Best Japanese & Normal Rice Cookers: Finding The One For Your Kitchen

Last Updated: 11 December 2018

With hundreds of different rice cookers on the market, it’s certainly not easy to pick just one. Especially if you’re buying it for the first time, and don’t even have an idea what to look for.

Generally, there are three types of rice cookers – plain rice cookers, cookers and steamers, and multi-cookers. I will show you a little bit of each in this review, so you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

I will also show you quite a few authentic Japanese rice cookers, since they are usually exceptionally durable. But they also tend to be expensive, so we’ll kick off the review with some affordable alternatives!

What To Look For

If you’re not sure how to choose just the right cooker for your kitchen, I can help with that. Pay attention to the following:

Cooker Capacity

Obviously this depends on how many people you are cooking for. If you live alone, then your best option is to get a smaller rice cooker. And if you have an entire family to feed, then a larger cooker is the better choice for you.

The capacities of rice cookers range anywhere from 2 to 28 cups of cooked rice. However, the vast majority of them have a capacity of 6-10 cups of cooked rice, which is basically the perfect middle ground. It’s great for people who always cook for larger groups, but also for people who live alone but have friends over often.

Keep in mind that the average serving size of rice is 3/4 of a cup. So, 6 cups are actually enough for 7 people, and then some! That’s also really beneficial because average-sized cookers are cheaper than big ones, so you will also be paying less.

Cooking Time

The average cooking time for white rice is 35-45 minutes, depending on the amount of rice you’re cooking. I’d say you want your cooker to be as fast as the stove, and maybe just a little faster.

Most of the cookers I’ll show you have a cooking time of 20—30 minutes, which is fine. Some are faster and some are slower, but that’s to be expected. If a particular rice cooker is a lot faster/slower than most others, I’ll make sure to list that in the pros/cons section, so definitely check those out!

Ease Of Maintenance

A good cooker will be easy to clean. Which usually means that most of its parts that come into contact with food should be dishwasher safe.

But non-stick cooking pots are also really important in that aspect. They are super easy to clean even if you can’t put them in a dishwasher, since you don’t really need to scrape burnt food from them.

If a rice cooker has dishwasher safe parts, I will make sure to list that in the pros section. Additionally, if some of its other parts are removable (like the vent or the inner lid) I will tell you about that in the review itself – that’s a pretty rare option, but also something that makes it easier to clean. Those parts can also get really dirty, and grease can build upon them pretty fast.

Price Range

What’s you budget? Because you can get a rice cooker for $15, but you can also go for one that costs $450+.

Obviously, the $15 cooker isn’t going to last you nearly as long as the more expensive one, which is a common occurrence with cheap appliances. I went through about 3 different cheap electric kettles in a year, until I realized that getting an expensive one was the smarter long-term decision.

If you need a rice cooker for a party in a few days and are just looking for something for that specific occasion, I guess you’re completely fine getting the cheapest one you can find. But you will need to replace it eventually, and I think that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

If you’re looking for a really good rice cooker that you will be able to use for years, then you should consider getting a more expensive one. I’m not saying you should go ahead and spend $400 on a rice cooker, but definitely more than $100. More expensive rice cookers usually have more features, are easier to maintain and are more durable.

I will first show you some cheaper rice cookers, and then I’ll move to the more expensive ones. That way there is something for everyone’s budget, and you can kind of guess by its position in the post just how expensive it is. Just keep in mind that the cheaper rice cookers are not necessarily Japanese – after all, authentic quality comes at a (higher) price.

The Best Rice Cookers For 2019

1. Black+Decker Rice Cooker And Food Steamer

BLACK+DECKER RC506 6-Cup Cooked/3-Cup Uncooked Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, White

This is a great short-term solution. I think this is the cheapest rice cooker you can find (it’s under $15), so if you need to buy something urgently and can’t really afford to splurge on a rice cooker, get this one. But definitely start saving for a mid-range option. :>

One thing that’s cool about the Black+Decker rice cooker is that it’s also a vegetable steamer. That can be really useful if you like preparing Asian food, and saves you from making a mess on your stove. It has a capacity of 6 cups, which is on the smaller side – keep in mind that refers to cooked rice. The capacity for uncooked rice is actually 3 cups.

On the one hand, this product is super easy to use and maintain. All of its parts are removable and dishwasher safe, which can save you a lot of time when doing the dishes. Additionally, it has two cooking options, with an indicator light that tells you how it is currently running. You can choose to either cook your rice, or just warm it up, which is certainly handy.

