Are you tired of making mushy or overcooked rice? If you answered yes, then purchasing the best Japanese rice cooker in your budget is the solution. These devices take the guesswork out of making rice so it’s cooked perfectly EVERY time.
Rice is a popular food in many countries throughout the world, especially Japan. During Japan’s Yayoi period, the introduction of rice culture was imported into the country around 100 BC. It is a staple grain in most Japanese diets and is at the center of their family meals.
However, rice can be pretty difficult to cook. Too much water produces mushy rice and not enough water leads to crunchy or burnt results. It’s crucial to cook each type of rice at the correct temperature for the right amount of time.
Rice Cooker Comparison Table
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Our Reviews: Top 10 Japanese Rice Cookers
The first automated rice cooker made in Japan for household use was manufactured by Toshiba in 1955. Japanese rice cookers are well-known for great performance. The diverse settings and user-friendly designs are ideal for enjoying high-quality gohan (cooked rice).
These devices expertly cook genmai (brown rice) for nutrient-rich dishes and sumeshi (sushi rice) for delicious California rolls, and everything in between.
We selected 10 Japanese rice cookers based on factors such as: cooking functions, capacity, ease of use, and more. Our detailed reviews will help you choose the one that’s right for you.
1. Toshiba Digital Programmable Rice Cooker
Zojirushi is one of the leading brands of Japanese rice cookers. This sleek stainless steel rice cooker tops our list for many reasons. It uses
Micom technology (AKA Fuzzy Logic technology) which sets it apart from a standard one. This technology offers multiple cooking functions for different types of rice.
The LCD control panel helps you choose the best settings to get perfectly cooked rice every time. A computer chip automatically adjusts cooking times and temperatures based on the type of rice you’re cooking.
Even though it uses advanced technology, this top rated rice cooker is incredibly user-friendly. The automatic warming and extended warming functions keep rice ready to eat.
You can also warm up cooked rice using the reheating cycle. It even uses convenient sound signals that indicate different functions.
Five unique cooking functions help you prepare white/mixed rice, sushi rice, brown rice, and porridge. The fifth function is a quick cooking feature that prepares rice within 27 to 39 minutes.
Cook times for other functions range from 50 to 60 minutes for white rice, 92 minutes to 98 minutes for brown rice and 3 hours/28 minutes to 3 hours/38 minutes for gaba rice. You can create dozens of different rice-based dishes with its advanced technology and diverse functions.
The inner cooking pan features a spherical design for even heat distribution. The pan is also marked with measuring lines. In addition, this cooker comes with a rice measuring cup. This combination of features eliminates guesswork so you get precise results.
The LCD control panel adds to the user-friendliness of this fuzzy logic rice cooker. There are seven control panel buttons: keep warm, menu, reset, timer, cooking, and two arrows for setting the timer.
The LCD screen displays the settings you choose for cooking. For example, it displays a timer and indicates which type of rice you’re cooking.
This stainless steal rice cooker measures 11.8 x 9.1 x 7.5 inches and weighs 7.05 pounds. The size and weight are average compared to other products on our list.
Three convenient accessories are included with this rice cooker: one rice measuring cup, one non-stick rice paddle, and one spatula holder. It also comes with a comprehensive 23-page user manual that features: recipes, cooking times, tips, and much more. These items further add excellent value for buyers.
It’s important to note that this rice cooker requires careful hand cleaning – even the removable parts. You cannot use bleach, abrasive cleaners, or dish brushes.
The external and non-removable parts must be cleaned with a soft damp cloth. The accessories and inner cooking pan can be washed by hand with warm soapy water.
The capacity of this rice cooker is smaller than many others on our list. It holds 3.0 cups of dry rice while the others hold 5.5 to 10 cups. This size isn’t ideal for large families but it’s a great pick if you’re cooking for 1-3 people.
Zojirushi provides a one-year limited warranty for this product. The warranty covers any defects in workmanship and materials. They will repair or replace products if needed.
- Uses Micom technology to automatically adjust cooking time/temperature
- Extended warming and reheating cycle keeps rice fresh.
- Quick cook feature prepares rice within 27 to 39 minutes.
- One-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- All parts must be carefully washed/cleaned by hand.
- Smaller capacity than other cookers.
2. Tiger Rice Cooker
This Tiger rice cooker is one that truly stands out. It uses induction heating technology. Induction heating is a bit more advanced than Micom.
