The 8 Best Rice Cookers for Every Type of Home Cook

Our top recommendation is the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker & Food Steamer.

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Zojirushi, Made in Japan Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker,
Photo: amazon.com

Rice is a healthy, versatile food staple—but cooking rice that's fluffy, tender, and not clumpy can be a challenge. Even the most experienced cook messes up rice—and cleans burned grains from the bottom of a pot—every once in a while. Enter the electric rice cooker. Just add the right amount of water and rice, and the cooker does all the hard work for you. It also gives you another spot on the stovetop to cook whatever else you need to make, and just generally simplifies the cooking process.

Unsure about which one is right for you? We researched dozens of rice cookers and evaluated them on ease of use, capacity, range of features, and overall value to determine the best options on the market today. We also spoke to Top Chef alum Chef Katsuji Tanabe of a'Verde and Chef Masa Hamaya of O-Ku to get expert advice on shopping for and using a rice cooker at home.

"All rice cookers have heating pans to cook the rice to a boil, and then you just leave it in the rice cooker to slowly steam at a lower temperature," explains Hamaya.

Our top pick is the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker & Food Steamer, which stands out for its versatility, range of features, and affordable price point. Read on for all of our top rice cooker picks, as well as what to look for when choosing a rice cooker for your home.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Rice Cooker: Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker & Food Steamer

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Also available at Target, Home Depot, and Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want a versatile cooker that can cook both large and small amounts of rice.

Who it isn't for: People who want a smaller, more basic cooker.

For people who want a versatile machine that has a classic stainless steel look, consider this excellent programmable model from Hamilton Beach. This rice cooker not only cooks rice and grains well, but it offers an integrated basket for steaming seafood, vegetables and chicken. This means you can set up the cooker to steam a nice piece of fish while cooking your rice—a true one pot dinner! You can also use the steamer basket to wash your grains, which prevents clumps and creates an even fresher tasting rice.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 7 cups uncooked, 14 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: 6
  • Dimensions: 10.75 x 10.75 x 11.06 inches

Best Budget Rice Cooker: Aroma Housewares Digital Rice & Grain Multicooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a smaller, more affordable rice cooker that still offers quality performance.

Who it isn't for: Large families who need a larger rice cooker capacity.

This little rice cooker-steamer combo works better than expected for the low price. It cooks white rice very well, but you may need to tweak the recommended water levels for other grains. Plus, it has a 15-hour delay timer, meaning you can prep your meal, set the timer up to 15 hours in advance, and go about your day while your rice cooks ahead of time.

The Aroma Rice Cooker comes with a steamer basket, measuring cup, and of course, a rice paddle. The inner pot, which is made of bonded granite instead of the usual ceramic, is dishwasher-safe for easy clean up. With all the additional tools and the low price, this is a fantastic option for people who want a slightly smaller-than-average rice cooker.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 4 cups uncooked, 8 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: 4
  • Dimensions: 8.6 x 9.3 x 8.5 inches

Best Splurge Rice Cooker: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Also available at Home Depot and Overstock.

Who it's for: People looking for a fuzzy logic rice cooker with all the bells and whistles.

Who it isn't for: People looking for a faster rice cooker.

This cooker is what one would call fully loaded, with nine cooking functions to make different types of rice and grains. Designed with function in mind, it has a retractable cord for a smaller footprint, handles on each side of the inner pot for picking up, a rice paddle holder on the side (so you don't get your counter sticky by setting the paddle on it), a nonstick inner pot—the list goes on.

Both of the chefs we interviewed endorsed the Zojirushi brand: "The best rice cooker is Zojirushi, but it is very expensive," says Hamaya. This Zojirushi rice cooker is larger than most, and takes a bit longer to cook because it has a soaking cycle, which ensures the rice can fully absorb the water. But the cooker consistently produces the most perfect fluffy, tender rice without any burned bits at the bottom of the pot.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 5.5 cups uncooked, 10 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: 9
  • Dimensions: 13 x 8.13 x 10.13 inches

Best Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker: Panasonic 10-Cup Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Also available at Walmart and Wayfair.

