No extra stovetop guesswork: These intuitive Japanese rice cookers produce melt-in-your-mouth grains at the push of a button.
Shopping & Critiques
By Cathryn Haight
By Cathryn Haight
Printed on September 19, 2022
Raise your hand if you’re sick of your stovetop rice turning right into a sticky, starchy, scorched mess-or simply discover the cooking course of too time consuming and labor intensive. While there’s nothing improper with a conventional rice cooker, which typically has a one-cooks-all setting, Japanese rice cookers are tremendous intuitive-mitigating issues with mismeasuring and totally different cooking nuances. Find the mannequin that fits your kitchen (as well as some helpful purchasing suggestions) below with our picks for the very best Japanese rice cookers. She’s our resident knowledgeable for this story and recalls a Tatung rice cooker as a distinguished part of her childhood kitchen. These machines modify timing and temperature to accommodate whatever model of rice fits your next dinner; plus, the pressurized cooking methodology makes for extra-tender, fluffy rice. Toss in just a few dumplings for a perfect steaming session, or even the egg custard chawanmushi-as chef Joanne Chang, the culinary pressure behind Boston’s Meyers & Chang and Flour Bakery, suggests. They’re kitchen multitaskers too. If this is you, it’s time to put money into top-of-the-line Japanese rice cookers.
Our Prime Picks
– Finest Overall: Zojirushi NL-GAC10
– Greatest Worth: YumAsia Panda Mini Rice Cooker
– Greatest Bells and Whistles: CUCKOO CRP-BHSS0609F
– Greatest for Cooking for a Crowd: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer, 10 Cup
– Finest Analog: Hario GohanGama Japanese Rice Cooker Pot
Best Overall: Zojirushi NL-GAC10
Capacity: 5.5 cups | Dimensions: 9.1″D x 9.1″W x 9.1″H | Micom enabled/Fuzzy logic: Yes
– Quite a few customizable settings
– Included twin hotter function
– Simple interface
– Nonstick-coated interior vessel
– Increased price
– Not as suitable for larger batches
Why we chose it: With a setting for nearly every sort of rice and other helpful additions, this small-however-mighty machine makes essentially the most tender, fluffy grains.
Zojirushi has been slinging top-notch Japanese rice cookers since they hallmarked the type in 1983, and this profitable model is no exception. Whilst you can’t actually go fallacious with any of the choices offered by the brand, this one hits the sweet spot between the costlier cookers and the simpler options (although we realize it does sit nearer to the pricey end of the spectrum). Not solely does it have specialised settings for jasmine, candy, and brown rices, however the equipment also boasts unique cooking settings you may play around with together with the more standard warming and fast/slow cook modes. (We’re partial to the “umami” mode, which is designed to coax more flavor out of your grains by soaking and steaming the rice longer.) Plus, we can confirm it churns out glorious rice tailored to the user’s preferences.
We additionally love the cook timer, which helps you to time your rice completely with the rest of your dinner, and the low-contact experience of utilizing this cooker. Simply use the inside bowl measurements to succeed in your required quantity, add the suitable amount of water, and push a button. You’ll have nice rice in approximately 50 minutes. Bonus: When your rice has completed cooking, it’ll routinely shift into warming mode to keep your rice ready for second helpings.
Best Value: YumAsia Panda Mini Rice Cooker
Capability: 3.5 cups | Dimensions: 8.86″D x 11.81″W x 8.27″H | Micom enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
– Myriad settings for a small model
– 24-hour warming setting
– Straightforward cleanup
– Fast cooking
– Only out there in small capacity
– Ceramic bowl coating may scratch easily
Why we chose it: This little powerhouse is the epitome of small, however mighty-exact performance and a few useful bells and whistles for a more modest value.
This compact machine is a real workhorse-together with simply enough useful options to stand out with out being overly difficult, and also clocking in on the decrease end of the value spectrum for this souped-up model of rice cooker. There’s a helpful built-in holder for your spatula to maintain it clean and off the counter, in addition to a transport handle that completely nestles into the cooker when not in use. From the outset, you can tell it is constructed with consideration to element in mind.
And these sensible choices lengthen to the performance of the machine, too. Once you have your moist and flavorful batch of rice cooked, you can use the additional-exact warming mode, which times by the minute relatively than the hour as different fashions usually do. Nevertheless, the scale also helps the rice cook faster, shaving off round 20 minutes compared to the usual 5.5-cup cooker. And with its rounded physique shape and four nubby toes, this rice cooker seems to be actually adorable sitting counterside. It has specialized settings for long and short grain rice together with some less run-of-the-mill choices. Rice cooker cake, anyone? One potential disadvantage for these with larger families: the capacity is one the small side.
Best Bells and Whistles: CUCKOO CRP-BHSS0609F
Greatest Bells and Whistles
Capability: 6 cups | Dimensions: 10”H x 14.7”L x 10.6”W inches | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
– sixteen totally different customizable settings
– Pressure cooking capabilities velocity up cook time
– Auto adjusts in the course of the cooking process
– Constructed-in voice steering
– Slightly intimidating
Why we chose it: A smart algorithm makes the appropriate cooking changes to get fluffy rice every time, while high-finish stress cooking expertise keeps issues transferring rapidly with out sacrificing high quality.
