Best Rice Cooker

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2018​

No matter how much experience you have, you’ll find dozens of ways to use a rice cooker in your kitchen. Our shopping guide will help you find the best rice cooker.   

BEST RICE
COOKER 2018

Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer

BOTTOM LINE

For making special dishes and unique meals, nothing beats this rice cooker. It has all the settings and features that you want and can both toast rice and keep foods warm.

PROS

This rice cooker features more settings than almost any other model on the market. Not only does it steam and cook rice, but it also has a scorch setting and a bright LCD screen.

CONS

Priced at more than $400, this model is really only best for serious cooks. Less experienced cooks may have a hard time using some of the settings.

BOTTOM LINE

Capable of cooking up to eight cups of fluffy rice, this cooker can feed a crowd. It has various settings to help you save time such as a flash rice button that cuts your cooking time in half.

PROS

With push buttons on the front, this rice cooker is incredibly easy to use. You can make rice and steam foods inside and keep those dishes warm or use a built-in timer.

CONS

If you do not closely follow the instructions, your food may come out burnt or partially cooked. It uses some cheap plastic parts too.

BOTTOM LINE

No matter what you like cooking, you’ll want to have an Instant Pot in your kitchen. This model holds up to three quarts and will let you make both sweet and savory dishes in less time.

PROS

With this Instant Pot, you can cook all your favorite dishes at home and save some time without using a traditional pressure cooker. Not only does it cook rice but also stews and hundreds of other dishes.

CONS

You may have problems snapping the lid in place or getting it off the pot. Some reviewers felt as though they needed to watch over the pot as it cooked.

BOTTOM LINE

The basic design of this rice cooker makes it a good choice for any less experienced home cook. It works as both a food steamer and a rice cooker and keeps food warm for hours.

PROS

With a tempered glass lid that can stand up to high temperatures, this rice cooker lets you see your food as it cooks. Its basic design is suitable for college students and anyone with less cooking experience.

CONS

It can take a long time for the cooker to cool down after you shut it off. You may find some rice stuck or burnt to the bottom of the pot too.

BOTTOM LINE

With just one button on the front, this rice cooker is easy to use. Hamilton Beach claims that you can cook any type of grains or rice inside and that you can use it as a food steamer.

PROS

The included basket lets you rinse your ingredients before cooking them and also functions as a steamer basket. It also comes with a measuring cup for adding rice and water to the pot.

CONS

Some reviews claimed that the interior pot boiled over, even with the lid tightly placed on top. Others found that their rice burned to the bottom.

Shopping Guide for the Best Rice Cooker

The only thing that you need to cook rice at home is a simple pot. A rice cooker though can make the process much easier and reduce the risk that you might overcook or burn the rice. The best rice cooker for 2018 that meets all your needs might be one that you can set and forget while you do other things around the kitchen. Most of the top rice cookers for 2018 that we found will actually shut down after the rice cooks. This feature keeps the rice warm but stops it from burning or sticking to the pan.

As you look for the best rice cooker, you’ll want to consider factors such as how much it costs and what it can do. If you think that these appliances will only cook rice, you might find yourself surprised at some of the great dishes that you can make inside one. Even the most basic of models will come with a steamer basket. Some of the more advanced machines will make soups and stews and both sweet and savory dishes. Our shopping guide to rice cookers will provide you with great information and solid resources that make choosing one easy.

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Shopping Guide for the Best Rice Cooker

Selection Criteria

Though you might think that cooking rice is easy, the chances are good that you’ll change your mind after one bad batch. If the rice comes out crunchy because you didn’t use enough water or you find some grains burned to the bottom of your pot, you might skip making rice in the future. The top rice cookers for 2018 help you avoid some of those common mistakes and make perfectly cooked rice each and every time.

We designed every section in this shopping guide to supply our readers with everything they need to know about rice cookers. You can start with the product matrix above to see the top five rice cookers and move to the bottom of this page to see all the resources we read through. We even included links to each product on Amazon and links to helpful information that you can find online.

