Elevate your hand in case you’re sick of your stovetop rice turning right into a sticky, starchy, scorched mess—or simply discover the cooking course of too time consuming and labor intensive. If that is you, it’s time to spend money on probably the greatest Japanese rice cookers. Whereas there’s nothing fallacious with a conventional rice cooker, which usually has a one-cooks-all setting, Japanese rice cookers are tremendous intuitive–mitigating points with mismeasuring and accommodating completely different cooking nuances. These machines modify timing and temperature to accommodate no matter fashion of rice fits your subsequent dinner; plus, the pressurized cooking technique makes for extra-tender, fluffy rice. They’re kitchen multitaskers too. Toss in just a few dumplings for an ideal steaming session, and even the egg custard chawanmushi—as chef Joanne Chang, the culinary drive behind Boston’s Meyers & Chang and Flour Bakery, suggests. She’s our resident professional for this story and remembers a Tatung rice cooker as a distinguished a part of her childhood kitchen. Discover the mannequin that fits your kitchen (in addition to some useful purchasing ideas) beneath with our picks for the most effective Japanese rice cookers.
Our Prime Picks
Greatest General: Zojirushi NL-GAC10
Capability: 5.5 cups | Dimensions: 9.1″D x 9.1″W x 9.1″H | Micom enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
- Quite a few customizable settings
- Included twin hotter function
- Easy interface
- Nonstick-coated inside vessel
- Greater worth
- Not as appropriate for bigger batches
Why we selected it: With a setting for practically each sort of rice and different helpful additions, this small-but-mighty machine makes probably the most tender, fluffy grains.
Zojirushi has been slinging top-notch Japanese rice cookers since they hallmarked the fashion in 1983, and this profitable mannequin is not any exception. When you can’t actually go fallacious with any of the choices provided by the model, this one hits the candy spot between the costlier cookers and the easier choices (although we all know it does sit nearer to the dear finish of the spectrum). Plus, we are able to confirm it churns out wonderful rice tailor-made to the consumer’s preferences. Not solely does it have specialised settings for jasmine, candy, and brown rices, however the equipment additionally boasts distinctive cooking settings you may mess around with together with the extra commonplace warming and fast/sluggish cook dinner modes. (We’re a fan of the “umami” mode, which is designed to coax extra taste out of your grains by soaking and steaming the rice longer.)
We additionally love the cook dinner timer, which helps you to time your rice completely with the remainder of your dinner, and the low-touch expertise of utilizing this cooker. Merely use the inside bowl measurements to achieve your required quantity, add the suitable quantity of water, and push a button. You’ll have good rice in roughly 50 minutes. Bonus: Whenever you rice has completed cooking, it’ll mechanically shift into warming mode to maintain your rice prepared for second helpings.
Greatest Worth: YumAsia Panda Mini Rice Cooker
Capability: 3.5 cups | Dimensions: 8.86″D x 11.81″W x 8.27″H | Micom enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
- Myriad settings for a small mannequin
- 24-hour warming setting
- Simple cleanup
- Fast cooking
- Solely accessible in small capability
- Ceramic bowl coating might scratch simply
Why we selected it: This little powerhouse is the epitome of small, however mighty—exact performance and some helpful bells and whistles for a extra modest worth.
This compact machine is an actual workhorse—together with simply sufficient helpful options to face out with out being overly difficult, and in addition clocking in on the decrease finish of the worth spectrum for this souped-up fashion of rice cooker. From the outset, you may inform it’s constructed with consideration to element in thoughts. There’s a useful built-in holder to your spatula to maintain it clear and off the counter, in addition to a transport deal with that nestles into the cooker completely when not in use.
And these sensible selections prolong to the performance of the machine, too. It has specialised settings for lengthy and brief grain rice together with some much less run-of-the-mill selections. Rice cooker cake, anybody? One potential downside for these with bigger households: the capability is one the small facet. Nonetheless, the scale additionally helps the rice cook dinner faster, shaving off round 20 minutes in comparison with the usual 5.5-cup cooker. After you have your moist and flavorful batch of rice cooked, you need to use the extra-precise warming mode, which instances by the minute quite than the hour as different fashions sometimes do. And with its rounded physique form and 4 nubby toes, this rice cooker seems actually lovable sitting counterside.
Greatest Bells and Whistles: CUCKOO CRP-BHSS0609F
Capability: 6 cups | Dimensions: 10”H x 14.7”L x 10.6”W inches | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
- 16 completely different customizable settings
- Stress cooking capabilities velocity up cook dinner time
- Auto adjusts through the cooking course of
- Constructed-in voice steering
- A bit of intimidating
Why we selected it: A wise algorithm makes the suitable cooking changes to get fluffy rice each time, whereas high-end strain cooking know-how retains issues transferring rapidly with out sacrificing high quality.
There’s not a lot this R2-D2-like equipment can’t do (it could actually even discuss you thru the rice cooking course of in three completely different languages). With 16 completely different settings, this cooker goes past simply rice—with choices to cook dinner beans, reheat leftovers, and make bread—however after all, it will get into the nitty-gritty of grain making, too with a strong lineup of modes for various rice sorts. Although this might sound a bit intimidating, it’s nonetheless quite intuitive. This rice cooker is enabled with a particular algorithm that detects your grain sort and works to take care of the correct inside temperature.
