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The best rice cookers for 2021

Cooking rice might seem easy, but many of us struggle with getting it right. A rice cooker removes the hard work, giving you perfectly moist and flavorful rice every time and avoiding charred rice on your stove.

But which rice cooker is best for you? Today’s top rice cookers come with steam baskets, timers, and other features — here are the best rice cookers for 2021.

If you’re looking for something different, check out our picks for the best pressure cookers.

Aroma Housewares 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

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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 a 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.

The 6-Cup Pot Style Rice Cooker is missing some features you’d find in slightly more expensive models, such as button controls for different types of rice, but for around $20, this rice cooker is hard to beat.

Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity

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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. This Rice Cooker also doubles as a steamer. Rice cookers create a lot of steam, and the Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity 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

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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 an 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 Rice 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.

Gourmia GRC970 11-in-1 Digital 20-Cup Rice Cooker

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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 the GRC970 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.

Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer

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Another affordable option by Aroma Housewares, this digital rice cooker cooks up to eight cups of cooked rice. It comes with a nonstick inner pot, a rice paddle, a rice measuring cup, and a steamer tray so you can make veggies and other foods in addition to just rice. Plus, there are included presets for brown and white rice, so your rice comes out just right.

We like this model because of the excellent price (and rice), sure. But we also appreciate that it’s super easy to use. Plus, it doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen (you can store it in a cabinet), so it’s ideal for small spaces. The Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD rice cooker also has that ever-so-useful delay-start timer that you can set up to 15 hours in advance.

miAroma MRC-903 Mini Cooker

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Here is another magnificent rice cooking product straight from the Aroma Housewares’ inventory: The Mia aroma MRC-903. It is the perfect condensed choice for any two-person meals or quick one-plate dinners. Its state-of-the-art functionality includes the use of a single button that makes the rice cooking process a breeze.

Though this rice cooker looks small, it can actually hold up to three cups of food or liquid, so you can cook various things without monopolizing your counter space. That makes this mini-cooker an excellent choice for making rice, pasta, quinoa dishes, and meat-lovers’ omelets. Then, after you’ve had your delicious food, you can clean this quickly and store it away in any cabinet. It’s a great space-saver. 

The MRC-903 includes a handy Keep Warm feature that slow cooks your meals for a maximum of 12 hours without burning the food or overcooking it to a rubbery texture. 

It’s worth noting that you can quickly and efficiently clean this mini-cooker because it includes a dishwasher-safe non-stick insert. ThemiAroma MRC-903 is reliable, conveniently sized, made with quality materials, has smoke-free mirrors, and is budget-flexible. 

Just because you want a small appliance to maximize your space doesn’t mean you have to give up any special features. For rice cookers, the “best” appliance for you will depend on the amount of food you need to cook and the features you prioritize. Select any of these recommended products, and you’ll be satisfied.

Editors' Recommendations

Erika Rawes
Smart Home Evergreen Coordinator
Erika became a professional writer in 2010, and her work is published all over the web on sites ranging from USA Today to…
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