Table of Contents
Looking to purchase a good rice cooker for your kitchen but don’t know which one you should get? You’ve come to the right place! There are several rice cookers in the market, but not all of them will give you value for your money.
In this rice cooker buying guide, we’ve listed the Top 11 best rice cookers in 2021, plus their features, pros and cons, and more to help you make sure you have an informed choice on your investment.
Japanese brand Zojirushi has exceeded our expectations to become the best overall rice cooker of 2021 by creating the NS-ZCC10 and NS-ZCC18 units. Definitely a rice cooker for the future and worthy to be named the best rice cooker in 2021, the NS-ZCC features high-tech and advanced Neuro-fuzzy logic technology, allowing the smart home device to “think for itself.” It learns and masters the different temperatures, time, and heat requirements needed to cook a quality rice every time.
With a wide array of features and a fine selection of menu settings for all types of rice, the NS-ZCC10 (5.5-cup capacity) and NS-ZCC18 (10-cup capacity) Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker models guarantee a seamless and stress-free process of preparing rice through the use of innovative and advanced technology.
THE BEST OVERALL
BEST BUILD MATERIALS
BEST NEURO FUZZY COOKER
The NP-NVC10 rice cooker and warmer is one of Zojirushi’s best top-of-the-line rice cookers. Similar to the previous NS-ZCC model, this rice cooker…
WITH INNOVATIVE TECH
BEST SMALL COOKER
EASIEST TO USE
BEST INDUCTION HEATING
The Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker is highly raved, with everyone wanting to have it in their homes. And there’s no question as to why…
For some, cooking quality rice may seem like a tedious activity. Plenty don’t have the luxury of time or energy to make their own home-cooked meals, so they opt to eat out or order food from restaurants. But this isn’t always the best choice. Some also spend too much time and energy cooking rice on the stove the traditional way.
Luckily, the advent of rice cookers has made preparing rice meals a lot easier (as long as you get the right one). Investing in a good rice cooker may earn you a kitchen companion that will make the process simpler and significantly reduce cooking time, giving you the chance to prepare your food while still meeting the demands of your fast-paced lifestyle.
The first and foremost thing to consider when choosing rice cooker brands is capacity. This would depend on how much food you’re aiming to cook per cycle. Of course, the bigger the serving sizes you want, the bigger your cooker should be.
For single-family households, a 3-cup capacity rice cooker will be more than enough to cook rice for a day’s meal. On the other hand, bigger families are best to opt for a bigger cooker with a 5-cup to 10-cup capacity.
Ultimately, it all depends on how much food you’re going to cook. Take into consideration how often you’re going to eat rice and how many servings you want to yield in one cycle.
The features and functions to look for in a rice cooker would depend on your needs and preferences. For instance, if you’re the type of person who loves to cook and consider yourself a home chef, use a multi-functional cooker that has the ability to prepare different rice varieties and dishes would be the best choice. But if you’re looking for a simple, fool-proof, and easy-to-navigate appliance, use a basic rice cooker with simple features would do the trick.
2021 has paved the way for new innovations and developments on what a rice cooker can do, making it much more convenient than cooking rice on the stove. But some general functions that would be ideal to have in a rice cooker are:
A rice cooker should not only help make the cooking process easier, but it should also be easy-to-clean, so as to avoid the hassle of washing and rinsing the rice cooker after use.
Ideally, the parts of the cooker, like the inner pan, lid, etc. should be detachable for easy washing. You might also opt to use stainless steel inner pots so as to avoid the difficulty of scrubbing food residue on the pan.
Many rice cookers come with accessories like a rice measuring cup, spatula, rice scoop holder, steam tray that doubles as a rice washer, etc. Although accessories are not absolutely essential, investing in a rice cooker that comes with these useful kitchen gadgets will save you the extra cost of purchasing them separately.
The most common and basic rice cookers in the market are standard rice cookers. These are the conventional electric kinds in which you put rice and water in the inner pot, flick the single switch, and the preparation process begins.
The heat used to cook the rice usually comes from the bottom of the rice cooker and spreads to the other parts of the inner pot. Built-in thermal sensors then signal the rice cooker that all the water has been absorbed and evaporated. This tells it that the rice is cooked and it automatically flicks the switch from “cook” to “heat.”
