We all love rice, but that doesn?t mean it?s always easy to cook it correctly. That?s why many people are now on the hunt for the very best rice cooker on the market. There?s a lot to learn about rice cookers and we?ll discuss it all below, as well as the top 5 rice cookers available today.
What You Need to Know About Choosing a Rice Cooker
What is a Rice Cooker?
A rice cooker is an appliance that takes the job of cooking your rice and takes the hassle out of the process. We?ve all had times when we?ve tried to cook rice and we?ve got it wrong. We made it either too dry or cooked it for too long, ending with a soggy concoction. All of that can be entirely avoided when you use a rice cooker instead.
You simply add the right water and rice ration and let the rice cooker do the rest of the work for you. You won?t have to remember to turn it off at a certain time because it?ll do that automatically.
The Benefits of Using a Rice Cooker
If you eat rice often, you?ll benefit massively from having a rice cooker in your kitchen; there?s no doubt about that. It allows you to achieve consistently great tasting rice every time you use it. It cooks automatically, so there?s essentially no effort needed on your part.
Once the rice has finished cooking, most rice cookers will switch to a warm mode that stops cooking it. But it will still keep the rice warm until you want to take it out of the cooker and serve it up. It means you can eat warm rice for dinner without having to time it to perfection.
Features to Look for When Buying a Rice Cooker
There?s a range of different features and capabilities you should look for when you?re buying yourself a rice cooker. Some of these are basic and simply vary from device to device, such as the size or quality. While others go further and offer precise systems you might want in your rice cooker.
These are the things that you should be looking at when the time comes for you to buy a new rice cooker. By focusing on the 5 things we?re about to discuss below, you?ll find it easier to make the right purchasing decision.
Many rice cookers come with steaming options and even slow cooking capabilities. They offer a much more versatile overall package. That might be something you want to look for in yours if you?d like the option for doing more than cooking rice with it.
There?s a range of different size options out there and which one is right for you is entirely dependent on your needs. If you live alone and usually only cook for yourself, a small one will be fine. But a bigger size will be needed if you?re going to be cooking rice for the family.
Quality of the Bowl
The main thing that?ll decide the longevity and durability of your rice cooker will be the quality of the bowl. If the quality on offer isn?t up to scratch, problems will eventually develop. Steel bowls are usually of high quality, while aluminium bowls should be avoided.
The warming feature will ensure your rice doesn?t get cold after the cooking process is over. It?s a feature you?ll definitely want to make sure your rice cooker has.
The control system in place on your rice cooker will dictate how you use it each day. Some have buttons, dials or touch controls. It all depends on what kind of control system you prefer and find the easiest to use.
How to Choose a Rice Cooker?
If I were you, I?d focus on the things discussed above when choosing a rice cooker. It?s important to make sure it can do all the most important things as well. If it can?t, it?ll lack the functionality you need from it when you use it on a daily basis.
If you?re anything like me, you?re probably running out of space for appliances in your kitchen too. So, remember to take the overall size of the unit into account. Not just how much rice it holds, but how much space it?s going to take up on your kitchen countertop.
Are They Easy to Use?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Electric rice cookers, which make up the vast majority of consumer rice cookers on the market today, are very easy to use. This is their selling point. They make the potentially tricky process of cooking perfect rice easier than it?s ever been before.
They all come with instruction manuals, which should be read before you start using the rice cooker. That might sound boring, but it?ll ensure you understand all the features and how to get the most out of your rice cooker once you start using it.
Cleaning Your Rice Cooker
Another important thing you need to take into consideration is how you clean your rice cooker. If you?re going to keep it functional and hygienic, you obviously need to be cleaning it properly. That goes without saying. But it?s something that some people aren?t sure how to do.
After each use of the rice cooker, you should wash the inner cooking pot. Be sure to clean it with a non-metal brush so as not to damage it. A good trick is to turn the cooker back on before washing the pot so the rice hardens and falls off more easily during cleaning. It?s as simple as that.
The 5 Best Rice Cookers
My rating –
The Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD is a top of the range rice cooker and undoubtedly one of the best on the market today. The digital panel is very easy to use and enables you to choose how you want to cook your rice without any problems. On top of that, you can use it for other functions.
It?s possible to steam meat and vegetables, and it can even bake cakes. The multifunctionality offered by this rice cooker is like no other and it?s certainly one of the things that make it stand out above the crowd. The great thing about all that is that you don?t have to pay a high price for it; it?s very inexpensive.
