Rice Cookers for Consistent Results, Every Time
Rice is the food staple for the two most populous countries on earth: China and India. It is estimated to be 20% of all of the calories that the world’s population consumes! But, if you cook rice often, you may find it difficult to get the consistency and cooking time just right. It demands a low flame until the rice absorbs the cooking water. And you have to supervise and stir it regularly to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the pot or get burned. That’s where a good rice cooker comes in.
There are lots of models of rice cookers that take all of the guesswork out of cooking rice. The proportions of rice to water are already worked out to perfection, and they can turn off automatically when the rice is completely cooked. These cookers have non-stick compartments for the rice, and some are designed to distribute the heat evenly throughout the compartment. There are programmable rice cookers that have settings for many varieties of rice, and will keep the rice warm until you’re ready to serve it!
We’ll go through some of the Best Reviews Guide’s list of the most popular rice cookers. Whether it’s a single serving, or enough rice for a holiday meal, there is a rice cooker that will get the job done for you flawlessly!
What types of rice cookers are there?
There are many types of rice cookers, from the most basic models that simply cook rice to more advanced models with features like timers and automatic shut-off. Some are equipped to prepare brown rice, porridge, or sushi rice.
Types of Rice Cookers
Looking over the Best Reviews Guide of the best rice cookers, we see a number of options available:
Cooks only one variety of rice: There are very elementary rice cookers that allow you to just measure out the quantity of rice that you want, add the correct amount of water, and the rice cooker does the rest. One such cooker is the Zojirushi Rice Cooker (Model No. NHS-06). It cooks up to 3 cups of dry rice and keeps it warm for 5 hours after it has finished cooking.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Cooks several varieties of rice: These rice cookers have programs to cook a wide variety of types and consistencies of rice. But it might not be so easy to extend the use of the appliance to anything else. An example is the Zojirushi Neuro-Fuzzy Rice Cooker (Model No. NS-ZCC10). It has programs for white, semi-brown, brown, mixed rice (= rice with additional seasonings), sweet (or “sticky”), and sushi rice. It’s designed to heat the rice evenly, with heating elements underneath, on top, and on all sides of the cooker. It uses "fuzzy logic", in the sense that it will adjust perfectly to the amount and consistency in which you want your rice. You can also program it for a soft consistency, a harder consistency, or porridge-type rice.
Zojirushi Neuro-Fuzzy Rice Cooker
Cooks other cereals as well: There are also rice cookers that can prepare hot cereals, whole grains, and even steamed vegetables or seafood! An example is the Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker & Rice Steamer.
Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker & Rice Steamer
Part of a multicooker: There are multicookers that have rice cooking as one of their functions. An example is the Cuckoo 6-Cup Micom Rice Cooker. "Micom" is short for "micro-computer". It describes the electronics behind the multicooker's abilities to prepare such a variety of dishes. Besides preparing white and brown rice, it’s also suitable for making oatmeal, and steamed vegetables, and even serve as a crockpot for making beef stew!
Cuckoo 6-Cup Micom Rice Cooker
What reviewers say
Here are some of the impressions of customers regarding their choice of rice cooker:
Prefer a hinged lid: Some rice cookers use a hinged lid, while some have a lid that twists off. It’s better to use the hinged lid since it will release steam more safely. Some customers said that they suffered steam burns when trying to open a twist-off lid.
Can try heating soup or stew: A customer who bought the Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker said that they didn’t have any problem using the appliance for cooking or heating a stew or soup when it’s set on the “white rice” setting. It also can be used to saute at a high temperature, and then go to simmer mode after you add liquid.
Accessories: There are also rice cookers that come with special accessories, such as a rice spatula. This may turn out to be an important piece of equipment, especially if you have a rice cooker with a Teflon coating. You have to use implements that won’t scratch or chip the coating.
Here are some tips and essential features to look for when selecting a rice cooker:
Rice cooker with a steamer: Many rice cookers can utilize the steam from the cooking rice to steam vegetables or seafood. This way, you can prepare an entire meal with just your rice cooker! An example is the Tiger 5.5-cup Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer Basket. It’s specially designed so that the food that you’re steaming doesn’t affect the taste or texture of the rice. The steamer basket can also be used to rinse the rice before cooking.
Tiger 5.5-cup Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer Basket
Capacity: You can find rice cookers in a range of capacities. It’s not uncommon to find rice cookers that can prepare as much as 20 cups of rice! (Typically, you’ll put in 10 cups of dry rice for 20 cups of cooked rice.)
Keep warm function: Many automatic rice cookers have a “keep-warm” function, to keep the rice warm for as much as 12 hours after it finishes cooking. The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker also allows you to set it on “extended keep-warm”, where the rice is kept warm for another 8 hours. You can also reheat the rice, without detracting from the flavor or consistency.
Use the provided measuring cup: It’s advised to measure the rice in the cup that comes with the product. For example, a “cup” is typically taken to be 8 ounces. But the cup that comes with the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is only 6 ounces. That’s done on purpose so that the proportions of rice to water work out properly with the markings on the inside of the rice cooker. They also provide two measuring cups: a clear measuring cup for white, brown, semi-brown, and sweet rice, and a green measuring cup for rinse-free, pre-washed rice.
We went through some of the rice cookers on the market presently. They’re equipped with all sorts of nice features that let you set the exact amounts of rice and water so that you get consistent results every time. A rice cooker is a small investment to help you prepare fluffy rice without fail. And with a versatile rice cooker, you can also try your hand at brown rice, risotto, sushi rice, and so much more!