The Best Rice Cooker for Your Kitchen

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Don't burn another pot of rice on the stove! Instead, grab the best rice cooker for your cooking style. You'll never regret this gadget that does all the work while you work on the rest of dinner.

Rice is a major component of many of our favorite dishes. It serves as a foundation for delicious curry recipes, adds texture to soups and fills out our menus when made as a side dish.

As common as this ingredient is, it often can give even regular cooks some trouble (raise your hand if you’ve ever scorched a pot of rice!). Even if rice doesn’t present major problems for you, keeping an eye on the pot while you’ve got other parts of your meal in the works is a pain. That’s where finding the best rice cooker comes in. A good rice cooker takes care of making this grain perfectly tender and keeping it warm while you finish up that stir-fry.

(Our guide to how to cook rice is full of tips and helpful advice for making different varieties of rice.)

What to Look for When Shopping for a Rice Cooker

There are what seems like limitless rice cooker options out there. While we’ve provided some of our favorite options below, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind when you make your selections:

  • Capacity: How many people do you typically cook for? Look for rice cookers that produce four cups or more if cooking rice as a side for the family.
  • Settings: Do you want your rice cooker to just cook rice? Do you regularly cook other grains as well?
  • Cleanup: What level of clean up would you prefer? Some models offer nonstick surfaces and dishwasher-safe inserts. Others require hand washing.
  • Price: Keep in mind how much you want to spend. There are good options at any price point. You’ll find worthwhile rice cookers starting at just $30.

The Best Rice Cooker Based on Your Cooking Style

We know that everyone is looking for something different when it comes to appliances. Check out our Test Kitchen’s top picks for small kitchens, multiple grains and more.

Best Basic Model: Zojirushi 6-Cup Rice Cooker

Zojirushi NHS-10 6-Cup (Uncooked) Rice CookerVia amazon.com

Love rice? Make it all the time? Don’t need any frills? You’ll want to snag a Zojirushi Rice Cooker. This brand produces reliably good rice whether you prefer white, brown or even wild rice. With just a single setting, this rice cooker manages to cook and steam these different grains perfectly. The texture is terrific and the cleanup is a cinch thanks to the nonstick insert.

  • Capacity: 6 cups, though 3- and 10-cup models are also available
  • Features: Nonstick insert, keep warm setting
  • Price: $67

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Best Budget Option: Aroma Housewares 2-8-Cup Rice Cooker

Aroma Housewares 2-8-Cups (Cooked) Digital Cool-Touch Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer, Stainless, 8 Cup, SilverVia amazon.com

The rice cooker that most Taste of Home staffers keep in their kitchens is from Aroma Housewares—and it’s also a great budget-friendly option.

The Aroma rice cooker is compact—about the size of a coffee canister—and can be easily stashed away when not in use. And when you are using this rice cooker, it’s a dream. The intuitive controls make cooking tender rice simple and the keep warm function is triggered as soon as your rice is done. We love that functionality in case the rest of your dinner isn’t quite ready yet—the rice will be toasty but not overcooked.

  • Capacity: 8 cups
  • Features: Four preset options, keep warm setting, dishwasher-safe nonstick insert
  • Price: $30

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Best Splurge Option: Zojirushi 5.5-Cup Rice Cooker

Zojirushi ® 5.5-Cup Rice CookerVia crateandbarrel.com

Are you really serious about your rice? Do you eat it more than once a week? Then you should consider spending a bit more on your rice cooker. Just like with any other appliance, if you use it frequently, you won’t regret leveling up a bit. When it comes to luxury rice cookers, try this 5.5-cup option from Zojirushi—the original rice maker manufacturer.

This rice maker has perfect reviews, with many customers raving that this easy-to-use appliance has them cooking more grains than ever. With this Zojirushi model, you can choose from various settings including white rice, sushi rice, brown rice, porridge and steaming (perfect for dumplings!).

  • Capacity: 5.5 cups
  • Features: Non-stick finish, LCD display, multiple rice settings
  • Price: $180

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Best for All Sorts of Grains: Instant Pot Zest Plus Rice Cooker

Instant Zest Plus 20 Cup Rice Cooker, Steamer, Slow Cooker,13 One Touch Programs, No Pressure Cooking FunctionalityVia amazon.com

If you find yourself cooking grains often, you’ll be happy investing in a rice cooker that cooks more than just rice. The Instant Pot Zest Plus Rice Cooker has settings for white and brown rice, of course, but you’ll also find presets for other grains: quinoa, couscous, barley, bulgur, oatmeal and risotto.

These one-touch settings are super convenient if you like to start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or keep fueled with popular grain bowl recipes. These options are also helpful if you’ve been trying to incorporate more grains into your diet but aren’t entirely sure how to properly cook quinoa or barley; this Instant Pot takes out all the guesswork.

  • Capacity: 20 cups
  • Features: Dishwasher-safe removable parts, settings for nine different grains, delay start and keep warm options
  • Price: $60

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Best Rice Cooker for Small Spaces: Dash 2-Cup Mini Rice Cooker

Dash 2-Cup Mini Rice CookerVia kohls.com

If you don’t have much space to spare but love the idea of rice made easy, grab a Dash Mini Rice Cooker. This compact appliance cooks just enough rice for a pair—ideal for when you make Chinese takeout-inspired recipes for your date night in. The Dash rice cooker isn’t fancy or flashy (outside of the cute color options), but it does its job well.

  • Capacity: 2 cups
  • Features: Nonstick insert, keep warm setting
  • Price: $30

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More Than Just a Rice Cooker: Instant Pot Duo Electric Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6 Quart, 14 One-Touch ProgramsVia amazon.com

We get it: Many folks don’t want to invest in a one-task wonder for their kitchens. But if you snag an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, you get an appliance that does a lot. The Instant Pot pressure cooks, slow cooks, steams, sautes, makes yogurt and much more—including making rice.

Our Test Kitchen loves the Instant Pot and its multifunctionality. Just like the pressure cooking and sautee functions, the rice setting performs well. And when dinner is done, the insert can go right in the dishwasher. Another big win!

  • Capacity: 24 cups (though you can get smaller and larger models)
  • Features: Seven functions, 14 one-touch programs, dishwasher-safe components
  • Price: $100

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How to Make the Most of Your Rice Cooker

Our Test Kitchen’s recommendation: Use your rice cooker whenever you can! This set-it-and-forget-it gadget makes your rice perfectly and with near-zero effort. Start with some white rice recipes then move on to brown rice and wild rice dishes.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.