Rice cooking process was the hardest in the preparation of a meal. You had to be always watching the rice because any neglect could burn it, leave it raw or make it sticky. As a matter of fact, in the traditional way, you hardly could make a good rice sometimes, becoming the handling of the skills to prepare rice, a basic ability so many people will never handle it. Cook’s word.
Thankfully advantages are here to make you enjoy and make better every process in the kitchen, from cooking to wash the dishes. The kitchen appliances are not safe from evolving. The rice cooker was born in Tokyo, in September 1945, by the hand of Akio Morita, a young physicist, and Masaru Ibuka an engineer. They were both passionate about repairing and they created a small company named “Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo” to repair radios and other domestic items along his employees and friends.
Ibuka and his partner used to get paid with rice for the jobs repairing radios and adapting features they created in some, which made the amount of rice they were receiving as payment, develop the idea to create the rice cooker thinking about the great amount of work they could save to restaurant cookers. Their incentive was the excessive quantity of restaurants in Tokyo willing to buy that invention, so they began to work in the first rice cooker ever known.
The company’s first rice cooker produced an electric pot for making rice, made by interlacing aluminum electrodes, connected to the bottom of a wooden bowl where you had to put the rice along with with the seasonings and measure the water. The results were subject to the type of rice used and the portion of the water, the standard corresponded to the traditional Japanese measure of a gou (180 milliliters), which kept until our days. The rice was not always successful in this prime rice cooker, but this development opened the door to develop better rice cookers to save time in the laborious process to prepare rice in restaurants.
The company’s first rice cooker produced an electric pot for making rice, made by interlacing aluminum electrodes, connected to the bottom of a wooden bowl where you had to put the rice along with with the seasonings and measure the water.
The results were subject to the type of rice used and the portion of the water, the standard corresponded to the traditional Japanese measure of a gou (180 milliliters), which kept until our days. The rice was not always successful in this prime rice cooker, but this development opened the door to develop better rice cookers to save time in the laborious process to prepare rice in restaurants.
They stopped formulating rice cooker ideas soon which were “radio people” not cooking people, and they sold the concept for the rice cooker and dedicated to electronic appliances. Their modest company is known as SONY today. Another curious fact, the rice cooker was the best invention to make cook easier, before the pressure cooker.
China made its advances in the creation of rice cookers, with shameful results. The first rice cookers used to catch on fire and become a danger to the customers, which made the household appliance industry to work in the pursuit of the best rice cooker by far, away from risks, fire hazard and other complications.
The initial step was making the bowl and the structure in resistant materials. The rest is history, and the rice cooker was a successful invention. The 90 % of Asian consumers own a rice cooker.
Table of Contents
- Why using a rice cooker?
- Let’s begin the chase of the best rice cookers in 2017:
- 1. Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Rice Cooker
- 2. Instant Pot IP-DUO60 Cooker
- 3. Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Rice Cooker
- 4. Panasonic SR-3NA Rice Cooker
- 5. Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD
- 6. Hamilton Beach Digital
- 7. Midea Multi-Functional Smart Rice Cooker
- 8. Oster 004722-000-000 Rice Cooker
- 9. Instant Pot IP-LUX50
- 10. VitaClay VF7700-6
Why using a rice cooker?
If you still have doubts about purchasing a rice cooker, take in account:
When you cook rice, you are pushing your luck. Sometimes you will cook the perfect rice, and other times (the most) you will have to force yourself to eat it thinking what went wrong. You always repeat the same steps you followed that time the rice was perfect, and keep obtaining different results. You were almost inside the cooking pot and watching all the process which you would never leave the kitchen while cooking. Why is rice never right?
A rice cooker OFFERS you the real possibility to cook the perfect rice EVERY TIME you cook
Maybe you think a rice cooker is only meant to cook rice and you do not consume rice that often. WRONG. You can even make a stew in a rice cooker. As a matter of fact, there are several delicious recipes you can cook in you rice cooker, with the benefits this particular item offers: the ability to keep the food warm up to 24 hours, avoid the risk of food poisoning, and the opportunity to cook while you are out of the kitchen.
Besides, the rice cooker saves electric energy, time, gas, and avoids overcooking. New models also offer beautiful designs to enhance the kitchen’s decoration. If you run a restaurant, there are automated rice cookers as well fit to be the device you need to improve the menu.
A rice cooker is easy to maintain, clean and storage, serving an instantaneous saving respecting food, time, and energy, avoiding the troubles that lack measurement people tend to have about rice portions, a very common problem around cooking.
