Steamy Marvels: Best Rice Cooker

For perfect rice every time with no mess or fuss, you need a good rice cooker. But with so many rice cookers on the market, it can be hard to find the right one. We have taken the guesswork out of buying by researching to bring you the best rice cookers on the market.

Aroma ARC-743-1NG 3-Cup, Uncooked 6-Cup, Cooked Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, White

Best overall

For simplicity and consistency at a great price, you can't beat the Aroma 3-cup rice cooker. It features a non-stick surface and comes with a steamer tray to make vegetables for a full meal.


  • Consistently good rice time and time again
  • Enough rice for 2 people
  • Includes steamer for steaming vegetables
  • Super easy to use with the push of one button


  • May have hotspots
  • No off button


Aroma has a wide range of rice cookers and the company is well known for their easy to use, reliable products. This Aroma ARC-743-1NG 3-cup rice cooker is a great choice for anyone who wants good rice without any fuss.

For the price and convenience you really can’t beat the Aroma rice cooker. All you do is add rice and water, then push one button and wait. After the rice is ready, the switch will automatically change to keep warm, so the rice will stay warm until you are ready to eat it.

Now, some users complain that there is no off switch, so when the rice is finished, if you leave it on the keep warm setting too long, rice can stick to the bottom and make clean-up a bit messy. One solution that customers suggest is to unplug the unit once it is finished cooking.

With that said, the convenience is worth it. Not only does this cook rice to perfection, it also includes a steamer tray which allows you to cook vegetables or other dishes as you steam your rice. You get a whole meal with the push of a button.

The cooker is designed to hold 1–3 cups of uncooked rice which translates to about 2–6 cups of fully cooked rice. Several users complain that it does not hold enough rice for a whole family, but you should get 3–4 cups with no problem. The inner lining is coated with a nonstick surface, so the rice will easily slide out, but make sure you only use a wooden or plastic rice paddle to avoid scratches.

This cooker includes the cooking base, nonstick rice pan, steamer pan, a rice paddle and measuring cup. It has everything you need for great rice each and every time, so we highly recommend the Aroma ARC-743-1NG 3-cup rice cooker.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker, 4-Cups uncooked resulting in 8-Cups (Cooked), with Steam & Rinse Basket (37518)

Runner up

This Hamilton Beach Rice cooker can do more than cook rice with an included steam tray and hot cereal setting. It features a digital timer to let you know exactly how long your food will take.


  • Large capacity
  • Comes with a rinsing tray that doubles as a steam basket
  • Digital counter lets you know when rice will be ready
  • Easy to clean
  • Compact design


  • No alert to let you know rice is finished
  • May not be large enough for several servings

BLACK+DECKER RC506 6-Cup Cooked/3-Cup Uncooked Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, White

Budget pick

This affordable rice cooker by Black + Decker makes delicious rice in less than 30 minutes. It has a single-button operation, so it is easy to use, and with a nonstick interior, it is easy to clean.


  • Great price point
  • Decent build quality
  • Makes decent rice
  • Easy to use and clean


  • Rice may brown on bottom
  • Short cord


This budget-friendly cooker from Black+Decker doesn’t have any bells and whistles, but it will do a nice job cooking your rice automatically.

This 6-cup rice cooker takes just 20–30 minutes to make delicious rice with the push of a button. It may take a few tries to get the water to rice proportion just right, but once you do, this will deliver.

The manufacturer claims that it is a 6-cup rice cooker, but most users report that it is more realistic to get 4 full cups of rice. The interior is an aluminum pan with a nonstick coating, so it is easy to clean. However, the keep warm function will brown the rice on the bottom if it is left too long, so this can make the rice stick a bit.

This Black + Decker cooker is incredibly easy to use. It has a single button that sets it to cook, and a display light lets you know that it is cooking. When it is finished, it changes to the Keep Warm function and the warm light comes on. There is no off switch.

