What is the Best Rice Cooker to Buy? {Ask the Readers}

Today’s question is about rice cookers and it comes from me. I love my rice cooker. I got my first rice cooker as a wedding gift and I have owned several different ones over the years.

I love it for rice, for cooking quinoa, and even for macaroni and cheese. My rice cooker gets a lot of use, which is why I am needing a new one.

I had on old Oster brand rice cooker that I loved. It was my all time favorite rice cooker, until after years of use, the nonstick finish started to chip off.  They no longer make that same rice cooker.

I currently use an Aroma brand one that cooks fine, but takes forever to cook rice. I mean like 45 minutes or more to cook rice, which is longer than any other rice cooker I have owned has taken. In general it works fine, but is far from my favorite rice cooker.

I have owned enough rice cookers to know that I do not want a super cheap one. The mid-priced ones seem to do the best.

I keep wondering about the Zojirushi Rice Cooker. The prices are really high on the Zojirushi ones, so not sure I could justify it for an appliance I use once a week or so. I mean really, why would a rice cooker cost that much?

I am thinking it must be the Vitamix of rice cookers or what Kitchen Aid is to mixers. Anyone have a Zujirushi to give thoughts on it? I am really wondering why a rice cooker would cost that much.

Can you help? Do you have thoughts on rice cookers? 

If you have a rice cooker that you love I would like to hear about it? Or if you have one you do not like and would not recommend, I would like to hear that as well.

I really want to do my research before I get one this time and I know some of my readers will be curious as well. So please share your thoughts on rice cookers.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. Sharon Hartwig says:

    When my daughter moved into her first apartment I got her a cheapo one at the Walgreens around the corner and it’s still working fine!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi Lynn!

    Both my mom and I have a Zojirushi rice cooker. We lived in Hawaii and it’s pretty much the only rice cooker the locals use. My mom got hers when I was 13 or 14 (I will be turning 30 this May) and it stills works just like it did when she first bought it. Mom bought me one as as wedding gift when I was 20. I put it in our storage room for several years and when I brought it back to the house last last year all I had to do was wash the removable bowl and wipe down the outside and it worked perfectly. Zojirushi’s really withstand the test of time and we have never had it burn our rice. If we ever had to replace our rice cookers, I know we would replace it with this brand. I hope this helps you some :)

    • Thanks for sharing that. It really is like a Vitamix or Kitchen Aid then. I have had quite a few rice cookers over the years because they don’t last all that long, maybe a Zojirushi is worth considering for me. Thanks!

  3. Lola Williams says:

    I love the Pampered Chef rice cooker.

    • I will have to look at theirs. Thanks!

      • Lola Williams says:

        I should have mentioned that it is a microwave rice cooker. I like it because I can put in 1 cups of rice and 2 cups of water. Microwave for 5 min on high and 15 min on half power. That’s it. Rice comes out perfect (for me) and I don’t have to watch it or worry about it boiling over or burning.

  4. I’ve had my Zojirushi since colleges, about 15 years now. It’s never failed. (I’m also from Hawaii but actually was introduced to the brand while I was in Chicago). Since I’ve had the same rice cooker for so long, I’m sure cheaper brands have changed however I remember the one we had when I was a kid being a bit noisy. My Zojirushi is super quiet. I also recommend their bread machine!

    • Thanks! Several of you have mentioned now how much you love the Zojirushi and I am glad you all are sharing your thoughts. I had no idea it was that much better than the other rice cookers. I have also heard great things about their bread machine.

  5. I only have a cheapy black and decker that I would not recommend-it spits all over the place, and has burned rice before. I do have a zojirushi breadmaker that I love and have used for years. I think it is a really good brand and if I ate enough rice to justify it I would buy a zojirushi rice maker. I bet it works like a charm.

  6. I have used Zojirushi rice cookers for over 30 years. The first one was a very basic one, it cooked the rice and that was it. It lasted over 16 years! I am still using the one I bought to replace it, and that one is going on 17 years! This one is the floral model, not the “Fuzzy Logic” style, but it does everything I want it to. I can cook rice at midday for lunch and it will keep the rest of the rice warm for dinner. Can also cook rice for dinner, keep it on warm, and have hot rice for work obento. The rice cooker is used almost every day, so if I think about it, for the price I paid and the use I get out of it, it was a bargain. I have to replace the toaster every year or so, so it’s comforting to know my Zojirushi is as dependable as it is.

    • Thanks for sharing that. Several of my readers have said how much the loved theirs, so I am going to have to rethink it. If they last that long it would be worth getting one because I have already owned several cheap ones. If I add up the cheap ones, I could have paid for a Zujirushi. :-)

  7. Sheila Laurence says:

    Do any of you use a rice cooker at a higher altitude? I am curious whether or not they work properly. I live at about 5700 feet elevation. Thanks!

