The Best Rice Cookers to Buy in 2021 – Zojirushi, Instant Pot, Tiger, and More

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Many of us right here at Kitchn depend on a rice cooker for, nicely, all of our rice-cooking wants. At its greatest, a rice cooker produces excellent rice each time (evenly cooked, separated grains!) and is extremely straightforward to use (simply add rice and a corresponding quantity of water, push the beginning button, and go about what you are promoting till it’s completed!). There’s no babysitting a pot on the stovetop, ensuring it doesn’t bubble over or scorch. 

Several years in the past, I received a Zojirushi rice cooker as a Christmas current. And it’s served me faithfully since then, employed a number of occasions every week for lunches and dinners. (Let’s simply not discuss in regards to the time my now-husband listed some previous kitchen tools of mine on the market on Facebook Marketplace and nearly bought my $150 Zojirushi as a $5 sluggish cooker.)

But currently I’ve been curious: What’s one of the best rice cooker on the market? And is it truly value spending extra for, say, a pricier mannequin? To discover out, I rounded up sufficient rice cookers to fill my sizable kitchen and received to work making lengthy-grain rice, brief-grain rice, sticky sushi rice, and brief-grain brown rice. I evaluated how nicely the rice cookers labored and how straightforward they had been to use. Here’s what I discovered. 

I’m the Tools Editor at Kitchn and an expert kitchen tools tester. I beforehand labored at America’s Test Kitchen and my evaluations on matters like stand mixers, induction burners, toaster ovens, and multicookers have been printed in Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, and on the America’s Test Kitchen web site. My work has additionally been featured on America’s Test Kitchen’s and Cook’s Country’s tv applications. 

What to Consider When Buying a Rice Cooker

How Well Does It Make Rice? 

The excellent news was that the entire rice cookers made rice and did so comparatively nicely, however there have been components that had some performing higher or worse. Rice cookers with thinner, lighter cooking pots usually browned rice on the backside, which isn’t supreme. And with a few of the much less-costly rice cookers (together with Cook’s Illustrated’s favorite model), water bubbled and spurted up and out via the highest vent of the rice cooker and onto the countertop, even when making simply 2 cups of rice. Which brings me to yet one more level: I examined 2- and 4-cup batches in every rice cooker as a result of some fashions can wrestle with bigger batches. The greatest rice cooker wants to make completely cooked, tender rice each single time. Period. No matter how a lot or how little you’re making. And with no additional counter cleanup required. 

How Easy Is It to Use and Clean? 

All of the rice cookers had been intuitive sufficient to use (add rice, water, choose a setting, and press begin), however one of the best rice cooker was by far the best of the bunch. Here are a few of the components that set it aside from the remaining.

What We Look for in a Rice Cooker 

I judged the entire rice cookers on the next standards, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being one of the best).

Best Overall: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer

This rice cooker was, by far, the best to use and persistently produced completely cooked rice. While it did take the longest of the machines to make brown rice, I contemplate this a small commerce-off given its different options. It has a big, clear interface that’s straightforward to learn, extra rice settings than you’ll doubtless use (however are good to have!), a deal with with the intention to simply decide up the rice cooker, handles on its cooking pot, a lid that slowly opened (others flung open), a hook for the rice paddle, a retractable energy wire, and a loud, singsong-y ringtone that marked the beginning and finish of cooking. Its cooking pot has clear, white etchings which can be straightforward to learn, denoting water ranges for several types of rice. Its nonstick cooking pot and simple-to-remove interior lid make the rice cooker straightforward to clear. And whereas it’s expensive, I feel it’s a worthwhile funding for an distinctive machine. 

Who it’s greatest for: Anyone who needs an excellent rice cooker and can afford to splurge a bit.
Good to know: This rice cooker has a “keep warm” setting that instantly begins after cooking and goes for 12 hours, and an “extended keep warm” setting that may go for an extra 8 hours. It additionally has a programmable timer that may be arrange to 13 hours forward and it comes in a 10-cup version.

Simplest Display: Tiger Micom Rice Cooker

This rice cooker was way more minimalist than the Zojirushi, however some would possibly like or want that. Instead of a menu of choices, this Tiger mannequin has photos to go together with its textual content and 4 easy settings: Plain, synchro-cooking, brown, and sluggish cook dinner/steam. This makes it tremendous straightforward to function and, in case you are somebody who has hassle studying a show or simply would like one thing extra easy, it is a nice possibility. It made glorious rice, has an inside pot with markings for white and brown rice, has a deal with for straightforward transport, and comes with a stand for the included rice paddle. The lid does fly backwards when opened and it lacks a retractable energy wire and an simply detachable interior lid, however, it’s nonetheless a stable decide and is priced for lower than $100. 

Who it’s greatest for: Someone who prefers or wants a brilliant easy, extra pictorial interface.
Good to know: The rice cooker comes with a cookbook for its synchro-cooking perform, which makes use of the rice cooker’s included cooking plate accent to cook dinner the “main dish and rice at the same time,” in accordance to the product itemizing. (I didn’t check the synchro-cooking perform.) Its “keep warm” setting can maintain rice for up to 12 hours.

Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker

This model is completely no-frills and has a thinner cooking pot that tended to brown rice a bit on the backside throughout testing. However, it, general, did a superb job and made nicely-cooked rice. It has a easy interface with simply 4 cooking settings (I used the entire-grain possibility for brown rice) and comes with a colander for rinsing rice and steaming, say, greens. Its inside pot markers are harder to learn than the Zojirushi’s and don’t point out separate water ranges for several types of rice sorts. Its interior lid was more durable to take away for cleanup and it had a smaller capability than different fashions I attempted, however for about $35 it’s very moderately priced and is a good bang to your buck.

Who it’s greatest for: Someone who needs a no-frills, price range-pleasant rice cooker. 
Good to know: Its “keep warm” setting will maintain rice for up to 12 hours.

Fastest: Instant Zest Rice and Grain Cooker

This rice cooker was the quickest of all that I attempted, which might be a giant plus on busy weeknights. It cooked white, sushi, and brown rice about 20 to half-hour sooner than the Zojirushi. Its interface is simple and it has a plethora of settings (greater than you’ll most likely want!). Its thinner cooking pot did have a tendency to brown rice a bit on the backside, and its inside pot etchings had been powerful to learn. It additionally lacked separate water degree indicators for several types of rice and a detachable interior lid for straightforward cleansing. However, general, it is a speedy rice cooker that’ll completely get the job completed. 

Who it’s greatest for: Someone who needs a sooner rice cooker with a big capability.
Good to know: Its “keep warm” setting will maintain rice for 10 hours and it has a programmable timer. It additionally comes in a smaller size.

Kitchn’s Best List Promise

We will do our homework, going wildly in depth with our testing. But we’ll condense the information into straightforward, breezy summaries, with the intention to see what we picked and why, and then transfer on together with your life. Because we all know you’re busy!

Do you’ve a query about rice cookers? Let us know in the feedback!

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Lifestyle Editor, Tools

Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm is the Tools Editor at The Kitchn. An expert kitchen tools tester, she’s labored for America’s Test Kitchen, ConsumingWell, and Food52. Her aim: to discover one of the best gear to your kitchen so you do not waste time or cash on the rest. She lives in Boston, MA together with her two canines.

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