How to Choose the Best Electric Rice Cooker
How do you choose the best electric rice cooker? What features and functions should the best electric rice cooker have to suit your needs? Read our guide and make an informed choice.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Buy a Rice Cooker?
- 2 Types of Rice Cookers
- 3 Best Rice Cooker: What to Look for
- 4 Recommended Rice Cookers
Why Buy a Rice Cooker?
When cooking, you always make sure you start cooking the rice in advance in order for it to be ready at the same time as the other ingredients.
You put it to boil and then you focus on the other kinds of food you have on the stove when, at some point, you realize you forgot the rice. Now you have an unpleasant smell that fills your kitchen and a thick layer of rice burned on the bottom of a pot that will be very difficult to clean.
Or maybe you did not burn the rice this time, but it did not go out as you like – it’s either too crisp or too soft. Or maybe while you were watching the other dishes, the water that boiled the rice spilled over and made a lot of mess on the counter and on the stove.
If you cook frequently at home, you are very likely to have met at least one of the situations described above, if not all of them. Rice is an excellent garnish for a wide variety of cooked foods. In theory, it’s easy to do, however, in practice it’s very easy to spoil or burn it.
This is where the electric rice cooker (or rice electric pot, as it is called) appears in the landscape. For anyone who cooks rice regularly, or just wants a good rice cooked from time to time, a rice cooker is very useful.
It will automatically stop when the rice is cooked properly, and you will not have to worry about it burning if you are not careful. Most of the time the best rice cooker will keep it warm after cooking, it is ready to serve even if the other dishes take longer to prepare.
In addition, many electric rice cookers offer programs for different types of rice. If you usually cook brown rice and want to try a jasmine rice, for example, all you have to do is choose the right program of the rice cooking machine without any unsuccessful attempts.
However, choosing the best rice cooker is a bit more complicated. That’s why I’ve written this guide that will help you find the right rice cooker for you.
Types of Rice Cookers
Conventional Rice Cookers
Conventional rice cookers will meet the needs of most consumers. They offer basic functions. Some are so simple they have only one button on / off – add the ingredients, press the button and your rice will be properly cooked. Some models of conventional rice cookers offer more features, but they are also minimal and easy to understand.
Conventional rice cookers usually have a good price. They are designed to be easy to use and most of the time cook the rice quickly. Certainly it offers superior cooking comfort than a pot or a saucepan and is suitable for most consumers.
Very easy to use
Lots of models to choose from
Quick rice cooking
No option for different types of rice
They don’t always cook the perfect rice
Lacks the advanced functions some desire
Smart Rice Cookers
Smart rice cookers offer a “fuzzy logic” technology that offers the perfect cooking conditions for rice. This means that if you mess up the amount of ingredients you put on cooking, you are still likely to get the perfect rice. For example, if you cook rice on a hot day, the appliance will automatically adjust the boiling temperature to accommodate the environment.
For those who cook rice frequently or who are very demanding with the end result, smart rice cookers have the reputation of delivering superior results from any other cooking method. As a result, they are offered at a higher price than other simpler models.
Besides the high cost, smart rice cookers are even more complicated to use. More complicated models that usually offer the best results are usually hard to understand by new users. In addition, they cook rice more slowly than conventional rice cookers, but they can be programmed to cook the rice early and keep it warm for a long time until it is served.
Perfect rice cooking
Useful for a large variety of recipes
Slower rice cooking
Can be complicated to use them
Multifunctional Rice Cookers
Many rice cookers offer more options besides cooking rice. The most common combination is a steam cooker, but you can find rice cookers that work as a multicooker or slow cooker as well as certain pressure cookers.
In many kitchens, space is a priced treasure, and sometimes a home appliance that offers multiple functions is welcome from this point of view.
Offers different functions at the same price
Can cook a variety of foods
Saves precious kitchen space
Complicated to use
They will not cook the rice as good as a smart rice cooker
Best Rice Cooker: What to Look for
Now that we have made an idea about the variety of appliances available on the market, the next step is to identify your personal needs to be able to choose the right rice cooker for you. Below you find the main criteria for choosing the perfect rice cooker.
Capacity and Size
Most electric rice cookers will list the capacity by the volume in litres of the inner container or by the number of cups that can be cooked. You will find models ranging from 0.4 litres to a few litres, or between 3 and 20 cups of rice.
The dimensions indicated on the product do not indicate the number of cups of rice, but the total volume of ingredients that the appliance can handle at maximum capacity.
