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From long-grain and short-grain brown, to Chinese black and Japanese style, rice comes in many different varieties which can be served in many exciting ways.
If rice is one of your favorite foods, you're not alone; nearly half a billion metric tons of rice were consumed worldwide in 2015! However, to get the full taste of this wonderful food, it must be cooked just right, and a reliable rice cooker will do the job well.
This handy household appliance ensures you'll achieve professionally cooked rice effortlessly from the comfort of your own home. If you're looking for the best rice cooker, take a look at five of the top models in our review before you buy.
What to Consider When Selecting the Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
1. Value and Versatility
Among the five stainless steel rice cookers we reviewed, most of them were multi-functional, which can be very beneficial if you don't have the room to store different kitchen devices.
These all-in-one units allow you to cook just about anything you want; besides cooking rice, they may also serve as a yogurt maker, pressure cooker, slow cooker and steamer. In addition, these machines are available in various capacities to fit your needs. Some large rice cookers can nicely accommodate small servings too.
Another convenient feature we found in several units is a delay start feature that allows you to program your foods to be cooked hours later. Others have an automatic warm setting that will hold your food at the perfect temperature, which can be beneficial on the days you're running late.
You may want a rice cooker with a variety of useful features such as: an easy-to-read digital display, quick cooking selection and extra-fast cooking cycles. Some of the rice cookers in our review includes a measuring cup, spoon and a convenient steamer basket.
Similarly, if you are short on space, some of the rice cookers we’ve reviewed has a compact design. A stainless steel design ensures a high-quality product while seamlessly blending in with most kitchen styles and colors.
2. Advantages & Disadvantages
Cooking rice in a rice cooker can make it much more nutritious. Rice cookers that feature a gaba brown rice setting increases the rice's nutrients by one and a half times. Gaba, which stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid believed to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and improve kidney functions.
This particular setting helps to activate the nutrients in the brown rice by holding the temperature of the rice to 104 degrees for several hours. Rice cookers tend to make your rice taste better, too, as it takes the guesswork out of the equation in setting the precise time and temperature that will result to a perfectly cooked rice.
One great advantage to owning a rice cooker is the fact that the directions will tell you exactly how much rice and water to add, so you always end up with rice that has a perfect texture. If the rice cooker comes with a measuring cup, it is vital you use it when you measure your ingredients.
Besides the high price of some of the rice cookers in our review, we found that many of the units had Teflon-coated inner rice pots that tended to scratch and peel over time.
Similarly, these types of rice cookers tend to be difficult to clean once it’s scratched because the rice will stick to the bottom. We also observed that some rice cookers had poor heat distribution and, as a result, cooked foods unevenly.
If you want a long-lasting and high-quality rice cooker, it is a good idea to avoid buying an inexpensive model.
3. Additional Functions and Features
Perhaps you're set on buying a rice cooker that simply cooks rice. However, it may be beneficial to buy one that carries additional features. There are rice makers that make sushi, hot cereals and even porridge. Take a look at this video to find out how porridge is made in a rice cooker.
Whether you're cooking only for yourself or for a whole family, a multi-functioning kitchen appliance allows you cook rice in a variety of ways.
If the unit has a steamer, you can place the steamer basket on top of your rice and simultaneously steam-cook your favorite vegetables, such as peppers, potatoes, carrots and onions (check out How to quickly steam fresh potatoes in 15 minutes).
The steamer will also cook fish, poultry and beef. Even if you don't really need all the extra functions, you might appreciate the convenient features on many of these units, including the delay cook and keep warm settings.
This Japan-made rice cooker not only has a contemporary look but offers innovative features too. With the induction heating technology, this nifty appliance will cook rice perfectly each time.
Additionally, it offers a wide array of cooking functions and features a two-setting delay timer, so you can enjoy a hot, delicious pot of rice any time you want. You can even program it to cook your rice at softer or harder textures depending on your personal preferences.
This Zojirushi cooker also allows you to make other types of rice, including brown, gaba brown, sweet and sushi. It even has a porridge setting.
- Features induction heating technology for faster cooking
- Attractive, contemporary design
- Multi-menu cooking functions for a variety of rice dishes
- Keeps rice warm for up to 12 hours
- Includes a one-year limited warranty
- Features orange LCD control panel with timer and clock
- Durable construction
- Easy to clean
- Comes in 5.5-cup and 10-cup sizes to suit your needs
- Includes rice measuring cup and spatula
- Has a retractable cord for easy storage
- Lid may be difficult to open and close
- Warranty is limited and only for one year
- Nonstick finish can scratch over time
In an attractive, sleek design, this handsome rice cooker will complement most kitchens. It comes in two different sizes of 5.5-cup and 10-cup capacities.