On the other hand, don’t expect too much from this rice cooker. There is a chance that it will break in about 4-5 months, and even sooner if you use it really often. Some other issues you might experience are burnt rice (at the bottom of the cooker), undercooked riced on the top and the cooker spitting rice water on your counter. But at least it has a decent cooking time – 20-30 minutes is as fast as you can expect from a cooker.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 10” x 9” x 5.5” (for the featured model)
  • Capacity: 6 cups cooked rice (featured)
  • Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Pros

  • Small and easy to store
  • Extremely affordable – good short-term option
  • Dishwasher safe parts

Cons

  • Subpar quality
  • Can overcook and undercook rice
  • Spits out rice water
See Prices On Amazon

2. Aroma Housewares Rice Cooker And Food Steamer

Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) (3-Cup UNCOOKED) Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

The Aroma rice cooker has a capacity of 6 cups of (cooked) rice. It can also be used as a steamer, but also as just a pot – you can use this to cook chilli, soups stews and pretty much anything you can think of. For versatility, I give this an A+!

What’s really cool about this cooker is that it has a bunch of different parts, which allow you to cook rice and steam veggies and meat at the same time. The top bowl, which is used for steaming, actually utilizes the steam from the rice pan. I think that’s perfect for all of you who are crazy busy, and need a really practical appliance.

Additionally, all those different parts that come in contact with food are removable and dishwasher safe. They’re also non-stick and super easy to clean by hand, so washing this won’t be a problem even if you don’t have a dishwasher.

The cooker has two settings – cook and warm. The first one is obviously what you choose when you want to cook your food, while the second one is designed to warm up your food after a few hours. You also get a steam tray, a measuring cup and a serving spatula along with the cooker, so that’s actually pretty good value for money. It is a little slower than advertised, so keep that in mind.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 11.1” x 10.4” x 8.1”
  • Capacity: 6 cups cooked rice
  • Cooking Time: 35-45 minutes

Pros

  • Very versatile and practical
  • Easy to maintain and dishwasher safe
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Cooking time is longer than average
  • Made from Alumnium – be careful with dishwasher detergents
See Prices On Amazon

3. Elechomes 6-In-1 Rice Cooker

Rice Cooker 6-in-1 Multi-use Cooker,10-Cup Uncooked Smart Cooker Slow Cooker with Steamer & Rinse Basket , FDA Approved 860W 5.0L Rice Cooker. CR501 by Elechomes

This is a great mid-range option. It’s still under $50 so it’s not really expensive, but we’re not talking about cheap rice cookers anymore. It’s time to start seeing some really useful features, like the display with a timer of this Elechomes rice cooker.

This can make up to 20 cups of cooked rice, which is a lot. It has a capacity of 1.8 liters, so it’s not really a small cooker. It’s going to take up space on your counter, so keep that in mind. But, that also means that you can prepare other meals in it more easily – you can even make cake in this cooker!

There are 14 different settings and that can get a bit confusing. When you just want to cook white or brown rice, select the fine cook setting. Additionally, this cooker has a 24 hour preset option – you can basically put your food in it, go to work, and come back home to a freshly cooked meal!

The lid of this cooker has inner steam valves, as well as an exterior valve that ensure you don’t have to deal with water leaking everywhere. Overall, I think this is one of the best options for you if you’re always cooking for 4-5 people. It is not too expensive, it’s easy to use, dishwasher safe and you can expect it to work for a long time.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 10” x 10” x 10”
  • Capacity: 20 cups cooked rice
  • Cooking Time: Not specified

Pros

  • Convenient grab handle
  • A lot of different features and settings
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Kind of bulky
  • No steam rack
See Prices On Amazon

4. Comfee 11-In-1 Rice Cooker

Rice Cooker, 11-in-1 Multi- Function Programmable, 20 Cups Cooked Rice Cooker and Warmer, Slow Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Yogurt Paster Cake Maker, 5L By Comfee

If you’re looking for a really practical appliance, then this is a great choice for you. It is on the pricier side, but it’s under $100 so it’s still not too pricey. And that’s actually a really good deal, considering the functionality of this cooker. Rice is just one thing you can cook in it – it’s also great for yoghurt, spaghetti, meatballs, beans, soups, stews etc.

It has a 5 liter capacity, which translates to some 20 cups of cooked rice. Great for families, and really good for special occasions, but not really that suitable for people who live alone. It has a digital LED display, which is super easy to control and actually pretty intuitive.

There’s also a preset timer which allows you to put the ingredients in the cooker, and then have them cooked while you’re not at home. You get a rice measuring cup, a steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon and a condensation collector along with this cooker. That’s actually really great value for money – the more accessories you get, the less you feel like you’re spending all that money on just a cooker.

Additionally, it is pretty easy to maintain. The air vent and the inner lid can be removed and cleaned, which we didn’t really see in previous rice cookers. This is pretty useful since you tend to get grease build-ups on these parts. Plus, the cooking pot is non-stick, so it is also super easy to clean by hand!