Different intelligently designed cooking options embody: a managed steam launch that limits condensation, strain cooking mode to advertise consistency, and an induction-heated inside pot (cast from sturdy chrome steel and cloaked in a scratch-resistant nonstick coating no much less). Heating the pot quite than an exterior supply helps distribute the warmth extra evenly throughout the underside and sides of the vessel, so that you received’t have to fret about some grains getting mushy and others staying crunchy. It additionally speeds issues up, cooking white rice in round 20 minutes or so. To not point out, there are security options in place to control the warmth and strain contained in the machine. And if you’re completed cooking, have interaction the automated cleansing cycle with the contact of a button.
Greatest for Cooking for a Crowd: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Hotter, 10 Cup
Capability: 10 cups | Dimensions: 11″ x 14¼” x 9½” | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: Sure
- Massive measurement excellent for large households or celebrations
- Intuitive operation with automated changes
- Retro aesthetic
- Retractable wire for simplified storage
- Slower cook dinner time
- Hand-wash inside pot and lid
Why we selected it: This beloved fan favourite cooker makes foolproof rice in huge batches—now that it’s accessible in two instances its unique measurement.
That is the darling of Japanese rice cookers, so it’s no shock it secured a spot on our “greatest” record. This mannequin is straightforward, versatile, and—after all—produces smooth grains with sweetness, nuttiness, and a contact of nice chewiness each time even in a big quantity (a rarity). It has setting for a number of sorts or rice as many high-end cookers do (in addition to congee and porridge settings) in addition to probably the greatest “hold heat” capabilities round; it does wonders to take care of the standard rive it makes, and people used to making ready rice on the stovetop understand it’s all too simple to finish up with crusty grains after your cooking is full. We love the little melody this cooker performs when your rice is finished, so that you don’t must hold checking the timer, and the candy-colored buttons and general retro aesthetic of the factor.
The retractable wire and inside pot handles additionally add a bit of extra finesse to your rice cooking expertise, together with the extraordinarily clear measurements markings on the pot’s inside. It may be a bit fickle to scrub, as you have to hand wash the lid inside and pot, and general cooks rice on the slower facet than different fashions, a bit underneath double the time. However consistency is vital in relation to rice cookers, and aren’t good issues value ready for?
Greatest Analog: Hario GohanGama Japanese Rice Cooker Pot
Capability: Small: 1.5 cups Massive: 2.25 cups | Dimensions: Small: 7.00″ D x 8.00″ L x 7.00″ H; Massive: 9.00″ D x 11.00″ L x 8.00″ H | Micon enabled/Fuzzy logic: No
- Warmth resistant lid
- Obtainable in small or massive sizes
- Gorgeous stoneware look
- Gentle whistle sound signifies cooking completion
- Small possibility very small; massive possibility additionally small
Why we selected it: Made in Japan from conventional Banko ware, this candy little pot cooks rice rapidly and effectively on the stovetop (and appears nice doing it, too).
We all know Japanese rice cookers are famed for his or her sensible technological capabilities and hands-off reserving expertise, however we couldn’t resist together with this pot-style rice cooker made in Japan for cooks searching for a digital detox. You is perhaps aware of Japanese model Hario for his or her iconic gooseneck kettle and low gear, however their culinary attain extends a lot additional. Hario is the one heat-proof glass manufacturing facility in Japan and has been producing top-notch merchandise for over a century, so it’s no shock that the glass lid on this earthy ceramic rice pot is almost indestructible (and an effective way to control your rice because it simmers away). The physique is crafted from Japanese Bankoware, a sort of pottery initially made for tea and identified for its constant heat-holding and wealthy rust hue, and outfitted with considerate options like an inside measuring information, a steam vent to forestall starchy overflow splashes, and useful helper handles on both sides coated in heat-resistant silicone. Each pots are fairly small in measurement, however in case you’re cooking for one or two folks it shouldn’t be a problem, for the reason that petite stature of those pots assist them cook dinner rice in round quarter-hour. And although it’s fully analog, this cooker will not be with out its “automated” options, so to talk. The pot makes a lightweight whistling sound when your rice is finished, akin to a less-aggressive tea kettle.
Issues to Contemplate Earlier than Shopping for a Japanese Rice Cooker
Chef Chang recommends choosing a mannequin with components crafted from chrome steel to allow them to maintain as much as years of frequent use. Aluminum is one other frequent materials used to assemble rice cookers, however it’s way more flimsy and susceptible to warping over time. Many cookers even have a nonstick coating on their inside pots, which is a godsend in stopping clumpy, crusty rice.
