rice cooker sitting on a counter in the kitchen
Lifestyle

8 Rice Cookers That Chefs Swear By

You don’t know perfect rice until you try one.
By Brianna Lapolla
June 23, 2024

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I ’ve always subscribed to the idea that rice is rice, and it’s just as rice-y whether cooked in a standard pot or something fancier. But I soon learned that rice-cooker people strongly disagree with my somewhat blasé attitude. “A rice cooker will change your life,” they tell me repeatedly. As someone who has nearly every other healthy kitchen gadget, from an air fryer to non-toxic cookware to a Vitamix and a cold-pressed juicer, I finally decided to listen to the rice evangelists. All I can say is, wow.

I thought I knew good rice before, but the set-it-and-forget-it nature of a rice cooker is so much less precarious than hovering over a pot to pluck the lid off at the exact moment before the starchy rice water bubbles up and over the edges, dousing that extremely-hard-to-scrub-off crust onto everything in its path. Rice cooker rice comes out perfect every time—moist in the best way possible, fluffy, and weightless. A far cry from the dense, dry rice I knew before.

If you’ve ever searched for a rice cooker, you’re probably aware that there are hundreds on the market. Of those, one tops nearly every list. I’m talking about the Zojirushi. There are, however, plenty of other brands out there that get the job done, depending on what you like.

And if you think that rice cookers are just for amateurs, think again. Cassidee Dabney, Executive Chef of The Barn at Blackberry Farm uses one for all her rice dishes. “I like very simple models. I bought an Aroma 1.5qt single button at Kmart in Hawaii in 1999. That little low-tech model retired in 2015. I replaced it with the same model, and it still works like a champ. It’s my current rice maker,” she says.

Below are eight of the best rice cookers money can buy, including the ever-popular Zojirushi, and a version of Chef Dabney’s beloved Aroma.

KITCHEN UPGRADES

The 8 Best Rice Cookers

Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer

Best Overall

Google “rice cooker” and you’re bound to find Zojirushi at the top of any list—for good reason. The Japanese manufacturer makes some of the best rice cookers on the market, thanks to its easy-to-use design and multifunctionality. Want perfect rice, but don’t want to waste your money on a one-note appliance? This model’s 3-cup capacity and pre-programmed buttons are ideal for rice (brown, GABA brown, and long-grain white) and even steel-cut oats, achieving the perfect texture no matter what grain you toss inside. It truly is a set-it-and-forget-it device, with a removable steam vent cap that allows for high-temperature cooking without your rice bubbling over and making a huge mess. Our Senior Lifestyle Editor swears by it.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 3 cups
  • Triple heater (bottom, side, and lid) for even cooking and warming
  • Advanced fuzzy logic adjusts to make perfect rice every time
  • Detachable and washable inner lid
  • Removable steam vent cap

GreenPan Elite 8-Cup Induction Rice Cooker

Best Non-Toxic Rice Cooker

You already know we love GreenPan’s non-toxic cookware, and the same goes for its rice cooker. Made with the same ceramic nonstick coating as its pots and pans, you can rest assured your rice will be free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, which unfortunately isn’t the norm with other rice cookers. The device uses induction technology to heat the entire bowl evenly, ensuring perfectly cooked food every time. Plus, it’s got five presets for precision cooking (white rice, brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, and soup), and the removable induction pot is dishwasher safe.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 8 cups
  • Thermolon Volt healthy ceramic nonstick
  • Free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium
  • Fuzzy logic automatically adjusts to make your rice better
  • Soup, delay timer, & keep warm functions
  • Dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleanup

Reishunger Rice Cooker & Steamer with Keep-Warm Function

Best Budget-Friendly Rice Cooker

When you want to test the rice cooker waters, but don’t want to commit to an investment buy, look to Reishunger’s non-toxic rice cooker. Like the GreenPan model above, its inner pot is made non-stick with ceramic coating rather than harmful PFAS, keeping your rice safe from toxins. It has a minimal, one-button design with the ability to cook husked rice and whole-grain rice, while also steaming vegetables, fish, and meat with the same single setting. It can also keep fresh rice warm for up to eight hours, omitting the need to reheat when you go back for seconds.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 5 cups
  • Keep warm function up to 8 hours
  • Non-toxic ceramic-coated inner pot
  • Steams vegetables, fish, and meat
  • Includes rice cooker spoon, steamer insert, and measuring cup