It comes with a steaming basket for making vegetables and other steamed foods as your rice is cooking. It also has a rice paddle and a measuring cup, so you have everything you need to make delicious, fluffy rice.

All the parts are dishwasher safe, and the cooker comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

When you want a simple rice cooker, and you don’t want to pay a lot, then this Black + Decker 6-Cup rice cooker is the right one for you.

ZOJI Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1 L (Up to 5.5 cups), Stainless Dark Gray

Best premium

This premium rice cooker by Zojirushi has been called the Ferrari of rice cookers. It is designed to give you perfectly cooked rice every time, and has multiple settings for various types of rice.


  • Perfectly cooked rice every time
  • Keeps rice warm for hours, never scorching it
  • Easy to clean inside and outside
  • Stylish design for any kitchen
  • Several settings for specialty rice


  • A bit large
  • Expensive
  • Makes some noise as it cooks


If you make rice more than twice a week, or you just really want your rice to come out perfectly every time, then spending a bit more for this premium rice cooker by Zojirushi is well worth it.

With other rice cookers, you will indeed get rice that is “cooked”, but it is often uneven, sticky, or even burnt to the bottom. This cooker is purpose built to give you delicious rice that is cooked evenly without being sticky each and every time.

The key to the success of this cooker is that it has a digitally controlled induction heating system, so the machine actually makes adjustments as it cooks. It also has many functions giving you control over the type of rice you are cooking (jasmine, sushi, brown, etc.) as well as the hardness of the rice. It is even designed to cook germinated brown rice, making it healthier to eat by activating it at 104ºF for 2 hours.

This is a 1.0 liter rice cooker which will yield about 5.5 cups of finished rice, which is enough for 3–4 people. It is finished with clear-coated stainless steel that looks beautiful and is easy to keep clean.

It features 3 heaters which gives you even heating throughout the cooking process, and when the rice is finished, the keep warm feature will keep the rice at perfect serving temperature for hours—it never burns it or scorches it.

A bright digital display counts down the time to let you know how long the rice will take to cook, and when it is finished, it plays a delightful melody. Now rice may take longer in this cooker than in some of the less expensive models, but that is because it is cooking it correctly.

This domes with a removable lid that is easy to clean as well as a rice paddle for stirring and serving and a measuring cup.

For perfect rice and the ability to control how your rice is cooked, this premium cooker from Zojirushi will never disappoint you. It is simply one of the best rice cookers you can buy.

Tiger JBV-A18U-W 10 Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker, White

Best synchro-cooking

This synchro cooker from Tiger is a great cooking appliance that not only makes rice, but can work as a slow cooker as well. It makes enough rice for a family of 4, and it is easy to use and clean.


  • Makes great rice
  • Large enough for a family of 4
  • Very easy to use and keep clean
  • Versatile functions, and synchro cooking is a great feature


  • May overcook some vegetables
  • No indicator when it is finished cooking


While some other cookers include baskets for steaming, this 10-cup cooker from Tiger is designed to synchro-cook your food, so it turns out great every time. You don’t have to guess how long it will take because this does it all automatically.

The key to this impressive device is that it has a special “tacook” system that monitors the temperature and makes adjustments as it cooks to give you a perfectly cooked meal. The specially designed basket keeps the steamed food separate from the rice, so its flavours will not be noticeable.

The steaming basket has a handle, so it is easy to insert and remove. It does not have holes in the bottom like other baskets, so you can steam meat without the juice dripping on the rice below. This machine even has a slow-cook feature for making delicious stews.

Another nice feature is that this has a brown rice setting. Brown rice takes more time to cook and to properly absorb water. With standard cookers, it may come out crunchy or tough, and just not taste right, but with this cooker, you will have brown rice prepared the way it was meant to be.

One complaint about this cooker is that it does not make a sound to let you know when it has finished cooking, but this isn’t much of a problem since it automatically switches to keep warm when the rice is done.

Overall, this is a great product for not only making rice, but for making entire meals all in one easy-to-use synchro cooker.