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 10.8 x 10.5
  • Capacity: 20 cups cooked rice
  • Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Pros

  • A versatile appliance
  • Good value for money – you get a lot of accessories
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not really great if you cook for 1-2 people
See Prices On Amazon

5. Panasonic Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker

Panasonic Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker SR-G06FGL, 3-Cup (Uncooked) with One-Step Automatic Cooking, Silver

I have a little more faith in Panasonic then some other no-name cookers, so I think this is a decent affordable cooker. It’s a Japanese cooker that’s under $35, so I’m calling it a cheap rice cooker! But it’s not just that – you can use this for stews, quinoa, vegetables, cereal, oatmeal and plenty of other foods.

Also, you can steam veggies or meat on top of the rice that’s cooking, so it is a pretty practical appliance. However, I don’t think that a steam rack is actually included in the purchase – you would need to improvise.

One thing I’m not a big fan of is that this can only cook your food – it can’t warm it. But, at least it shuts itself off automatically when your food is finished, so you won’t have to stand around and monitor how fluffy your rice is. It has a capacity of 6 cups of cooked rice, which is pretty average.

You get a rice scoop and a measuring cup along with the cooker, which honestly aren’t the best accessories to get. Most of you already have those at home, don’t you? But at least the food pot and the lid are dishwasher safe.

One thing to keep in mind is that the lid doesn’t seal the pot completely, so there is a chance some water will pour out. But that usually doesn’t happen with smaller quantities of food.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 8.12 x 10.2” x 8.5”
  • Capacity: 6 cups cooked rice
  • Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Not just for rice – really practical
  • Turns off automatically when food is cooked

Cons

  • Can’t warm your food
  • Not great value for money
  • Lid doesn’t seal it and sometimes water leaks
See Prices On Amazon

6. Tiger Corporation Micom Rice Cooker

Tiger Corporation JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer and Slow Cooker, White

Micom in the name of this cooker stand for micro computerized. The buttons you press send signals to the computer in the cooker, which then adjusts the temperature and the cooking time accordingly. That’s why you are able to choose from four different menu settings, depending on the type of rice you are cooking.

But you can also choose to steam your food, or to cook several dishes at the same time. The steam racks stacks on top of the rice, and that’s pretty useful – especially if you’re a busy bee. Obviously, the steam rack is included in the purchase, and it is completely BPA free, which is always nice to hear.

It only takes about 20 minutes to cook white rice, and 30 to cook brown rice. That’s actually pretty amazing – you’ll soon see that some more expensive cookers take twice as long to cook a batch.

What’s really cool about this cooker is that you get a cookbook with different dishes that you can make in it. A spatula and a measuring cup are also included in the purchase, so you’re getting pretty good value for money. The inner parts of this cooker are detachable and they can be hand washed, but they are not dishwasher safe.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 13.9” x 10.6” x 8.4”
  • Capacity: 5.5 cups rice
  • Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Pros

  • Cooks rice really fast
  • Good value for money
  • Multiple cooking settings

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • No timer
See Prices On Amazon

7. Tiger Corporation JNP-1800-FL Rice Cooker

Tiger JNP-1800-FL 10-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Warmer, Floral White

This cooker has a really different design from anything else we checked out so far. While most other cookers look sleek and modern, this one looks pretty traditional – guess it’s the flowers. Plus, you can actually choose from several different sizes of this cooker, ranging from a 3-cup capacity, to a 10-cup one.

What’s interesting is that this Tiger cooker actually has much less features than the cheaper one I talked about. In terms of settings, there is only a white rice option. However, you do have the option to warm your food, and the cooker can actually do that for up to 12 hours.

But forget about steam rack, synchro cooking and other things. This is for rice and rice only. You do get a spatula and a measuring cup along with this cooker, and the manufacturer actually instructs that only their measuring cup should be used when filling up the cooker. But obviously, that matters only if you want to fill it to capacity – I think you’re fine using different measuring cups if you’re only cooking a cup or two.

There is some benefit to this being only a rice cooker – it works fast. It takes about 20-25 minutes to cook a batch of rice, and even less if you’re not filling it completely. Unfortunately, it is not dishwasher compatible, but it is easy to clean since the pan is non-stick.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 10.7” x 11.8” x 11.7”
  • Capacity: 3-10 cups (pick a size)
  • Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Pros

  • Choose your own size
  • Fast cooker
  • Easy to clean (non-stick pan)

Cons

  • Not dishwasher compatible
  • Suitable only for rice
  • Doesn’t have multiple cooking settings
See Prices On Amazon

8. Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter

If you are looking for a unique Japanese cooker, this is one of your top options. Neuro Fuzzy technology is trademarked by Zojirushi, and it actually refers to the fact that the computer in the cooker was designed to mimic human reasoning. That basically means that Neuro Fuzzy cookers operate in more complicated ways than regular ones, and that they are able to adjust cooking time and temperature on their own.

