I’ve scoured the market to find the best stainless steel rice cookers. Among the contenders, I found the Aroma Housewares Select Stainless to be the best in terms of quality and value.
Rice is one of those foods you can eat at virtually every meal.
Breakfast? Gallo pinto. Lunch? Sushi. Dinner? Risotto. Dessert? Rice pudding.
That’s why I love having a rice cooker in my kitchen.
If you want restaurant quality rice, you need a premium rice cooker. You also want one that won’t leach toxic chemicals into your food while cooking.
Finding a healthy rice cooker can be a challenge. But I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and found several non toxic rice cookers on the market.
Some products are good budget picks, while others provide more cooking options. But which one is the best product for your kitchen?
Keep reading to learn more.
What is a stainless steel rice cooker?
A stainless steel rice cooker is a rice cooker made of stainless steel, right? Easy!
It’s not that simple.
A stainless steel rice cooker refers to the inner cooking pot. A rice cooker typically has an outer shell and an inner cooking pot. Most, if not all, rice cookers will have an outer shell made of another material.
And that’s okay!
We’re really concerned with the material that’s touching the food. Many people prefer stainless steel over Teflon due to potential health concerns.
Sometimes a manufacturer advertises a rice cooker as stainless steel, but it’s actually a stainless steel pot with a non-stick coating. That’s no good.
All of the rice cookers on our list have a stainless steel inner pot—no Teflon coating. So you don’t have to worry about accidentally buying a “stainless steel” rice cooker that’s really non-stick.
We’ve got your back.
Ready to see which stainless steel rice cookers make the mark? Let’s go.
The Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
Aroma Housewares Simply Stainless Rice Cooker-Best Overall
The Aroma Simply Stainless rice cooker has a sleek look and comes in a white or black option.
It’s easy to handle and store. The design is attractive, though, so I wouldn’t mind leaving it on the counter.
I definitely can’t say the same for all rice cookers.
While this model doesn’t have the flash rice setting of other Aroma models, the one push-button and auto keep-warm function makes it easy to “set it and forget it.”
When it comes to the inner cooking pot? The grade 304 stainless steel is sturdy. Many reviews loved how easy this cooker is to clean.
Of course, stainless steel will stick more than a non-stick pot. Some customer reviews suggest removing the pot from the heating element as soon as the cooker switches to the warm mode to avoid sticking.
This is one of the smaller stainless steel rice cookers on the list, only handling 6 cups of rice (cooked). 6 cups of cooked rice is enough for a family of 5-6.
If you want to cook for more people, Aroma does have a 14-cup option, as well.
This rice cooker comes in at an affordable price. There were several reports of a moldy wooden rice paddle, however, check it as soon as you get it so you don’t have any problems getting a new paddle.
- Sturdy stainless steel pot
- One push- easy to use
- Sleek design
- Automatic keep warm mode
- Some reports of moldy wooden rice paddle
- Limited warranty
Instant Pot Duo Nova Pressure Cooker, 3 Qt.-Best Multipurpose
The Instant Pot is technically a pressure cooker, but it earned its place on this list. With thirteen cooking programs on the menu, this product can handle anything.
Making yogurt? Check.
Preparing beef stew or chili? Check.
Cooking grains or (obviously) rice? Check.
Advertised as 7 appliances in 1, the Instant Pot is the only digital rice cooker on the list. The inner steel pot is sturdy and easy to clean. You can even pop it into the dishwasher (yay!).
The Instant Pot has a delay timer, which I like to use for make-ahead breakfasts.
It also has an automatic setting to keep food warm. That’s especially handy when I don’t time my cooking correctly and we eat an hour later than planned. Oops.
This Instant Pot can prepare rice for up to 10 people at a time, making it great for families.
I like that Instant Pot includes a booklet with plenty of recipes. This puppy really can be your go-to workhorse in the kitchen.
But be prepared. There is a bit of a learning curve to pressure cooking.
While Instant Pot has a detailed instruction manual, it does take some time to get used to the timing and quantities.
There are also no cup measuring lines on the newer models, so you’ll have to figure out the rice-to-liquid ratios on your own.
Still, this pot can make a variety of food and actually save you time in the kitchen. That’s a big reason why this product is so popular among customers.
- Stainless steel pot is dishwasher safe
- 13 cook settings for grains, rice, meat, chili, stew and yogurt
- Delay timer and automatic keep warm function
- Pressure cooking method saves time
- Learning curve of cooking methods
- No measurement lines for rice
- Bulky, not easy to store
Elite Gourmet ERC2010B Electric Rice Cooker-Best Budget Pick
For those who want cooked rice at a friendly price, Elite Gourmet offers this rice cooker in a white or black option.
This rice cooker will yield up to 10 cups of cooked rice (1.8 liters), making it suitable for up to 10 people.
The one-push heating technology allows you to set it and walk away. The keep-warm mode ensures your rice is fresh when you are ready to eat it.