It cooks rice faster without sacrificing quality. This particular IH(induction heating) rice cooker features four cooking functions. In addition to cooking rice, you can use this product for slow cooking, cooking oatmeal, and bread baking.
This product also features synchro-cooking for preparing rice and meats/veggies all at once. The computerized control panel, preset timers, reheating cycle, and warming options are all very user-friendly.
The 5.5-cup capacity ceramic-coated inner bowl prepares up to 11 cups of rice at a time. With advanced warming and timer functions, you can prepare all types of rice and food with excellent results.
The ‘quick’ function cooks rice in just 17 to 35 minutes. You can use the ‘ultra’ function when cooking white rice to produce sweet sticky rice. White rice cooking time ranges from 41 minutes to 49 minutes. Brown rice takes from 63 minutes to 73 minutes and there’s no gaba rice function on this cooker.
The four-in-one design adds incredible diversity to this product. The rice cooking function offers options for plain, brown, Jasmine, mixed and porridge rice.
Induction heating (IH) is the most advanced technology you can find in a Japanese rice cooker. It cooks rice using an electric current that alternates through the entire inner pot.
This means that the pot itself generates heat to cook rice. Other rice makers rely on a heating plate that’s under the inner pot.
Watch this Tiger Company video to learn more about induction heating.
IH rice cookers make specific temperature adjustments just like fuzzy rice cookers. However, induction heating cooks rice faster.
You also get faster results when synchro-cooking or using the slow cooking function. Induction heating even makes this cooker 15% more thermally efficient than cookers that use Micom or fuzzy technology.
Multi-Purpose Cooker Adds Value
The Tacook synchro-cooking function lets you cook rice while cooking your main dish on a cooking plate/tray. Additionally, you can use the rice cooker as a slow cooker and bread machine.
A fermentation cycle followed by the bake menu function results in fresh bread loaves every time. You essentially get several appliances for one price.
This cooker comes with a spatula, paddle, cooking plate/tray, rice measuring cup, and cookbook. The user manual is also a valuable tool that includes tables with cooking measurements and times, detailed instructions, tips for different rice types, and more.
The computerized control panel features seven buttons: cancel, keep warm, two menu arrows, hour, minute, timer, and start. All of the cooking functions are finely printed along the edges of the LCD display. A small arrow indicates the function you’ve selected.
At 13.9 x 10.2 x 8.4 inches and 9.9 pounds, this is the heaviest cooker on our list. The size is average or slightly above average compared to other product picks.
There are two noteworthy details from the user manual. First, it says the keep warm function is only for use with white rice.
It also says that buyers should only use recipes from the supplied cookbook. These two details limit user possibilities a bit, so keep them in mind.
Lastly, detailed cleaning is a must with this rice cooker. The instructions are similar to other Tiger models, but it also stresses the importance of cleaning the rice cooker right after use and at regular intervals. The company provides a one-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- Induction heating for faster cooking.
- Quick function cooks rice in 17 to 35 minutes.
- Four-in-one cooking functions for versatility and value.
- One-year limited warranty.
- Keep warm function for white rice only.
- Can only use recipes from included cookbook.
- In-depth hand cleaning required.
3. Best Budget Pick - Zojirushi 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
If you want a simple rice cooker, this Zojirushi 3-Cup model may be perfect for you. The design features a single switch control – no frills, no fuss.
It’s also incredibly budget-friendly. Even though it’s a basic model, you still get everything you need to prepare up to three cups of dry rice.
This product has a transparent glass lid that’s topped with a stay cool knob. The sides also feature stay cool handles, so you can safely move and handle the product.
The non-stick inner pan is durable and removable for convenient use and cleaning. All of your bases are covered with this rice cooker.
Its three-cup capacity lets you prepare up to six cups of cooked rice. It cooks white and brown rice in 20 to 25 minutes. Howerver, brown rice needs a longer soaking time beforehand. This rice cooker doesn’t cook gaba rice and has no quick cook feature.
The Zojirushi is also equipped with a thermostat. This thermostat automatically switches the heat source off once the temperature reaches 212°F. This conveniently prevents the rice from overcooking or burning. The user manual also mentions that you can steam vegetables with this cooker.
The inner pan is embossed with measurement lines to eliminate guesswork. The user manual includes detailed instructions on how to cook white and brown rice.
You also get a measuring cup and serving spatula with this cooker. This provides you with everything you need to cook rice with precise results.