To find and rank the best rice cookers, we talked with experts and looked at which appliances they preferred. We then researched each one on Amazon to make sure that the rice cookers were still available and that shoppers liked those models. All the top rice cookers on our list have great reviews and high ratings.

Selection Criteria
The best rice cooker that you can get today is this Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer. Made in Japan and sold in the United States, this rice cooker gets our nod as the best of the best model currently available. It features a highly unique design that includes a lower and wider rice pan inside. This pan puts the food closer to the heat and allows for even and thorough cooking. You’ll never again find any burnt or under-cooked pieces of rice. There is a carrying handle on the top for transporting the finished dish to a potluck dinner or a special event too. You can use this appliance for cooking any type of rice and for making specialty dishes. Its scorch setting will actually toast the rice for you.
Best of the Best: Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer
Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer

This model also has a start button that functions as a reheat button too. As long as you safely stored the cooked food, you can press that button to heat up the dish before serving it again. Some of its more unique settings included a reduced steam and an umami option. The umami setting will soak the rice before cooking it to give each grain more flavor, while the reduced steam setting lowers the amount of moisture used to give the rice a crispier texture. It features an LCD screen and a timer too.

What is a Rice Cooker?

What is a Rice Cooker

A rice cooker is a basic kitchen appliance that comes in a few different styles. Designed specifically for cooking rice, these units can work with all types of rice. You can use one for cooking simple white rice or brown rice and for long grain and other unique varieties. The design can vary based on the type that you choose but most feature the same basic things.

The rice cooker looks like a small rounded box that you put on your counter. A cord extends out from the back that you plug into a wall outlet. Inside the appliance is a cooking pot that easily slides in and out. Most manufacturers use stainless steel for the pots because rice won’t stick to this material.

Depending on the model that you buy, it may come with a steamer basket too. This basket will fit inside the machine and sit right on top of your rice. You can also fill the pot with a steaming liquid and steam foods without cooking rice. Many of the top models come with both a rice paddle and a measuring cup too. The paddle keeps the rice fluffy as you serve it, while the cup helps you measure the rice and cooking liquids.

Benefits of Rice Cookers

  • Perfect rice every time: With a rice cooker, you get the perfect rice that you want whenever you cook it. These machines feature designs that help the rice absorb water and add steam to cook the grains on the top. They also keep the rice from sticking to the sides and the bottom of the pan.
  • Faster cooking: When you cook rice on the stove, it can take 20 to 30 minutes or more based on the servings you need. Rice cookers let you cook all the rice that you need in less time.
  • More room: If you like cooking big meals, you may not have enough burners to cook everything you want. You can put the rice cooker on your counter and free up a burner on your stove.
  • Set it and forget it: Another benefit of a rice cooker is that you can set it and forget it. You can let the rice cook as you prep other ingredients without constantly stopping to stir the rice or check on the pot.
  • More than just rice: The top models let you cook more than just rice too. You can use a steamer basket to make some fresh veggies for a side dish.

Benefits of a Rice Cooker with a Built-In Timer

  • The timer lets you tell the appliance when to cook the rice up to 12 hours or more in advance
  • You can come home to fluffy and soft rice after work
  • A timer function also allows you to set a cook time for steamed dishes
  • Most timers are easy to use
  • You can use the screen on the rice cooker to adjust the timer
Benefits of Rice Cookers

Types of Rice Cookers: Standard vs. Multi-Function

Though you might assume that all rice cookers look the same and do the same things, you actually need to choose between a standard model or a multi-function appliance. A basic rice cooker is one that really does one thing well: cook rice. These models typically have just one button on the front and two lights that sit above that button. One light comes on when the rice cooker is on to let you know that it’s working. The second light stays on to tell you that the appliance is still warm. Standard rice cookers can also cook vegetables and steam ingredients.

