Best Rice Cookers of 2018

A rice cooker allows you to make perfect rice with the touch of a button. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best rice cooker for all your favorite recipes.

Shopping Guide for the Best Rice Cookers

When it comes to versatile side dishes, it's hard to beat rice. Serve it with your favorite Asian or Mexican recipe, mix it into a casserole, or add some salt and butter for a simple dish. If you want perfect rice every time, a rice cooker is a handy kitchen helper indeed.

But sorting through the various rice cooker features and prices can get frustrating if you're not sure what to look for. At BestReviews, it's our goal to make shopping for a rice cooker—and anything else you might need—as stress-free as possible.

If you're on the hunt for the ideal rice cooker, keep reading this shopping guide for more information. If you're ready to buy a rice cooker, we invite you to explore the three options above. There's something for just about every rice lover on our shortlist.

Benefits of Rice Cookers

Tired of boiling your rice on the stovetop or in a bag? A rice cooker brings some distinct benefits to your kitchen.

Consistent Results
The stovetop sometimes renders rice that's too chewy or too mushy, but a rice cooker delivers the same perfect results every time. The appliance never overcooks or undercooks rice; it's always just right.

Easy Preparation
Most rice makers come with a measuring cup for the rice and measurement lines on the interior bowl that indicate how much water to add. This removes the guesswork from preparing your tasty side dish.

User-Friendly Controls
Rice makers have intuitive controls that make the process easy. In many cases, you only have to press a button or two and you're on your way to fresh, hot rice that you can incorporate into dishes like chicken fried rice.

Versatility
The majority of rice cookers don't just cook rice. Many can also be used to steam vegetables and fish, and some high-end models can cook soup or stew. You can even use your rice cooker to make delicious rice pudding.

For more flavorful rice, consider substituting another liquid for the water in your rice cooker. Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock are all tasty options.

Rice Cooker Features

How do you decide which rice cooker is right for you? Here are some features to pay attention to as you shop.

Capacity
The capacity you need depends on how large your household is. A 5- or 6-cup rice cooker would adequately serve a family of four or five. However, you'd be better off with an 8- or 10-cup rice cooker if you tend to make food for larger groups.

Pot Material
Should you get a rice cooker with a stainless-steel pot or an aluminum pot? Stainless steel is typically the most durable choice, but if easy cleanup is your priority, opt for an aluminum pot with a nonstick coating.

Controls
Most rice cookers are user friendly. Some models require you to push just one button. Others have digital controls that are very easy to understand.

Rice Settings
We recommend that you choose a rice cooker with a variety of settings for specific types of rice, such as white or whole grain. That way, you'll get the ideal texture with every batch you prepare.

Keep-Warm Function
The keep-warm function lowers the heat but still keeps your rice warm and ready. For the utmost in convenience, choose a rice cooker with an automatic keep-warm function.

Retractable Power Cord
A rice cooker is easier to store if it comes with a retractable or removable power cord. What's more, you can serve directly from the cooker if the cord is out of the way.

Stay-Cool Exterior
To prevent burned fingers, opt for a rice cooker with an exterior that stays cool during operation. You won't have to worry about curious children touching the appliance and getting hurt.

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Always Rinse Rice Prior to Cooking

Rinse your rice before adding it to your rice cooker to remove some of the excess starch. That way, your rice won't be too sticky.

FAQ

Q. How long does it take to make rice in a rice cooker?
A. Cooking time varies based on the type of rice you're making and how much, but it usually takes 30 to 40 minutes. However, some high-end rice cookers have a quick-cook mode that gets the job done in 10 to 20 minutes.

Q. What features make a rice cooker easier to clean?
A. For the easiest cleaning, choose a cooker with dishwasher-safe components. It's best to opt for a model with a detachable inner lid, because a hinged lid can be more difficult to clean.

Q. What other foods can you prepare in a rice cooker?
A. It depends on the model you choose, but many rice cookers can be used to cook quinoa, oatmeal, yogurt, steamed vegetables, fish, applesauce, cakes, baked potatoes, and even larger cuts of meat like baby back ribs or a whole chicken.

Never use metal utensils with a rice cooker that has a nonstick coating. The metal could damage the coating.