Who it's for: People who want a smart rice cooker at a non-luxury price.

Who it isn't for: People who want a faster rice cooker.

If you want a machine that'll make adjustments for you, then you should look for a fuzzy logic rice cooker. Despite the funny name, fuzzy logic rice cookers offer a better cooking experience by automatically adjusting temperature and cooking time when needed—as compared to traditional rice cookers, which typically have pre-set buttons that can't be altered. That means perfectly cooked rice every time, as well as the ability to make perfect porridge, soup, and other foods.

While this cooker is hi-tech, it's actually shockingly simple to use, with buttons that allow you to select cooking white rice, brown rice, porridge, and soup, plus quick cooking and steaming modes. It also shuts off automatically after cooking, and can keep your rice warm for up to 12 hours after cooking is finished.

You can make up to 10 cups of rice with this Panasonic model, and it comes with a steaming basket, measuring cup, and rice paddle. The interior bowl has a nonstick coating to make cleanup easy, and it comes with a detachable power cord for easier storage.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 5 cups uncooked, 10 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: 6
  • Dimensions: 10.2 x 13.9 x 7.8 inches

Best Small Rice Cooker: Dash Mini Rice Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Also available at Wayfair and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Who it's for: People with limited space who don't need to make large servings.

Who it isn't for: Anyone regularly cooking for a large group

The absolutely adorable Dash Mini Rice cooker (available in eight colorways) is the perfect size for apartment dwellers or singles who love to cook for themselves. It would make a great graduation gift for dorm room cooking, and is also small enough to take in an RV or to a summer rental.

Not only can it make white and brown rice, but this little powerhouse makes oatmeal, stew, soup, quinoa, rice, and pasta. The two cup capacity allows for portion control, or individual servings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods, as well as snacks or sides. The little cooker also has a keep warm function so your rice or pasta will be ready when you are. It comes with a measuring cup and rice mixing paddle, and the inner sleeve is removable for easy cleaning.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 2 cups
  • Number of Settings: 2
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 inches

RELATED: This Best-Selling Mini Rice Cooker Is a Must-Have for Small Kitchens—and It Costs Less Than $30

Best Rice Cooker for Brown Rice: Tiger JBV-A Series Multi-Functional Rice Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Who it's for: People who primarily make brown rice and people who want to cook their rice and another dish at the same time.

Who it isn't for: People who want a more versatile rice cooker.

This Tiger rice cooker is a real powerhouse when it comes to cooking brown rice to tender, nutty perfection. The key is the brown rice setting, which allows for longer water absorption compared to other rice cooking settings. It doesn't just cook brown rice though—there's also a setting for white rice, as well as a slow cooker setting for your favorite stews. It also stands out for a special function called Synchro-Cooking, which allows you to cook the entree with the rice at the same time. Simple and effective, this machine is best for home cooks who like to stick to the same types of recipes. It is more basic than other models though, so people looking for something more versatile should pick something else.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 5.5 cups uncooked, 10 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: 4
  • Dimensions: ​​13.9 x 10.6 x 8.4 inches

Best Microwave Rice Cooker: Sistema Microwave Rice Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Who it's for: People who don't want to buy a separate appliance for cooking rice.

Who it isn't for: People who want a true rice cooker for a variety of cooking tasks.

For those who want to easily cook rice but really don't want another appliance taking up precious counter space, take a look at this microwave cooker that really does get the job done. The Sistema Microwave Rice Cooker is surprisingly large, and can turn out 11 cups of rice in one cooking session, meaning you can make rice for the whole family or use it to meal prep your lunches for the week.

This cooker is nothing if not simple, with locking clips that hold the lid in place while your rice is cooking and vents for steam to escape without starchy water splatter. There are small side handles that don't heat up so you can easily remove the cooker from the microwave when your rice is done. You can also use this little pot to steam vegetables, and it comes with a matching rice paddle. It's perfect for anyone with limited space.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 5.5 cups uncooked, 11 cups cooked
  • Number of Settings: n/a
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.67 x 6.33 inches

Most Versatile Rice Cooker: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker

Best Rice Cookers
Amazon.com

Also available at Walmart and Macy's.

