The best Japanese rice cooker 2018
Looking for the best Japanese rice cooker? If you have never used a one before you might be wondering how it actually works and how would it make a difference to you if you had one?
A good rice cooker will help you easily make rice with little effort. With the help of modern technology and some clever functionality you can look forward to having consistently perfect rice
We have focused on Japanese rice cookers in this article and specifically Zojirushi as these are some of the best on the market in terms of technology and useful functionality
Read on to find out what will be best for you.
Why focus only on Japanese rice cookers?
There are a lot of different brands out there and so you can quickly become bogged down with too many choices. We have focused on Japanese rice cookers and specifically the Zojirushi brand as this is in our opinion one of the better brands on the market.
They are much loved in America as they really do produce great quality machines that make cooking rice so much easier for you.
We have taken this a little further, Why buy something that can only do one thing? If you have a piece of equipment in your kitchen that costs money and takes up space then surely you would want something that serves a lot of different purposes.
Our friends in Japan use rice cookers a lot more than we do and in fact, rice is part of their staple diet so really they know what they are talking about. They have taken this knowledge and combined it with their technical know how to produce something that is simply fabulous all round
They are more expensive than a lot of the other products on the market but you are getting something that can do a lot more a lot easier and often with better results.
What features should you be looking for in a rice cooker?
How does the rice cooker you like cook?
On/off rice cooker
This is the most basic method of cooking, it will heat the contents and either at a certain time or when the water runs out. You can still cook well like this but will need more supervision and will come with limited functionality.
Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker
Fuzzy logic uses the basic same principles above but this machine comes with with a processor that allows it to make judgment calls or adjustments on its own while it is cooking. This is a significant step up from the first method. If you think about it, you will never make exactly the same rice every time, there will always be variations in the amount of rice or water you add it might even be a different brand of rice. The fuzzy logic chip will help take these variances into consideration when it cooks your rice.
Induction heating rice cookers
This one takes it up a to a whole new level, it uses induction technology within the rice cooker. this means there is no element as such to heat the inner chamber as with the first two methods. The induction technology means that the actual chamber heats up, making heating instant and extremely controlled. Not only is the base heated but also the sides.
This method is the most accurate and gives the best results.
Does the rice cooker have a timer?
This will really add a whole lot of usefulness to functionality. There are a lot of functions on our modern gadgets that are cool in concept and are used in the fist few weeks( think about your smart phone) and then after that have no real place in our lives as they ultimately offer no value.
A timer is the opposite, you can set it up to cook the oats for breakfast in the morning ready when you wake up. You can come home from work with a take out and have fresh rice to go with what you have bought. The possibilities are limited only by what you can’t think of. For people that plan ahead this can make difference to running a house.
Does the rice cooker keep the food warm after it has cooked it?
You might not think that this is important but it is, it allows you to leave the rice cooker to do its thing while you attend to other things either in the kitchen or around the house. If your rice cooker has a timer (see above) then you may even be able to get home from work and the rice is done.
For many families time is precious and you want to be able to make choices that will help reduce the time in the kitchen. There are others that love cooking and see it as a form of creative release, well a decent rice cooker with these two features will give the freedom to achieve great results both ways
What can I cook in my rice cooker
This is an area that we think the price of the rice cooker can be misleading. The term rice cooker really only covers one aspect of what the better models can do. Here are some of the things that you can cook in the Japanese rice cookers:
- White rice
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Sushi rice
- Oats & other hot breakfast cereals
- Steaming vegetable
- Cook meats
- Make puddings
If you have a look online there are literally hundreds of things that you can make, in fact, I am sure that if you thought over some of your favorite recipes there are some that you could modify to be able to cook in your rice cooker.
Things to think about before you buy a rice cooker?
All of the features described above make the best rice cooker but the best rice cooker for one person may not be the best one for you. There are several factors that you have to consider to find the right rice cooker for you. There are several factors that are unique to you that are vital in helping you choose the right one for you.
Let’s look at each one of the most common ones and see how to work around them.
You obviously have to take your budget into consideration when you are buying a rice cooker. The good news is the most expensive rice cooker is not necessarily the best rice cooker.
How much you are willing to spend on the rice cooker could also be informed by how often you are going to be using the appliance. If you are going to be cooking a lot of rice, it is best to spend a little bit more for a good quality rice cooker that will offer you service for a longer period of time.
Choosing the right size
It goes without saying that different rice cookers will accommodate different amounts of rice. Therefore the right one for you is the one that meets your requirements when it comes to capacity.
How many people are you cooking rice for? You should choose the rice cooker that can comfortably allow you to cook enough rice to feed that specific number of people. Rice cookers range in capacities from one to 10 cups.
From 5 cups to 10 cups would be ideal for a large family although you should make your estimates based on the number of people you want to cook for.
Ease of Cleaning
In this day and age no one has time to spend hours cleaning one appliance. If this describes you which it very well might, you want a rice cooker that is not hard to clean.
The main reason why you are buying a rice cooker in the first place is to reduce the time it takes for you to cook the rice. You therefore don’t want to spend this time you have saved cleaning the appliance. Therefore the best rice cooker is one that is very easy to use and equally as easy to clean.
That said it is important to note that some of the best rice cookers in the market will not cost you too much. They range in pricing between $20 and $400 and the one you choose will be informed by the factors above. It is also important to note that the best brands will make appliances that will offer you good quality service for a very long time to come.
The durability of the rice cooker will, however, be informed by how well you use it.
Let us look at some of the best rice cookers in the market and what they have to offer you.