This product measures 7.1 x 9.1 x 7.8 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds. It’s the most compact cooker on our list, and one of the lightest options. It’s perfect for small kitchens, transporting, and limited storage space.
The removable inner pot and lid must be washed by hand using warm soapy water. So they aren’t dishwasher safe. This is fairly common for rice cookers but still worth noting.
There are no automatic warming features on this cooker. It simply shuts off once the rice is done cooking. This isn’t ideal for buyers who want extended warming features, but others are perfectly happy with this design.
This is a small capacity rice cooker. It may not be suitable for large family meals. However, it’s an excellent option for smaller families or individual users.
Zojirushi includes their standard one-year limited warranty. The company will replace or repair your cooker if there are material or workmanship defects.
- Single-switch design for easy cooking.
- Automatic power shut off to prevent overcooking.
- One-year limited warranty.
- No automatic warming feature.
- Small capacity model.
- No quick cook function.
4. Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer
This Zojirushi model uses induction heating (IH) for faster, high-quality rice cooking. It doesn’t matter what your preferences are.
There are cooking options for: white, jasmine, mixed, sushi, sweet, brown, gaba brown and porridge rice. The included rice paddle, paddle holder, and measuring cup make preparing and serving a breeze.
Despite using advanced IH technology, this cooker is designed for cooking rice and porridge only. There are no dual cooking or slow cooker options.
The comprehensive yet user-friendly LCD control panel lets you customize your cooking experience. You can extend the keep warm time, set a delay timer, choose different audio signals, and more. This 5.5-cup capacity cooker lets you cook up to 11 cups of rice precisely how you want it.
There are eight LCD panel control buttons: menu, cancel, keep warm, extended keep warm, start, timer, and two arrows for setting the timer and clock. The LCD screen displays a clock or timer, and it indicates your selected cooking function.
Induction heating technology uses high heat to quickly cook flawless rice. Heat is emitted from the bottom, top, and side of the rice cooker for even results. The inner cooking pan is spherical to further help with even heat distribution.
If you’re in a hurry, use the quick cooking function to cook rice within 22 to 35 minutes. When cooking white rice, you can change functions for regular, softer, or harder rice. The cook time for white rice ranges from 47 minutes to 54 minutes.
Brown rice cook time ranges from 1 hour/24 minutes to 1.5 hours. Gaba brown rice takes 3 hours to 3 hours/12 minutes to cook. From sushi rice to ultra-healthy gaba brown rice, your options are far from limited with this cooker.
The automatic keep warm and extended keep warm functions ensure rice stays warm and fresh. You can customize the sound system using melody and beep signals for different alerts.
However, there is no reheating cycle on this model. Reheating functions are common for cookers that are similar in style, technology, and price though.
The detailed user manual has instructions and pictures for every feature and setting. You get advanced options without any confusion.
This product measures 10 x 14 x 8 inches and weighs 9 pounds. Compared to our other product selections, this cooker is larger and heavier than average.
When cleaning the inner lid, you have to be very careful. It requires soaking. Any food residue may cause rusting or discoloration. Cleaning is fairly detailed for the rest of this appliance, too.
You should not use any abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes. The removable parts should be hand washed. Carefully clean outer parts with damp or dry cloth depending on instructions.
Zojirushi provides their standard one-year limited warranty that covers defects in workmanship or product parts. The company covers the cost of replacement parts and labor if repairs are needed.
- Induction heating for fast, even, and high-quality cooking.
- Versatile rice cooking functions meet different needs.
- Quick cook function cooks rice in 22 to 35 minutes.
- One-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- Requires careful cleaning – especially inner lid.
- No multipurpose functions (ex. slow cooker)
- No reheating cycle.
5. Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
This Zojirushi computerized rice cooker uses Micom technology and is competitively priced. The comprehensive user menu lets you customize the cooking process.
The 5.5-cup dry rice capacity means you can get 11 cups of warm tasty rice at once. The fuzzy logic cooking mechanism ensures precise results.
Check out the Zojirushi instructional video for this model below.
The non-stick inner pan is perfect for fuss-free washing. The spherical design is ideal for even heating. In addition, the large LCD display and control buttons are easy to read. This model comes with essential cooking accessories. So you get everything you need in one purchase.
The quick cooking option produces warm, ready-to-eat rice within 36 to 43 minutes. White rice takes 48 to 55 minutes to cook while brown rice ranges from 84 minutes to 107 minutes. There is no gaba rice cooking function with this cooker.