In addition, it boasts of four-in-one cooking functions and 10 computerized cooking menu settings. This impressive unit is controlled by a microcomputer and features a synchro-cooking function to steam vegetables while the rice is cooking at the same time.
It will keep your rice warm for up to 12 hours and includes a convenient retractable power cord as well. The 1.5-millimeter-thick inner pan has a nonstick surface that makes cleaning quick and easy.
The cooker comes with a cookbook and a cooking plate. It can be used for all types of rice, as a slow cooker and as a steamer!
- Beautiful design
- Easy-to-use digital display
- Weighs only 9 pounds
- Allows various foods to cook simultaneously
- 10-cup version measures 14.5 by 11 by 10 inches
- 5.5-cup version is 13.5 by 10 by 8 inches
- Includes a limited one-year warranty
- Includes a cookbook and a cooking plate
- Has 10 menu settings
- Removable steam cap and inner lid
- Easy to clean
- Covered by a short one-year limited warranty
- Rather expensive
- Can take a bit longer than other rice cookers to clean
This elegantly designed, multi-function kitchen appliance is a popular seller and works wonderfully as a rice cooker.
It's also moderately priced, comes in 5-, 6- and 8-quart sizes, and can handle just about all aspects of your dinner, including making yogurt for dessert.
Made in Canada, this pressure cooker boasts 14 micro-processor controlled programs and dual pressure settings; one for keeping your food warm and one that delays cooking for up to 24 hours in order to save 70 percent on energy.
The three-ply stainless steel bottom of the inner pot is dishwasher safe and durable for easy cleaning.
Besides creating perfect rice, the Instant Pot steams, warms, sautés and browns your foods. Furthermore, you can use it as a three-temperature slow cooker.
- Energy efficient to cook rice quickly
- Large control panel with 14 selections
- ULC and UL certified
- Includes stainless steel steam rack with handle, manual and recipes
- Low pressure prevents overcooking
- Moderately priced
- Compact and low-profile design
- Dishwasher-safe inside pot
- Available in three sizes
- Has 10 safety mechanisms
- Lid that is hard to seal
- Exterior brushed steel, not stainless steel
- Lower-quality materials with less durability
- Somewhat uneven heat distribution because of the design
This rice cooker is elegant, durable and smart looking. Besides making white and whole-grain rice, this handy kitchen device can help you whip up a variety of foods cooked to perfection, including your favorite hot cereals such as cream of wheat and oatmeal.
Use it to create quick and easy pasta dishes and healthy steam-cooked meats and vegetables. Crafted in stainless steel, this rice cooker is available in 14-cup and 20-cup sizes. With its versatile features, you can use it to make one meal for yourself or a large meal for your family.
It offers a delay start feature of up to 11 hours, so you can set it to have your meal prepared according to your schedule. This rice cooker is very affordable, and the nonstick material is super easy to clean.
- Available in two sizes
- Durable and easy to clean with a nonstick surface
- Includes heat and simmer features
- Optional rinse and steam basket
- Delay start feature
- Automatically keeps food warm after cooking
- Steams food
- Manufacturer provides good customer service
- You have to pay for optional rinse and steam basket
- No expressed warranty on website
- Nonstick surface can eventually peel
If you're looking for a rice maker that just makes rice and nothing else, this one from Presto is durable, lightweight and easy to use. This product features a removable Teflon-coated pot, a steaming basket and a brown rice setting for versatility.
While it may be a bit difficult to clean, it is quite affordably priced and makes exceptionally good rice. When it is finished making the rice, the warming cycle automatically turns on, so your rice never gets cold.
The steaming basket makes it possible to cook other foods while your rice cooks. It flawlessly cooks from 4 to 16 cups of rice and includes a rice spoon and measuring scoop to help you perfectly portion your rice.
- Features digital settings for warm, cancel, cook, steam and brown rice
- Automatically changes to warm mode when done cooking
- Lights indicate settings
- Hinged cover that is easy to open
- Keeps rice hot for hours
- Simple to use
- Includes removable steaming basket and removable steam vent
- Nonstick surface of pot can scratch and peel after repeated use
- No expressed warranty on website
- Rice can stick to the bottom of the pot
- Hard to clean
The Winning Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
While all these rice cookers in our review had impressive features, we chose the Instant Pot 7-in-1 programmable pressure cooker as the winner.
We feel that if you want a rice cooker, this machine will not only give you perfect rice, but is also energy efficient, ULC and UL certified, and equipped with incredible features and value for your dollar.
It's highly durable, stylish and available in three different sizes, so you can get the one that's just right for your lifestyle.
If this article helped you, we'd like to hear from you in the comment section below! If you know others who would benefit from a rice cooker buying guide, please be sure to share this article with them.
You can check out more reliable rice cookers and learn more about many recipes using rice cookers at The Best Japanese Rice Cooker For Culinary Excellence.