Some people have found that the plastic parts of the lid can wear down a little over time. And, it?s not the fastest rice cooker on the market compared to some of the others out there. But those criticisms are minor when compared to the many things the Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD does well.
Pros and Cons:
|Multifunctional with a range of cooking options, such as steaming or baking cake||Some durability issues with plastic on the lid|
|8-cup capacity places it on the larger side||Slower than some other models|
|User-friendly digital panel|
|Accessories such as spatula and measuring cup included|
My rating –
The Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker and food steamer offers a range of features. Most impressively, it enables the user to steam meat or vegetables above the rice as it?s cooking below. It?s also very easy to use and programme so you can use it the way you want to.
The one-touch operation design is very user-friendly. This means that no one should have any difficulties getting to grips with this appliance. All the accessories you need, such as the steam tray, rice measuring cup and plastic spatula are included. And the design of the appliance is undeniably attractive.
There?s no off button on the device, which some people have found to be frustrating. It means you have to unplug it if you want to turn it off. Also, the warming feature is a little too powerful and can sometimes continue cooking the rice.
Pros and Cons:
|Easy programming||Problems with the warm feature|
|A range of functions, including steaming||No off button|
My rating –
The compact nature of the Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker With Steamer is certainly appealing. It?s great for people living alone or even couples who don?t want a large rice cooker taking up space in the kitchen. It uses touch controls that are very easy to use and understand. And all the accessories you need are included.
The whole package is very affordable indeed which is certainly a big benefit. And the keep warm feature is the best you?ll find on this list. It has a system that actively prevents burning and overcooking when the warm feature is in use. That?s a problem that other rice cookers suffer from so it?s nice that this one addresses it.
Some people have found that it breaks down after a while, and those longevity problems can be concerning from a buyer perspective. However, those experiences are not commonplace. Rice can sometimes get stuck to the bottom of the pan which can be a frustration.
Pros and Cons:
|Compact size||Rice sticking to the bottom of the pan is something a problem|
|Touch controls||Longevity has been a problem for some|
|Keep warm feature that prevents burning|
My rating –
The Zojirushi NHS-18 10-Cup Rice Cooker has a large capacity, offering you plenty of cooking space. It?s great at steaming and cooking things like seafood and various kinds of vegetables. And the accessories you need are included, as you?d expect.
It offers consistent performance and that?s something that shouldn?t overlook when buying a rice cooker. No one wants their rice cooker to offer a changeable performance level, I know I certainly don?t. The keep-warm feature lasts for 5 hours, which is very impressive too.
The major problem people tend to have with this rice cooker is the way in which it can be slightly messy to use. The steam sprays out of the hole at the top and can cause a lot of mess that most people don?t want to deal with. The non-stick coating can sometimes peel a little after heavy use too.
Pros and Cons:
|Large capacity||Can be messy when in use|
|Good for steaming and cooking vegetables and seafood||After heavy use, the non-stick coating can peel|
|Keep warm feature lasts up to 5 hours|
My rating –
The Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker offers an 8-cup capacity and has a range of pre-programmed steaming and cooking settings. This makes it very easy to begin using without much prior experience of using a rice cooker. It?s an ideal device for beginners, which is what many people are looking for.
It comes with a rice rinser and a steam basket, and there?s no steam splattering. That means you won?t have to deal with the mess that some of the other rice cookers on the market tend to create. It?s the locked lid design that makes this possible.
There is no keep warm function with the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker, which is an omission that disappoints a lot of people. It?s a nice function to have and it?s a shame that this one is missing it. It?s also relatively slow, which some people don?t like but it won?t be a problem for everyone.
Pros and Cons:
|8-cup capacity||Doesn?t keep rice warm|
|Rice rinser and steam basket included||Slow performance|
|Pre-programmed settings for steaming and cooking|
|Very easy to use|
|No steam splattering thanks to locked lid|
The Very Best Rice Cooker on the Market
It?s clear that the Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Rice Cooker is the best on the market right now. It offers everything you need from a rice cooker. The size is good, and it?s durable. It also offers a range of cooking options to satisfy a variety of needs, while also being very affordable to buy.
The digital control panel is very easy to use. It allows you to start using it right away without having to experience much of a learning curve at all. And the drawbacks and negatives associated with this rice cooker are so minor in comparison with the problems most other rice cookers have that they don?t stand out as being particularly significant at all. The Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD is reliable and functional, which is what you need from a rice cooker.