The automatized process delivered in a rice cooker allows you to attend other chores, converting the hardest part in cooking into the least of worries when you organize a meal. Just follow the instructions, turn on and forget. The rice cooker will turn off automatically. It’s a shame the rice cooker only handles the perfect rice cooking, the seasoning is on you, so you can experiment with different flavors, create new recipes and share them to increase the massive list of recipes, available for your rice cooker. Some people use to make CAKES in their rice cookers. Excellent cakes, by the way.
Rice cookers are so versatile you can vapor vegetables, cook macaroni & cheese, bread, chili, fruit desserts, stews, risotto, paella, fish, oatmeal plates, chicken, banana bread, hot salads, sauteed vegetables, frittata, flipped apple pie, flipped pineapple pie, green crêpe.
The traditional conception of a rice cooker has been left behind after reading this, by now, you must be hungry and wishing to have a rice cooker. But let’s not go that fast. You have many alternatives in rice cookers, so you cannot buy the first you see. So join me in the pursuit of the best rice cookers in 2017, having as guidelines:
- Versatility (believe it or not, manufacturers make rice cookers even more versatile than they are).
- Design (which one would love a decorator and will give a touch of elegance to your kitchen).
- The ability to make it work for you in your restaurant.
- Additional features.
Then, established as it is, the criteria to buy the perfect rice cooker, here you have some options, qualified as the best available in the market right now, pushing the bar a little bit to find among ten excellent candidates, the perfect rice cooker for your needs.
Best Rice Cookers Comparisons
|Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Rice Cooker||4.5||$200- $250|
|Instant Pot IP-DUO60 Cooker||N/A||$100- $150|
|Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Rice Cooker||4.6||$100- $150|
|Panasonic SR-3NA Rice Cooker||4.3||$50-$100|
|Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD||4.1||Below $50|
|Hamilton Beach Digital||4.4||Below $50|
|Midea Multi-Functional Smart Rice Cooker||4.4||N/A|
|Oster 004722-000-000 Rice Cooker||4.1||Below $50|
|Instant Pot IP-LUX50||4.0||Below $50|
Let’s begin the chase of the best rice cookers in 2017:
1. Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Rice Cooker
A nice stainless steel candidate to open this review
Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Rice Cooker is a stainless steel rice cooker with a solid appearance. It has an easy-to-read LCD screen that provides several cooking options for different recipes. Almost as buying a complete kitchen. The inner cup, brings pointed the measures, so it’s foolproof and ready to provide you a great cooking experience delivering options such as Sushi. The Accessories include rice measuring cup, nonstick rice spatula, and spatula holder.
The weak part in this rice cooker is, some reviewers point the low durability of the inner pot, and the low quality in the Teflon, maybe because they grabbed the rice with a spoon and not the spatula, or washed it with wire sponges, because there are users pointing they have owned this specific rice cooker for years, and it seems to be assembled for last.
About the design of this product, this is not very attractive per se, the dark color, not gray not black, makes it a discrete kitchen appliance. The weight is about 10 pounds, so it’s relatively light and steady, the cord is not retractable. The handle this model brings is a plus, because you can lift and place it easily in case you have it stored in a cabinet.
The quality of this rice cooker is high; it relies on the care you have with it. This particular rice cooker will treat you as you treat it, being produced in resistant materials that will assure you, years of use and abuse. You have to pay attention to failures this rice cooker could present when you use it because those are covered by its warranty. This is not as affordable as other rice cookers that works perfectly for other recipes. But this brand is the most recognized producer of rice cookers, because the system involves the versatility of rice cookers, and have some features as the timer, temperature control for other recipes and it’s easy to use and wash.
Perfect for: General cooking.
Ideal for: Busy mothers with big families to cook for.
2. Instant Pot IP-DUO60 Cooker
A design you will be amazed by
This product resembles a pressure cooking pot. This particular item can be just a microwave oven, but it is actually a pressure pot and a rice cooker all in one. Its 7-in-1 versatility range (still figuring the other 4 purposes), almost offensive low price, excellent reviews, as its only image, makes you think this is the ultimate kitchen appliance.
The few bad reviewers, are just unlucky or giving an inappropriate use to this rice cooker. It’s hard not to love this particular rice cooker. You have to buy the instant pot tempered glass lid to use it for some recipes. At the sale price, it’s offered, you have to take this chance.
The design of this product is so eye catching, cute, modern and certainly decorative. It’s made as an actual pot, with handles, it’s certainly heavy and steady, made in stainless steel, the LCD screen it has offers a red display really cute. If you are a happy customer of this product, you will brag about it. Almost makes you think do not need a kitchen with this one.