Who it's for: People who want a multi-functional cooker.

Who it isn't for: People who specifically need or want a rice cooker.

While a rice cooker can be an amazing addition to your kitchen arsenal, many people—including one of our experts—suggest looking at a pressure cooker instead.

"My best recommendation is to get an Instant Pot," says Tanabe. "It's way cheaper and cooks more things than just rice. Plus if you cook the rice in the pressure cooker set, then you can get amazing rice in just five minutes."

The 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo is a great starter option that boasts major functionality. It acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer. It also comes with a steam rack and has over 10 safety features, plus overheat protection and a safe-locking lid. We're also fans of the easy cleanup thanks to the finger-print resistant, stainless steel sides and dishwasher-safe lid, inner pot, and accessories.

It does require a little more fine-tuning to cook rice than a traditional rice cooker, since you'll have to calculate the rice to water ratios yourself, but once you test and tweak you'll have perfect rice at every meal.

Product Details:

  • Capacity: 3, 6, or 8 quarts
  • Number of Settings: 13
  • Dimensions: 13.38 x 12.2 x 12.48 inches

Final Verdict

Overall, our top choice is the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker & Food Steamer. Relatively affordable and surprisingly versatile, this rice cooker produces up to 14 cups of rice and comes with a steam basket. It comes with six cooking settings, and aside from rice can make soups, beans, pasta, and hot cereal.

How to Shop for Rice Cookers Like a Pro

Capacity

How many cups of rice will you or your family eat? This is the first question you need to ask yourself when choosing a rice cooker. Some mini rice cookers will produce as little as one or two cups of rice, but the largest capacity cookers can feed six or more people at a time. Decide how much rice you're planning to make at once and go from there.

Settings

The cooking settings on rice cookers vary quite a bit. For the most basic cookers, it might just be an on/off switch, but for more complex models there are options for cooking different grains and even slow cooker settings. Some models even allow for prepping your rice in advance and setting the timer to start cooking at a future time, and many cookers have a warming mode to keep your rice fresh while you work on the rest of your meal. Decide how basic or advanced you want your cooker to be, as well as how much you're willing to spend on extra features.

Dimensions

It's important to consider the dimensions of any countertop appliance when shopping as this information will dictate if the rice cooker will actually fit in your space, be it on the counter or stashed in a drawer or cupboard. If you want to save space, consider buying a multi-cooker so you don't have to buy multiple appliances for different cooking needs.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you use a rice cooker?

The best thing about rice cookers, and one of the big reasons to own one, is the pure ease of using them. Tanabe sums it up best when he describes rice cookers as: "Simplicity at its best: plug in, add rice and water, and press start!"

Hamaya elaborates: "Simply add rinsed raw rice and water (1:1 ratio by volume for the short to medium grain rice)."

Can you cook quinoa in a rice cooker?

Simple answer, yes! You can actually cook many grains in a rice cooker, according to our experts.

"You can cook most grains in a rice cooker: quinoa, millet, amaranth, and wheat come to mind," says Hamaya.

Of course, each grain may need a few tweaks. "I like to add butter and salt for the best taste," says Tanabe.

How long does it take to make rice in a rice cooker?

Here's the other major upside of a rice cooker: It's usually quicker than stovetop cooking, and who doesn't like dinner on the table faster?

"It all depends on the amount of rice, but on average, I would say 10 to 15 mintues," says Tanabe.

However, Hamaya stresses that the amount of time can vary depending on the cooker. "This depends on the style of the rice cookers," says Hamaya. "Gas rice cookers and pressure rice cookers have shorter cooking time due to the higher cooking temperature and quick gelatinization process."

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Tanya Edwards, a writer and editor who has written for The Boston Globe, CNN, Glamour, Yahoo, Allure, Refinery29, AOL, Huffington Post, and many more. She was also the culinary programming director at Food Network for five years. To write this article, she considered each rice cooker's construction, durability, ease of use, and effectiveness at cooking fluffy, tender rice. She also spoke with Chef Katsuji Tanabe of a'Verde and Chef Masa Hamaya of O-Ku for their expert advice.

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