Multi-function rice cookers do a great job of cooking rice but can also handle other types of cooking. Aroma Housewares makes our top choice for the best rice cooker, which is an example of a multi-function cooker. Instant Pot makes several of these models too. While you can use a rice button to cook any type of rice, you can also experiment with the other buttons and make a variety of different dishes. Instant Pots are good for those who want to save time because they let you cook everything in one pot. You can even cook meats inside one.

Tips for Cooking Beans in a Rice Cooker

  • The timer lets you tell the appliance when to cook the rice up to 12 hours or more in advance
  • You can come home to fluffy and soft rice after work
  • A timer function also allows you to set a cook time for steamed dishes
  • Most timers are easy to use
  • You can use the screen on the rice cooker to adjust the timer
Types of Rice Cookers Standard vs. Multi-Function
Aroma Housewares  basic design might remind you of the trendy instant pots that are on the market. The best high-end rice cooker that features a shiny silver finish with push buttons on the front that let you select the type of cooking that you want to do. There are separate buttons for both brown rice and white rice because brown grains require a longer cooking time. The plus and minus buttons on the front allow you to set your own cooking time too and adjust that time up and down by a few minutes or less.
Best High-End Rice Cooker:Aroma Housewares 8-Cup Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Aroma Housewares 8-Cup Digital Cool-Touch Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Thanks to the steam setting, this rice cooker will also function as a steamer. You can use this small appliance for a number of different dishes, including rice pudding and chili. Aroma Housewares added a flash rice setting that increases the temperature of the cooker and lets you cook plain white rice in half the amount of time it would usually take. There is even a delay timer that lets you set a cooking time up to 15 hours in the future. This model can cook up to eight cups of rice in one cycle.

Sizing: Cooked vs. Uncooked

When you see the word size, you know that this tells you how much the rice cooker can accommodate. Not only do you need to look at the size in terms of how much food you want to make but also in terms of cooked vs. uncooked ingredients. Manufacturers may use this term to describe the amount of rice that you can put inside and cook or the amount of rice that comes out already cooked. It’s important that you know what the sizing refers to because it will help you buy the right size.

Take for example two rice cookers that each have a capacity for four cups. If one appliance only holds four cups of cooked rice, it actually has a capacity for just two cups. A rice cooker that can hold four cups of uncooked rice will make up to eight cups of cooked rice.

The capacity of a rice cooker can also help you see how much space you have for other types of dishes. If you have a large family or like making leftovers, you’ll want a rice cooker with a larger capacity. Manufacturers offer these appliances in sizes that can hold up to eight or even 10 cups of cooked rice.

Sizing Cooked vs. Uncooked

What is a Single Serving Rice Cooker?

A single serving rice cooker, also called a miniature rice cooker, is one that cooks just enough rice for a single person. Most models will hold just one cup of uncooked grains and make only two cups of cooked rice.

Cooking Pot: Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

As rice cookers have a number of electronic components and chips inside, you cannot put the entire appliance into the sink and clean it. You can, however, remove the cooking pot from inside the appliance and toss it right into your sink or dishwasher. These pots will either use aluminum or stainless steel.

Some shoppers prefer aluminum because it features a nonstick coating around the inside. Even if you leave the rice cooker on for too long and the grains burn to the pan, those grains will slide right off the nonstick coating. The downside to aluminum is that it’s not quite as durable as stainless steel. You may find that the pot develops dents because you dropped it on the floor or it knocked into other pots and pans as you washed them.

Stainless steel typically does not have a nonstick coating but will allow rice and other ingredients to come off its surface. You won’t worry about that coating peeling off in the future either. Stainless steel often requires more cleaning than aluminum does and can develop scratches from the sponges and cleaning products that you use. You may find that stainless steel pots will last longer than aluminum ones do though.

Neuro-Fuzzy Logic vs. Induction Heat

Rice cookers today use either induction heat or neuro-fuzzy logic as a heating and cooking method. Those that use induction heat have a small chip inside that monitors the temperature of the appliance and keeps it from overheating and burning the rice. Though both methods are a type of intelligent cooking, many find that induction heat offers more benefits.