Standard rice cookers are very simple to use and are ideal for those who want to simplify and add convenience to their kitchen experience without all the bells and whistles of innovative and advanced technology 2021 brings. They’re also a lot safer than some newer kinds, such as microwave rice cookers. They may not be the best and smartest rice cookers, but they’re tremendously cheap and easy to use.
A digital rice cooker can be considered as new and improved versions of standard, conventional ones. They have more functions and features that are navigable using simple buttons in a digital control panel. Usually, the added rice functions include an on/off setting, food warming, cooking timer, delay timer, and brown rice or white rice menu selections.
Digital rice cookers give more control to the users to select and choose whichever feature they want to activate through the LCD control panel. They have a slight improvement in terms of rice quality, basically because you can select the options and actions taken by the rice cooker.
With the advent of multi-functional appliances, this kitchen tool can now do more than just cooking rice. Multi-functional cookers are manufactured with the goal of being the one device you need to prepare a full meal. They are very versatile and can include a vast array of settings and features you can use at your leisure.
Many multi-functional rice cookers make use of advanced technology and high-tech innovations to help you cook rice perfectly every time. With their menu settings, you can get it to operate according to whatever type of rice you’re after — whether it’s plain rice, white rice, sushi rice, porridge, brown rice, GABA brown rice, sticky rice, etc. Not only that, but they can also double as steamers that allow you to cook other food like vegetables, meat, fish, etc. while your rice is cooking simultaneously.
Many rice cookers today have the function of slow cookers as well, simmering the food at a lower temperature than conventional cooking methods. Slow cookers make rice and other dishes more savory, as the flavors are distributed more evenly.
Induction heating rice cookers by far have the highest price range in the market, especially in the year 2021. That’s owing to their advanced features and several available cooking functions. The thing about induction heating (IH) rice cookers is that they don’t cook rice the same way conventional rice cookers do. Instead of making use of single heating elements below the cooking pot, IH cookers utilize the entire pot as a source of heat. That way, it cooks the rice at a balanced and equal temperature throughout, which results in the best quality of rice every time.
Pressure cookers, as its name implies, adds pressure to the rice during the pressure cooking process. When the pressure cooker selection is turned on, the rice cooker traps steam in the pot, which causes the density of each grain to change. This makes fluffy rice that is softer and easier to digest. Pressure cookers can also retain the softness and quality of the food for a longer period of time. There are a lot of rice cookers that have pressure cooking functions as well.
Choosing which rice cooker to invest in can be a surprisingly simple task. However, plenty of us don’t yet know what to look for, or how to assess our own needs and make an informed choice. As we previously mentioned, it’s helpful to have criteria for what to look for in a rice cooker. But first, you must start by assessing your needs. Some things to consider are:
Are you a single dweller, or the homemaker in a large family of five? Choose an appliance with a cup capacity that’s suited for your household’s needs. A student living alone should look at smaller cookers, while large households will fare well with larger models.
With the popularity of these appliances, there’s no shortage of options that range from high-end, mid-range, or budget-friendly. Many of the pricier cookers tend to have smart technology, such as fuzzy logic or Micom. However, if you don’t need those and just want a foolproof appliance that can make rice, you don’t really need to spend too much.
Do you prefer cooking in one appliance or like to use different kitchenware for different dishes? Multi-cookers are a great option if you love to experiment with different dishes, but hate the hassle of cleaning up afterwards.
One way to determine what cooker to buy is to think of your own schedule: do you have time to spare in the kitchen, or are you more someone who’s always in a hurry and want a quick way to prepare food? Standard or conventional cookers will do great if you enjoy a longer kitchen routine. But if you want an appliance that quickly does its thing while you take care of some household chores, an instant pot or quick-cooking appliance should be your best match.