  8. I too have the Zojirushi, have had it for probably 12 years and have only needed to replace the battery. I had several less expensive brands before the Zo and they were garbage in comparison. I will not hesitate to buy another if this one should ever fail. Also, I bought mine while living in Colorado at 5377ft and it worked like a charm!

    • You all are starting to convince me a Zojirushi may be worth it. :-) I had no idea there was that much difference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. I have only had the Zojirushi for 3 years and thought my husband was crazy for spending so much on a rice cooker. But, my husband researches everything and I hardly ever regret paying more for something that he has fully researched. I eat more rice since buying it because it makes such good rice AND it keeps it warm for hours without the rice drying out. Just yesterday, I used the timer for the first time. I set it before leaving for work and came home to perfectly cooked rice ready to go with something else in the crockpot. My favorite part is the retractable cord. Seriously, why don’t more appliances have retractable cords?! If you can handle the price, I don’t think you will regret it and, like others have said, you might not ever buy another rice cooker again.

  10. I have an Aroma too now, which I find takes forever. I had a basic Black and Decker before and I loved it.

    • This is the first Aroma one I have had, so I thought it might just be mine. Maybe it is an problem with the Aroma ones.

      • I have an Aroma that I got from Costco about 2 years ago. It works fine and I don’t have any problems with it spitting or anything. I will say that for brown rice it does take a long time, like 1.5 to 2 hours. But for white rice, it takes about 30 minutes. It has never burned my rice or given me any problems. I could not afford the Zojirushi when I got my current Aroma, but maybe when this one dies I will since we eat rice 2-3 times a week.

  11. I have a Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity rice cooker. It also steams veggies. I have made rice, mac & cheese, overnight oatmeal (that was amazing) and veggies. It even has a delay feature that I can set at night and have breakfast hot and ready in the morning.

  12. I used a rice cooker for years but then I got a digital pressure cooker. For the price $55 I got a refurbished unit. It browns, steams, slow cooks and pressures in one unit. I have made rice pudding and the rice cooks fine. I haven’t tried quinoa but I will. See what others say, but in my case, one appliance fits all. I talked about the pressure cooker on my blog because I like it so much. I gave one to my daughter. She is a working mom and uses it almost every day. Frozen meat to dinner table in less than an hour.

    • My mom loves her pressure cooker. She used one all the time when I was a kid for meat, beans, etc. I am not sure I ever saw her cook rice in one though, I will have to ask her. I never would have thought to use one to make rice, so thanks for sharing that tip.

  13. I have a Black and Decker rice cooker and it works beautifully. I think they sell at Wally World for about $20. I have not had the problem of sputtering or spitting rice. The rice cooks in about 30 minutes and it has a keep warm setting. The bottom always lightly browns, but I have never had it burn. I like that is small enough to store. By the way, I live in CO at 6900 ft elevation, and yes, it works fine here.

  14. I have a Hitachi brand IH rice cooker that my grandparents brought me from Japan for a wedding present over ten years ago. I have to use a transformer for it, but I really love it. I accidentally left rice in it overnight and it was just as fresh the next day as when it was first made. It never burns. My brother in law recently bought one of the less expensive (I think it was about $80) Zojirushi rice cookers. I think it’s not an IH one. It’s pretty nice and he really loves it, but it doesn’t do quite as well as my Hitachi. The rice seemed a bit soggy to me, but that may just have been the brand of rice he was using. I think maybe one of the more expensive ones would be better. As for time, mine usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes to cook, but I always fill mine to max capacity. Smaller amounts may cook faster.

    Here is a nice little PDF comparison chart of some Zojirushi rice cookers.

    http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/how_and_chart/comparison_pdf/Zojirushi%20Rice%20Cooker%20Chart.pdf

  15. I bought my Zojirushi rice cooker almost 24 years ago. I thought at the time that $99 was outrageous but a friend reccommended it and I went for it. I am so glad I did! It is the best appliance I have ever bought! My DIL had one of those cheap ones that was a total mess. I figure the Zojirushi has cost me about $4 a year and that can’t be beat.

  16. I don’t have a rice cooker but niw I kinda want one…. we use our oyster food steamer for rice. You can stack the trays and make the best hard boiled eggs at the same time. It doesn’t burn anything. It’s really a good multi use appliance for a small kitchen like mine! However a rice cooker you can set so it’s done later sounds great and might be next on my list, after I get that Foodsaver….

  17. We purchased a Zojirushi Rice Cooker after our wedding in 1997 and it is still working wonderfully. We use it daily and have never had any problems with it!

  18. Let me be the first to say that my Salton brand rice cooker that I purchased at a local store has been my workhorse! I use ti weekly, and when my son turned a year old, he kept wanting to play with it. I went our nearest Goodwill and found the exact same rice cooker…brand new. So I gave him my old one (cut the cord off first) and we are both happy as clams! In all honesty, we’ll probably graduate to a larger version at some point. I’m not feeling brand specific, and I’m guessing I’ll inherit my mother-in-laws that is gathering dust as I type!

