Stainless Steel Rice Cooker roundup)
- GreenLife Ceramic Mini Rice Cooker: Best Non-Teflon Rice Cooker (More on Teflon-free Rice Cookers)
- Cuckoo Rice Cooker: Best Korean Rice Cooker (I’ve written more about Korean Rice Cookers)
Which rice cooker deserves a spot in your kitchen? Keep reading to find out more.
Buying Guide: All About Rice Cookers
Common Types of Rice Cookers
If you thought a rice cooker was unnecessary, you might reconsider after watching this video by America’s Test Kitchen:
It can be confusing to navigate all the terms, so here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of rice cookers:
One-push rice cookers are electric and heat the water via a coil or plate at the bottom. They typically have just one heat setting, thus the term “one-push.” Some also have an automatic warming mode.
These cookers feature a simple design and are easy to use.
If you’ve been cooking for any length of time, you know cooking requires you to monitor food and adjust based on temperature, doneness, etc. So how do rice cookers make automatic adjustments during the cooking process? The answer is fuzzy logic.
Fuzzy logic rice cookers are programmed to mimic human reasoning. They have a set of conditions that regulate the cooking process, allowing them to deliver consistent results.
Micom is an abbreviation of micro-computerized, meaning a Micom rice cooker is controlled by a microcomputer chip.
Induction Rice Cookers
An induction, or IH, rice cooker uses an induction heating system to cook rice. These cookers use coils to create a magnetic field inside the rice cooker. The magnetized inner pot reacts and heats up thoroughly and quickly.
Induction cookers cook rice more precisely in less time, making them some of the top rice cookers, performance-wise. Of course, they’re also at the top, price-wise.
Pressure Cooker Combos
Some multi-cookers, like Instant Pot, aren’t just for cooking rice. These appliances also function as a slow cooker, sauté pan, and pressure cooker.
Pressure rice cookers are great for one-pot meals. They’re also incredibly convenient for busy home cooks who want complete meals without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
However, multi-cookers don’t allow you to monitor the food while it’s cooking. And if you need to make adjustments? You have to wait for the unit to release pressure, which can take several minutes.
Those who want maximum control over the cooking process may not find the “set it and forget it” nature of combo cookers appealing.
What Size Rice Cooker Should I Use?
In general, you should estimate 1/2 cup of rice per person as a side and 1 cup per person as a base for a meal. Of course, that could vary, depending on the person.
Rice cookers range in capacity from 3 cups all the way to 20 cups. Most measure in uncooked rice, which swells in volume to three times its uncooked volume. So one uncooked cup of rice will yield approximately three cups of cooked rice.
One thing to note: Japanese rice cookers use rice cups, not standard US measuring cups. A rice measuring cup is equal to 3/4 of a standard US cup.
Types of Inner Pots
A nonstick pot is lightweight, easy to clean, and affordable. It most often consists of aluminum covered in a Teflon coating. Non-stick is one of the most popular choices.
For those that wish to avoid Teflon, there are also ceramic-coated pots. These offer the same benefits, although their stick resistance isn’t as strong.
Finally, you’ll also find stainless steel cooking pots. These are more durable and able to withstand higher heat than a nonstick pot. But they are tougher to clean and generally more expensive.
What other features should I look for in a rice cooker?
Starchy steam can leave a film on the lid of rice cookers, and cleaning it can be a hassle. A detachable lid makes cleaning your rice cooker a breeze. Plus, it helps keep the odors away. You want sticky rice, not stinky rice.
Cords are my arch-nemesis. Okay, that might be hyperbole, but wrapping and storing cords is quite annoying. A retractable cord makes storing your rice cooker painless.
What if your rice finishes cooking before the rest of the meal? An automatic keep-warm mode means you can eat warm, fresh rice whenever you’re ready to eat. A perfect solution for busy home cooks.
I don’t typically have single-use appliances unless it’s something I’m going to use on a daily basis. I just don’t have the space in my kitchen. That’s why I like rice cookers that have multiple cooking functions. Some have settings specifically for brown rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. Some can also steam vegetables, fry, sauté, or brown food.
An intuitive control panel is important for cooking rice. It should have an easy-to-read display, a timer function, and clear preset programs. Some high-end rice cookers even have voice navigation. And while artificial intelligence isn’t necessary for a rice cooker, a user-friendly interface is.
Best Rice Cooker Reviews
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy: Best Sushi Rice Cooker
Zojirushi makes some of the best rice cookers on the market. This Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer topped my list of best sushi rice cookers. It uses computer chip technology to turn out perfectly cooked rice.
This model is available in two different capacities: 5.5 cups and 10 cups (i.e. ~11 and 20 cups of cooked rice). The 5.5-cups model is a good size for most people.
The Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker has specific settings for regular white rice, sushi rice, mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, and brown rice settings. Don’t pre-rinse your rice? No problem. This model has settings for cooking rice without pre-rinsing and a quick-cooking option.