Cooking Pot Aluminum or Stainless Steel - 1 - WITH TEXT
Cooking Pot Aluminum or Stainless Steel - 2 - WITH TEXT

Do You Need Multiple Textures?

Nearly every cuisine around the world uses rice. Though you already know about the different types such as jasmine and wild rice, you may not realize that some recipes and cuisines call for rice that has a different texture. When you make a quick side dish for your family, you might want to use white rice that comes out fluffy and perfectly soft in the center. If you want to make an authentic regional or national cuisine though, you may want rice that has a different type of texture.

A good example is the rice found in sushi. This rice has a slightly sticky texture that lets each grain cling to the wrapper and other ingredients. If you use rice with a smooth texture, it won’t stick to those ingredients. Thai dishes often call for sticky rice too. Other cuisines call for rice that has a firmer texture.

Basic and standard rice cookers have fewer settings and only let you make rice with one type of texture. To change that texture, you may need to cook the rice for more or less time and with more or less water. Some of the top rice cookers have different texture settings that let you cook the rice to the perfect consistency.

Common Types of Rice

Do You Need Multiple Textures - WITH TEXT
Instant Pots are incredibly hot right now, but the best model for those who want to cook rice is the Duo Mini. Though it holds just three quarts, it lets you make quick family dinners and some of your favorite desserts. A rice button right on the front of the machine lets you quickly cook rice after adding rice and a cooking liquid inside. You can use the plus and minus push buttons to adjust that cook time based on whether you use white or brown rice. This pot also has a porridge setting that does a good job of cooking other types of grains.
Best Instant Pot Instant Pot 3 Quart Duo Mini
Instant Pot 3 Quart Duo Mini
With an Instant Pot, you can do much more than just cook rice though. Some of the other buttons on the front of this machine let you cook chili and other types of stews and soups as well as yogurt and meats. You can also use those buttons and make this pot work as a steamer or a slow cooker. It also functions as a pressure cooker. Made from stainless steel, the interior pot lifts out easily for cleaning. The lid that seals the pot shut opens in both directions to accommodate both right handed and left handed users.

Keeping Rice Warm

No matter how carefully you plan, anything unexpected might pop up and change those plans. Let’s say that you want to get dinner on the table in time for your kids to come from practice and your spouse to come home from work. At the last minute though, you get an important phone call and need to take a few minutes to talk to a loved one. If you made rice on the stove, you would need to shut off the heat and move the pot off the burner. The heat inside the pot can still burn the rice and make it stick to the metal though. If you have a rice cooker with a keep warm setting, you can enjoy perfectly cooked rice later in the night.

A cooker with a stay warm feature will shut off the heating element that cooked the rice but trap the heat inside the pot. That heat will keep the rice warm and also stop it from drying out. This feature will usually keep the rice warm for up to 30 minutes. If you use the cooker to steam fresh vegetables or any other side dish, the feature will keep those ingredients warm too.

Keeping Rice Warm

Do You Need a Reheat Option?

Some of the higher end rice cookers available today have a reheat option in addition to a keep warm setting. You can keep the rice stored inside the pot and press the button while getting dinner ready. The cooker will slowly bring the rice up to the right temperature within 10 to 20 minutes or less. You may need to add some more water to the rice to keep it from drying out.

Intuitive Controls and Buttons

Buying appliances that are overly complicated and hard to use is a common mistake that many inexperienced cooks make. They assume that they need the best machines and the same appliances that professional chefs use without thinking about how those appliances will work for them. One of the most important things that you should consider is the look of the controls and buttons. You want to make sure that the rice cooker has an intuitive design and that you can easily use it. While you will want to consult the manual when you cook for the first time and when you try out new recipes, you don’t necessarily want to use the manual every time you cook. If you need to double check what each button does though, you’ll spend more time reading through that manual than you would like.

We really recommend basic models for those with less experience. As long as you know how to measure and pour, you can use these rice cookers because you press just one button on the front. Some of the higher end rice cookers have buttons that let you cook different dishes and change the texture of the rice or the total cook time.

