Rice Cooker Buyer’s Guide

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This is by far the most common question we get: How do I choose the right rice cooker? Our general answer is to remember that you’re investing in an easy-to-use product that will last you years of cooking great, delicious rice, so make sure to keep that in mind when you’re making your purchase.

Another factor is how often you’ll be using it. Many families have rice most days of the week, since it makes for a yummy meal that you can do a lot with in recipes. Pair it with any type of protein and vegetables, and you have a full meal ready to go in no time.

Size (and cup capacity) matters

Cup capacity 

Just about ever rice maker out there states it’s capacity right in it’s name, or clearly on the packaging. The amount of rice a rice cooker will yield is twice that amount. That’s because the cup capacity shown is dry, not cooked rice.

If a rice cooker says it is a 10-cup model, that means it’s yield is 20 cups of rice.

These products come in different shapes and sizes. You should therefore choose a model that suits you. If you are single, then you should go for a small size which is cheaper and will serve all your needs. If you have a family, then you should purchase the family size rice cooker.

As far as size goes, keep in mind how you’ll be using your new cooker on average. At the very least, you won’t want to buy one that’s too small, or else you’ll be using it multiple times whenever you have to cook more rice.

This is another great reason to invest in a higher-end, larger cooker, since you don’t have to feel obligated to fill the entire cooker up with rice.

Cuckoo Rice Cooker Brand

One brand you can’t go wrong with is Cuckoo. They’ve dominated the Korean market for nearly 15 years, and are among the most popular in North America, too.

Cuckoo makes a variety of models from basic to the highest-tech on the market, and their prices are more than competitive. We recommend three Cuckoo Electric Pressure Rice Cookers.

Embrace the technology

Next comes ease of us; any cooking and warming product that uses computerized technology is always going to give you the most consistent results, which means delicious rice and happy tummys.

So opting for this feature is vital when buying a new cooker (nearly all analyses we do are on these types of cookers).

Manufacturers have different names for this type of technology. One of the more popular ones is called Neuro Fuzzy technology, which basically means the cooker adapts to different kinds of rice and amounts of rice automatically.

Settings & Programming

Some models are more advanced than others depending on the make and model. Although there are some which are specifically designed to cook rice, they still come with additional cooking settings. If you want to cook brown rice, you simply press the button indicating brown rice.

If you are under the weather and you want to prepare some okayu rice porridge, then you press the special button and it will be ready in an instant. Cooking convenience is more enhanced with clocks and timers that are included with the more modern brands. For detailed options and settings, some models even feature digital screens.

Timer and Delayed Start

This is a must have feature across the board. You simply set it, go to bed and you have fresh rice in the morning. You can also set it before you go to work and you will find ready rice when you come back from work.

This helps produce a delicious, wholesome amount of rice each time you use your new product.

White rice? Brown rice? Sushi rice?

Another variable to keep in mind is the type of rice you’re cooking. Some of the lower end products are hard to use when varying for temperature and cooking time. Spanish rice and brown rice both cook slightly differently, which can make for interesting cooking challenges. However, the most popular brands have individual settings for each type of rice, making the cooking super easy.

Nearly all of the higher-end models by our top recommended brand, Zojirushi, has a setting for individual types of rice and cooking styles. These usually include brown, Spanish, and mixed rice, sometimes even a sushi rice mode, too.

Rice warmers, steamers, cookers and much more

There’s also one more thing to keep in mind: not all cookers are rice warmers as well. This is why most of the top products we recommend are steamers, cookers, and warmers, so when you’re enjoying your meal, your rice isn’t sitting out getting cold and potentially spoiling (if it sits out too long).

Thankfully, if you buy within the mid to high level quality range, you’ll almost always be getting a product that goes into automatic warming, and even reheating mode. These are great for big family dinners, or even conserving left over rice and reheating it.

Cooking convenience is taken to the next level with today’s models. You can use it to steam some vegetables, or even use it to barbecue some meat. With such a combination, you will have a fresh, healthy, home cooked and affordable meal within a few minutes.

There are some cookers which can allow you to cook all of them simultaneously in the same equipment.

Majority of today’s rice cookers accommodate a variety of uses. You can use the special cooking settings to prepare soups, meats, steam vegetables, and stews with the press of a button.