Customers did say that some of the rice settings take longer to cook, especially brown rice. But even though this device isn’t a time saver, users agreed that the results were worth the wait.
The good news is that the keep warm mode can go for up to 12 hours. That means you can begin cooking before work and have delicious rice ready for dinner.
There is an extended warm mode that lasts up to 24 hours, but users cautioned against keeping rice in the cooker longer than 12 hours.
The nonstick cooking pot has measurement markings on the inside so you can easily add the right amount of water. Reviewers also said it was easy to clean, and they loved the inner pot’s stay-cool handles.
Although this cooker has a small countertop footprint, it has a carrying handle for maximum portability. It also features a detachable inner lid for easier cleaning and a retractable cord.
This rice cooker comes with two rice measuring cups, a rice scooper, and spoon holder.
- Great for making sushi rice
- Features fuzzy logic and delay timer
- Built-in retractable cord
- Detachable inner lid, easy to clean
- Non-stick cooking pot can scratch with metal utensils
- Timer doesn’t display total time
- Long cooking time
- Inner handles get hot
Zojirushi Induction Heating: Best Japanese Rice Cooker
It has a capacity of 5.5 cups of uncooked rice, large enough to make 11 cups of cooked rice. This model uses induction cooking to heat the bottom, sides, and lid of the pan. This surround cooking results in perfectly tender grains, regardless of what variety you’re making.
It has settings for white rice (regular, softer, or harder), jasmine rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, porridge, sweet rice, brown rice, quick-cooking, and even GABA brown rice, a nutritious sprouted rice.
The keep-warm setting can hold rice for a short time when dinner might be delayed. The extended warm keeps the rice warm for up to 24 hours. The delay timer has two settings for maximum control over timing.
Users, in particular, liked these features. Many said they set the delay timer before leaving work, only to come home to perfect rice in time for dinner.
Another thing they liked? The nonstick inner pot and detachable lid, which made for easy cleaning. Simply wash with warm water and mild soap.
One nice feature is the timer notification. This Zojirushi cooker lets you choose between a standard beep notification, melody, or silent mode to let you know the rice is ready.
This Zojirushi includes a measuring cup and rice paddle. While it’s one of the more expensive models on my list, the number of satisfied customers speaks for itself.
- Cooks rice perfectly using induction heating
- Can cook multiple types of rice
- Non-stick inner pot
- Delay timer & keep warm mode
- Large countertop footprint
Panasonic Rice Cooker: Best Japanese Splurge Rice Cooker
This Panasonic Rice Cooker is another model that uses induction cooking to achieve evenly cooked rice. It has a capacity of 5 cups of uncooked rice, or 10 cups of cooked rice. I chose this as a splurge Japanese rice cooker.
Panasonic advertises this as a multi-cooker able to heat soup, steam veggies, cook fish, and slow cook food. And with 13 preset cooking programs, you can cook plenty more than just white and brown rice.
The keep warm setting allows you to keep rice warm up to 12 hours after cooking. Even better, the automatic shutoff is a nice safety feature that prevents scorched rice.
The seven layer pot has a nonstick coating on the inside that’s infused with Diamonds for extra durability. What’s more? It has a self-cleaning option to get those hard-to-reach spaces.
This Panasonic cooker comes with a measuring cup, spoon, and ladle. It also has a nifty loop handle for easy transport.
Users had glowing reviews. They said this model was great for cooking long grain rice and keeping it fresh for several hours. Some did caution that there is a learning curve.
While this rice cooker is great at producing rice with maximum flavor and texture, I can’t say the difference is worth the exorbitant price tag. But if you want a great rice cooker and have a super flexible budget, go for it.
- 13 preset programs
- Superb performance
- Induction technology
- Automatic keep warm
- Self-cleaning option
- Learning curve
- Only shows time for final 15 minutes
Tiger JBV Rice Cooker: Best Budget Japanese Rice Cooker
On the other end of the price spectrum is the Tiger JBV Rice Cooker. In fact, this model was my pick as the best budget Japanese rice cooker. It has an uncooked capacity of 5.5 cups, or 11 cups of cooked rice.
One major reason I like this Tiger JBV Cooker is its ease of use. The cooking menu has four preset buttons: plain rice, brown rice, slow cooking, and synchro-cooking. The synchro option allows you to cook rice and a main dish simultaneously.
This Tiger rice cooker comes with a non-stick spatula, cooking plate for steaming, measuring cup and cookbook for using the synchro function.
Users had success with making fluffy rice, brown rice, and short grain rice. Some were even able to cook quinoa and other grains. Some had issues with the unit spewing water while the rice cooked, however.
Overall, this is a solid, but basic rice cooker. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of many rice cookers. But if you just want something affordable and easy to use that turns out nicely cooked rice, this is a great pick.