Intuitive Controls and Buttons

Benefits of Digital Controls

  • Work with an LED or LCD screen
  • Easy to use
  • Tell you exactly what each button does
  • Will last for years without the letters rubbing off or the controls breaking

Stay Safe with Cool Touch Features

Anyone who ever spent any time in a kitchen before probably has a few scars to show for it. You might have a small scar from where your arm touched the top of the stove when taking out a pizza or a small scar on your finger from where you cut yourself with a sharp knife. Some of the first rice cookers that came out featured metal handles and other parts that retained heat for a long time after users shut off the appliances. Though modern products will generally keep you safe, you really need to look for those with cool touch features. This refers to a design that keeps the heat on the inside of the pot to moving outside and burning users.

The top rice cookers have a metal case that surrounds the pot. Insulated areas inside retain the heat and trap it inside to make sure that the outside stays cool. Cheaper models may use plastic parts that can burn your skin and melt over time because of that heat. We highly recommend looking for models with handles that stay cool too. You may want to move the pot after serving the rice or as it cooks. If the handles stay cool, you won’t burn your hands.

Tips for Cleaning Rice

  • Measure the serving size that you need
  • Run your hands over the rice to look for any dirt or debris
  • Place the rice under running water in your sink
  • Move your hands back and forth over each grain to remove as much grit as possible
  • Pat dry with a cloth or paper towel
Some of the top rice cookers are so complicated and have so many buttons that you might feel your head spin when you try to cook a pot of rice. We recommend this Oster model for those who have less experience because it’s really easy to use. This model has just a single button that you use when cooking. After adding rice and water or another cooking liquid, you can press that button and cook up to six cups of rice at a time. The pot inside has a nonstick surface to keep those grains from sticking to the metal. It also comes out of the machine for convenient cleaning.
Best Rice Cooker for Beginners Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker with Steamer
Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker with Steamer
In addition to a cooking pot, Oster also gives you a steamer basket that can hold up to one liter of food. This basket fits right down inside the machine and lets you steam food on its own or as you cook rice. As long as you keep the cooker plugged in, it will keep the food inside warm. Oster added a feature that allows the appliance to turn itself off to keep that food from burning. This model also has a tempered glass lid that lets you keep an eye on your food.

Types of Rice Cooker Cords

A common problem that many home chefs have with small appliances is that those products have a short cord. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may only have one or two outlets that you use with all your appliances. If you buy a rice cooker with an extremely short cord, you may need to connect it to the outlet with an extension cord or use the appliance in a completely different room. It’s important that you look at the length of the cord to make sure that it will fit in your home. We also recommend taking a look at some of the different types of cords that can save some space too.

One example is a removable cord. When you cook rice, you insert one end of the cord into the back of the machine and then plug the other end into the nearest outlet. You can later remove the cord and store it in a kitchen drawer. The problem is that you might lose track of that cord or have a hard time remembering which cord goes with which appliance. Some machines have a retractable cord that actually fits inside a special compartment. The cord extends out from the rice cooker to reach outlets further away.

Types of Rice Cooker Cords

Expert Tip:

If you have multiple appliances with removable cords, place a small dot of paint or nail polish on the cord and on the back of the appliance. When you use different colors, you’ll know instantly which cord goes with each machine.

Lid Designs

The lid is one of the most important parts of a rice cooker. If you ever cooked rice on the stove before, you know that you should leave the lid on the pot for as long as possible. This keeps the liquid from evaporating and stops the rice from drying out. The lid on a rice cooker does the same thing. It forms an airtight seal that prevents any cooking odors from getting to the rice. The lid also allows the steam inside to perfectly cook the rice and give it a good texture. Rice cookers will use one of two different types of lids.

One type of lid has a hinge on the top. When you add and remove the rice, you’ll press a button on the machine and lift the lid. The hinge keeps the lid attached as you prep and serve. This type of lid will only open in one direction though and can get in your way. That is why some prefer a model with a detachable lid. You can press a button and completely remove the lid. This lets you do your prep work and serve a dish without working around the lid. The lid will easily snap back onto the machine for cooking or storing.