Capability & Dimension
For those who’re shopping for a rice cooker within the first place, it’s in all probability secure to imagine you cook dinner/eat fairly a little bit of rice. However the measurement of your family (and the scale of your kitchen) each would possibly affect the capability you want. Rice cookers are often marked by the dry cup quantity, and that often multiples by 2x-3x as soon as it’s cooked. Notice: A rice cooker’s “cup” will not be the identical as the usual cup we’re used to cooking with. Whereas a metric cup measures 240ml, a rice cooker’s cup clocks in at round 180ml. Preserve this in thoughts when selecting and utilizing your rice cooker. The excellent news is the measuring cup that comes with the home equipment is suited towards the Japanese measurement, so there received’t be a lot guesswork.
For those who’ve already chosen to go for a Japanese-style rice cooker over a less complicated conventional mannequin, chances are high you’re anticipating a extra “sensible” expertise that may be tailor-made to your preferences and completely different sorts of rice. Most choices embody settings designed for various sorts of rice, so in case you’re somebody who prefers a nutty, chewy brown rice over its fluffy white counterpart, it is best to hold a watch out for a rice cooker with a delegated brown rice setting. Extra tricked out fashions would possibly embody buttons for reheating rice and even fast (strain cook dinner) and sluggish cooking choices to completely time your rice to be completed with the remainder of your meal.
Our article professional, chef Joanne Chang, says a hotter is her most important function in relation to a rice cooker. It’ll hold your rice not solely heat, but in addition contemporary (no crusty grains right here) till you’re able to serve it. Most Japanese fashions will embody “neuro fuzzy” or “micom” know-how, which packages your cooker to be delicate to components like water degree and temperature if they alter all through the cooking course of. Most choices can even embody a rice paddle and a measuring cup, and a few very elite fashions may have an auto clear operate (as if cooking with one in all these infants couldn’t get any simpler).
What defines a Japanese rice cooker?
By definition, a Japanese rice cooker is any rice cooker that’s made in Japan. However extra typically, the time period is used to explain high-tech fashions focusing on fast cooking and embody myriad extra options in distinction to a conventional cooker’s easy bucket heater, pot insert and lid. (And sure, there are lots of manufacturers who don’t produce these in Japan, however they’re nonetheless thought of Japanese rice cookers). Japanese rice cookers sometimes are thought of “micom” or “fuzzy logic,” which basically means they’re powered by a microchip that may sense environmental adjustments and modify to take care of your rice’s splendid temperature and texture.
What’s the splendid capability of a Japanese rice cooker?
As touched on within the “issues to think about” part above, the everyday capability of a Japanese rice cooker is round 5.5 cups (which can yield sufficient rice for round 3-5 good servings), however clearly it’s sensible to go bigger or smaller relying in your cooking habits (are you a meal prepper or somebody who cooks for crowds typically?). Have in mind, rice cookers sometimes are at the least medium-sized home equipment, so take into account your kitchen area and storage limits earlier than you select a mannequin.
What number of completely different settings does a Japanese rice cooker have?
By definition, Japanese rice cookers are inclined to have extra elaborate settings than conventional fashions. Whereas the precise quantity ranges from product to product, we discovered most choices have a number of settings for cooking several types of rice (from white, to brown, to Jasmine) with some even together with auto capabilities for making ready congee and porridge. Extra settings for warming or sluggish cooking are frequent in high quality cookers as properly.
What else can I exploit Japanese rice cookers for?
Along with making extra easy, easy dishes like porridge and dumplings, Chang says: “You need to use the rice cooker as a steamer for different meals not only for rice. With eggs, you may make chawanmushi (a steamed egg custard with mushroom, scallion, and soy that’s a conventional Japanese breakfast and a scrumptious snack). You may also marinate rooster or pork in sake and salt and pepper and steam within the rice cooker for a easy foremost course if you don’t need to saute or fry or bake. Be sure you observe the directions on the rice cooker for the water to rice proportion.”
The entire greatest Japanese rice cookers showcased on this record will give you tender, fluffy grains with minimal guesswork and hands-on work. The best choice to fit your kitchen largely relies on the area you’ve, frequency you’ll use it, and in case you’re loyal to 1 sort of rice or many. Since Japanese rice cookers typically run costly, since they’re outfitted with so many sensible options, we love the Zojirushi NL-GAC10, which provides simply sufficient little luxuries in a compact, user-friendly bundle. No matter which mannequin you go together with, you’re certain to have nice grains forward.
Japanese rice cookers are all concerning the options, so helpful settings and high-tech capabilities had been the components we thought of before everything when deciding which fashions made it on our winners record. We started with checking in with chef Joanne Chang of Boston’s Meyers & Chang restaurant to glean some preliminary rice cooker intel earlier than sifting by the choices from Zojirushi. This firm pioneered the Japanese rice cooker within the early Eighties and we knew they’d have some choices that might discover a residence in our “greatest” record. We then moved on to different manufacturers each small and enormous to get a greater sense of which of them are in style available in the market and if their merchandise stack as much as their reputations. Japanese rice cookers are additionally identified for being on the costly facet, given the entire included bells and whistles, so we additionally aimed to incorporate a spread of costs whereas nonetheless maintaining high quality in thoughts. Sturdiness performed an essential half in our choice making, too. We’ve heard of rice cookers changing into kitchen heirlooms and, to ensure our picks would operate for many years, selected these with parts constructed from sturdy chrome steel (our professional’s advice).
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