There’s not a lot this R2-D2-like equipment can’t do (it can even speak you through the rice cooking course of in three completely different languages). Though this might sound a bit intimidating, it’s really fairly intuitive. This rice cooker is enabled with a special algorithm that detects your grain kind and works to maintain the right inner temperature. With sixteen completely different settings, this cooker goes beyond just rice-with choices to cook beans, reheat leftovers, and make bread-however of course, it additionally gets into the nitty-gritty of grain making, with a robust lineup of modes for various rice varieties.
Other intelligently designed cooking features include: a controlled steam release that limits condensation, strain cooking mode to promote consistency, and an induction-heated interior pot (cast from durable stainless steel and cloaked in a scratch-resistant nonstick coating, no less). And when you’re completed cooking, engage the computerized cleansing cycle with the touch of a button. Heating the pot rather than an external supply helps distribute the heat extra evenly throughout the bottom and sides of the vessel, so you won’t have to fret about some grains getting mushy and others staying crunchy. Not to say, there are security features in place to regulate the heat and stress inside the machine. It additionally speeds things up, cooking white rice in round 20 minutes or so.
Greatest for Cooking for a Crowd: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer, 10 Cup
Greatest for Cooking for a Crowd
Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 11″ x 14¼” x 9½” | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: Yes
– Large measurement excellent for big households or celebrations
– Intuitive operation with computerized changes
– Retro aesthetic
– Retractable cord for simplified storage
– Slower cook time
– Hand-wash inner pot and lid
Why we selected it: This beloved fan-favorite cooker makes foolproof rice in large batches-now that it’s out there in two times its authentic measurement.
That is the darling of Japanese rice cookers, so it’s no surprise it secured a spot on our “best” checklist. We adore the little melody this cooker performs when your rice is completed, so that you don’t have to maintain checking the timer, and the candy-coloured buttons and overall retro aesthetic of the factor. It has settings for multiple varieties of rice, as many high-end cookers do (as well as congee and porridge settings), in addition to probably the greatest “keep warm” capabilities round. This model is simple, versatile, and-in fact-produces gentle grains with sweetness, nuttiness, and a touch of pleasant chewiness every time, even in a big quantity (a rarity). This does wonders to take care of the quality rice it makes, and those used to preparing rice on the stovetop know it’s all too easy to end up with crusty grains after your cooking is complete.
The retractable cord and inner pot handles additionally add slightly more finesse to your rice cooking expertise, along with the extraordinarily clear measurements markings on the pot’s inside. It is usually a bit fickle to wash, as you have to hand-wash the lid inside and pot, and overall cooks rice on the slower facet than different models, a bit underneath double the time. But consistency is key in the case of rice cookers, and aren’t good things worth waiting for?
Finest Analog: Hario GohanGama Japanese Rice Cooker Pot
Capability: Small: 1.5 cups Large: 2.25 cups | Dimensions: Small: 7.00″ D x 8.00″ L x 7.00″ H; Giant: 9.00″ D x 11.00″ L x 8.00″ H | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: No
– Heat-resistant lid
– Available in small or massive sizes
– Stunning stoneware look
– Delicate whistle sound indicates cooking completion
– Small possibility very small; giant possibility additionally small
Why we chose it: Made in Japan from traditional Banko ware, this candy little pot cooks rice quickly and effectively on the stovetop (and appears nice doing it, too).
We know Japanese rice cookers are famed for their good technological capabilities and hands-off cooking experience, however we couldn’t resist including this pot-fashion rice cooker made in Japan for cooks looking for a digital detox. The body is crafted from Japanese Bankoware, a sort of pottery initially made for tea and identified for its constant heat-holding and rich rust hue. It is geared up with thoughtful features like an inner measuring information, a steam vent to prevent starchy overflow splashes, and helpful helper handles on each aspect covered in heat-resistant silicone. And although it’s completely analog, this cooker is just not without its “automatic” features, so to speak. The pot makes a mild whistling sound when your rice is finished, akin to a less-aggressive tea kettle. You is perhaps familiar with Japanese brand Hario for his or her iconic gooseneck kettle and coffee gear, however their culinary reach extends much further. Hario is the only heat-proof glass manufacturing unit in Japan and has been producing prime-notch merchandise for over a century, so it’s no shock that the glass lid on this earthy ceramic rice pot is practically indestructible (and an effective way to keep a watch on your rice because it simmers away). Each pots are fairly small, but if you’re cooking for one or two people it shouldn’t be a problem, since the petite stature of these pots help them cook rice in round quarter-hour.
Things to contemplate Before Shopping for a Japanese Rice Cooker
Chef Chang recommends choosing a mannequin with components crafted from stainless steel so they can hold as much as years of frequent use. Many cookers even have a nonstick coating on their inside pots, which is a godsend for stopping clumpy, crusty rice. Aluminum is another common material used to construct rice cookers, but it’s much more flimsy and prone to warping over time.