Benefits of Removable Lids

  • More convenient
  • Easy to use
  • Won't block your access to the cooker
  • Lets users work with their dominant hands
  • Makes cleaning easier
Lid Designs

How Will You Use the Cooker?

One of the biggest questions that you need to ask yourself is how you will use that rice cooker. Not everyone will use rice cookers in the same way or even with the same types of food. You can sit down and make a short list of the types of foods that you usually cook and how you want to use your new small appliance. It’s important that you be realistic when creating that list though. Some shoppers might want to try new recipes but know that they don’t have the time to make those dishes. When you know exactly what you will use the rice cooker for, you can easily find the right one.

If you have picky eaters in your family who hate trying new things or you just have a fondness for white rice, feel free to select one of the more basic models. You can get plain rice on the table in under 20 minutes and steam the vegetables that those picky eaters love. The more expensive models are best for those who like experimenting in the kitchen. You can use those machines to try multiple recipes and to use ideas you found in cookbooks and online.

How Will You Use the Cooker

WARNING:

Though you can find rice cookers that feature characters such as Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse, those appliances are just standard appliances with new decorations. They may not have the capacity you need or the features that you want.

Those shopping for a rice cooker on a budget don’t need a lot of fancy bells and whistles, which is why we recommend this Hamilton Beach model. It has just one button that both turns the unit on and off and lets you keep the rice inside warm. You don’t need to worry about the rice cooking too long or burning because the appliance will shut itself down too. The lights on the front of the machine tell you when it is in the cooking setting or the keep warm setting.
Best Budget Rice Cooker Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker with RinserSteamer Basket
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker with Rinser/Steamer Basket
The interior pot will hold up to four cups of uncooked rice and produce eight full cups of rice that is perfectly cooked and fluffy. You can use this rice cooker with a variety of different whole grains, including barley and quinoa to cook all your favorite dishes. The cooking pot has a nonstick design and comes out easily for cleaning. Hamilton Beach also provides you with a separate basket that you can use for steaming and rinsing. Rinsing lets you clean your ingredients before cooking them. That basket fits right down inside the pot to help you cook rice and steam other ingredients at the same time. You also get a measuring cup and a rice paddle.

Safety Features You Should Consider

  • Fuse protector: One of the top safety features is something called a fuse protector. If you leave the rice cooker running for too long or the temperature climbs too high, the machine will trip its fuse to prevent the chances of a fire breaking out.
  • Auto shut down: Similar to a fuse protector, an auto shut down is a feature that automatically shuts down the rice cooker. This will keep the rice inside from burning and keep the exterior of the cooker from getting too hot.
  • Rubber feet: You may want to look for a model that has small rubber feet or feet made from another material on the bottom. When you use a rice cooker that sits flat on the counter, the heat that it produces can actually scorch that surface. If you choose a model with feet, there is space between the base of the machine and the counter that allows the heat to drift away.
  • Cord reel: If you have a full house with kids and animals running around, you may want a machine that has a cord reel. Also called an auto cord reel, this is a piece that works with the power cord. If someone hits the appliance, the reel will quickly pull the cord back to keep the rice cooker from falling off the counter.

What is a Quick Cook Setting?

A quick cook setting lets you get a full meal on the table faster than you expected. This setting lets you cook rice faster because the machine will skip the soak feature that most use and go right into a cooking cycle. Some machines have a quick cook setting that lets you make a full batch of rice in less than 15 minutes.