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Best Multi-Function Rice Cooker

If you don’t already own an Instant Pot, this is your reminder to buy one. So much more than a slow cooker, it combines seven appliances into one space-saving footprint: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer. It also has 13 customizable Smart Programs for pressure-cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts, and more—plus you can choose whether to cook slow or fast. The inner cooking pot is made of food-grade stainless steel, which is non-toxic and safe for food, while also being dishwasher safe for easy cleanup, which is more than half the battle.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 6 quarts
  • Combines 7 appliances into 1
  • Non-toxic food-grade stainless steel inner pot
  • Pressure cooks for faster meals
  • Fingerprint-resistant, stainless-steel sides and dishwasher-safe lid, inner pot, and accessories
  • Includes over 10 safety features, plus overheat protection and safe-locking lid

GreenLife Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 4-Cup Rice Cooker

Best Small Rice Cooker

This rice cooker may be small, but it sure is mighty. Made with a healthy ceramic non-stick coating, it’s easy to clean, heats fast, and is free from PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium so your rice remains toxin-free. The no-guess presets make the job even easier—just press the button for white rice, brown rice, beans, or steel-cut oats, and let it do its thing. The result? Perfectly cooked grains every single time.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 4 cups
  • Non-toxic healthy ceramic nonstick coating
  • Free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium
  • Presets for white rice, brown rice, beans, and steel-cut oats
  • Fuzzy logic automatically adjusts to make your rice better
  • Cool-touch exterior for added safety
  • Dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleanup

Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Digital Rice Cooker

Best Large Capacity Rice Cooker

Need to cook enough carbs for a high school track team? Aroma Housewares’ 20-cup rice cooker is made for you. This thing cooks so much rice, it’s comical. Sure, no one really needs 20 cups of rice in one sitting unless you’re routinely cooking for a large number of people, but if you are, we love the keep warm function that eliminates the need for continuous microwaving. This rice cooker’s large capacity also comes in handy when meal-prepping for the week. Just toss the extra in the freezer to keep it from going bad before you can consume it.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: up to 20 cups (cooked)
  • BPA-free
  • Easy-to-use, programmable digital controls and automatic
  • Keep Warm mode after each cyclePresets for white rice, brown rice, steam, flash rice, and slow cookSteam meat, vegetables, and more in steam tray while rice is cooking
  • Sensor Logic Technology automatically controls the internal temperature throughout the cooking cycle for optimal texture and flavor
  • Includes rice measuring cup, serving spatula, and steam tray

Zojirushi NP-NWC10XB Pressure Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer

Best High-End Rice Cooker

The Zojirushi is so good, we had to add another model to the list. While the original is hailed for its rice-perfecting technique, this high-end version is exactly what rice enthusiasts will go crazy for once they’ve graduated from the original. With a larger capacity and easy-to-use presets for everything from soft to hard white rice, mixed grains, sushi rice, rinse-free, quick cooking, and more, this rice cooker is the next high-tech gadget you need to make space for.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 5.5 cups
  • Presets: white (regular, softer, or harder), umami, mixed, sushi/sweet, Jasmine, porridge, congee, brown, GABA brown, steel-cut oatmeal, rinse-free, and quick cooking
  • Advanced fuzzy logic technology with AI “learns” and adjusts the cooking cycle to get perfect results
  • BPA-freeIncludes pressure induction heating rice cooker, rice spatula, spatula holder, and 2 measuring cups

Anyday The Large Deep Dish Microwave Rice Cooker

Best Microwave Rice Cooker

Microwaves were made for convenience, and so was this microwaveable rice cooker. When you just don’t have the time or space for a traditional rice cooker, or you need to reheat frozen rice in a pinch, try Anyday’s Microwave Rice Cooker. It’s made of non-toxic glass, silicone and stainless steel (not plastic) making it both microwave safe and oven safe. Plus, it doubles as food storage. Not convinced? Read our Anyday Cookware review.

Notable Features:

  • Capacity: 8 cups
  • Made of non-toxic glass, silicone, and stainless steel, not plastic
  • Microwave- and oven-safe
  • Doubles as stackable food storage