A rice cooker offers a variety of benefits over cooking rice on the stove top. For starters, using a rice cooker instead of a saucepan means improved taste and texture. Instead of mushy rice, you get the same perfect texture every time. There’s simply no comparison between the rice you get when you cook it on the stove top versus when you use a rice cooker.
What about instant rice? Instant rice might turn out decent, but it’s also pretty expensive. Now, this might not seem like a big deal for a single meal, but if rice is a regular part of your diet, the cost difference can quickly add up. Plus, instant rice is easy, but a rice cooker is even easier. Using a rice cooker is probably the most convenient and cost-efficient way to guarantee delicious rice every single time, thanks to the set-it-and-forget-it nature of the kitchen appliance.
If you’re looking for your first rice cooker, or you’re ready to upgrade your cooker, here are some appliances to consider. These are our picks for the best rice cookers of 2019.
Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Aroma Housewares makes a wide-range of rice cookers, and just about all of them could have been included on this list. We chose the Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker because it’s easy to operate, it’s sold at an unbeatable price, and it has decent cooking capacity.
Appliances don’t get much easier than this offering from Aroma. Simply add rice and water, flip the switch, and the rice cooker will take care of the rest. The Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker will even automatically switch to “warm” mode when your rice is done, so you don’t have to worry about overcooking your rice.
This product is missing some features, such as a sauté function, but for $17 this rice cooker is hard to beat.
Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity
While it’s amazingly simple to cook perfect rice with almost any rice cooker — simply add your ingredients, select your cooking mode, and let the appliance do the rest — the Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity Rice Cooker earned its inclusion on this list thanks to two key features: a delay start timer and an included steaming basket.
The Delay Start Timer allows you to set up your meal up to 15 hours early. This means that you can get everything prepped before you head to work, set your start timer for the end of your workday, and by the time you get home you’ll have a freshly prepared meal. Digital timers are a common feature on rice cookers, but it’s not something that’s included on many appliances in this price range. This Rice Cooker also doubles as a steamer. Rice cookers create a lot of steam, and the Hamilton Beach doesn’t let any of it go to waste. With the included steaming tray, you can steam vegetables, meat, or other sides at the same time that you cook your rice.
Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Cooker
A rice cooker at this price better have some nice features, right? Well, how about artificial intelligence that learns from past cooking experiences and takes things like room and water temperature into account? Or, how about heat induction technology that drives heat into your food from all angles, ensuring an even cook? Or what about a separate “scorched” setting to create a layer of crispy rice? What about a umami cooking setting that extracts more sugar out of the rice to create a sweeter dish?
Those are just a few of the features that make the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Cooker one of the most impressive rice cooking appliances on the market. While the price tag may keep some shoppers away, this product is certainly worth it for serious chefs who are only satisfied with the very best rice.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker
The Zojirushi rice cooker may be impressive, but its price tag may put it out of reach for most home cooks. While the Instant Pot Duo Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the Zojirushi, it is a pretty versatile appliance, and it’s listed at a much more affordable price. This product can cook a great bowl of rice, but it can also be used as a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, and even a yogurt maker. Of course, the two most useful features for rice eaters are the steaming and sauté functions.
The Instant Pot also boasts several convenient features, such as a 24-hour delayed start timer and an automatic “keep warm” function. It also comes in a 3-quart mini size, a 6-quart size, and an 8-quart size. Read our full review of the Instant Pot Duo.
Gourmia GRC970 11-in-1 Digital 20-Cup Rice Cooker
The Gourmia GRC970 11-in-1 Digital 20-Cup Rice Cooker is another appliance that does a lot more than cook rice. You can make creamy risotto, steamed fish or veggies, a small whole chicken, a batch of chili, or a variety of different one-pot meals. You can even make yogurt in this device.
The primary purpose of the GRC970 is cooking rice, and it does that admirably. But, it also has multiple button controls, including steam, slow cook, crispy, white rice, brown rice, quick rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and yogurt. It has an exceptionally large 20-cup capacity and a non-stick rice pot, so you can make large batches of rice at a time. It comes with a clear lid, measuring cup, spatula, and steam tray so you have the accessories you need to prepare rice or other recipes.
While this appliance can cook everything from breakfast to dinner to dessert, it’s still amazingly simple to operate. Add your ingredients, choose your cooking method, and let the device take care of the rest. You can opt use the 15-hour delay start timer to prepare your meals in advance.
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