Capacity & Measurement
If you’re shopping for a rice cooker in the primary place, it’s in all probability safe to assume you cook/eat quite a bit of rice. Whereas a metric cup measures 240ml, a rice cooker’s cup clocks in at around 180ml. Keep this in thoughts when selecting and utilizing your rice cooker. Be aware: A rice cooker’s “cup” is just not the identical as the usual cup we’re used to cooking with. Rice cookers are often marked by the dry cup amount, and that normally doubles or triples as soon as it’s cooked. But the size of your family (and the dimensions of your kitchen) each would possibly affect the capability of cooker you want. The good news is the measuring cup that comes with the appliances is suited toward the Japanese measurement, so there will not be much guesswork.
If you’ve already chosen to go for a Japanese-type rice cooker over a less complicated conventional mannequin, chances are you’re eager for a extra “smart” experience that may be tailored to your preferences and totally different styles of rice. Most choices embody settings designed for this, so if you’re somebody who prefers a nutty, chewy brown rice over its fluffy white counterpart, you need to keep a watch out for a rice cooker with a delegated brown rice setting. Extra tricked-out models may include buttons for reheating rice and even quick (strain cook) and sluggish cooking options to completely time your rice to be completed with the remainder of your meal.
Our article expert, chef Joanne Chang, says a warmer is her most important function in terms of a rice cooker. It’ll keep your rice not only warm, but in addition fresh (no crusty grains here) until you’re ready to serve it. Most Japanese models will include “neuro fuzzy” or “micom” know-how, which applications your cooker to be sensitive to elements like water stage and temperature if they alter all through the cooking process. Most options can even embrace a rice paddle and a measuring cup, and a few very elite models could have an auto clear perform (as if cooking with one of those babies couldn’t get any easier).
What defines a Japanese rice cooker?
By definition, a Japanese rice cooker is any rice cooker that’s made in Japan. However more typically, the time period is used to describe high-tech models specializing in quick cooking and embrace myriad additional features in distinction to a traditional cooker’s simple bucket heater, pot insert and lid. (And yes, there are many brands not made in Japan however nonetheless thought-about Japanese rice cookers).
What’s the perfect capability of a Japanese rice cooker?
As touched on within the “things to consider” part above, the typical capacity of a Japanese rice cooker is round 5.5 cups (which will yield sufficient rice for around 3-5 good servings), but clearly it’s sensible to go larger or smaller relying on your cooking habits (are you a meal prepper or someone who cooks for crowds often?). Keep in thoughts, rice cookers usually are not less than medium-sized appliances, so consider your kitchen space and storage limits earlier than you select a model.
How many alternative settings does a Japanese rice cooker have?
By definition, Japanese rice cookers are inclined to have more elaborate settings than conventional models. Additional settings for warming or gradual cooking are widespread in high quality cookers as effectively. Whereas the exact number ranges from product to product, we found most options have multiple settings for cooking several types of rice (from white, to brown, to Jasmine) with some even together with auto features for making ready congee and porridge.
What else can I use Japanese rice cookers for?
In addition to creating more simple, easy dishes like porridge and dumplings, Chang says: “You can use the rice cooker as a steamer for other foods not only for rice. With eggs, you can make chawanmushi (a steamed egg custard with mushroom, scallion, and soy that’s a standard Japanese breakfast and a delicious snack). You’ll want to comply with the instructions on the rice cooker for the water to rice proportion.” It’s also possible to marinate chicken or pork in sake and salt and pepper and steam within the rice cooker for a simple major course when you don’t need to saute or fry or bake.
All of the best Japanese rice cookers showcased on this record will give you tender, fluffy grains with minimal guesswork and fingers-on work. No matter which mannequin you go together with, you’re certain to have great grains forward. Since Japanese rice cookers typically run expensive, since they’re outfitted with so many smart options, we love the Zojirushi NL-GAC10, which offers simply sufficient little luxuries in a compact, person-pleasant bundle. The most effective choice to suit your kitchen largely will depend on the area you’ve gotten, frequency you may use it, and if you’re loyal to 1 kind of rice or many.
Japanese rice cookers are all about the options, so useful settings and high-tech capabilities had been the elements we thought of at the start when deciding which fashions made it on our winners record. We then moved on to different manufacturers each small and large to get a greater sense of which of them are widespread available in the market and if their merchandise stack up to their reputations. We’ve heard of rice cookers changing into kitchen heirlooms and, to verify our picks would perform for decades, chose these with elements constructed from sturdy stainless steel (our expert’s recommendation). We began with checking in with chef Joanne Chang of Boston’s Meyers & Chang restaurant to glean some preliminary rice cooker intel before sifting through the offerings from Zojirushi. Japanese rice cookers are also recognized for being on the costly side, given all the included bells and whistles, so we additionally aimed to incorporate a spread of costs while still protecting quality in thoughts. This company pioneered the Japanese rice cooker in the early 1980s and we knew they’d have some options that will discover a home in our “best” checklist. Durability played an essential part in our decision making, too.
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