One feature that I particularly liked? The handles can act as a holder for the tempered glass lid. No more watery rings on the counter from the lid. Those are the types of details that make me a happy consumer.
The manufacturer advertises the cooking pot as grade 304 stainless steel, but there are several reports of black spots and pitting on the stainless steel inner pot.
Some customers complained that the steam vent spews out water while cooking. Others suggest cooking only 2 cups of rice, which would yield approximately 4 cups cooked rice.
- Handle can hold glass lid
- Lighter weight, easier to store
- Includes rice paddle and rice measuring cup
- Some reviews mentioned pitting, black spots on steel
- Reports of steam vent spitting water
- Plastic outer cover not as sturdy
Oyama Stainless 8-Cup Rice Cooker-Best for Steaming
This Oyama stainless steel rice cooker is a larger option, yielding 16 cups of cooked rice. It comes with a tempered glass lid, measuring cup and rice paddle.
This is also the only model on the list that includes a stainless steel steamer tray. The steam tray means you can steam vegetables while your rice is cooking below.
Cooking dinner just got a little faster.
Several reviews liked how this product is easy to clean, including the steamer tray.
However, durability is a concern. Some customers said their cooker stopped working after a few uses.
Like with other models, some complained of water spitting out of the lid. Some people had the idea to put a bowl or cup over the hole to stop the spraying.
- Includes steamer basket
- Larger capacity (8 cups of rice, uncooked)
- Easy to clean
- Most expensive of the single cook setting models
- Some reports of burning smell
Buffalo Classic Rice Cooker-Best Splurge
If you’re looking to splurge on a stainless steel rice cooker, this Buffalo Classic unit is a good choice.
This rice cooker has a heating system with separate settings for brown rice, white rice, and congee. You could also use the congee setting for making rice pudding or porridge.
The Buffalo Classic rice cooker holds 10 cups of cooked rice, making it one of the larger cookers on the list. There is also a 5-cup version, as well. The 5 cup version is enough for a family of 3-4.
The stainless steel inner pot has 3 layers: a thermal outer layer, an aluminum center, and a stainless steel inner layer.
The aluminum layer gives maximum conductivity, while the stainless steel layer means you can cook safely. And unlike non-stick pots, you don’t have to worry about the stainless steel peeling or flaking.
This model has a keep warm mode that remains on until you turn off the unit. It also has a removable vent and inner lid.
The cooker comes with a 1-year warranty and a 3-year warranty for the inner pot. I like that they stand behind their rice cooker. This is a better warranty than most products.
- 3-year warranty for inner pot
- Holds 10 cups cooked rice
- 3-layer stainless steel inner pot
- Separate setting for brown rice, white rice, and congee
- Pricier than other models
Tiger JNP-S10U-HU 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker– Best Alternative
When many people think of rice cookers, the name Tiger immediately jumps to mind.
And for good reason.
This company has a wide range of products and some of the best rice cookers out there. Tiger is one of the more respected brands, manufacturing most of their cookware in Japan.
What don’t they have? Rice cookers with a stainless steel inner pot.
While this model is advertised as stainless steel, it actually has a non stick inner pot. So by our definition, it’s not technically a stainless steel rice cooker.
So why did I include it on the list?
I included it as an alternative for those who are comfortable cooking with non stick but really want that stainless steel look.
This cooker has an attractive sleek stainless steel gray cover. It looks great in almost any kitchen.
This product is simple to use. You can get your rice cooking with the push of a button. Plus, it automatically switches to keep warm mode.
The manufacturer recommends the warm setting for up to 12 hours, meaning you can put the rice in before work and have it ready for dinner that evening.
And the retractable power cord makes this cooker easy to store. Of course, you should avoid using metal utensils with this rice cooker to keep the non stick coating in tip top shape.
This rice cooker is pricey, so you definitely want to take good care of your non stick cooking pot.
- Well-respected brand
- Retractable power cord
- Easy to use
- Non stick inner pot (not a true stainless steel rice cooker)
- More expensive
What to consider when buying a stainless steel rice cooker
Are you new to stainless steel rice cookers? Not sure what to look for? Read more about what you should consider when making your purchase.
What are the advantages of using a stainless steel rice cooker?
Having a stainless steel pot means you don’t have to worry about Teflon or other questionable materials leaching into your food while cooking.
Some nonstick may not be as worrisome, but the aluminum underneath definitely is. And when those pots start flaking or peeling? You’ll have to toss it and get a new one.
Stainless steel is non-reactive, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals in your food.
It’s resistant to rusting or corrosion, which is great for getting the most mileage out of your cookware.
It’s sturdy, so if (or in my case, when) you accidentally drop it, the chances of damaging the pot are small.
Stainless steel does not conduct heat as well as aluminum, however. For that reason, you might find some pots with a stainless steel layer over an aluminum core.
That’s not a problem.
You still won’t have to worry about the aluminum touching your food, because the stainless steel won’t flake or peel like a non stick coating would.
Just be sure to look for grade 304 stainless steel, which has nickel and chromium in it. This increases its protection against corrosion.