Not only can you make all kinds of rice in this cooker, but you can also use it to steam food or make porridge, soups, stews… You can also adjust the cooker to just keep your food warm or reheat some leftovers.

One unique feature of this rice cooker is that its cooking pan has side handles that don’t warm up. This makes it much easier to remove the pan from the cooker, and pretty much eliminates the option of you getting burned in process.

It does take a while to cook rice – some 40-50 minutes, but the results make it worth the wait. Plus, you do get a “quick cook” option if you’re impatient, but keep in mind that the rice will stay a bit al dente. The parts of this cooker aren’t dishwasher safe, but they are removable and fairly easy to hand-wash.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 13” x 8.1” x 10.1”
  • Capacity: 5.5 cups (uncooked) rice
  • Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

Pros

  • Cooking pan has handles that stay cold
  • Multiple different cooking settings
  • Computer in cooker can “think” for itself

Cons

  • Parts aren’t dishwasher safe
  • Cooking time is kind of long
See Prices On Amazon

9. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker

Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1.0-Liter

This Zojirushi cooker comes straight from Japan, and it’s one of your top high-end choices. It has eight different cooking settings including a steaming option, a display with a timer and a non-stick pot that’s really easy to clean. All of the parts that come in contact with food are removable and can be washed, but they are not dishwasher safe.

The cooker is made from aluminium, so it is pretty light considering its size. It also has a retractable power cable, which I really like. And it’s not limited to just cooking your food – it can also keep it warm for prolonged periods of time, or you can just use it to reheat something.

One thing you might not like about this cooker is the cooking time. It takes about an hour to cook a batch of white rice – it soaks it for 30 minutes, and then cooks it for another thirty minutes. Brown rice takes even longer, about 90 minutes. There is a “quick cook” option, but that takes about 40 minutes, which isn’t really that fast.

However, if you’re willing to wait that long, you will have perfectly cooked rice that takes delicious. Nothing will be burnt at the bottom or undercooked at the top, like you might experience with some cheaper cookers.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 10.1” x 8.5” x 14”
  • Capacity: 5.5 cups (uncooked) rice
  • Cooking Time: 60 minutes white rice, 90 minutes brown rice

Pros

  • Eight cooking settings
  • Versatile
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • On the pricier side
  • Cooking time is pretty long
See Prices On Amazon

10. Panasonic SR-AFG186 Multi Cooker

Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup (Uncooked) Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker, 1.8 L, White

If you are looking for a really modern, high-tech cooker, then this is the one for you. It has an LCD touch screen control panel that features 13 different cooking programs. And that includes six different settings for rice – you prefer your rice sticky? There’s a preset. Maybe you just want it to be delicious? There’s a preset.

The cooking pan is made from stainless steel, and it has a 4-layer bottom, which ensures that everything cooks evenly from top to bottom. The cooker also has an induction coil element that helps it heat up fully in just a few seconds. And you can also use this to keep your food warm, for up to 12 hours.

Steaming basket, rice scoop, cereal scoop and a measuring cup are all included in the purchase. But, all of those features and accessories come at a price – this is the most expensive rice cooker I’ll show you. However, if you decide to buy it, I don’t think you’ll be looking for a new one for the next several years.

Unfortunately, this is not a fast cooker. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook brown rice, so about half that for plain white rice. But it does have a 24-hour timer, meaning that you can set it up so that the food is delicious and warm by the time you come home.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 13.8” x 10.6” x 9.7”
  • Capacity: 10 cups (uncooked) rice
  • Cooking Time: At least 50 minutes for white rice; 100 minutes for brown rice

Pros

  • Non-stick pan is easy to clean
  • 13 cooking programs
  • LCD touch screen display

Cons

  • Cooking time is pretty long
  • An expensive option
See Prices On Amazon

Best Rice Cookers: Our Favorites

All of the rice cookers I told you about are extremely popular with people and very highly rated. The following three are just my favorite options!

Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy is certainly one of the better high-end options. For one thing, it’s still not ridiculously expensive – considering the quality and all of its features, it’s actually priced pretty reasonably. And the cooker even has its own computer brain that allows is to adjust the cooking time and temperature while it is working. That sounds pretty awesome to me, which is why it is one of my top choices!

The Elechomes 6-In-1 Rice Cooker is a great affordable option. It had a huge capacity, so it’s suitable not just for larger families, but also for dinner parties and special occasions. Also, parts of this cooker are dishwasher safe, which are basically two of my favorite words in the whole world.

The Tiger Corporation JNP model is your best option if you are interested only in a rice cooker. It doesn’t have a bunch of different cooking programs or even a steam rack, but it sure as hell makes delicious rice. And it makes it in about 20 minutes, which is pretty impressive. Plus it has a very traditional Japanese design and it just looks really good.

Head over to Amazon to check out the prices of these rice cookers, and see what other people are saying. :>