Time is a luxury, not something to be wasted. Whether you work a full-time job, attend school, or care for your family, the last thing you want to do is spend more time on meal prep than you have to. Rice is a versatile and filling side dish that goes with just about every meal, but it can take time to prepare.
Rice cookers make it quick and easy to prepare a perfect batch of fluffy rice. Whether you choose traditional white rice, healthy brown rice, or something more exotic like jasmine or basmati rice, you’re guaranteed a perfect batch with minimal effort.
Top Picks for Rice Cookers
A rice cooker prepares a tender batch of rice faster and more consistently than the stovetop method, plus you can set it and forget it. Many rice cookers offer additional features like a setting that keeps the rice warm after cooking as well as alternative cook settings for sautéing, slow cooking, and simmering.
Here are the top 6 rice cookers on the market and everything you need to know to pick one:
Award: Top Pick
Product Headline: Most Versatile Rice Cooker
Product Summary: This 7-in-1 device features 14 one-touch smart programs in addition to multi-use settings like Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Sauté, and Keep Warm.
Being able to cook up a fluffy batch of rice is great, but you may not eat rice at every meal. The Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is a versatile appliance that steams rice to perfection but also functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and food warmer. This multi-purpose appliance features 14 one-touch Smart Programs to prepare popular dishes like beans, rice, soup, and poultry with the touch of a button.
Not only is the Instant Pot simple to use, but it offers advanced safety protections with over 10 built-in safety features including Safety Lock and Overheat Protection. The large 6-quart capacity is ideal for families and meal prepping while the stainless-steel components are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. This appliance also comes in a smaller 3-quart size and larger 8-quart size. Every Instant Pot comes with access to hundreds of free recipes via iOS and Android app.
- Multi-purpose with 14 one-touch settings
- Generous 6-quart capacity
- Over 10 built-in safety features
- Rubber seal may retain smells
- Settings may take time to learn
- Capacity – 6 quart
- Size – 13.4 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches
- Settings – Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Sauté, Keep Warm, Yogurt, Rice, Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam
- Accessories – Steamer rack
Award: Best Budget
Product Headline: Priced Under $30
Product Summary: This 2-in-1 rice cooker and food steamer holds up to 8 cups of cooked rice and features simple, one-touch operation.
While many rice cookers offer versatile cook settings, you pay for those additions. If you’re looking for a simple and affordable rice cooker, the Hamilton Beach Mini Rice Cooker is the way to go. This 2-in-1 appliance cooks rice and steams food to perfection with convenient one-touch operation. It holds up to 4 cups uncooked rice or 8 cups cooked rice, making it perfect for solo or family dining.
This mini rice cooker is affordably priced under $30 and comes with the accessories you need to get started. In addition to a removable nonstick cooking pot and steamer basket, this model comes with a measuring cup and rice paddle. Simply add rice and water then press the Cook button to start the device. When your rice is cooked to perfection, it automatically switches to Keep Warm. When you’re finished, simply remove the cooking pot and steamer basket and clean them in the dishwasher.
- Affordably priced under $30
- Cooks rice and steams food
- Holds up to 8 cups cooked rice
- Limited cook settings (Cook and Warm)
- Doesn’t always cook consistently
- Capacity – 8 cups cooked, 4 cups dry
- Size – 9.6 x 8.1 x 8.1 inches
- Settings – Cook, Warm
- Accessories – Measuring cup, rice paddle
Award: Best Large-Capacity
Product Headline: Best to Feed a Crowd
Product Summary: Prepare a big batch with this large-capacity rice cooker, choosing from numerous one-touch settings including a Delay Timer for convenience.
Whether you’re feeding a crowd or meal-prepping for the week, the Aroma 20-Cup Digital Rice Cooker is the tool you need. This multi-function appliance has one-touch settings for white and brown rice as well as settings for slow cooking and steaming. If you want to speed things up, use the Flash Rice setting, or set the Delay Timer to start cooking later. Simply add rice and water then press the button for the appropriate setting. It couldn’t be easier.
The Aroma 20-Cup Digital Rice Cooker features large, easy-to-read buttons and a digital display. The cool-touch body and locking lid ensure safety during operation, and the inner lid is easy to clean. You’ll also be glad to know this rice cooker comes with a steamer insert, a measuring cup, and a rice spatula.
- Large 10-cup (20-cup (cooked) capacity
- One-touch settings for multiple functions
- Cool-touch body and locking lid for safety
- Included steam tray is made of plastic
- Lid is not removable for cleaning
- Capacity – 10 cups dry, 20 cups cooked
- Size – 11.1 x 11.2 x 10.8 inches
- Settings – White Rice, Brown Rice, Keep Warm, Steam, Slow Cook, Flash Rice, Delay Timer
- Accessories – Steamer basket, measuring cup, spoon
Award: Best Microwavable
Product Headline: Best Low-Tech Option
Product Summary: Skip the confusion of multiple settings with this simple microwaveable rice cooker. Just add rice and water then pop it in the microwave.
When all you need is a quick batch of rice, the Sistema Microwave Collection Rice Cooker is the ideal solution. This 2.6L microwave rice steamer doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles some electric models have, but it’s simple to use and quick to clean. Simply add rice and water then put the vented lid on top and pop it in the microwave. In minutes you’ll have a batch of fluffy rice.
