Here at the Strategist, we know that finding the “best” product really depends on exactly who you ask — which is why we’ve devoted a new series to squeezing in as many informed, trustworthy opinions as possible. And we’ve come up with dozens of ways to do this, among them: surfacing reader reviews from across the internet, taking quick polls (among our friends and fellow shopping-obsessed Strategist editors), and partaking in some advanced internet snooping.
With that, we’ve rounded up the best rice cookers according to everyday people, professional chefs, food writers, and our own internet snooping.
These include a statusy Japanese model that redditors and professional chefs swear by, an inexpensive cooker our staff writer uses three times a week, plus minimalist options, mini options, and microwavable cookers, too.
Expert-approved: Best rice cooker according to chefs
When we asked chefs and food writers to recommend the best rice cookers, this inexpensive model by Russell Hobbs came out on top, making it a good choice for beginners. One of the recommendations came from Emily Chung, who, with her sister Amy, wrote The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes From Our Burmese Family Kitchen. “To this day, I’m yet to be convinced of the benefits of a newfangled device with digital display and multiple options,” she says. “I’ve used this inexpensive Russell Hobbs cooker at various friends’ houses and it works a dream. Once I’m in the front door, it only takes 20 minutes to cook perfect rice.” It can cook a maximum of ten cups of rice and automatically shuts off after the rice cooks — which, according to Peter Joseph, executive chef at Kahani in Kensington, makes it particularly useful.
Quick pick: Best mini rice cooker
While many rice cookers are designed to cook larger quantities, you might be in the market for a cooker that just makes one or two portions at a time. This Lakeland option is small enough to fit in a kitchen with less counter space (it has roughly the same footprint as a blender) and features overnight cooking options if you want to prepare your porridge the night before. It also has a three-year warranty. [Editor’s note: This product is currently out of stock.]
Strategist staff pick: The rice cooker our writer swears by
Strategist UK staff writer Chris Mandle snapped up this rice cooker (which can cook up to six portions) when it went on sale during Prime Day in October (we’d previously featured it in our look at the best-rated rice cookers on Amazon). “I wanted to follow the wisdom of the crowd a bit, and I wanted something affordable in case I didn’t use it much,” Chris says. But he now finds himself using it three times a week, every week — typically for last-minute weeknight meals. “I used to be quite fixated on meal-planning and inventory-taking,” he says. “But nowadays, I like to just plonk some rice in the cooker and figure out the rest on the fly — usually a combination of roasted chicken thighs or fish, greens, and hot sauce”. The inner bowl is copper-coloured, which Chris says is nice enough to just bring straight to the table if he’s cooking for his partner, and the soft click the cooker makes when the rice is done is particularly pleasing, too.
Quick pick: A surprisingly stylish rice cooker
Snooping: The multifunctional, statusy rice cooker everyone on Reddit swears by
We decided to see what the highly opinionated members of r/RiceCookerRecipes thought about rice cookers, so spent considerable time snooping through a few threads. The community has over 42,000 members, and one brand came up again and again: Zojirushi. One redditor called it “the Rolls Royce of rice cookers” and the look and design is so ubiquitous it’s even popped up on video games like The Sims 4 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
While it’s perhaps not suited for a first-time buyer or someone on the fence (like a Le Creuset, it’s a tad expensive for an impulse buy), it’s got a hallowed status as a professional-grade cooker that at-home foodies use with pride. There are a lot of different models (some of which are hard to find in the UK), but the NL-BGQ05 is a good all-rounder. It has a three-cup capacity (enough rice for three people), and the digital interface lets you cook for different grain types (including short grain, sushi, congee, long grain. and brown rice).
One Redditor said there’s lasted ten years without so much as a scratch on it, while another said this model was particularly good at avoiding “crusting” — when the rice cooks into a thin layer on the bottom of the cooker — which is common on cheaper models. Charmingly, it also plays a tune when the rice is cooked.
Snooping: The best Zojirushi alternative (that’s easier to find online)
The Yum Asia rice cookers feature the same “fuzzy logic” technology that the Zojirushi models do, and they’re more widely available and less expensive. Essentially, they contain a microchip that allows the cooker to make more complicated decision-making with regards to temperature, timings, and settings.
While a basic rice cooker heats up and keeps food warm, ones with fuzzy logic technology can lower the temperature if the rice is cooking too quickly or up the temperature if there is too much water in the pot. It features tailored modes including steam, porridge, slow cook, and cake baking, and has timer functions for up to 24 hours.
We first featured it in our look at the best-rated rice cookers on Amazon, where we called it the best-rated digital rice cooker. It comes with a two-year warranty and features a clever design that collects condensation from the steam and collects it in a container in the back of the cooker.
Expert-approved: The chef-approved XXL rice cooker that can make 33 portions at a time
Vivek Singh, executive chef and CEO of The Cinnamon Collection restaurant group, told us that Buffalo rice cookers are used across his restaurants. “If you cook in bulk or need to cook large quantities of rice like we do at all restaurants across The Cinnamon Collection, Buffalo machines are efficient and consistently produce lovely, steamed rice.” This is a six-litre model, which works out at about 33 portions of rice (which, when full, would take about 40 minutes to cook). The cooker features an anti-stick silicone mat, inserted into the inside, to prevent sticking, as well as an auto-warm function, which lowers the temperature once the rice has cooked. It also features a similar water-collecting well as the Yum Asia model.
Quick pick: A microwave rice cooker (that costs under £10)
This was popular with many people on Amazon looking for a neater way to cook rice that didn’t involve another bulky appliance. One woman bought this for her daughter before she went to university. Another customer said he bought this after breaking his rice cooker and has been impressed at how quick and easy it is.
Quick pick: Best with a steamer insert
Though a lot of rice cookers feature a steamer insert, this Geepas model caught our eye because, rather than slot neatly inside, it stacks on top and has space for cooking larger portions of vegetables. One woman even wrote that she could steam a piece of salmon in the basket.
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