Zojirushi NS-LAC05XA Micom 3-Cup(Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Warmer
The Zojirushi Rice cooker is one of the best Japanese rice cookers and is a popular brand. It has a capacity of 3 cups and equipped with the micro-computerized fuzzy logic technology. It also comes with a Keep-Warm function and the inner cooking pan on this rice cooker is non-stick for easy cleaning. When you buy one of these you will get a measuring cup, non-stick spatula, and a spatula holder.
- 450-watt rice cooker
- 3-Cup (uncooked rice) capacity
- Product Dimensions 12 x 9 x 8 inches
- Item Weight 7 pounds
What we like about this rice cooker
The NS-LAC05XA comes with a lot of functionality (as we would expect from a rice cooker of this standard) including white rice/sushi, mixed rice, porridge, sweet, brown, and quick cooking.
It has also been designed with your kitchen in mind, it is not just a stunning design but one that offers a small footprint in your kitchen
What we don’t like about this rice cooker
There is nothing that we don’t like about this machine. For some, the price tag might put them off as there are cheaper options. This machine has been designed to last and when used correctly has a huge command of functions and cooking options at your fingertips.
What is the Zojirushi NS-LAC05XA good for?
Because it is a 3 cup rice cooker, it is ideal for the small family or just 2 people unless you don’t mind making more than one batch of rice at a time. The fuzzy logic technology should make it easy if you do choose to make more than one batch of rice though.
Is the NS-LAC05XA worth the money?
The short answer to this is yes, you are getting a well-built machine that comes with a ton fo functionality and options.
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi Neuro fuzzy logic rice cooker is arguably best Zojirushi rice cooker, cooking up to 5.5 cups. Its fuzzy logic technology is designed to make rice cooking easier ensuring your rice will cook perfectly every time.
- 680 Watts
- Size 14 x 8 x 10 inches
- weight 7.6 pounds
A spherical non-stick inner cooking pan ensures that heat is evenly distributed for even cooking but also that it is easy to clean the cooker.
You can choose from one of the following menu selections; keep warm, extended keep warm and reheat cycles. This rice cooker will come with a non-stick spatula, 2 measuring cups, and a spatula holder.
This model comes with the following settings: white (regular/sushi, softer or harder), mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, brown, rinse-free and quick cooking
What we like
- Advanced Neuro Fuzzy logic technology
- Amazing versatility
- Decent capacity
- Easy to use interface
- Great for all grains including things like barley
- Made in Japan
What we don’t like
some of cheaper Zojirushi models are actually made in China and are not as good. Make sure that the model that you are looking at is made in Japan. This Zojirushi is so no worries there
What this is good for
This is a great versatile all-rounder that will, with the help of its fuzzy logic technology help you to quickly and effortlessly cook rice and other grains exactly the way you want them.
Is it worth the money
We say this if definitely worth the money, you are getting great quality and versatility all in one very good looking machine
The best rice cooker for brown rice
There are a lot of different kinds of rice that you can buy in most health shops. For example here are well-known health benefits to eating brown rice and you can find many of the brown rice brands in most everyday supermarkets.
Brown rice is a little more difficult to cook than white rice and While most of the rice cookers that we have looked at here today are able to cook brown rice, the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker is one of the better. Have a look at the review below to see if this is the right rice cooker for you.
Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer
- Size 14 x 10 x 8 inches
- weight 9 pounds
The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH is a sturdy choose and a great all-rounder. It cooks using induction technology making it a very reliable and ecologically sound choice. It comes with all of the menus settings and more than we love from Zojirushi (white rice (regular, softer or harder), jasmine white rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, porridge, sweet rice, brown rice, GABA brown rice, and quick cooking)
What we like
- There is an automatic keep warm and extended keep warm function, ensuring that your rice is served at the right temperature every time.
- It comes with a sturdy easy to clean removable inner chamber. This is where all the induction magic happens.
- It is a very good looking machine, some of the rice cookers that we looked at were just ugly.
- If you are looking for something that you can reliably cook brown rice with this model should be a serious contender
- Cooking Germinated brown rice – gamma-aminobutyric acid is an amino acid that is said to help lower blood pressure and improve kidney function. The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH activates this by keeping the temperature inside the inner chamber at 104F for 2 hours.
- The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH has different cooking flows for the different types of rice that you can cook with it too. This is thanks to the induction technology used to heat the inner pan.
What we don’t like
for some, the price tag may be a little too much for their budget
What this is good for
You are looking at a great all rounder here that has some nifty features that make it one of the best rice cookers for brown rice that we have come across
Is it worth the money
If you are someone or a family that mainly eats white rice then there are other rice cookers that we have looked at that will be better for you. If you are looking for something that has a wide range of practical functionality then this would definitely be worth the money.
The above rice cookers should fit your requirements very easily. There is a rice cooker for you whether you want a large one or a small one. If you are on a budget, you will find one that you can easily afford but has the right features to make rice cooking easy and convenient. You will also find a good rice cooker with the right capacity to accommodate however much rice you have to cook.
Go ahead! Get the rice cooker that will be suitable for you. A rice cooker is a great investment one that will ensure you have a great rice cooking experience. What’s more, most of them are very easy to use even if you have never used a rice cooker before. Armed with the information we have given you, you should find one very easily.
Further reading on rice cookers
- How does a rice cooker work?
- How to make quinoa in a rice cooker?
- How to cook wild rice in a rice cooker?
- How to make brown rice in a rice cooker?
- How do I cook risotto in a rice cooker?
- How to cook jasmine rice in a rice cooker?
- how to make sushi rice in a rice cooker?
- How to make sticky rice in a rice cooker?
About the author
Understanding the science behind cooking helps me to understand what are the best tools for a particular job.
I like to help people better understand exactly what it is that they need when it comes to buying for the kitchen.
Making the right choice is easier when you know what it is you need to get.