Some also have special steaming trays. Others double as pressure cookers and crock pots. Using the timer, you just need to prepare the ingredients in the morning, adjust the timer and you will have a balanced meat when you get home from work.

Meal versatility

Many steamer/cooker models have several different pre-programmed cook options. You just choose the dish that you want to cook, prepare the ingredients, and set the timer.

Breakfast Foods

When you want to prepare breakfast, a rice cooker likely isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

Oatmeal, porridge and other breakfast cereals can all be easily prepared. Cereals should be soaked overnight in the steamer, and then cooked early in the morning, usually for less than thirty minutes.

Cooking oatmeal requires the porridge setting thus not possible for those who have a simpler on/off cooker. Other hot breakfast cereals that can be prepared in this way include barley, breakfast rice puddings, cinnamon and breakfast grits.

Side Dishes & Whole Meals 

One of the main benefits of using this products is that you can mix ingredients for your meal and leave it. As you cook your rice, you can also steam meat and vegetables.

To add flavor, the broth produced when steaming vegetables and meat can be added to the rice. Most cookers come with instructions on how to use the steaming tray. If you want a full one-pot meal, you can decide to steam a whole fish while lining the steamer basket with vegetables.

Creamy mac and cheeses that require minimal heat or watching can also be prepared using a cooker.

If you soak beans overnight, you can cook them, too. Cooking time can range from thirty minutes to three hours. The good thing with a pressure cooker is that you do not have to watch over your lentils, kidney beans, or soy beans when they are being cooked.

Just set the time and leave. Chilies, soups and stews are another option for you to prepare.

Snacks & Desserts 

If you do not have a conventional oven, then you can turn to your new product to prepare tasty desserts as well. Homemade hummus is a good treat. You can customize it to make it mild or garlicky according to the way you prefer.

It takes about half an hour or less to prepare chick peas. Then, you can proceed to puree the chickpeas with the ingredients of the hummus. To obtain poached fruit, you can cook a fruit in hot liquid in order to absorb the flavors.

Other desserts that you can prepare with your model include tapioca pudding, cheesecake, banana bread, and chocolate cake

Slow cooking and Baking

Additional Features

Most models manufactured in modern times have a feature that keeps food warm when it is inside the cooker. Some can be used as slow cookers while others can also be used to bake bread or have features that maintain the suitable temperatures for fermentation of bread dough.

You do get what you pay for

So, first things first, spend enough to make the purchase worth it. We recommend most products in the $125-$350 range, depending on the size of your household, how much rice you’ll be making, and the features you’re looking for.

This is because it’s important to invest the amount of money that will get you a high quality, reliable cooker. Just like with any other product, you want to be getting the right features and durability, so it lasts and keeps working.

One brand you can’t go wrong with is Cuckoo. They’ve dominated the Korean market for nearly 15 years, and are among the most popular in North America, too.

Cuckoo makes a variety of models from basic to the highest-tech on the market, and their prices are more than competitive. We recommend three Cuckoo Electric Pressure Rice Cookers. The title for best rice cooker often boils down to Korean manufacturers, like Cuckoo, and the Japanese rice cooker rival Tiger or Zojirushi.

Other highly regarded domestic rice cooker brands include Aroma, Oster and Hamilton Beach.

Counter-top or stored in a cabinet

Another important question to ask yourself is: How often will you be using the rice cooker? While there’s no shortage of high quality models to pick from, there’s definitely some that you’d prefer hidden from view when not in use.

Picking Up Your New Rice Cooker Right Now

Rice is a staple food in over half the population’s diet. Thankfully, companies now offer the option for “set and forget” rice without the hassle. Just yummy rice without too much thinking. It becomes so much simpler this way.

We hope you enjoyed our reviews and will be making delicious white and brown rice here soon for your meals.

History

Rice is a staple food in over half the population’s diet.

Sony produced the first electric cooker. This cooker was made through interlocked aluminum electrodes which were later connected at the bottom of a wooden tub. The cooking results depended on the weight of the water used and the type of the rice. Rice was either overcooked or under-cooked. In 1955, Toshiba produced the first one that was commercially successful.

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