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How to Choose the Right Rice Cooker Size

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Small, medium, large, or extra large rice cooker? With the advent of these devices comes a wide array of design choices. We’ve seen it all: 20-cup rice cookers for large households, a medium-sized Jar-o-Mat, and small, compact ones for couples. 

Choose a rice cooker that’s too large and you end up cooking more rice than you need. Purchase one that’s too small, and you end up having to cook a second batch of rice after the first serving quickly runs out. It’s clear that choosing the correct size rice cooker is essential to avoid any kitchen mishaps.

So, how exactly does one go about choosing a rice cooker size? That’s what this guide is for. Choose the right size for you and your family, and you’ll waste not, want not. You can say goodbye to any rice-related worries, because we’re about to give some tips on how to select a rice cooker with the right size. 

How Do I Know What Size Rice Cooker to Buy?

Before knowing what size model to purchase, it’s best to get familiar with the measurement system used by standard rice cookers. You’ll often see cookers categorized according to how much uncooked or raw rice they can hold. 

Usually, rice cookers go by the Japanese style of measuring rice. One cup of dry rice is equivalent to 6 ounces, not the 8-9 ounces of a measuring cup typically used in cooking and baking. This is because the Japanese use a unit of measurement called gou (合), which is roughly 180 mL or 6 ounces. Most rice cookers, especially models from Asia, go by this unit of measurement.

In this setting, 1 uncooked cup of rice usually yields about 1.5 to 2.5 cups of cooked rice, depending on the variety and amount of water used.

Uncooked RiceCooked RicePeople Served
3-3.5 cup (3-3.5合) 6 servings of rice  1-3 people
5.5-6 cup (5.5合)  11 servings of rice3-5 people (*most popular size)
8.5  cup (8.5合)16 servings of rice 4-6 people
10 cup (10合)20 servings of rice6 or more people

However, the above table can be an inaccurate measure of people served. Does your family usually require two bowls of rice, or is one good enough for every meal? If the children only eat one bowl of rice each during breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then you can go by the logic that a rice cooker able to yield 6 cups of cooked rice is enough for a family of five.

Let’s take a quick look at different kinds of rice cooker appliances, their respective rice capacities, and how they can benefit you and your family. 

3-Cup Capacity Sizes

Want a rice cooker to bring with you to special occasions, say, a picnic or a day at the beach? Perhaps you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how to fit a rice cooker into a tiny apartment space? 

No matter the case, a 3-cup rice cooker is your ideal choice. In this case, we’re referring to a rice cooker that can yield 3 cups of cooked rice as opposed to raw rice. Usually, they’re able to hold only 1.5 cups of raw rice. 

Not sure where to start? Take a look at the Aroma MI Cool-touch Mini Rice Cooker, which bagged the top spot in our review of the best small rice cookers on the market. While it doesn’t have a glass lid or a multi-cook function, it does have a 12-hour keep warm mode to keep rice warm for an extended amount of time!

6-Cup Capacity

Have a modest household of three? A rice cooker that yields 6 cups of cooked rice may be what you need. In this scenario, we’re allocating an average of 2 bowls of rice per household member, so there’s just enough in case you crave an extra serving of warm, delicious rice. 

If you prefer an advanced machine with a multi-cooking function, then you can’t go wrong with the Black + Decker RC3406 Rice Cooker, which makes it to our list of the best rice cookers on the market. This standard machine features a one-touch operation, automatic keep warm, and a non-stick inner pot. While it doesn’t feature fancier cooking options or pre-programmed recipes, its simplicity is enough to make it a reliable thing that can handle both white rice and brown rice, plus oatmeal if one so desires.

10-Cup Capacity

For everyday household use, a 10-cup capacity cooker is what Kitchen Genie has named one of the more popular sizes. In this case, we’re referring to a device with the capacity to hold 5.5 cups of raw rice. If you’re the designated chef for a family of 5-6, then you’ll be able to make a full meal and still have enough for a second bowl, or perhaps some fried rice for the next day. 

If this is your preferred size of rice cooker, you might want to take a look at the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Fuzzy Logic cooker. Apart from the micro-computer technology that sets it apart from any other electric rice cooker, industry-standard material that results in perfectly-cooked, restaurant quality rice to pair with each meal. The non-stick cooking pan is infused with platinum particles that alkalizes the water and breaks the surface of the rice, which results in a tastier dish. 

As far as advanced models go, this is the model to beat. You can even make use of the smart-touch controls that let you select different types of meals to cook. Choose anything from sushi rice to chicken soup or porridge.

12-20 Cup Rice Cookers

Do you have a large household that requires a large rice cooker for large group meals? No problem! The right size of rice cooker for your needs might be the Hamilton Beach 16-cup Rice Cooker, which cooks an average amount of 8 cups of raw grains. 

That’s one tested and proven way to feed the entire family. Apart from its size, you can cook different types of rice quickly, thanks to a no-fuss one-touch operation feature. Being a large rice cooker, you can use the large inner pot and heating element to cater to different kitchen needs, like making a hearty soup to pair with dinner.

Final Note

We hope this guide has been helpful in choosing a rice cooker that’s fit for your home needs. For more of the best rice-related content, check out and share our reviews!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Litres is a 10 Cup Rice Cooker?

A cooker that is able to yield 10 cooked servings of cooked rice is also known as a 1.8 LT cooker. This way, you’ll be able to serve around 5-6 people.

How Many Litres is a 3-Cup Rice Cooker?

On the other hand, if you use a rice cooker that yields 3 cups of the cooked grains, you’re using a 0.8 LT device.

How Big is a 6 Cup Rice Cooker?

This measurement system roughly translates to around 1.5 liters, and it’s widely regarded as enough to serve 3-4 people.

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Hui Yin

Hui Yin moved from Hong Kong 🇭🇰 to the USA 🇺🇸 when she was just 8 years old. Now in her late 20's she enjoys writing and taking long walks in the park to burn off the copious amounts of rice she eats for dinner.

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