The extended warming and reheating options keep it fresh. You even have options to make harder or softer white rice. So this cooker is truly comprehensive.
Micom technology adjusts the temperature to cook white, sushi, brown, semi-brown, mixed, porridge, and sweet rice. Precise cooking adjustments ensure perfect results every time.
The control panel features nine buttons: keep warm/extended keep warm, timer, reset, pre-washed, menu, cooking, reheat, and two arrows for adjusting the timer and other settings. The color LCD menu displays a clock, timer, and your selected cooking function.
The user manual includes a comprehensive table with cook times for several types of rice. Two measuring cups, a non-stick rice paddle, a rice paddle holder, and multiple recipes are all included with this cooker.
This model measures 13 x 8.12 x 10.12 inches and weighs 8.35 pounds. It is somewhat large, and it’s one of the heaviest models on our list.
According to the user manual, the cooker should only be used to keep white rice warm. It also says the extended warming function cannot be used for porridge, brown, semi-brown, mixed or sweet rice. Therefore, this limits options greatly.
When cleaning certain parts of the cooker, you must briefly soak them. However, soaking too long may cause rusting.
You can’t use abrasive cleaners or brushes either. You need to clean the inner pot as soon as you’re done using it. These cleaning and maintenance features are pretty detailed.
Lastly, this Zojirushi rice cooker includes their standard one-year limited warranty
- Micom technology for precisely cooked rice.
- Extended keep warm and reheating features keep rice fresh.
- One-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- Keep warm function for white rice only
- Complex cleaning required.
- Quick cook function takes longer than other cookers.
6. Tiger 5.5 Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Warmer
This model from the Tiger Company is a great product if you want a simple design with great capacity. You can cook up to 11 cups of rice at once. The single button feature makes it incredibly easy to use. It has a long-lasting ‘keep warm’ function to keep your rice fresh.
The non-stick inner pan features precise measuring lines. This product comes with a helpful measuring cup. Other excellent features include a removable dew collector, steam vent, and more small accessories. You can make versatile amounts of rice easily with this cooker.
The non-stick inner pot also adds convenience to this model. In addition, it’s coated with Teflon. Therefore, the rice doesn’t burn or stick during the boiling, steaming, or keep warm processes.
Also, the steam vent is removable for easy cleaning. The dew collector prevents excess condensation from spilling out of the cooker. These parts and features combine for great convenience and user-friendliness.
When you purchase this product, you also get a spatula and measuring cup. The spatula is conveniently stored using the cooker’s built-in spatula holder.
This straightforward rice cooker uses a basic heating element and design. Water and rice are heated until they reach a boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It can take up to 30 minutes to cook white rice in this cooker. There is no quick cook function or brown and gaba rice function either.
This rice cooker automatically switches to keep warm mode, but it isn’t fully done cooking. The user guide says to leave the lid closed for 15 to 20 minute to allow thorough steaming.
The keep-warm function can be safely used for up to 12 hours which is great for meal prep sessions, large dinners, and more. You can rest assured that your rice will stay fresh in this high-capacity cooker. When you no longer need the keep-warm function to operate, simply unplug the rice cooker to shut it off.
The user manual is also very helpful. It includes a how-to guide for cooking rice and additional tips for getting great results.
According to the user manual, the ‘keep warm’ function is only suitable for white rice. The manual says “Use the Keep Warm function for white rice only. Do not use for mixed or seasoned rice.” Therefore, this isn’t ideal for some buyers. If you only plan to cook white rice then it’s not an issue.
This cooker measures 9.8 x 10.8 x 10.3 inches and weighs 7.9 pounds. The size and weight are average for rice cookers in general.
This cooker does not include an off switch. You have to unplug the unit to turn the power off. This is somewhat inconvenient but isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker.
The user manual has very in-depth instructions for cleaning all parts. None of the removable parts are dishwasher safe.
The inner pot must be cleaned with a soft sponge using warm water and non-abrasive cleaners. Overall, the cleaning process is somewhat time-consuming but not unusual for a rice cooker.
The Tiger company provides a one-year limited manufacturer warranty for all of their cookers. The warranty states that if the electric component needs repairing, the company covers the cost of labor and parts for their repair services.
- High-capacity design holds up to 11 cups of cooked rice.
- 12-hour automatic warming functions keep rice fresh.
- One-year limited manufacturer warranty.