|Zojirushi NS-ZCC10/18||• 10 different menu settings |
• Microcomputer technology
• Automatic Keep Warm and Extended Keep Warm Setting
|Aroma ARC-743-1NGR||• Doubles as a steamer |
• One-touch operation
|Zojirushi NP-NVC10||• Zojirushi IH technology|
• Pressure cooker system
• Keep Warm Setting
|Oster 6-Cup 4722||• Doubles as a steamer |
• One-touch menu function
• Compact and lightweight
|Tiger JBV-A10U||• Equipped with Tiger’s unique “tacook” function|
• Non-stick inner pot
• Slow cooking and synchro-cooking functions
|Instant Pot Lux||• 10 smart programs|
• 6 appliances built into 1 piece of equipment
• 10 safety mechanisms
|Black + Decker RC3406||• Multi-functional rice cooker|
• One-touch operations
• Doubles as a food steamer
|Cuckoo CRP-P0609S||• 3-Language Voice Navigation|
• Auto Clean Button
• Water drainage system
|Tiger JKT-S10U||• Equipped with Tiger’s unique Tacook Cooking Plate|
• Induction heating technology
• Slow cooking, synchro-cooking and bread baking functions
|Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity 37549||• Affordable |
• Can yield up to 14 cups of rice
• 15-hour delay timer
|Aroma MTC-8008 Professional Rice Cooker/Multicooker||• Sauté-then-Simmer STS technology |
• Turbo convection
• 13 cooking settings
There’s no question why the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic Cooker is one of the products that has almost every reviewer raving. It’s made with the innovative Neuro Fuzzy logic technology that learns and masters the cooking cycle for any kind of rice (or other food!) you wish. Whether it be brown rice, white rice, sushi, or porridge, the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 (5.5 cup capacity) and NS-ZCC18 (10 cup capacity) can make it for you. By utilizing its temperature sensor and heat settings according to the selected rice menu option, it can yield tasty and fluffy rice every time. While some may not be a fan of its price tag, we think each penny is worth all the functions and features that come with this appliance. There’s really no question as to why we have hailed it the best rice cooker for 2021. We’ve also featured this model in our Best Zojirushi Rice Cookers guide.
Other features of the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic ZCC10/18 are:
|✔️ Low maintenance |
✔️ Advanced technology
✔️ Variety of menu settings
✔️ Has Zojirushi induction technology
✔️ Easy carry and transport
✔️ Extra large, easy-to-read LCD display
✔️ Micom Rice Cooker
|✖️ Might be difficult to navigate |
✖️ Basic body design
✖️ A little pricey
Our 2nd best pick is another reviewer favorite. If you think the Aroma Housewares Digital Cooker ARC 743-1NGR can only make rice, you’re in for a treat. This unit can prepare an entire meal during a single cooking cycle. Equipped with an aluminum steaming tray, you can steam veggies, meat, fish, and even dumplings with your rice underneath. You can even experiment with soups, chili, jambalaya, and more.
Are you the type to get confused with too many buttons and settings? Well, the ARC-743-1NGR makes the process easier with its simple, one-touch operation. All it takes is one press of a button, and your cooker can prepare tasty and fluffy rice in no time. This device is great for both the cooking pro/home chef and the ultimate beginner! In fact, we named this model as our choice for the best overall Aroma rice cooker.
✔️ Dishwasher safe parts
✔️ Tempered glass lid for easy viewing
|✖️ Unfit for large families due to its small capacity |
✖️ Lack of cooking menus to cook several types of rice
The NP-NVC10 rice cooker and warmer is one of Zojirushi’s best top-of-the-line rice cookers. Similar to the previous NS-ZCC model, this rice cooker makes use of advanced Neuro Fuzzy logic technology with artificial intelligence to aid the cooking cycle and yield high-quality and perfectly cooked rice, exactly how you like it. This stainless steel rice cooker and warmer is also equipped with several rice menu settings you can choose from. It has the ability to cook any type of rice you want, including 2 healthy meal options. Whether you’re craving for white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, sushi, sweet, GABA brown, or porridge, the NS-NVC10 has got you covered. This product is similar to previous models such as the NS-TSC10, but has more precise and improved technology than the NS-TSC10 owing to its more advanced features.
Other features of the NP-NVC10 include:
|✔️ Wide range of rice menu selections |
✔️ Healthy cooking options
✔️ Non-stick coating in the inner cooking pan
✔️ Stainless steel material
✔️ Has Zojirushi induction technology
✔️ Best for experts and professionals
|✖️ A lot of buttons |
✖️ Difficult to understand without reading the user manual
✖️ One of the most expensive rice cookers in the market
The Oster 6-Cup Rice Cooker looks small and compact in size, but don’t judge a book by its cover just yet. More than making rice, this cooker also doubles as a steamer. It comes with a steaming tray that can hold a good portion of meat, fish, and vegetables. That means that you can cook your side dish simultaneously with your rice in the cooking pan and prepare an entire meal in one cooking cycle.
