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.
Taste of Home
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. Our Test Kitchen provided its top picks below, but be sure to keep these considerations in mind when you’re choosing from our favorites (or choosing one of your own):
- 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.
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Rice Cookers
After testing eight rice cooker brands cooking white, brown and wild rice, four brands rose to the top and earned the title of Test Kitchen-Preferred.
Best Basic Model: IMUSA Electric Nonstick Rice Cooker
Love rice? Make it all the time? Don’t need any frills? You’ll want an IMUSA Electric Nonstick Rice Cooker.
This appliance produced reliably good rice in each of our tests for white, brown and 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.
Besides producing spot-on rice every time, the IMUSA rice cooker also worked fast. In 19 minutes our Test Kitchen opened the lid to find perfectly fluffy white rice. Brown and wild rice took just 25 minutes—a fraction of the time it would take on the stovetop.
- Capacity: 3 cups, but IMUSA also makes 5- and 8- cup models
- Features: Nonstick insert, automatic keep-warm setting
- Price: $28
Best for Families: Tiger Rice Cooker
When you cook for a large family or host frequent parties, a compact three-cup rice maker just won’t cut it. Fortunately, Tiger makes generously sized rice cookers in eight- and ten-cup models.
This attractive and streamlined rice cooker was one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite small appliances. Time and time again, Tiger made tender, fluffy rice. Even wild rice, which can be tricky to cook, turned out perfectly. In fact, the Tiger rice cooker made the best wild rice of any model we tried; bear that in mind if wild rice makes regular appearances on your dinner table.
Another bonus of this cooker: It was a breeze to use. Just hit the cook switch and you’re good to go. There are no secrets to great rice with this appliance.
- Capacity: 8 cups, though 3-, 4-, 5.5- and 10-cup models are also available
- Features: Nonstick pot, retractable cord, audible alert when rice is done, removable, washable steam insert
- Price: $121
Best Rice Cooker for Small Spaces: BLACK + DECKER Rice Cooker
If you don’t have much space to spare but love the idea of rice made easy, grab this BLACK + DECKER 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 BLACK + DECKER rice cooker isn’t fancy or flashy but it does its job well and quickly. This rice cooker made white rice in about 23 minutes—that’s less time than it takes for the delivery person to make it to your door.
- Capacity: 3 cups
- Features: Nonstick insert, automatic keep-warm setting
- Price: $20
Best Splurge Model: Panasonic Japanese Rice Cooker
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 to the Panasonic Japanese Rice Cooker.
This model has 12 different presets that allow you to cook more than just rice; you can also slow cook, steam and cook quinoa in this appliance. And when it comes to rice, you can choose your settings from fluffy, white rice (perfect for an easy side) to sushi rice that’s just the right texture for your California roll.
These pitch-perfect grains take a smidge longer to produce than other models, but the customization is well worth it according to our Test Kitchen.
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Features: Ceramic-coated nonstick insert, 12 pre-programmed settings, LCD screen
- Price: $540
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 dishes.