- No power off switch.
- No quick cook, brown or gaba rice function.
- ‘Keep warm’ function only suitable for white rice.
- Cleaning/maintenance is time-consuming.
7. Tiger Corporation 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cookera
If you want convenience and diversity, this Tiger model is worth considering. It allows you to cook rice and a main dish simultaneously. Tiger Company’s “Tacook” is their exclusive synchronized cooking function, and it’s pretty easy to use.
In addition to synchronized cooking, you can use this cooker for plain and brown rice as well as slow cooking. You essentially get several appliances for the price of one.
Other parts and features enhance the user-friendly design of this product. The inner pan has a non-stick coating for easy serving and cleaning.
The BPA-free cooking/steaming plate is equipped with handles for safety and convenience. The six-button control panel makes it easy to use all functions. You can create dozens of fresh rice dishes.
Synchrony cooking or “Tacook” is a desirable feature for many reasons. This function cuts down on the time it takes to make meals by cooking rice and other foods simultaneously. It reduces the number of appliances you need to cook.
Therefore, you conserve energy and have less cleanup to do. It also makes this cooker incredibly valuable. You get a slow cooker, rice cooker, and more all from one product.
The cook time for white rice is between 22 to 37 minutes while brown rice takes between 58 and 72 minutes. There is no quick cook or gaba rice cook function on this rice cooker.
The Tacook function cooks rice in the inner non-stick pot, and your main dish is cooked directly above the rice. Simply place your main dish on the cooking tray and insert it into the rice cooker according to directions.
Then you press the synchro-cooking button, and you’re all done. This cooker perfectly cooks your food – no additional effort required.
When you buy this product, you also get a 16-page cookbook with 23 unique recipes. These recipes are designed for use with the synchro-cooking function. The recipes include photos and detailed step-by-step instructions. This makes it incredibly easy to whip up delicious rice-based meals.
However, the user manual states you can only use the supplied recipes with the rice cooker. This restricts your options a bit and the product’s versatility.
It’s not necessarily a huge problem. The 23 recipes are pretty diverse to suit all types of preferences. So you may omit an ingredient if you don’t like it. So there’s a good chance you’ll find recipes for dishes you enjoy.
At 13.9 x 10.6 x 8.4 inches, this cooker is a bit larger than other models we’ve picked. However, it’s very lightweight at only 5.7 pounds.
This Tiger model also operates as a rice steamer and slow cooker. Both of these functions share a button on the control panel. The user manual provides details on how to use both the steaming and slow cooking option.
It also lists cooking/operating instructions and how long it takes for specific foods to cook. For instance, you can steam and cook fish, chicken, potatoes, fresh vegetables, and even dumplings. These two functions – along with the rice cooking functions – allow you to enjoy so many tasty and healthy meals.
This is another cooker that requires detailed cleaning. You have to carefully hand wash removable parts, only use a soft sponge, use non-abrasive cleaners, and so on. The user manual also says to clean the appliance directly after use. This isn’t a big deal for many people but others may consider it a hassle.
According to the user manual, you can only use the ‘keep’ warm function for plain rice. It says “Use the keep warm function only for plain rice. Do not use the function for mixed rice (rice mixed with other ingredients).” This might be inconvenient for some buyers, but it’s not an issue for others.
Like other Tiger products, this one includes the company’s standard one-year limited warranty. Tiger covers the labor and repair costs for electrical components if needed.
- Synchro-cooking function lets you cook entire meals at once.
- Steaming and slow cooking functions add value and versatility.
- One-year limited warranty.
- Synchro-cooking only for use with Tiger’s specific free recipe book.
- No quick or gaba rice cook function.
- ‘Keep warm’ function for use with plain rice only.
- Requires immediate and in-depth cleaning.
8. Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker & Food Steamer
You’ll really appreciate this Aroma Housewares rice cooker if you meal prep or serve large groups. It makes up to 20 cups of cooked rice at once. It features “set it and forget it” operations and design.
Your family can have rice meals for dinner throughout the week and still have plenty of left overs to pack in your lunch bag for work.
The control panel is user-friendly yet very detailed. In addition to cooking rice, this product can be used as a steamer and slow cooker.
The control panel has eight keys total. For cooking options, there are keys for slow cooker, steaming as well as white and brown rice. There are also plus and minus keys to adjust the timer and settings in addition to a power button.