Safety Features You Should Consider

How to Use a Rice Cooker

  • Rinse the rice: No matter what type of rice you love, you’ll want to give it a quick rinse before placing it in the pot. Though some lightly pat and dry the rice, others place the slightly wet rice right in the cooker.
  • Add your water: The basic recipe for cooking rice calls for one part water to one part rice. If you want to make two cups of cooked rice, you need one cup of uncooked rice and one cup of water. You should use the measuring cup that came with the appliance to measure out both.
  • Follow the instructions: Once you pour the water and the rice into the pot, you’ll insert the pot into the machine and push the lid down until it locks in place and forms a seal. You’ll then press the power button to turn a basic machine on. If you use a higher end model, you may need to press various buttons to set the cook time and method.
  • Watch the lights: Depending on the model that you use, you should notice a light turning off when the rice is done. Other models feature a second light that comes on when the cycle completes. You can then lift the lid and serve the rice.

Expert Tip:

The more water that you use, the longer it will take to cook the rice. You may need to add more liquid though, especially if you used the cooker in the past and had rice with a dry consistency.

What Not to do When Cooking and Serving Rice

  • Lift the lid: No matter how tempted you feel to lift the lid and check on the rice, leave it alone. Each time that you remove the lid, the steam inside will escape. This will extend the time that it takes to cook the rice and can lead to over and undercooked areas.
  • Use metal utensils: When it comes time to serve the rice, stick to the plastic utensil that came with the cooker or a wood tool you already have in your kitchen. Metal utensils can flatten the rice and change its nice texture. Those tools can also scratch the inside of the pot.
  • Leave the rice sitting: The keep warm setting that most rice cookers have will keep the rice warm for up to 30 minutes. As long as you keep rice in the pot, you’ll want to keep the cooker turned on. This will prevent bacteria and mold from ruining the rice.
  • Use the wrong amount of liquid: Using too much liquid in your rice cooker is just as dangerous as not using enough liquid. If you use too much water, it will take longer to cook and result in mushy rice. When you don’t use enough water, the rice will come out under-cooked and crunchy.

WARNING:

If you drop your rice cooker and find that the lid no longer fits, do not force the lid in place and keep using the appliance. Any dents or damage to the outside will prevent the lid from forming the tight seal that you want. This can let steam escape and burn anyone nearby.

What Not to do When Cooking and Serving Rice

How to Clean a Rice Cooker

Cleaning a rice cooker is easy because you just need some soap and water as well as a sponge or a cloth. After lifting the lid, touch the pot inside to make sure it is completely cool before you remove it. You can then wash the pan in a sink filled with hot and soapy water or in your dishwasher. If you decide to hand wash the pot, you should use a soft sponge or a cloth that won’t damage the metal.

The best way to clean the lid depends on whether it detaches. If you can take the lid off, you can clean it the same sink where you washed the pot. For hinged lids that do not come loose, you’ll want to run a damp cloth or sponge over the surface. You can use dish soap to clean the lid and then go over it with a wet cloth to remove any soapy residue.

You can use the same cloth and sponge to clean the outside of the cooker too. Depending on what you cook and the amount of liquid you used, you may find stuck on residue left behind because the cooker boiled over. Those stains will come off with a little soap and water.

Tips for Cleaning the Hot Plate or Heating Element

  • Make sure the component is completely cool to the touch before cleaning it
  • Use a wood tool or a piece of sandpaper to lightly scrape off any food clinging to the plate
  • Wipe down any areas you can see and touch with a damp cloth
  • Turn the rice cooker over and give it a soft shake to get any debris out
  • Let the hot plate or heating element thoroughly dry before using the rice cooker again
How to Clean a Rice Cooker

Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Rice

  • Skipping the seasoning: In the same way that you salt the water you use for pasta, you should also add salt when cooking rice. The cooking liquid will evenly dispense the salt through the liquid and make sure that each piece gets some. You can use other seasonings in your cooking liquid too.
  • Frequent stirring: Some people who use a rice cooker keep removing the lid and stirring the rice because they think this will help it absorb more liquid. This actually breaks down the starches in the rice though and creates a gooey consistency. Unless you want to make rice pudding that looks like glue, let your rice cooker do all the work for you.
  • Cook for too long: The best thing about using a rice cooker is that it knows exactly how long to cook the rice. Even if you think it needs a few extra minutes or that it shouldn’t cook as long as the manufacturer recommends, follow the instructions to the letter. The main reason rice comes out of a cooker at the wrong consistency is that you cooked it too long or not long enough.
  • Immediately serving it: Another mistake that you can avoid is dishing up and serving the rice as soon as the cooker finishes its cycle. You need to give the rice time to absorb all that great steam and develop the fluffy texture that you want.
Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Rice

What is a Microwave Rice Cooker?