What size cooker should I choose?
This is a big factor for many people. You definitely want to choose a rice cooker that can handle whatever volume you plan to cook.
You’ll want to consider your family size, amount of rice for each meal, and whether you plan to do any batch cooking.
A rule of thumb is to allow one cup of cooked rice or half a cup of uncooked rice per person. Rice cooker sizes are quoted in uncooked rice cups. So allow half a cup per person. I like to have a little margin so I would suggest 1 cup (margin) plus half a cup per person. On this rule of thumb, a 5-7 cup rice cooker will be great for a family. (Check it is uncooked rice though!)
Trying to cook too much rice at once is the number one mistake I’ve seen with using rice cookers. This error results in water spewing out of the lid and rice stuck to the bottom of the pot.
So how do you avoid that?
First, you have to understand the measuring unit. There’s a difference between a rice measuring cup and a standard U.S. measuring cup.
A standard U.S. measuring cup is equivalent to 240 mL. The rice measuring cup follows a traditional Japanese measuring unit, called the go. The go is equivalent to 3/4 cup (180 mL).
People who don’t understand this difference could be disappointed when their rice cooker is smaller than expected.
So when you see a rice cooker with a capacity of 5 cups, it’s really 5 rice measuring cups, or 900 mL. That would be approximately 3.75 standard cups.
Most manufacturers advertise their cooker’s capacity using uncooked rice, yet some use cooked rice. Make sure to double check (or read my reviews!)
Something else to consider?
As rice absorbs water and expands, the steam created needs somewhere to go. If you fill your rice cooker to the top of its capacity, that steam won’t have much room.
Water spewing haphazardly out of the steam vent. Unless you want to clean up a water spill every time you use your cooker, I would suggest only filling the rice cooker halfway of its capacity.
Just to be on the safe side.
What features should I look for in a stainless steel rice cooker?
At the end of the day, you want a product that is great at cooking rice. That tops everything else.
But is that all?
From LED displays and induction heat to voice navigation, you can find a wide range of bells and whistles on a rice cooker. However, there are some basic features that make preparing your food a little easier.
Many rice cookers have a separate rice paddle and rice measuring cup. You may want a cooker with built-in storage for those items.
If you don’t have a lot of of countertop space in your kitchen, you will want a rice cooker that is easy to store. Check out the dimensions to make sure it can fit in your cabinets.
A retractable power cord also comes in handy for easy storage.
The process of cooking rice creates steam. That steam needs somewhere to go. Having a vented lid means your rice won’t get soggy.
Vent holes vary in size. The bigger the steam hole, the more moisture will escape. If you are worried about drying out your rice, choose a lid with a smaller vent hole.
I’ve also seen some glass lids with plastic-rimmed vent holes. I would opt for a metal rim on the vent hole to avoid melting plastic.
Keep Warm Mode
Having a rice cooker does not save a lot of time versus the traditional stovetop method. The advantage of a rice cooker is its consistent results and the timing.
You cannot cook rice on the stovetop in the morning and just leave it there during the day.
Not unless you like chewy, dried out rice. I’ll pass on that.
However, if you get a rice cooker with a warming function, it can cook the rice early in the day and keep it at the right temperature until you’re ready to eat it.
Obviously, cookers vary in how long they can keep rice warm and fresh. You’ll want to choose one that can keep your rice warm for several hours if you plan to cook in advance.
Multiple Cook Settings
Rice cooking is a simple yet fastidious process. Having a good understanding of how different types of rice cook is essential to getting the best results each time.
For instance, the time and liquid necessary to cook a cup of long-grain brown rice is not the same as a cup of short-grain white rice.
But sometimes you just want things to be easy.
Midweek school-night dinner. Need I say more?
This is where different cook settings can help.
By having a button for brown rice, white rice, or other types of grains, you can target the cooking process and get better results.
How do I avoid sticking with a stainless steel rice cooker?
Whether you are cooking quinoa, brown rice, or other grains, you want to avoid food sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Unfortunately, that is more likely to happen with stainless steel rice cookers. That’s the trade-off you make to eliminate any potential health risks in cooking.
So what’s the solution?
I have one word for you: Rinsing.
Rinsing the rice gets rid of excess starch that absorbs water and causes rice to stick together. Starchy rice= voluminous, sticky rice. Most recommend rinsing the rice until you get clear water.
If you want a sticky rice, however, feel free to skip the rinsing process.
Another simple suggestion is to rub a small amount of oil around the inner pot before cooking. Plenty of users have had success with this method.
Of course, soaking the cooking pot for a few minutes after cooking can also loosen up any stuck-on grains.
Whatever method you choose, there are simple ways to combat this common issue.
The Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker: The Final Word
If you want that perfect blend of affordability and quality, I would go with the Aroma Housewares Select Stainless Rice Cooker. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, affordable, and looks nice.
If you want something more versatile, and you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to use it, the Instant Pot is a good choice. It can potentially replace several appliances with just one purchase.