You can cook either white or brown rice with this Japanese rice cooker. The control panel features a quick cooking feature as well.
You can cook two cups of white rice in just 15 to 20 minutes and 20 cups in 25 to 30 minutes. Two cups of brown rice can be cooked in 20 to 30 minutes and 20 cups of brown rice can be cooked in 35 to 40 minutes with the quick cook feature.
With the regular setting, two cups of white rice cook between 25 to 35 minutes while 20 cups takes 45 to 50 minutes. Two cups of brown rice will cook between 40-45 minutes while 20 cups will take 55 to 60 minutes with the regular setting.
There is no specific function on this rice cooker to cook gaba rice. However, the manufacturer states that you can use the white rice function.
You can also cook fresh vegetables and other foods using the steaming function. For soups and stews, simply select the slow cooker function. You get the benefits of multiple appliances when using this affordable cooker.
This product measures 11.1 x 11.2 x 10.8 inches and weighs 5.0 pounds. It’s fairly average in both size and weight compared to our other product picks.
A steam tray, measuring cup, and spatula are included with this cooker. The user manual is a particularly useful addition, too. For example, it has a comprehensive table with steaming times and food measurements to takes the guesswork out of cooking meats and veggies.
According to the user manual, the inner pot and accessories may become discolored if you wash them in the dishwasher. This doesn’t affect performance but does change the appearance. It also takes away from the convenience of dishwasher-safe parts.
Lastly, the warranty info listed for this rice cooker is conflicting. To get accurate details, visit the manufacturer website and/or contact them directly.
- High-capacity for cooking large batches.
- Steamer and slow cooker functions add versatility
- Control panel is very user-friendly.
- Warranty information is unclear.
- Discoloration occurs if parts are washed in dishwasher.
- No delay timer function – usually included with this brand of rice cookers.
9. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
This Zojirushi model offers diverse options for cooking. It operates on Micom /fuzzy logic technology. The temperature adjusts to give you great results no matter what you cook. You can cook multiple types of rice, steam food, and even bake a cake with this cooker.
The user-friendly LCD display and control panel makes it easy to operate. The multipurpose design adds great value, too.
You have several menu settings to choose from: white/sushi rice, mixed rice, sweet rice, brown rice, porridge, steaming and baking cake. This range suits a huge variety of needs and gives you a multipurpose appliance.
The control panel has seven function keys: cancel, menu, keep warm, start, timer, and two arrows for adjusting the timer/clock. The control panel displays the clock/timer and your chosen cook setting using a small arrow. The panel also has two lights for the ‘keep warm’ and ‘extended warm’ features.
Additional must-have features make this product stand out. You get fresh rice for several hours using the two keep warm functions and reheating cycle. A steam basket for cooking healthy and tasty food is included with your purchase.
You can enjoy many convenient functions with this appliance. The quick cook function prepares rice in 29 to 40 minutes. All other cooking functions take 45 minutes to several hours.
For instance, white rice cook time ranges from 45 minutes to 60 minutes while brown rice takes 1 hour/25 minutes to 1 hour/50 minutes. There is no gaba rice cook option.
Rice stays at serving temperature for up to 12 hours with the automatic ‘keep warm’ and ‘extended keep warm’ functions. If you want to fully reheat cooked rice, the reheating function warms up your rice within 7 to 9 minutes.
This product comes with a spatula, spatula holder, steam basket, and measuring cup. The sturdy steam basket is placed over the inner bowl to cook rice and veggies/meat simultaneously. The valuable user manual has detailed charts with cook times, tips, and much more.
This Japanese rice cooker measures 10.1 x 8.5 x 14 inches and weighs 9.5 pounds. It’s one of the largest and heaviest rice cookers on our list.
The user manual says “Do not use the keep warm function with rice that contains additional ingredients and seasonings (mixed rice or sweet rice)”. This may be inconvenient for buyers who cook these types of rice, but it may not be a problem for others.
Like other cookers, the cleaning and maintenance instructions are extremely detailed. The user manual helps you clean it properly, but it takes time and effort. There are no dishwasher safe parts, and the inner lid may rust if it’s not washed after every use.
Zojirushi provides the company’s standard one-year limited warranty. It covers defects in product parts or workmanship. The warranty covers the costs to repair or replace the appliance.
- Multi-purpose design for cooking rice, main dishes and more.
- Micom technology adjusts temperature for precise cooking.
- Quick cook feature prepares rice in 29 to 40 minutes.