  19. If you’re concerned about the chemicals in a non-stick surface, check out this one:
    http://www.lotusfoods.com/Stainless-Steel-Rice-Cooker-and-Steamer-12-Cup/p/LOT-20110

  20. From what I understand, they all have non-stick coatings which can be harmful, especially after time and when heated too high. Does anyone know of any rice cookers that have a stainless steel interior? If not, it’s easier(and healthier) for me to cook rice on top of the stove or in the oven…have an oven recipe for brown rice also.

    • It is not so much the non stick that bothered me, but when the non stick starts wearing and chipping off that I stop using them. Someone did leave a link in a previous comment about one that is not non stick though that you might find helpful.

  21. Heather Abbott says:

    I recommend the Oster Food Steamer Models 5712 & 5715. We use this for rice on a weekly basis and love it. Rice doesn’t stick like with other rice steamers I’ve had and it has a warming setting, so once its done it continues to stay warm until you are ready. We haven’t used it much for other food (fish, veggies, etc.) but when we have its worked well.

  22. I have used a rice cooker almost every day since I got married 22 years ago! We have been through many models in that time; usually we have to buy a new one every 3 or 4 years. Right now we are using a Rival model. I really like it. I have no problems with it sputtering or burning the rice. I have never heard of the Zojirushi brand before. I think it would be nice to check it out!

  23. I have the Zojirushi rice cooker and also love it! We have had it for 5 years or so and use it several times per week. It has made perfect rice every single time we have used it. It works on all types of rice and makes great steel cut oals too. One thing I really love is the timer. I can put the steel cut oats in the night before and they are ready when we get up. Also it keeps the rice perfectly warm without overcooking it for hours after it’s finished. That means I can put the rice in any time and it is ready and waiting for dinner. I know it’s expensive but it is one appliance that is so worth the investment (like the Vitamix).

  24. Brandette W. says:

    I have a cheapy Rival rice cooker that I have had for several years now. It was a freebie that I got with a Bed Bath and Beyond purchase I made almost 5 years ago. It works well, but after reading these comment I am starting to wonder now. We make Jasmine rice most often and it was wonderful at that. But, when making regular white rice it does do the sputter thing you guys are talking about…hm got me thinking now. A couple years ago my Mom bought me a Cuisinart Fuzzy Logic one, that has never been used but is sitting pretty in my cupboard. That one has all the bells and whisles like timers, etc and cooks many many things.

    But, I do have a Zojirushi bread maker and LOT that thing. Between my metal insert crockpot, my Zoji and my Vitamix…they are my most loved appliances for sure! So now I am thinking of doing some research on the Zoji rice cooker…. any models specifically you girls recommend??

    • All the comments about loving Zojirushi has definitely got me to consider one. I had no idea it was so nice and so many people loved them.

  25. I love all these comments! I had a really cheap (like $12) one – I think it was an Oster – and I really loved it. I could make rice, oatmeal, quinoa, mac & cheese, etc. It didn’t have a nonstick coating but if I’d add a tsp. or so of butter it cleaned up just fine. I accidentally broke the lid and so I asked for a new cooker for Christmas…I received a Black & Decker and I.HATE.IT. It sputters everywhere, it burns the rice (even when I follow the directions to stir a couple of times during cooking…which I think defeats the purpose of the convenience of a cooker), it DOES have a nonstick coating but it’s a nightmare to clean up, and after all that…the rice is usually crunchy in places. I’m wanting a new one because I hate this one so much I don’t even use it, I’m back to cooking rice on the stovetop. I’ve been debating whether the more expensive ones are worth it or not, so I appreciate this discussion!

    • I am so glad you found all the comments helpful. I loved reading everyone’s thoughts as well. I think I will do more of these type of discussions because they are really helpful when buying appliances etc. It is nice to be able to offer resources like this to my readers.

  26. I was lucky enough to find a Zojirushi at a yard sell for 7 bucks. The couple said they received it as a gift and never used it.. I snatched that up real quick and I love it.

  27. I have a 10 cup basic zojorushi rice cooker. I have had it for 22 years. It still makes the best rice I have ever eaten. I am actually handing down to my daughter and getting a new one (zojorushi)
    Growing up in Hawaii I became a rice “snob”. It will make you love rice if you don’t already:)
    If you can spend the $$ go for it, you will not regret it.

  28. i spent $50 on my microwave and $170 on the rice cooker. got to have priorities! the zojirushi is awesome. had the hardest time deciding on the size and model but amazon had a good price on the neuro fuzzy 5.5 cup. was considering a tiny one but at only a $40 difference i went for the larger with more features. hated to spend so much but was a great step up from the 3 cup black and decker i bought 4 years ago for $13!

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