Best rice cooker

Best rice cooker
(Image credit: @Maria Ionova on Unsplash)

Rice cookers are designed to take the guesswork out of creating delicious, fluffy rice. They come in a variety of capacities so that you can prepare according to how many mouths you need to feed. A handy feature that most rice cookers have is an in-built steam basket. This means you can cook vegetables and fish at the same time as preparing your rice and have a whole meal with very little effort.

Best overall

Black + Decker rice cooker

(Image credit: Amazon)

Black & Decker rice cooker (opens in new tab)

This one steams too

The Black & Decker rice cooker holds 8 cups of uncooked rice, which gives you 16 cups of cooked rice. It has a warming feature to keep foods hot without drying out while you finish preparing your meal.  In addition, indicator lights let you know if the machine is in its "cook" or "warm" mode.

Pros:

  • Makes 16 cups of rice
  • Automatic warming mode
  • Some parts are dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Side get hot
  • Steam abruptly shoots out of vents
  • May overcook rice at the bottom

This rice cooker has a steaming basket that lets you cook meats, vegetables, and other foods at the same time as you cook the rice. The basket and the inside bowl are both dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup afterward. The RC516 has steam vents and a condensation catcher. The outside of the machine can get hot, and the only way to switch it on and off is to plug it in or unplug it. Depending on where the electrical outlets are in your kitchen, you might end up reaching past a hot machine to turn it off, which is a small safety concern. Still, the handles stay cool.

Best value

Aroma 6-Cup Pot-Style ARC-743-1NG review

(Image credit: Aroma)

Aroma Housewares pot-style rice cooker (opens in new tab)

Larger capacities available

While it is fairly basic, the Aroma Housewares rice cooker is easy to use. It has a keep-warm function which automatically switches on once the rice is fully cooked. 

  • Steaming tray
  • Affordable

  • Basic

The steam basket lets you prepare other foods, like vegetables, at the same time. The inner cooking pot is non-stick so that you won’t have to spend ages scraping rice off the bottom. Available in three different colors, and in multiple sizes, the Aroma rice cooker is a good one to start with if you're new to using these machines.

Best small capacity

best rice cookers

(Image credit: Amazon)

Dash mini rice cooker (opens in new tab)

For portion control

The Dash Mini rice cooker only makes 2 cups of cooked rice. This is a good option for single or smaller households, or for those that monitor food portions. This can also be used to cook pasta and steam vegetables.

Pros:

  • Removable inner pot
  • Indicator light
  • Cook pasta and vegetables

Cons:

  • Doesn't make a lot

The inner pot is removable for easy cleaning and coated with a non-stick finish to keep foods from sticking. It has both an indicator light and a warm setting. It comes with a mixing paddle, measuring cup, and a recipe book with information on how to tap into more ideas online.

Best smart cooker

Zojirushi NS-TSC10 review

(Image credit: Amazon)

Zojirushi NS-TSC10 rice cooker (opens in new tab)

Plenty of clever features

The Zojirushi NS-TSC10 uses logic technology that corrects human error to create delicious rice each time. Other features of this rice cooker include texture selection, a reheating function, and a delayed timer. 

Pros:

  • Multiple features
  • Reheating function

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Expensive

The in-built steam basket allows you to cook your vegetables at the same time. Its capacity is five and a half cups of uncooked rice which then doubles once cooked. Because the Zojirushi NS-TSC10 Rice Cooker offers premium features, you can expect to pay a little more for it too. It will take up quite a bit of counter space

What to look for in a rice cooker

Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Capacity
Rice cookers vary from 6- to 20-cup sizes, so you'll need to decide how much rice you want to make on a regular basis so you don't get a cooker that's too small. On the other hand, it's smart to check dimensions, since you probably will want to store this in a cupboard. In addition, some models spit water out of their steam vents, so you'll want to choose one that fits in your kitchen so the steam won't harm your cupboards or countertop.

Smart Features
Some first-rate rice cookers use what is called "fuzzy logic," which means the device is designed to interpret and even correct human actions. These kinds of rice cookers can handle value terminology such as "almost" or "slightly," and adjust for environmental conditions such as the heat of the day or the elevation where you're cooking. These rice cookers also can fix your mistakes in measurement.

Extras
Certain features, although not essential to making rice, are helpful if you use a rice cooker frequently. For example, having a nonstick interior makes cleaning considerably easier, and you can save even more time if the removable parts can be put in the dishwasher. Some rice cookers come with scoops, measuring cups, and spoons. A steamer basket is exceptionally helpful since it lets you cook other foods in the top part of the rice cooker while the rice cooks below. That means you can make a full meal in one container.

Pricing
There is a surprising amount of pricing variety when it comes to rice cookers. Some of the smaller capacity devices can cost loads more than the large capacity ones. It really just comes down to what you need and what convenience features you're willing to pay for. Typically, products, like Zojirushi, that offer a digital interface and the ability to cook more than just rice will cost more. Generally, family-sized pressure cookers give you more cooking options, speed up the cooking, and cost under $100.

How we researched

We spent 80 hours researching rice cookers, evaluating each product thoroughly until we arrived at the 10 best on the market. Although all rice cookers do one function well – that is make rice – we also sought out appliances that provide other helpful features and extras. Some rice cookers make enormous amounts of rice, which is great if you feed a large family, while others prepare only a small amount, which works beautifully if you're a college student, newlywed, single parent or senior citizen.

Once we had a thorough understanding of how these devices work and which ones offered specific amenities, we checked further to see what consumers had written, what bloggers had to say about particular rice cookers and what expert cooks recommended.

Why trust us?

At Top Ten Reviews, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As experts, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your life. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. Our detailed product overviews balance objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is easy.

Linda Thomson, whose loves are kids, books, music, good food and classic films, has been a professional writer her entire working life. This includes four newspapers, one magazine and plenty of online publishing. She no longer writes for Top Ten Reviews, although you'll still see her work across a number of articles on the Top Ten Reviews site.