Rice Cooker Buying Guide

how to choose a rice cookerDo I need a rice cooker?

While their primary purpose is preparing incredibly delicious rice of all types, nowadays, many rice cooker models feature steamer baskets that allow making veggies, fish and other sides at the same time. Furthermore, there are models with specific programmes for brown rice, oatmeal, millet, quinoa and other fancy grains. In some multipurpose rice cookers, you can even prepare soups and stews. Selected according to your cooking preferences, a rice cooker can quickly become one of the most used and beloved appliances in a grain-loving kitchen.

How Does It Work?

Rice cooker prices vary a lot; however, not always the more expensive model yields the best rice. Let’s have a look at how these devices function since this can help to understand what components are crucial and what can be skipped.

Main Body

Since the outer container does not directly influence the cooking process, this might seem irrelevant. However, this is not true. First of all, the exterior of a rice cooker must be well insulated to prevent burns. Secondly, it should be compact and easy to fit on your counter. Thirdly, it should be easy to clean just by wiping with a moist cloth; and should not have any crooks or narrow spaces.

Some rice cookers have plastic exterior while others boast a metallic finish. If you plan to use your cooker regularly, it is worth investing in a more solid model with an appealing design. It will add a nice touch to your countertop. On the other hand, if you plan to store it in the cupboard, a lighter body with a removable cord works best.

Inner Cooking Pot

The inner rice cooker pot or bowl is removable; therefore, large and ergonomic handles matter. These will make it easier to lift the bowl, especially when it is full. Most often, the rice cooker inner pot is made of stainless steel and has a non-stick coating to save you from scraping stuck rice from its bottom. Nowadays, non-stick surfaces are perfectly safe and do not pose health risks when used according to specifications, while the thermal sensors eliminate the risk of overheating. To protect the coating, most models will come with a plastic paddle for scooping out the rice. Alternatively, you can also use a wooden spoon for this purpose.

If you do not want a device with a non-stick surface, other alternatives exist as well. Some rice cookers have a stainless-steel bowl without coating. Such inner pots are very durable and can be safely put in the dishwasher. However, the chances of rice sticking to the bottom considerably increase; thus, be ready for some scrubbing.

Ceramic pots are an ecological alternative to the non-stick surfaces. A good quality ceramic will perform as well as Teflon. However, cheap ceramic rice cooker pots may chip or break over time, so be prepared for a higher price if you prefer this material and want your pot to last. It is not recommended to put ceramic-coated vessels in the dishwasher.

Heating Element

Typically, the heating element is located at the bottom of the rice cooker. If not designed well, such placement results in inferior heat distribution that may yield unevenly cooked rice. However, this is not always the case. When the heating element is constructed well, some of the cheapest and simplest rice cookers perform nearly as well as more advanced models.

Some of the more expensive rice cookers use induction heating. In this case, the copper coil of the heating element reacts with the metal of the pot. As a result, a magnetic field is created that efficiently transmits heat within the entire cooking pot. Each grain absorbs the same amount of heat and water, resulting in exceptional, evenly cooked rice. The heating temperature can be adjusted instantly and precisely; therefore, induction rice cookers are often used by professionals.

Finally, some models combine induction with pressure cooking. This is the ultimate level of rice preparation since it takes less time, and the resulting rice has unsurpassed taste and texture. Still, such cookers are way too expensive for the majority of home users.


Every rice cooker will have at least one temperature sensor. Once the pot is filled and turned on, the temperature will increase until the water starts boiling and evaporating. At this point, the temperature stays the same, and the cooking process begins. However, once all water is either absorbed or evaporated, the temperature will start to increase again. The sensor will notice this and either turn the cooker off or switch to the “keep warm” setting.

More exquisite rice cookers will have several sensors and chips that allow automatically adjust cooking parameters depending on conditions, for example, the grain amount and type or water absorption speed. This feature is called fuzzy logic, and it allows modifying cooking time, temperature, heating intensity and so on. Models with fuzzy logic will be able not only to prepare excellent rice but also handle other grains. The best ones will even try to compensate for user mistakes such as an imprecise ratio of rice and water.


