Find the Best Rice Cooker for You
It’s perfectly fine to cook rice on a stove. But as you may know, having a rice cooker makes things much easier. This small kitchen appliance will save you time and money. You can use the rice cooker to cook your rice while you work on other dishes. The good models will never leave a mess or burn your rice.
Deciding on which rice cooker to buy is an important decision. Many families use rice cookers everyday, so picking the right one is essential. A rice cooker can last a long time- some last well over a decade if you take good care of it. Fortunately, there are plenty of good rice cookers on the market that are built to last.
How a Rice Cooker Works
Essentially a rice cooker is a small kitchen appliance which cooks rice for you. It can have multiple uses which include cooking macaroni & cheese, cooking quinoa, and steaming vegetables. There are plenty of different recipes. Best of all, it’s really easy to use a rice cooker. All you need to do is to put in the correct amount of rice and water, flip a switch and the appliance will do the rest.
Material refers to the inner cooking pan. The material is something to consider, but not necessarily a big deal. It’s more of a personal preference. What’s most important is getting a non-stick coating because it makes for an easy cleanup. The better models will certainly have non-stick coating. Stainless steel and aluminum are the most popular material choices. Some may prefer more natural pans made from clay or charcoal. These materials are naturally non-stick and have no artificial coating.
The Right Size for You
The right size all depends on how much rice you are prepared to cook. Are you a college student living in a dorm? Or are you cooking for a family of five? Rice cookers will work best for their suggested serving size. Therefore you really need to take serving size into consideration before making your purchase. Stuffing too much rice into the cooker will not yield good results.
Features to Note
There are a few recommended features to look for. They aren’t necessary, but are convenient. Most good rice cookers will come with features which include:
- See-though Lid
- Seam Vent
- Measuring Lines
Higher-end models will typically have more features. However, you might not need all of these bonus features. Most of the features you may not use but it all depends on your situation and what you are looking for.
These bonus features include:
- Digital Display
- Adjust for a faster cooking time
- Delay timer for you to decide when the rice will start cooking.
- Reheat option
Characteristics of the Best Brands
First, you want to make sure that you stay away from the cheap brands. You know you have a cheap brand if it spits and burns the rice. In the long run, the cheap brand could end up being the most expensive brand because eventually you will end up buying another one.
Reliability is an important factor. Your rice cooker should have no problems and should cook great rice every time. It should have good reviews and a good reputation. The brands listed below all have great reviews and recommendations.
Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup
Rice is an essential meal for people in the Pacific Islands. They have been eating rice for centuries so it’s good to know what they use, and the Zojirushi rice cooker happens to be their top choice. This is the most expensive rice cooker brand on the market, and its features include: a delay timer, LCD control panel, and multiple cooking functions. Although its expensive, the price should not keep you from considering it. If you use it every day then it will seem cheap. For example, let’s say it lasts 15 years. That would be 5475 days. At a price of $130, that comes out to only two cents per day. That’s a price you can’t beat. You pay more for a Zojirushi brand, but it will probably last a long time. It should last as long as you are willing to take good care of it.
Aroma ARC-914SBD 4-Cup (Uncooked) 8-Cup (Cooked)
This is a #1 best seller on Amazon and for good reason. It’s easy to use and prepares 2-8 cups of rice. It features digital controls, a non-stick cooking pot, and has specialized functions for brown rice, white rice, steaming, and warming. This appliance works flawlessly and does not spit, steam, or leak. One disadvantage is that it does not keep rice all day long. If you left the rice in the cooker then it would burn and dry out. However, it does come with a 15 hour delay timer so it can make rice for you when you want it. This Aroma model retails for only $30.
Oster CKSTRCMS65 3-Cup (Uncooked), 6-Cup (Cooked)
It’ doesn’t have many features, but the Oster does provide good value at $43. It has six cups of cooked rice capacity, and its features include: indicator lights, tempered glass lid, and a steaming basket. Despite lacking features, the Oster does a good job of what it was made to do- cook rice. It produces moist, fluffy rice, that will please your taste buds. What more could you ask for?
Most good rice cookers come with several different accessories. You don’t actually need any accessories, but they can make cooking easier. The most common accessory are rice paddles and you can buy them online or at a retail store. You can also consider using a measuring cup, a washing bowl, and a rice cookbook.
The Right One for You
There is no #1 universal best rice cooker. Choosing one depends on what size and features you need. Your choice may differ depending on if you are a student, a parent, or a cook. The ideal rice cooker is the one that works flawlessly every time and gives you no trouble. Luckily, there are plenty of rice cookers on the market which fit that description. The final choice is up to you.