Warm, fluffy and oh-so-nourishing — rice is a staple food for a reason. If you regularly plate up this popular grain as a side dish or main course, you know how important it is to get the texture and flavor just right. But who has time to stand over the stove taking extra care to prevent burnt, crusted pans and a mushy, gluey texture? With a high-quality rice cooker at the ready, these worries will become things of the past in your kitchen.
Bringing out the tastes and textures of different rice varieties starts with using the right rice cooker. But the right rice cooker for you depends on a few things, like capacity, temperature settings, easy cleanup and multipurpose features. To make your decision easier, we've rounded up the top rice cookers from trusted brands like Zojirushi, Aroma and Instant Pot.
Best Overall: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
"Phenomenal," "awesome," "worth every penny," and "the best," are just some of the words reviewers have used to describe Zojirushi's Neuro Fuzzy rice cookers. This rice cooker wins praise for its quality construction and its ability to consistently produce soft and delicious rice even using the most basic features, and then keep it warm for hours without drying it out.
Best Value: Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker
The iconic Instant Pot doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a rice cooker; its pressure cooking prowess is what shot this appliance to fame - but cooking the versatile grain is one of its many amazing functions. Reviewers say that it turns out fabulous fluffy bowls of basmati, brown and other popular varieties. It also carries a budget-friendly price and multi-purpose functions (Slow cooked pork? Chocolate lava cake?) that make it a savvy choice for the space or cash strapped.
Best High-End Rice Cooker: Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker
If you want the Cadillac of rice cookers, you won’t want to pass up this Zojirushi rice cooker. This high-end Zojirushi model uses induction heating technology to cook to the optimal temperature, leaving reviewers raving that it cooks all different kinds of rice to perfection thanks to its unique settings for different types of rice. It comes with all the bells and whistles of a digital appliance and cleanup is a cinch with its easy-to-maintain design. And, according to some owners, it also makes a meal batch of steel cut oatmeal and Southern-style grits.
Best Digital Rice Cooker: Cuckoo Rice Cooker
With its smart-voice guide, automatic cleaning function and built-in smart settings that cook many kinds of rice with the push of a button, the Cuckoo rice cooker is a favorite among technology lovers. Users agree that, as far as rice cookers are concerned, this is more than just a fancy showpiece. It consistently produces excellent rice while it’s wowing its owners with its intuitive design, innovative features, and sleek style.
Best Ceramic Rice Cooker: Aroma Housewares Ceramic Rice Cooker/Multicooker
If you’re worried about cooking in a pot that’s plastic or covered with a non-stick coating, you’ll love this Aroma Housewares Ceramic Rice Cooker. Because rice doesn’t stick to the ceramic pot, this cooker also wins points for being easy to clean. Reviewers love the multiple functions available with this cooker, as it can also do things like steam vegetables and make yogurt. The modest price is a bonus for such a fab find.
Best for Small Families: Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer
If you're looking at high-quality rice cookers and would rather have a smaller unit for convenience, you’ll love the Zojirushi Micom rice cooker. Its 3-cup capacity is perfect for individuals and small families, yet it offers the same quality found in many Zojirushi products. Users love its ability to perfectly cook various kinds of rice, even with its petite size.
Best for Small Spaces: Zojirushi 3-Cup Rice Cooker
Don’t have a lot of room at home? No problem. The convenient size of this Zojirushi 3-cup cooker makes it a top pick for compact spots. It even comes with a detachable power cord for easier storage. If you are looking for a simple, straightforward device to cook your rice without a lot of the bells and whistles, this is the rice cooker for you. It’s also priced accordingly, a perk for both newbie ricers and experienced users who claim to prefer its back-to-basics functions.
Best Portable Rice Cooker: Joseph Joseph Microwave Rice Cooker
Chic and cheap...if you love to cook rice on the go, you can’t go wrong with the Joseph Joseph microwavable rice cooker. With this convenient, portable cooker, you measure out the grains and water, pop it in the microwave, and wait for the rice to cook to perfection. "This is a game changer," posted one enthuiastic user, who also cited its obvious superiority over the messy (and scary hot) strain and sink dump method. It even comes with a paddle attachment that can be used as a spoon. Your office mates will be jealous.
Best Multipurpose Cooker: COMFEE Asian-Style Programmable Cooker
Go big! An Asian-style multipurpose cooker, this COMFEE Rice Cooker does it all. Its elongated design, ceramic inner pot, and specially-designed steam valve make it well-suited for cooking rice, but it also comes with the capability to cook things like pasta, stew, soup, and steamed veggies. It’s also extremely convenient for families, offering features like a 20-cup capacity and a programmable delay timer (so it’s ready when you are).
Best Microwavable Rice Cooker: Prep Solutions by Progressive Microwaveable Rice and Pasta Cooker
No need to mess with pots of water or worry about finding a spare electrical outlet just to make your rice. This Prep Solutions Microwaveable Rice Cooker fits right in the microwave. The 12-cup capacity is big enough to make rice for a crowd, and the 17-piece set includes everything you need to measure, strain and cook rice, pasta and even steamed vegetables. Users love that they get "perfect rice every time" — and if you can't use electric rice cookers because you don't have access to a stove, you'll find this invaluable.