To ramp up the rice cooking process, the Oster 6-cup rice cooker has removed all the complications and multiple buttons to navigate the menu settings. It makes operating the cooker so much simpler by using a one-touch menu function that allows you to start and end the cooking process in a touch of a button. There’s no questioning why it’s a top pick among the best rice cookers and really generates hype in reviews.
|✔️ Easy to use |
✔️ Doubles as a food steamer
✔️ Can cook white or brown rice
✔️ Automatic keep warm
|✖️ Minimal capacity |
✖️ Not suitable for big families
✖️ Lack of menu settings
✖️ Lack of innovative functions and features
The Tiger JBV-A10U is a multifunctional electric rice cooker that’s perfect for beginners and those who easily get confused with buttons and digital controls. This cooker has a full range of functions and features that rewrite the cooking experience, while being easy to use at the same time. Equipped with Tiger’s unique “tacook” function, you can steam your viand simultaneously with the rice in one cooking cycle without having the flavors and textures affect each other. The non-stick inner pot ensures an easy cleanup afterwards.
The JBV-A10U gives you the freedom to choose between 4 different settings. If you like your rice brown or plain, you can have it with this cooker. It also has slow cooking and synchro-cooking functions. Upon choosing an option, the rice cooker will adjust its heat, cooking time, and temperature settings to prepare your great tasting rice.
|✔️ Best for beginners |
✔️ All accessories are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup
✔️ Easy to clean
✔️ Solid and reliable
|✖️ Short lifespan |
✖️ The inner pot is prone to nicks and scratches
The Instant Pot Lux Mini is rated among America’s best brands for cooking appliances and is one of our top picks for best small rice cookers. Another one of the products beloved by almost every reviewer, there’s no mistaking the Lux Mini is an incredible device. It earned its title due to its multiple cooking functions and 10 smart programs that give you a vast range of cooking options. What makes the Lux Mini a family favorite, though, is that it’s 6 appliances built into 1 piece of equipment, thereby reducing clutter in the kitchen, creating more counter space and making it easier to clean up after meals. The Instant Pot also comes equipped with a keep warm function that keeps your food warm for long periods of time.
The ultimate selling point of the Lux Mini is that it comes with a promise of safe user experience. With this device, you don’t have to worry about accidents and kitchen hazards. It has 10 safety mechanisms in place, like: steam release, anti-block shield, safety lid lock, lid position detection, automatic temperature control, overheat (burn) protection, automatic pressure cooking control, electrical fuse, thermal fuse, and leaky lid detection.
A bigger version of the pot Lux is the Instant Pot Duo. It has a 10 cups cooked rice capacity and is the new and improved version of all cookers belonging to the Instant Pot Duo series. It functions as 7 different appliances in one, making it a favorite among professional chefs and moms who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If you like Lux models but want to go for something bigger, the Instant Pot Duo can be an alternative.
|✔️ Compact and portable |
✔️ Innovative functions despite small build
✔️ 6 appliances in 1
✔️ 10 smart programs that offer more food versatility
✔️ Very affordable
|✖️ Users complain about the pressure cooking function having a week steam valve |
✖️ Has a tendency to burn the rice at the bottom because of the lack of an induction heating feature.
The Black + Decker RC3406 is one of the most reasonably-priced rice cookers in the market, making it a top choice for a multi-functional cooker in our Black & Decker Guide. It’s best for single-family households, since it only has a small capacity of 3 cups (uncooked) and 6 cups of cooked pot of rice. The RC3406 can make preparing home-cooked meals an easy and seamless experience, especially for college students or those who have busy lifestyles yet still want to make their meals on their own. Its 2 main functions (cook and keep warm) can be navigated through the flick of a switch and the selected function is shown through indicator lights.