- One-year limited warranty.
- Requires detailed cleaning and maintenance.
- ‘Keep warm’ function for plain rice only.
- Large and heavy design.
10. Panasonic Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly and diverse product, this appliance is a great option. It can make six cups of cooked rice.
Additionally, it cooks oatmeal, soups, stews, and more. All of this is done by pushing a single button. With one-touch operation, there’s no confusion or complex menu.
The cooker automatically shuts off to prevent burning or overcooking when your food is ready. The durable non-stick inner pot is ideal for quick and easy cleaning. A tempered glass lid lets you monitor your dish while the secure knob lets you remove the lid safely.
The quick cook function cooks rice in about 15 minutes. White rice takes approximately 40 minutes to cook while brown rice takes about two hours. Jasmine rice takes about 35 minutes. Cooking times vary depending on the amount of rice and water used.
You can cook multiple types of rice and food with the push of a button. The simple one-touch operation of this appliance eliminates user error.
There’s no need to worry about mushy or scorched food thanks to the automatic shutoff function. You can cook white, brown, yellow, short, or long grain rice in addition to foods like soup, veggies, and oatmeal.
The high-quality aluminum inner pan is built to last for years. The non-stick coating makes it simple to wash. The design of the inner pan ensures even heat distribution. The pan even features helpful measuring lines for water to make cooking as easy as possible.
A rice scoop and measuring cup come with this model. The user manual is an equally valuable tool that features cooking instructions, a troubleshooting guide, and more.
This cooker measures 8.07 x 10.24 x 8.46 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds. It’s the lightest rice cooker on our list, and it’s also one of the smallest models. The compact design and 3.0-cup dry rice capacity is great for single users but doesn’t suit large families.
Unfortunately, this rice cooker lacks a few features. There is no off switch, so you must unplug the appliance to turn the power off. The design doesn’t include a ‘keep warm’ function, so you’ll need to serve food quickly.
Lastly, Panasonic offers a standard one-year limited warranty for all small appliances. The warranty covers parts and labor for one year. Panasonic notes that specific limitations may vary by product. Buyers can find the details included with their user manual/materials.
- One-switch operation for easy use.
- Cooks oatmeal, vegetables, and other foods in addition to rice.
- Quick cook function cooks rice in approximately 15 minutes.
- One-year limited warranty.
- Small design not ideal for multiple users.
- No power off switch – must unplug product.
- No keep warm function.
Rice Cooker Buying Guide
Many Japanese rice cookers look similar and share some of the same features. However, each product is designed to suit different needs. Our buying guide makes it easier to find the best cooker for your kitchen.
We cover key features for you to consider such as: cooking functions, user-friendliness, and capacity so you can feel confident about the option you choose.
How to Select a Japanese Rice Cooker
The Japanese rice cooker you purchase should help you cook high-quality rice with ease. It’s important to get the best value for your budget, too. So before you buy one, consider the factors below.
The capacity of a rice cooker is based on the quantity of dry rice it holds. Rice can increase 3-4 times in weight and volume when it’s cooked. For example, a three-cup capacity cooker can yield six cups of gohan (cooked rice).
The exact increase in weight and volume depends on the specific grain of rice you cook. Follow the instructions listed on the package of rice you use or refer to your rice cooker manual.
A single serving of cooked rice is typically ½ cup. If you buy a three-cup capacity cooker, you can cook six cups or twelve servings of rice at once. This amount of rice is perfect for some people. However, others may need to cook larger batches. So make sure you choose a rice cooker with a capacity that meets your needs.
Cooking functions are crucial when deciding which cooker is right for you. Some models simply cook rice. So they have one or two cook settings.
Others have additional functions for steaming vegetables or cooking grains like quinoa and steel cut oats. Some are designed to make rice-based porridge and other delicious rice dishes.
If you plan to cook different types of rice or want diversity, choose a rice cooker with multiple cooking functions. The appliances we’ve reviewed give you a wide range of cooking functions to consider.
Keep Warm Functions
Most Japanese rice cookers have at least one type of ‘keep warm’ function. Some models have ‘keep warm’ functions that automatically turn on when rice is done cooking.
Others have a keep warm function that you manually turn on whenever you’d like. There are also cookers with extended ‘keep warm’ functions and reheating cycles.
So choose a Japanese rice cooker that has ‘keep warm’ options that fit your needs. The cookers on our list keep rice warm for up to 12 hours.