About the quality, let’s be real: that extremely low price, makes you feel suspicious. But as soon as you receive it, prove every function, read the manual and prepare to know this pot, because it is so multitasking, you surely need to see this is not as perfect in some tasks if you do not take enough care. The pressure valves when it’s working in pressure mode can be a trouble. This is a purchase you have to figure out to take advantage of it. You surely will find more functions for this particular item. The good materials are undeniable in this model. Check out the plastic parts and try not to blame the manufacturer if the delivery process was rough and broke some parts. Strictly speaking, it seems to be built for last.
Perfect for: whatever you want to cook.
Ideal for: Busy mothers, experimenters, gadget lovers, kitchen decorators, bachelors.
3. Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Rice Cooker
Another Zojirushi candidate to prove this brand
This is a stainless steel rice cooker bettering the last Zojirushi rice cooker reviewed. The solid appearance keeps up, and certain advantages are introduced in this model. It is slightly lighter than the other rice cooker in the same brand and it cooks up to 3 cups of rice. This model is compact and saves space in the counter.
Its LCD display works as a clock as well, it has a removable inner lid and bowl, easy to wash and put back, the accessories include the rice measuring cup, nonstick rice spatula and the spatula holder. It keeps the several options for cooking timer and the good features of Zojirushi brand but in a small format.
About the design of this product, this attractive, neat and shiny, this model is light but yet steady, the cord is not retractable, you can put it in your counter and have a nice decorative functional item. It’s easy to use, clean and storage, but you surely don’t want to keep it stored because it’s useful and could replace a kitchen when you know recipes, so buy a recipe’s book when you purchase this!
The quality of this rice cooker is high; extremely high, it’s produced in resistant and durable materials that will assure you long years of use, so, you can buy this with your eyes closed. It has warranty and customer service. This brand is specialized to build resistant and good rice cookers. The Teflon in the pot must be gently washed, do not use abrasive sponges or strong cleaning products. If you neglect food in this one, the pot will stain. That does not affect the cooking process. The cleaning is not too demanding, it handles bumps and scratches very well.
Perfect for: Small meals.
Ideal for: Bachelors. Do not take this option if you have a family.
4. Panasonic SR-3NA Rice Cooker
Another good option for bachelors
This simple rice cooker can be as easy as plug, turn on and forget until the rice is burnt. Do not get tricked by the pictures, this product DOES NOT HAVE A WARMING OPTION. It’s a shame this is just basic. This does not have a timer, so the rice will burn, and to offer this product, someone would rather keep the old pot and the kitchen.
The only aid this provides to the rice cooking process is the measure of water and rice cups…But if you want a basic, cheap rice cooker with a big brand, this one is perfect for you. Personally, I have seen better rice cookers, but this turns out to be extremely popular and good if you keep track of the time. Always assure a perfect rice, and it’s just basic. Do not listen to the adds provided in this one. This model does not come with scoop, measuring cup or any other devices to take advantage of this product.
About the design is simple, it resembles a pot and it deserves to be placed where you store your other pots. It’s light and not too decorative. It’s just subsumed to the mere basic work but not for that is not good to make other recipes, so don’t you worry, you are purchasing the most basic rice cooker available in the market. A nice one.
The quality in this product is out of the discussion. The brand is recognized and they will provide warranty and customer service. But it is a basic product that really does not need further expenses or technical service. This will last years and years of use, assuring you the perfect rice every time, and with some resourcefulness, some trial and error, you will be able to use it for several recipes, so this is a great purchase after all. The great materials, the lightweight and the simple design, can make this a really nice and affordable gift you can drop in Christmas for an aunt, your grandparents and the newlyweds. This will last.
Perfect for: Everything you want to cook.
Ideal for: Bachelors, as a gift.
5. Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD
If you thought you were not able to fall in love with a rice cooker, here it is one that will prove you wrong
This beautiful and simple rice cooker/food steamer is able to cook a complete meal for you. It brings steam tray, rice measuring cup and a serving spatula you will love. It’s light, does not take so much space to be placed, it’s shiny, cute and really useful. The price is so good, you better re think about buying the last one as a gift and buy three of this model and get one for you. It is absolutely great, in short words, so keep reading this review but do not forget about this one. You will want to purchase it.
About the design is very clever, decorative, cute, portable. Simply great. The LCD screen and the settings are easy to handle and know. This device is foolproof and will allow you to cook and forget. The design is eye catching and very identifiable as a simple rice cooker, but as soon as you learn to manage it to cook more recipes, you are in your way to make it your ally in the cooking chores. It handles scratch and bumps as the best. If someone said you could not prepare Quinoa in this rice cooker, is wrong, just add some more water and enjoy.