For example, if you buy a rice cooker with a capacity of 3 cups, you can cook 1 cup of rice together with two cups of water. Remember that rice increases its volume considerably by cooking.
The amount of rice you can cook is an important factor, especially for large families or for those who cook frequently for a large number of people.
You also need to consider the space you have in the kitchen. Usually a rice cooker is not very bulky, but if you already have many home appliances that compete for space on the counter, be careful to choose a fitting model.
Price of the Rice Cooker
Most people will be pleased with a simple and functional rice cooker that will not cost you much. If you cook rice only occasionally, use only white rice and you are only interested in the ease of cooking, then a rice cooker in the lower price range (20-40 pounds) will be more than enough.
For those who cook rice several times a week, which considers it an important part of meals daily, and who want to cook different varieties routinely, then choosing a more expensive model might justify the price. This way you will have the guarantee of a perfectly cooked rice every time without stressing the perfect dosage of the ingredients, regardless of the type of rice chosen or the quantity.
Most buyers will want a middle machine between the two extremes. You probably want more options from a rice cooker that can also work as a multicooker. Or maybe you want to pay a higher price for a renowned brand for durability.
If you want a middle solution, then the documentation on the brands and functions available for these models might be worth it in the long run.
It is best to have a good idea of what you want to use the rice cooker. If you use it only for rice cooking, then you can choose just about any model on the market. Instead, if you want to use the appliance chosen for steamed vegetables, for cooking different types of rice, or even use it as a pressure cooker or slow cooker, then you will need a more versatile model.
You will find examples of multiple uses of rice cookers in customer reviews from online store stores. Some models come with recipe books to help you figure out the different ways of using the device.
Think well what you want from your rice cooker. In this way you will have a clear idea over the functions and features you are looking for.
Some consumers will be happy with the cheapest available option, even if this means you will need to replace your chosen device more frequently. Most consumers will instead look for a rice cooker that lasts for years.
The most expensive brands (which also offer intelligent appliances) are usually reputed to manufacture durable home appliances over time, but some of the mid range devices also offer good durability over time.
The only way you can find out the durability of a rice cooker is the opinions of other customers who already use the model. If a particular type of rice cooker usually breaks in the first year of use, be sure that you will find someone pointing it out.
Ease of Use
The main reason why someone decides to buy a rice cooker is its ability to simplify cooking. If this is your primary purpose, then you will surely find an electric rice cooker that is easy and simple to use.
Usually, the simpler the device, the easier to use it will be. This means that one-button cheap models will be the easiest to use, but models that offer some extra features will not be much harder to understand and use.
Smart rice cookers require a period of learning and accommodation. What they do is more complicated, even though they generally adapt themselves, they will require a learning period to set them the way you want.
All rice cookers have a major advantage over a regular saucepan: they are very easy to clean. You will not have to struggle to scrape the burnt rice from the bottom of the pot or to clean the cooker if the rice turns black.
Most models of rice cookers are equipped with anti-adhesive coatings that make cleaning a child’s play.
If you have not yet decided to buy a rice cooker, think about the last time you have to scrape the burned rice from the bottom of the saucepan.
Rice cookers are cheap, easy to use and always offer you a tasty rice properly cooked. Besides, you will never have to clean the burned rice from the bottom of your favourite pot or saucepan.
Recommended Rice Cookers
Taking into account the above criteria and recommendations, we present you below some models of rice cookers that offer excellent quality/price ratio.
- Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer - Made In Japan
- Premium Taste (Umami) Setting and GABA Brown Rice Setting
- 3 pin UK plug 220-240v, Shipped from UK so no import duty or additional taxes to be paid
- 10 Cooking programs
- Convection Rice Cooking
- Special Black Coating Inner Pot
- Includes: internal steaming tray, measuring cup, spoon and recipes.
- Large 1.8 L capacity bowl with handy keep warm function- enough for cooking ten cups of rice
- Includes additional tray for steaming fish or vegetables
- Non-stick removable bowl
- Cook up delicious batches of rice with the generous 1.8L capacity rice cooker from VonShef - cooks up to 8 cups of rice at once - ideal for family dining, batch cooking and meal prepping
- Perfect for cooking all types of rice - including Arborio, jasmine, white, basmati, long grain and more
- Simple one-touch cook button begins the cooking cycle and, once complete, the keep warm function is activated for ultimate convenience
- Non-stick removable rice bowl
- Toughened glass lid with stainless steel rim
- Keep warm feature
Last update on 2019-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API