However, some buyers don’t need anything but an automatic warming system. But if you want more control over how long it stays warm, select a model with extended warming options.
Weight And Dimensions
The weight and size of Japanese rice cookers vary. These factors don’t affect overall performance though.
However, they’re still important to consider. If you have limited storage space, a compact cooker is ideal. If you don’t want to lift a heavy appliance every time you use it, pick a lightweight option.
Fortunately, you have a lot of choices to meet your personal preferences. The products on our list range from 2.6 to 9.9 pounds.
The smallest rice cooker on our list measures 7.1 x 9.1 x 7.8 and the largest measures 13.9 x 10.6 x 8.4 inches. Our individual product reviews list the weight and dimensions of each Japanese rice cooker.
There are many helpful accessories you can use with a rice cooker. Examples include: rice paddles, measuring cups, and steamer inserts. These additional products add value to your purchase.
They also save you the hassle and time of buying them separately. Many of our top product picks include accessories. Therefore, you don’t have to spend extra money on them. Read our individual reviews to see what accessories you can get at no additional cost.
A Japanese rice cooker is a worthwhile investment. So it’s important to consider the warranty or guarantee. Manufacturers typically offer a limited warranty that covers defects in product parts and workmanship.
A one-year limited warranty is common. However, it varies depending on the manufacturer. We’ve provided warranty details for each cooker on our list.
A rice cooker may also be backed by a product guarantee. Some manufacturers offer money-back and/or satisfaction guarantees.
This allows you to return or exchange a product within a certain time frame if you’re unhappy with it. Sellers may also have their own guarantees and return policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which is the top rice cooker on the market?
A: Our recommendation is the Zojirushi Micom 3-Cup (NS-LAC05XT) rice cooker. It has diverse and high-tech functions to meet user preferences. Our buying guide can further help you with more details.
Q: Is Japanese rice the same as sticky rice?
A: Sticky rice is one specific type of Japanese rice. In Japan, sticky rice is called mochigome – this also means ‘sweet rice’ or ‘glutinous rice’. The main term for Japanese rice is uruchimai – this is ordinary Japanese rice that’s used for everyday dishes.
Q: Should you rinse rice before cooking it?
A: Yes. There are benefits to rinsing rice before you cook it. Many chefs and food experts recommend doing so. This helpful Livestrong article shows you how to correctly rinse rice. Rinsing can also remove arsenic that is absorbed from soil in rice paddy fields.
Q: What is a fuzzy logic rice cooker?
A: ‘Fuzzy-logic’ and ‘Micom’ are identical terms used when discussing Japanese rice cookers. Fuzzy-logic is a type of technology that uses a computer chip to assist in cooking rice.
A computer chip automatically adjusts the time and temperature based on the type of rice or grain you cook. This produces precise results versus using ‘one-size-fits-all’ heating technology.
Q: Does a rice cooker cook rice faster?
A: The answer to this common question isn’t a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The cook time of rice cookers versus a stovetop is pretty similar. However, many rice cookers have cook-fast functions to speed up cooking. Rice cookers also use technology to ensure rice is not undercooked or overcooked – stovetops don’t offer this benefit.
Q: Are rice cookers safe?
A: Rice cookers are perfectly safe if you follow the instructions in the user guide/manual. You should take basic precautions like you would with any hot kitchen appliance – open lids carefully, let the rice cooker cool before cleaning, and so on.
Rice is a surprisingly diverse food and each type has unique cooking needs. Fortunately, Japanese rice cookers are designed to precisely cook multiple types of rice.
Our Best Pick (the Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT) is built to suit a wide range of consumer needs and preferences. Micom technology automatically adjusts the rice cooker temperature and settings based on the type of rice you’re using. With simple controls and multiple functions, this appliance really stands out.
Alternatively, our Best Budget Pick (Zojirushi NHS-06) is an excellent lower priced option. The basic design makes it very easy to use, and the lightweight design is perfect for transportation and storage. You can make up to six cups of fresh rice using this Japanese rice cooker.
If you want to enjoy perfectly cooked rice, purchasing a Japanese rice cooker is the best solution. Our product selections feature ten unique options that meet various needs.
We hope that after reading our detailed rice cooker reviews and comprehensive buying guide, you’ll have all the information you need to select a Japanese rice cooker that is perfect for your kitchen.
You’re welcome, Anna. I’m so glad you found the post helpful in making your decision!