The quality in this product is really good by a prize to die for. Stainless steel, good and resistant plastic parts, can make this a dream purchase you can brag about for the years ahead. Just be careful with the stains and the opacity in the shiny surface that could make this cooking pot look old. This does not tolerate heat from the outside, place it away from the actual kitchen. Buy a rice washer and a recipe book to get some ideas to steam vegetables. This product is durable and very useful. There is no need to say more. Just take care if the rice sticks in the bottom. You might want to put some PAM to lubricate the cooking surface.
Perfect for: Prepare whole meals of rice and vegetables, as well as a steamed chicken, beef or fish in one round of cooking, and better your diet.
Ideal for: Bachelors, as a gift… along with a recipe’s book.
6. Hamilton Beach Digital
When you think a rice cooker cannot be more useful, Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer appears
This cooking device takes advantage of steam and cook an entire meal. There is a prior model of this same Cooker, the trays contain BPA, so, this is the advantage of that model, so you can purchase it and get not further troubles or risks. This model is the 37530Z made in polycarbonate. This is a good choice, but you might experience some troubles assembling it. It’s easy to understand, put it to cook, and the water tray will ask for a refill in case steam is required to cook. The LCD screen is a timer and you can put it to work cooking, steaming or warming your food.
The design is not as appealing as in other cooking devices, but it’s surely functional, you place up to three lays, you can use 1 tier for small quantities of food, stack 2 tiers for a whole meal, or remove the center divider to fit a variety of large foods, so you can feed your family with this kitchen aid. It’s user friendly and very easy to cook. You should be careful placing the trays, because sometimes heat will escape if you do not place it firmly.
The quality in this product is lower than expected if you treat it as a stainless steel pot. Bad reviewers’ complaints are about the buttons, the plastic and the assembly, but you have to know this is a durable product, branded by one of the biggest names, with a reliable support center, warranty and quality.
Sometimes people do not get light and refined kitchen appliances as durable ones, but Hamilton Beach have years producing good kitchen appliances with simple materials, very light and apparently not steady enough until you realize you have years owning some Hamilton Beach products and never complaint because they hadn’t damaged before.
So this is crowned as the best buy you can make if you have a big family. Check the product, give it a spin and inform any malfunction within the year of purchase. If you needn’t the warranty in the first year, you won’t need it later, that’s what customers of Hamilton Beach knows.
Perfect for: Prepare whole meals of rice and vegetables, as well as a steamed chicken, beef or fish in one round of cooking, and better your diet.
Ideal for: Big healthy families.
7. Midea Multi-Functional Smart Rice Cooker
A nice touch of color for your kitchen
This stainless steel rice cooker certainly resembles the zojirushi model in price, quality and design. It comes in a beautiful golden color that outstands and is a must be in your kitchen. It has an easy-to-read LCD screen with several improvements. This is like buying a complete kitchen. The Teflon interior branded with the right measures, gives short chances to mess up with this one. It is not just for rice and can prepare delicious cakes. This integrates a steamer, so you can prepare your rice and steam some chicken or beef and the vegetables at the same time. This is a medium size rice cooker you can brag about. It’s light and steady, as well as very useful.
About the design of this product, this takes a not attractive design and makes it golden and very attractive. The LCD screen is appealing and the positioning of the button make it very cute and hip. The elegance is around this expensive rice cooker, but this is an investment you will brag about for years. It’s a shame to keep it stored, so place it where it can be seen and let others ask you about this marvelous piece of engineering at the cooking service. This looks fancy and expensive but it’s not. This is actually on sale.
The quality of this rice cooker is high, it looks as fancy and expensive as it quality is, and the look matches the durability of this rice cooker. The superior materials which it’s built an assembled are recognizable from the first sight. The warranty won’t be needed unless the shipping is not left in responsible hands. This rice cooker will last several years, but try not to let food inside of this item, or give it a lousy cleaning. The color is delicate and the inner parts can attach food smell. Let it grab some air sometimes and it will be ready to be used every single day to prepare full meals.
Ideal for: Bachelors, cooking lovers, gadget lovers, kitchen decorators, fancy homeowners and lovers of elegance.
8. Oster 004722-000-000 Rice Cooker
A brand you always have to get for your kitchen
This really affordable item is great to prepare rice and steam some vegetables. It works perfectly to make stew, fondue, rice, cakes… This is absolutely multitasking and a great expense that becomes an investment. This is so light you won’t believe you absolutely purchased a life-long item for your kitchen. This really takes advantage of the rice, 2 cups of uncooked rice serve 4 portions, so it’s good to cook for your family. Measure carefully, if not, the water will climb out of the vent hole and it will make a mess. This is a basic rice cooker and steamer you can prepare everything you can think about, even cakes. This is simple and understandable.