The Sistema Microwave Collection Rice Cooker is made from 100% virgin plastic free from BPA and phthalates. It is top-rack dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning and freezer-safe for convenient storage. The vented lid releases steam for splatter-free cooking and it features cool-to-the-touch easy-lift tabs for safety as well. Plus, this rice cooker is affordably priced under $25.
- Vented lid to release steam
- Cool-to-the-touch tabs for safety
- Dishwasher safe (top rack only)
- Limited 2.6L capacity
- May not cook consistently
- Capacity – 2.6L
- Size – 8.5 x 7.7x 6.3 inches
- Settings – None
- Accessories – Cooker, lid, rice spoon
Award: Best Basic
Product Headline: Simple to Use
Product Summary: If all you need is a simple, single-function rice cooker, this is the way to go. This plug-in rice cooker features a single setting and cooks up to 3 cups of short-grain rice.
Why spend a small fortune on a fancy gadget when all you need is a basic rice cooker? The Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup Rice Cooker is incredibly easy and it yields tender, fluffy rice every time. This 3-cup rice cooker is the perfect size for small families or solo dining and it is affordably priced under $50. All you have to do is add the appropriate amount of rice and water then press the Cook button and walk away.
The Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup Rice Cooker features a see-through glass lid with a stay-cool knob so you can keep an eye on your rice as it cooks. This model has a durable nonstick inner cooking pan for easy cleaning, and it comes with a measuring cup and rice serving spoon. If this model isn’t large enough, there is also a 6-cup and 10-cup model. The larger models offer an automatic Keep Warm function.
- Easy to use with a single switch control
- See-through glass lid with stay-cool knob
- Durable nonstick inner cooking pan
- Keep warm function only available on 6- and 10-cup models
- Prone to splattering if too much liquid is added
- Capacity – 3 cups uncooked
- Size – 7.5 x 9.25 x 7.5 inches
- Settings – Cook
- Accessories – Measuring cup, serving spatula
Award: Most Attractive
Product Headline: Best Stainless-Steel Rice Cooker
Product Summary: This attractive rice cooker is one you’ll be proud to display with its sleek square shape and brushed stainless steel finish.
Modern kitchen appliances are often designed for function rather than form, but this Cuisinart 4-Cup Stainless Steel Rice Cooker is different. With a chic square design and attractive brushed stainless-steel finish, this is one appliance you won’t feel like you have to hide in the cupboard. This rice cooker comes in 4-, 8-, and 10-cup capacities with a stainless-steel steaming basket, anodized aluminum cooking bowl, glass lid, measuring cup, and rice paddle.
The Cuisinart 4-Cup Stainless Steel Rice Cooker can be used as a rice cooker and food steamer. To operate, simply add your ingredients and press the Cook button – you don’t have to worry about deciding between multiple settings. When your rice is cooked, the device automatically switches to Warm. It features an engineered steam vent to prevent splattering and chrome-plated handles that stay cool to the touch. When you’re finished cooking, the nonstick coating makes the inner pan easy to clean.
- Attractive brushed stainless-steel finish
- Automatically switches to keep warm
- Tempered glass cover with stainless rim
- Limited to a single cook setting
- Prone to overflow if too much liquid is added
- Capacity – 4 cups uncooked
- Size – 10.7 x 10.1 x 9.9 inches
- Settings – Cook
- Accessories – stainless-steel steaming pot, measuring cup, rice spoon
The Benefits of Using a Rice Cooker
There’s no arguing the satisfaction of sitting down to a hot meal at the end of a long day, but sometimes you just don’t have the energy to spend an hour in front of the stove. If you’re looking for a simple solution to prepare a versatile, hearty dish rice is the way to go. Rice can be served plain, flavored with sauce, or topped with your favorite meat and veggies for a healthy meal.
As versatile a dish as rice is, it does take time to cook. Using the traditional stovetop method, short-grain white rice takes upwards of 30 minutes while brown rice and long-grain varieties may take even longer. Take the hassle and guesswork out of preparing rice by investing in a rice cooker. It’s a countertop appliance that steams rice to perfection at the touch of a button.
Here are some of the benefits of using a rice cooker:
- They are easy to use – add rice and water then choose the appropriate setting and walk away.
- There’s no need to stir the rice during cooking – the device simply steams until it’s done.
- Rice cookers cook rice more consistently than the stovetop method.
- Many rice cookers have a Keep Warm feature that keeps the cooked rice warm until you’re ready to eat it.
- Rice cookers come in a variety of sizes for both small and large families.
- Some rice cookers have additional settings for slow cooking, pressure cooking, sautéing, etc.
- Rice cookers can often be used to cook other grains like risotto and quinoa.
If you frequently eat rice, it may well be worth the investment to purchase a rice cooker. Not only will it save you time and effort but, depending which one you choose, you might be able to use it to replace other kitchen appliances.
The Bottom Line
All rice cookers have one thing in common – they cook rice. When it comes to choosing the right model, you have to decide what other features are important to you. The options reviewed above range from simple one-button models that only steam food to versatile multi-setting models that do everything from slow cooking and steaming to making yogurt. Whatever your preferences may be, you can’t go wrong with any of the rice cookers on this list.