If you love like rice like we do and want to consistently make fluffy, evenly cooked rice and great tasting rice, then you’ll want to get a rice cooker. A good rice cooker takes the guesswork out of making rice, and will help keep your rice warm long after cooking it as well.
Moreover, it’s a time saver. I can press a couple of buttons to make the rice, and turn my attention to other dinner items. Alternatively, I can use the rice cooker to make an entire meal should I decide to steam fish or vegetables in the upper tray.
As with most kitchen items, there are a multitude of rice cookers from which to choose, from high end Japanese rice cookers to more affordable ones. We’re going to focus on yet another popular and affordable rice cooker from Black and Decker – The Black and Decker 8 Cup Rice Cooker.
Black and Decker rice cookers come in a range of sizes from 1.5 cup mini rice cooker, 6 cups, 12 cups, and 14 cups all the way through 28 cup cookers, serving either a single person or a large family with guests.
Most people opt for a range in the middle, hence this 8 cup cooker (14 cups cooked) being the most popular Black and Decker model on Amazon (nearly 3,000 reviews). This cooker should provide enough rice for the whole family with perhaps even some leftovers.
The Black and decker rice cooker has a functional design. It has a removable nonstick cooking bowl used to hold the water and rice. This inner pot comes with markings for water levels to easily help you determine how much water to fill it with, depending on the amount of rice being served.
It has a tempered glass lid with steam vents, allowing you to easily view your rice while cooking. The lid has a plastic handle to prevent burns as well and to facilitate removal. There is also a convenient lid holder on the side of the unit.
The manufacturer did note that although the lid has steam vents, it might be best to remove it every so often in order to let excess steam escape.
It comes with a steaming basket that can be used to steam vegetables, fish, or other proteins.
Indicator light: It has to settings. The front facing indicator light will either flash red when cooking, or switch to orange when its in keep warm mode
Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. How does it perform? Pretty well, actually. It can make a variety of rice grains: classic white rice ( sushi rice), brown rice, Spanish rice. It can also be used to make oatmeal, soup, porridge and even cake!
As mentioned, it has an upper tray so that you can make not only rice, but potentially a whole meal as you steam vegetables and fish uptop while your rice is cooking below. Definitely a convenience for people like me who want a simple meal.
Cooking takes between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type of rice and amount of rice being served. This is standard cooking times for most rice cookers.
Once the rice cooker is finished cooking your rice, it automatically switches to keep warm mode, helping preserve the warmth and fluffiness of your rice for several hours.
One downside here is that as long as you use the proper water to rice ratios, your rice should turn out fine, but the cooker doesn’t have any built in logic to account for variation in water levels, cooking temperature, and type of food being cooked, like some of the other high end rice cooker models.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleanup is pretty simple as there’s a removable lid, removable inner pot, and plastic handle that wont scratch the surface of the pot when scooping up rice.
All of these materials are dishwasher safe or can be washed with a sponge as well.
This is where it shines. There is really only one other model, the Aroma ARC cooker, that offers the performance and affordability of this rice cooker.
You really can’t beat the low price point, which makes the cooker a great value considering its performance.
Now as with anything, there are high end rice cookers that may offer better performance, design, and durability, such as some of the Japanese rice cookers. But I liken it to buying a Toyota over a Mercedes Benz. Sure, the Benz may perform better and even last longer, but the Toyota will get you from point A to B and require less of an upfront investment.
Bottom line, it is a popular choice on Amazon and people either seem to love it or hate it with many people giving either 1 or 5 star reviews. Our take, for most people who eat rice 2-3x a week, the Black and Decker rice cooker is a great value given the host of features available.