Despite the simplicity of the RC3406, cooking white rice is not all that it can do. This cooker also doubles as a food steamer, equipped with a plastic steamer basket that can hold a small portion of meat, veggies, or fish, among others. With this inclusion, you can steam your main dish while cooking your rice. After the quick and easy cooking cycle, your batch of rice is done and you have a complete and ready-to-eat meal on the table.
|✔️ Budget-friendly |
✔️ Doubles as a food steamer
✔️ One-touch navigation
|✖️ Lack of innovative functions and features |
✖️ Lack of menu settings
The Cuckoo CRP-P0609S is more than what you would expect. Reviews name it as one of the best rice cookers because it has multiple functions and can double as a pressure rice cooker and steamer. This Cuckoo rice cooker is also equipped with a heating plate that’s programmed to cook great rice (whether brown, white, or jasmine rice) porridge, and more. This Cuckoo cooker comes with a multicooker function that allows you to cook other dishes like soup and even bread!
Other notable features of the Cuckoo CRP-P0609S include:
|✔️ Non-stick inner pot |
✔️ Detachable inner lid for ease in cleaning
✔️ Can double as a pressure cooker
✔️ High quality build
|✖️ Heavy weight despite its medium capacity|
The Tiger JKT-S10U holds the best innovations that Tiger has manufactured. This model is equipped with Tiger’s unique Tacook Cooking Plate and induction heating technology, both coming together to help you prepare two tasty dishes simultaneously.
But beyond that, the JKT-S10U also has slow cooking, synchro-cooking and bread baking functions. Whether you like white rice, brown rice, plain, or mixed, the JKT-S10U can do the trick, thanks to its 11 computerized menu settings.
|✔️ Stainless steel design |
✔️ Detachable parts for easy cleaning
|✖️ Lack of accessories and items |
✖️ Heavy weight
The Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker is highly raved, with everyone wanting to have it in their homes. And there’s no question as to why. One of the best cheap rice cookers in the market, this Hamilton Beach model can cook anything, from quinoa to oatmeal.
It has a large capacity and can yield up to 14 cups of white rice, enough to serve the whole family plus several other dinner guests during dinner parties.
What users’ reviews would say is the best part is its delay timer, making it best for busy people who like preparing their meals in advance. With this feature, you make rice through simply popping the grains into this Hamilton Beach rice cooker and set the cooking cycle to start for as late as 15 hours.
|✔️ Large capacity |
✔️ Can cook more than just rice
✔️ Has a unique heat/simmer feature
✔️ Up to 15 hours delay timer
|✖️ Inner pot is not induction heating, so there's a tendency for the rice at the bottom to burn|
Best for professional use, the MTC-8008 has a lot of high-tech features up its arsenal. Its main selling point is its Sauté-then-Simmer STS® technology, which can accommodate high-heat sautéing, followed by a simmer.
This rice cooker also has turbo convection technology, which prevents burnt rice at the bottom of the cooker. Turbo convection helps circulate the hot air in the device for even and quick cooking.
Having the Aroma MTC-8008 is like having your own personal chef in the kitchen, with the benefits of meal versatility, convenience, and flawless rice every time.
|✔️ Unique sauté then simmer feature |
✔️ 13 cooking settings
✔️ Turbo convection
|✖️ A tad pricey |
✖️ May be difficult to navigate for beginners
|Rank||Rice Cooker||Model||Price||Functionality||Quality||Total Rating||Check Prices|
|4||Oster 6-Cup 4722||9||9||9||9.0|
|6||Instant Pot Lux||9||8||9||8.7|
|7||Black + Decker RC3406||10||8||8||8.7|
|10||Hamilton Beach Digital Simplicity 37549||8||8||8||8.0|
|11||Aroma MTC-8008 Professional Rice Cooker||8||8||8||8.0|
Buying a rice cooker, especially a good one, will give you a kitchen companion that can help you prepare tasty, home-cooked meals faster and easier. There are tons of available rice cookers in the market, but they all differ based on capacity, functionality, features, technologies, etc. The key to finding the best cooker that’s perfect for you is to figure out your needs and preferences. Once you’ve got that lined up, then you’re bound to find the best rice cooker that suits you and your household.
This rice cooker review lists the top 11 best cookers in 2021 when it comes to the standards of cooking perfect rice, easy-to-use features, advanced technology, and performance quality.
Take a look at our other rice cooker reviews to read and learn more about cookers that are worth your investment.