- A high-quality rice cooker is simple to use, does an excellent job of producing several styles of delicious rice, and cleans up effortlessly when you’re done.
- The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is our top pick because it doesn’t take up too much counter space and uses fuzzy logic to create outstanding rice.
As a regular maker of sushi, I can tell you that cooking rice perfectly is an art. You must pick your rice carefully, rinse it several times, and ensure there is an airtight seal as it simmers. World-class sushi restaurants use a pot on a stove to craft their rice. Of course, most of us are not world-class sushi chefs. We want an easy way to create well-textured rice as a side dish. This is where rice cookers reign supreme.
If you eat rice regularly, a rice cooker is an effortless way to get your daily dose of starchy goodness. With most devices, you just measure out the rice, pour in water to the appropriate line, press a couple of buttons, and wait for the machine to let you know your rice is ready. Basically, set it and forget it. Even if you are a seasoned pro when it comes to cooking rice on the stove, a rice cooker is indispensable when you want to free up burners or if you simply don’t have a range available.
It’s also worth noting that the measuring cups that come with rice cookers typically are smaller than a standard eight-ounce cup. Instead, they are about six ounces in volume. This is important to keep in mind when measuring out rice as you put it in your cooker. If you use a standard cup, you are likely to end up with tough, undercooked rice.
While researching the best rice cookers, we looked at hundreds of ratings and reviews of countless cookers from both buyers and experts. The rice cookers included in our guide are durable, have several intuitive functions, and can be used for a wide variety of rice.
Here are the best rice cookers for 2019:
- Best overall: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
- Best multipurpose rice cooker: Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker
- Best rice cooker for GABA rice: Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker
- Best rice cooker on a budget: Oster 6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker
- Best rice cooker for people in a hurry: Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker
Updated on 07/19/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.
Read on to check out our top picks.
The best rice cooker overall
If you are looking for a cooker that produces delicious results no matter what type of rice you put in, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker is the best.
What sets the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker apart is its use of “fuzzy logic.” Basically, a microcomputer adjusts the cooking time and temperature to adapt to the rice, whether it’s brown, sweet, white, or porridge. At the bottom of the inner body of the cooker, there is a thermal sensor that keeps tabs on the rice and reports back to the microcomputer, which makes the appropriate adjustments.
The nonstick internal cooking pan features handy lines indicating how much water to add for each type of rice. Both the cooking pan and inner lid can be removed for easy cleaning, though they are not dishwasher-safe.
Other features include a large LCD screen, programmable delay timer for having your rice ready when you get home from work, handle and retractable cord for easy transport, reheating cycle, and an extended keep warm mode. There are two sizes: 5.5-cup and 10-cup. Both come with a one-year warranty.
Wired recommended the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy to “rice geeks” who are particular about tenderness and texture. The reviewer was impressed with how the device handled basmati, medium-grain white, and long-grain jasmine. However, they were put off by the long wait times.
A Tasty Mess was emphatic in its recommendation of this rice cooker. The blog mentioned that the cup is closer to six ounces, rather than the standard eight ounces. But, the brown rice the reviewer made turned out to her liking – not underdone or overdone and with the right chewiness.
Guides Editor Les Shu grew up in a household where rice was served nearly every night. His family has relied on Zojirushi cookers because they consistently make perfect rice and rice porridge. The 5.5-cup model is actually the model his parents now use after downsizing from a larger cooker.
Nearly 1,600 buyers on Amazon left a positive review of the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. One owner, who has been eating rice on a daily basis for 35 years, found that this cooker makes rice comparable to how his mother’s. Plus, the “keep warm” function helps the rice maintain its freshness for up to three days.
Another buyer shared a story of using the cooker on a daily basis for about nine years. After five years of use, the battery died, but they were able to replace it on their own and get it going again. The only consistent complaint is that it cooks too slowly.
Pros: Adjusts to the type of rice, uses “fuzzy logic,” produces tender rice, small footprint
Cons: Somewhat slower than other options
The best rice cooker on a budget
The Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker is affordable, doesn’t take up much space, and has a detached glass lid that is easy to clean.
The Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker is the only option with a tempered glass lid. The compact size allows for faster cooking, and the lid lets you monitor the progress of your rice. The “6-cup” size mentioned in the name of this appliance does not refer to a standard US cup but rather the slightly smaller cup that comes with most rice cookers.
There is only one button so the Oster rice cooker is easy to use. Yet, there is no timer or alarm that lets you know when the rice will be ready. Instead, you might be able to hear the audible click that occurs when the device switches from Cook to Keep Warm mode. Both the inner pot and lid are removable for hand washing. Oster backs this product with a one-year limited warranty.
Expert testers have found the Oster cleans up effortlessly and the rice quality to be terrific, particularly white rice and sushi rice. Brown rice, however, can be somewhat dry.