- Fuzzy logic, easy to use
- Includes steamer basket
- Multi-dish synchro option
- No porridge or sushi rice options
- Reports of spewing water
Instant Pot Duo Plus: Best Pressure Cooker for Rice
If you’re not cooking rice every day, you might want an appliance that can do a variety of tasks. The Instant Pot Duo Plus is considered a 9-in-1 multi-cooker. It’s great for cooking rice, as well as pressure cooking, sautéing, steaming, and yogurt making, and warming.
While the 6-quart (5.68 liters) is the best option for most people, there are models available in 3 quarts and 8 quarts (2.84 and 7.57 liters, respectively). It comes with a steam rack and extra sealing ring.
Users found the Instant Pot convenient for one-pot meals, but they wouldn’t recommend it as a dedicated rice cooker.
They were able to cook short and medium grain white rice but didn’t have consistent results with cooking brown rice or other long grain rice.
But for those who want something easy to clean, the Instant Pot Duo is as good as it gets. The stainless steel pot is dishwasher-safe.
- Quick cooking time
- Easy to clean
- “Set it and forget it”
- Pressure is slow to build and release
- Can’t monitor food
- Cooking seal absorbs cooking odors
Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel: Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker: Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
With a capacity of 6 cups of cooked rice, this is one of the smaller models on my list. Aroma does sell a 14-cup model for those who need something bigger.
The stainless steel inner cook pot is sturdy and durable, although rice is more likely to stick to it. But it’s great if you want to avoid Teflon.
This is a simple, one-touch model that has two settings: cook and warm. The nice thing is that the Aroma automatically switches to the warm setting when the rice is done, so you don’t have to worry about overcooking the rice.
The best part about this simple design? You can use it to cook white and brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, quinoa, germinated brown rice, steel cut oats, and more. Once you figure out the proper grain to water ratio, you’re good to go!
This inexpensive model comes with a measuring cup and wooden rice spoon. Oddly enough, one of the most common complaints from buyers was that they received a moldy rice spoon.
This cooker may not have the features of most rice cookers, but if you want great results with a single touch of a button, this Aroma model fits the bill.
- Sturdy stainless steel pot
- Easy to use, one-push
- Sleek design
- Auto keep warm mode
- Reports of moldy rice paddle
- Limited cooking options
GreenLife Ceramic Mini Rice Cooker: Best Non-Teflon Rice Cooker
I could easily name this the cutest rice cooker, but ultimately, cuteness can’t make rice. Fortunately, this GreenLife Ceramic Rice Cooker has great reviews to back it up, making it my top choice for Teflon-free non-stick cookers.
This small rice cooker has four cook presets: white rice, quinoa, steel cut oats, and a brown rice setting. It has a ceramic coated cook pot that resists sticking.
This model is easy to use and comes with a spatula and measuring cup. I like the adjustable timing for more control. Users were able to cook long grain white rice successfully, as well as brown rice and congee.
The delay timer and auto-warming feature make the GreenLife convenient for busy cooks, and the dishwasher-safe parts make for easy cleanup.
Some reviewers did have issues with water accumulating under the lid. And the smaller capacity means this isn’t the best choice for larger families or those who eat a lot of rice.
- Bright color options
- Great performance
- Easy to use, 4 presets
- Delay timer
- Stick-resistant pot (non-Teflon)
- Water accumulates under lid
- Smaller capacity
Cuckoo Rice Cooker: Best Korean Rice Cooker
Trying to find rice cookers that can actually walk you through the programming? Look no further. This Cuckoo Korean Cooker is really an 8-in-1 combination cooker. It was my choice for the best Korean rice cooker.
It has settings for pressure cooking, vegetables, soup, white rice, brown rice, meat, porridge, browning, steaming, and more.
This model has a capacity of 5 quarts (4.73 liters), so it can easily hold enough food for 4-5 people. And once the food is done cooking, the auto-warming function keeps it warm until you’re ready to eat.
The modern, LED display has voice navigation that actually talks to you. On top of that, the touch controls make it easy to select the correct cooking program. Fair warning, this is model not for technologically-challenged people.
Buyers loved the multi-functions of this cooker. They used it to cook white rice, as well as brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, and more.
It’s designed to cook white rice, so the performance was better than for other types. Still, they said that overall, rice cooks well in this model.
This Cuckoo is bulky. You’ll need to free up some space for it. But many loved the contemporary design of the Cuckoo, so they didn’t mind leaving it out.
Customers especially loved the auto cleaning function and the versatility of the Cuckoo. Expect this to fall in the mid-range price level.
- Voice navigation
- Auto-cleaning function
- Auto warming function
- Great non-stick surface
- Advanced safety features
- Large countertop footprint
- Not as good with non-white rice
Best Rice Cookers: Conclusion
My recommendation is the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Cooker. It’s one of the best rice cookers in terms of practicality, price point, and performance.
But there are several good alternatives that can deliver delicious rice, regardless of your preference or price point.