A microwave rice cooker is a small tool designed to help you create fluffy rice in your microwave. You can microwave rice in a glass or plastic bowl with a lid or plastic wrap on top. These cookers have a lid with small holes in the top that allow a small amount of steam to escape. This will keep the rice from drying out while ensuring that it cooks all the way through and has a nice texture.

Dishes and Meals That You Can Make in a Rice Cooker

  • Boiled eggs: You can use a steamer basket to make both soft boiled and hard boiled eggs in a rice cooker. The amount of time that you cook the eggs will determine how done and set the insides are.
  • Roast meats: Many home chefs like making roasts in their rice cookers. You can season the meat and place it inside the pot with any veggies you want to use. After using a standard rice setting, you will turn on the keep warm setting. It takes around an hour for the meat to reach a medium-rare temperature.
  • Hummus: If you love snacking on this dip with some fresh vegetables and crackers, you can make your own version at home. You can use dried or canned chickpeas that you let cook for at least one cycle. It’s then a simple matter of mixing the chickpeas with tahini and your favorite spices.
  • Cheesecake: There are some great recipes online that teach you how to make basic cheesecake in a rice cooker. The recipe uses many ingredients that you already have. You can make a rich cheesecake that is suitable for weeknight dinners and special occasions.
  • Applesauce: You can also make homemade applesauce from scratch with a rice cooker. This recipe requires that you dice the animals and add the fruit to the pot with some liquid and a few spices. It takes less time to make applesauce in a rice cooker than it does on the stove.

Tips for Using a Steam Basket

  • Place the basket inside the rice cooker before adding any of your ingredients
  • Choose a steaming liquid that has some flavor such as water with spices added or a rich broth
  • Mix and match different vegetables to create a blend that your family will love
  • Try using the basket to steam fruits and serve the cooked fruits with ice cream or whipped cream for dessert

How Much Should You Pay for a Rice Cooker?

The manufacturers of the top rice cookers offer those small appliances at a range of different price points. It typically comes down to a look at how much you can afford to spend and the price ranges. A basic rice cooker that can hold around two to four cups of uncooked rice will retail for as little as $20. These models don’t come with many features though and are best for cooking rice and nothing else. Even though some may feature a steamer basket, you may need to run your ingredients through the unit multiple times to get the texture and level of cook that you want.

There are other rice cookers that sell for between $50 and $100. These machines can work like an Instant Pot and let you cook all your family’s favorite dishes in addition to rice. There are some machines that retail for more than $100 too.

The top of the line rice cookers come from overseas and allow you to get rid of other kitchen appliances. You can use one to cook rice and porridge, make soups and other dishes for weeknight dinners and even whip up yummy desserts. The most expensive rice cooker we found retails for nearly $500.

How Much Do the Rice Cooker Cost?

How Much Should You Pay for a Rice Cooker - WITH TEXT

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Water is not the only liquid that you can use when cooking rice in a rice cooker. You can use any type of broth or stock, including beef and vegetable stock that you bought or made yourself. Many dessert recipes call for rice cooked in cream or milk too.

A: You should really clean the pot inside your rice cooker each time that you use it. After putting away the rice, you can wipe the inside down with a damp paper towel and then wash the pot by hand in your sink. Most of these pots are dishwasher safe too. Our section on how to clean a rice cooker will help.

A: You absolutely can save any leftover rice that you have. All you need is a storage container with an airtight lid. Once you finish serving the rice, turn the cooker off and let it cool down. After the rice comes down to room temperature, you can transfer it to a dish and store it in the fridge. Leftover rice should last for several days or longer.

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