Around 75% of the buyers who reviewed the Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker on Amazon gave it a positive rating. One buyer liked the glass lid because it is separate from the body, which makes it easier to clean. He also liked being able to watch his rice cook. And, he was able to cook rice with the cooker only partially covered, which is useful for making sticky rice.
Other buyers mentioned that this cooker doesn’t take up much space and is ideal for one- or two-person households.
Pros: Inexpensive, glass lid, great for white, sushi, and sticky rice
Cons: No timer, actually only produces about four standard cups of cooked rice
The best multipurpose rice cooker
The Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker is an affordable appliance for cooking 20 cups of rice as well as steaming vegetables and slow cooking.
The Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker is unique in that it can steam vegetables and meat while rice cooks. There are easy-to-program controls for slow cooking, flash rice (speeds up the cooking time for grains that usually take longer), steaming, brown rice, and white rice.
It also has a keep warm functions and a 15-hour delay timer, which is useful for when you want your rice and vegetables to be ready when you get home from work.
The Aroma rice cooker yields 20 cups of cooked rice and comes with a serving spatula, rice measuring cup, and steam tray. The inner cooking pot features measurement lines that make it easy to determine how much water to add. And, the pot is removable for cleaning.
Rice Cooker Advice recommends the Aroma rice cooker because it does an excellent job steaming vegetables and producing “Goldilocks” rice. However, the reviewer did find that keeping the non-removable lid clean was a challenge and suggested wiping it down after each use.
Nearly 3,000 buyers on Amazon have left 5-star reviews of the Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker. One owner found the instructions easy to follow, rice came out delicious every time, the cooker doesn’t take up much space, and it’s easy to clean.
Pros: Large capacity, several uses, including steaming vegetables
Cons: The attached lid can be difficult to clean
The best rice cooker for GABA rice
If you are looking for an affordable fuzzy logic cooker that can help you enjoy the health benefits of GABA rice, the Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker is an excellent solution.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) rice is becoming increasingly popular as we learn more about its many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and improving brain function. Enter the Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker (funny name aside, it’s a well-known brand in South Korea), which has six cooking settings, including a GABA function, turbo cook, keep warm, and timer.
The Cuckoo rice cooker produces up to 12 cups of cooked rice. The inner pot has a non-stick surface and is removable for easy cleaning, though it’s not dishwasher safe. The company offers a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
The Electric Heating Rice Cooker is the top-rated Cuckoo appliance on Warm Chef. The reviewer recommended it to people looking for a cute, unique design. The reviewer also noted that it didn’t consume much energy to product fluffy rice. Rice Cooker Advice also recommended the Cuckoo rice cooker because it was able to keep rice warm for 24-plus hours without turning it yellow or drying it out.
About 88% of the people who reviewed the Cuckoo rice cooker on Amazon gave it a 4- or 5-star rating. One reviewer found that the rice cooker produced better results and was more durable than our overall pick. The buyer also noted that it kept rice warm for 72 hours before it started to yellow.
Other reviewers agree that the resulting rice is top quality. One buyer recommended rinsing the rice and letting it soak for about half-an-hour before cooking it on turbo mode.
Pros: Uses fuzzy logic, keeps rice warm without drying out for 24-plus hours, has GABA rice cooking function
Cons: Only available in pink
The best rice cooker for people in a hurry
- Hamilton Beach
If you are looking for an affordable, multi-use rice cooker that can produce delicious rice quickly, look no further than the Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker.
The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker is special because it can be used to make steamed vegetables, oatmeal and other hot cereals, quinoa, and, of course, rice. It’s also useful for preparing one-pot meals: you can steam seafood or poultry while you cook rice.
There are also pre-programmed settings for delayed starts (up to 11 hours) and warming. The appliance comes with a one-year limited warranty. Also, the comprehensive 20-page user’s manual includes a couple recipes.
The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker is the top budget rice cooker recommended by Wirecutter. The reviewer appreciated the functionality as well as the delicious medium-grain and short-grain white rice that it produced. And, of the rice cookers the writer tested, this Hamilton Beach unit was the third-fastest.
House of Fauci’s blog recommended the Hamilton Beach rice cooker because of the large capacity and easy cleanup. However, the reviewer noted that there is a little bit of a learning curve and that reading the user manual is a must.
Approximately 63% of the buyers who reviewed the Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker gave it a 5-star rating. One buyer liked that this unit catered to his laziness. He used it for a variety of one-pot meals and enjoyed that the delayed start made it so his meal was ready when he got home from work.
One buyer shared a story of oatmeal leaking out of the top and making a mess. This was due to the rubber gasket around the top coming loose. After this happened again, the buyer contacted Hamilton Beach, which replaced the unit.
Pros: Cooks rice quickly, sleek design, many functions
Cons: May need to read the user’s manual before operating