Some rice cooker lids are lockable while others look like a standard saucepan cover. However, what matters more is whether the lid fits tightly. This means less steam to escape and less spatter on your counter.

You will also have to choose between removable and non-removable lids. Generally, we prefer the former because they are easier to clean. However, a non-removable cover can have a detachable inner part that alleviates the task. Steam vent is another component that requires thorough cleaning; in some models, this can be detached for cleaning as well.

Rice Cooker Essentials

Since we have covered the basic rice cooker components and their functions, let’s look at some more specific features. Understanding these will help you to pick a cooker that fully suits your cooking needs and preferences.

Power and Capacity

Preparing rice in a cooker always takes more time than the 18 minutes on the stovetop. Overall, around 30 to 40 minutes is a reasonable expectation, but there are quicker models as well. Those few extra minutes are well worth the wait to enjoy perfect, evenly cooked rice. On the other hand, anything that needs above one hour perhaps should be renamed slow- rather than a rice cooker.

As to the capacity, things can get tricky since some models also have space for placing steamer baskets above the rice. Overall, 0,5 to 1 l pot will be sufficient for one to two people, while 1-3 litres will be optimal for a family of 3-4 people. 3-5 litre pots can easily feed up to six people, and there are even larger capacity pots for households of more than six rice lovers.

Another and, probably, more convenient way to evaluate if a rice cooker is spacious enough for your needs is to check how many cups of rice it can hold. The amount indicated in specifications usually refers to uncooked rice (since some varieties can even double in volume when cooked). One cup roughly corresponds to 1 serving of rice; thus, the calculation of the amount needed is easy. However, a specific measurement called Japanese-rice-cooker cup is used in the rice cooker world. Luckily, most models will have this particular unit included, but, in case, it gets lost, it is useful to know that one rice cup equals approximately 160 ml or ¾ of the conventional US cup.

As to the minimum cooking amount, most cookers will be able to prepare just 2 cups of rice without issues. If you add only one cup, some rice cookers might not be able to handle it well resulting in burned rice. Always check the manual to know the limits of your cooker.

Keep-Warm Function

While the name is self-explanatory, this is one of the most appreciated features in rice cookers. It allows you to finish preparing other products or wait while everyone arrives and then serve perfect rice at the ideal temperature. However, the maximum duration your meal will remain warm will vary from model to model, for some, it is limited to one or two hours before the rice gets too cold or starts sticking to the bottom.

Additionally, some advanced models have a delayed-start function. This means that you will be able to schedule your rice to be done, for example, when you come back from work.

Cooking Indicators

Since the rice cooker will happily do all the work by itself, it is helpful to have indicator lights or a display that inform you whether it is still cooking or has switched to keep-warm mode. Audible sound alarm at the end of cooking is also useful, as you will be able to know once the rice is ready even from another room. Finally, multi-purpose models often have displays that help to program the device and show the cooking time left.

Quick Mode

The quick-cook setting is convenient when you are hungry and in a hurry, as it reduces the cooking duration. However, the prepared rice quality usually suffers a bit; thus, it is worth sticking to the standard mode most of the time.

Steamer Tray

Some rice cookers come with a steamer tray or basket that can be inserted at the top and used to cook vegetables or other dishes, often, simultaneously with the rice. This certainly extends the possible uses of your cooker, making it a more versatile device. If you want to put fish or meat in the steamer and prepare it simultaneously with grains, be ready that the juices can steep into the lower bowl and change the flavour. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it might not be optimal for some recipes.

Kristaps Celapiters

Kristaps' journey began as a curious consumer seeking genuine, reliable advice. Frustrated by vague recommendations, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Armed with a discerning eye and a dedication to thorough research, he embarked on a mission to provide fellow consumers with reviews they can truly rely on.
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