About the design, the red color makes it beautiful and appealing, giving a nice warm touch of color to your kitchen. Almost too simple design to understand. It only has a lever you pull. You have to be near, if not, you can burn the rice. This is a basic rice cooker, but basic rice cookers are the ones that allow you have the freedom to be creative and take advantage of the features and uses you could give to it. This is a nice purchase in a low price.
About the quality, Oster brings quality in a low price. The problems in this product are from shipping and inadequate handling. But the customer service and the guarantee are not mostly needed. This is a reliable product built for last and even be inherited, because it tends not to be damaged over use and abuse, it’s resistant to bumps and scratches, and also you can make it work in your catering service to offer fondue and increase your menu options and earnings. This perfectly fits in a table, and will handle the hard work at a party, So, take this opportunity!
Perfect for: Everything you want to cook.
Ideal for: Big healthy families, bachelors, catering services.
9. Instant Pot IP-LUX50
A great choice for big families
This 6-In-1 multi-functional cooker, featuring pressure cooker, sauté/browning, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer, will make the cooking tasks easier. This is the perfect rice cooker you need to have as a kitchen aid. This is affordable, functional, good, really steady, practical, easy to use and will be a purchase you will never regret. The LCD display will help you to choose what you want to do and the pressure cook will be great, as an original pressure cooker. This pot really took the best out of every cooking pot and rice cooker and owned it. This is not as light as you think, this is suitable to industrial use, because it handles very well the volume and it’s also really fast and powerful.
The design is very classic and functional, it deserves a spot out of the cabinets, and needs to be placed in a site it can be seen. This is a real investment. Thus this does not bring in an especially elegant appearance, the functionality makes it earn a place among the kitchen visible appliances. It’s strong and steady. Easy to clean and use, this is a hit in design and reliable assembly.
The quality in this product is out of discussion. Steady cooking parts, accessories and stainless steel makes this particular device, one that will handle heavy duty. You can even organize a family reunion and let this device do the cooking. It’s ideal for stews, fondant, pasta, rice, vegetables, to steam beef and enhance your cooking skills, so, the opportunity is here to acquire a very useful working tool, it has warranty and you won’t be needing it. This even handles a lousy shipping. It will surely won’t tell a bad handling. That durable is. The storage is the least of the worries. This cooking pot is quality wherever you see it.
Perfect for: Everything you want to cook.
Ideal for: Big healthy families, catering services, cooking enthusiasts and busy moms.
10. VitaClay VF7700-6
When you thought a rice cooker could not be amazing and natural
This innovative “back-to-the-roots cooking pot, its actually made in clay (the cooking pot) it’s programmable as a 6-cup cooker with computerized clay-heating technology you will want to have if you are a lover of the natural and simple. It has a slow cooking feature really contrasting to the actual purposes of a rice cooker. Maybe manufacturers are giving a powerful message developing this marvelous creation, mixing technology and nature. Stainless steel and Asian clay are the materials this cooking device offers. The handles in the clay pot are too small. Take good care when you handle it hot!
The design is really unusual. The clay pot has some flaws, but the cooking device is well assembled and nice. If you want to pull the best out of this, perhaps you would like to wash it gently with a soft rag, not a sponge because you will make the clay fragments get into your food. Remember it’s a pot of clay, this won’t last forever. The design is very discrete and sober, and the novelty of the clay will have everybody wondering how could this work and if the food tastes better, be sure it will taste better. This is a heavy cooking device, so try to keep it fix in one place.
About the quality, be aware you have to purchase spare clay pots. The actual electric parts are durable, good and well assembled in quality materials. Place the clay pot inside with care and try to wash it softly, grab it very well because it’s slippery when wet. After taking a closer look at the pot and the price of the separate clay cooking parts, this device is really a novelty that would bring you some headaches and loss of food. It’s a shame, but that clay idea is not as great as the ceramic pot they could have created for this item… as the ceramic pans around… and the slow cooking feature is just a trick to tell you this will take forever to cook a meal and make you feel happy about it.
Perfect for: Soups, stew, ethnical food (just PERFECT for Latin food!).
Ideal for: Big healthy minimalist families, cooking enthusiasts and hipsters.
Rice cookers are actually kitchen aids you will be thankful to have around.
You cannot be wrong when you purchase one rice cooker. You will never regret this purchase, this literally, will make you see cooking under a different light.