Recommend me a rice cooker

I want to buy a good rice cooker. One with a lot of options, preferably one that will also steam vegetables.

I’d like it to cook congee, etc.

I’m looking at Zojirushis, but frankly the number of options out there is bewildering.

I would not say price is no object (I’m not interested in spending $500, and I also want to get real value if I spend a bit, so no $300 ones that really don’t do much more than $150 ones), but if it is worth it, I’m willing to spend a fair bit.

Help me Obi-Qt3. I’ve looked for threads on rice cookers, and Zojirushis come up, but not a lot of discussion of “best” models. Google search brings up the usual blend of half-baked review websites that are really referral marketing sites, along with Cook’s Illustrated articles that are five years out of date and behind paywalls in any event.

It’s rice. Why would anyone spend $500 for something that cooks rice? It’s rice. Boil it or steam it in stuff you already have. It’s rice.

I always use a simple pot. Cooking rice is one of those utterly trivial tasks that doesn’t justify a specialized gadget. And I say that as a guy who loves kitchen gadgets. About the only thing it buys you is that you can leave it unattended without worrying about burning the rice - but I never want to do that when cooking rice. I’m still in the kitchen preparing other things, and staying in th kitchen while the rice cooks is not a burden.

I don’t want to cook it in a pot. I want something that cooks beautiful, perfect brown rice. Beautiful, perfect white rice. All without my having to pay attention.

I want something where I can dump in ingredients at nine at night and wake up and have perfect congee waiting for me. Something where I can dump in ingredients and come home to find perfect brown rice waiting for me. Etc.

The pot doesn’t work for that. In any event, I’d prefer this thread not become a “do you really need a rice cooker” thread. I’d rather get recommendations here, and open a new thread of we want to discuss the utility of even buying one.

For $300 you can have a little Chinese man come to your house and cook rice for you every day for a year.

Anyway, keeping warm rice around for hours is asking for food poisoning.

If you make rice for virtually every meal, a rice cooker is just nice to have because it takes it off your mind. You can finish prep, cook other dishes, etc. More importantly for me, it frees up a burner on the stove and just give you more room to maneuver.

There are rice cookers that have timers, etc. So it wouldn’t be warm the whole night, so that isn’t really an issue.

As for recommendations, I personally never use anything beyond standard “cook rice”, so I use the most basic one-button rice cooker. My only advice is to make sure whatever you buy has a non-stick surface, which is usually covered as long as you don’t buy the super cheapy Rival or other off-brand. Usually any Japanese brand will be fine.

We have a Wolfgang Puck rice cooker that one of my relatives gave as a christmas gift a few years ago, so I’m sure that means it cost less than $50. It’s fairly large (10-cup), but my wife uses it all the time to cook rice and it seems to do the job well enough. I use it from time to time to steam veggies, and my only complaint about that is the steam basket is white plastic, with about a dozen dime-sized holes which lets small pieces fall though. Also, the first time I steamed carrots in it, it became permanently orange. Seems fine otherwise, though, and the steam basket doubles as a splatter shield for the microwave.

Zojirushi or Tiger.

Fuzzy logic!

That is pretty much it. They are both good brands (and also consider Panasonic/National) Just choose the one that has the features that you need.

I have large capacity Zojirushi for cooking large amounts of rice for parties. I have a smaller Panasonic (with fuzy logic!) which has setting for rice and congee but no separate setting for brown rice (which is okay because I rarely ever cook brown rice). It also has timer setting to have the rice or congee prepared some time later; you set how many hours later you want the rice ready and it will start the cooking to meet that time.

You can get induction heating and pressure cooking style rice cookers at a higher cost. I’ve not really looked into that but both drive the price up and it doesn’t really seem like something that is necessary.

I have this Zojirushi rice cooker from heaven for around 5 years now. I had a budget rice cooker before, which is a simple 1 button white rice cooker. Here’s what features the Zoji adds:
[ul][li]non-stick pot (essential if you want to keep rice warm for hours) []control rice hardness/softness []cook brown rice, sushi rice, congee []clock and delay start []reheat []retractable AC cord []makes the best white rice I’ve ever tasted! Normal jasmine rice comes out individually, like rice pilaf, instead of mushy slightly overcooked like all other cheap rice cookers I’ve used before.[/ul]
[/li]Here’s what features are missing from the Zoji:
[ul][li]cannot steam a separate dish over rice []separate water runoff basket collector from the lid []the clock battery dies after 5 years and is not replaceable (so Japanese…“who keeps appliances/electronics more than 5 years!”)[/ul]
[/li]It’s easy and cheaper to cook rice yourself in a pot, but you must take the rice off the heat when it’s done. Otherwise the rice will burn and stick to the pot.

Kaofloppy is not crazy. I eat rice every day.

The cheapo rice cookers are ok, but the Fuzzy logic ones make normal thailand “fragant” rice come out more like Korean/Japanese rice. I don’t know what you call it, but Korean/Japanese rice is higher quality and tastes better.

If you eat rice daily you want one. I don’t have a dishwasher or garbage compactor but I consider a rice cooker essential.

To be honest thought I’ve never made congee in the rice pot. You can cook some bits of meat/veggies inside it if it’s big thought. what you do is buy one of these metal legged stands. You place the bowl with goodies on top of this. The food will be steamed.

Alright, just bought this:

Zojirushi

Thanks for the help.

Cool, it’s the sequel to my model. You’ll have to tell us what this new “Cake” mode is about. Also, is that a steamer stand in the package?!?

On my model, the manual stated that steaming food inside the cooker is not recommended. I also don’t want to scratch up the non-stick coating with a metal stand.

One thing I forgot to mention is that it takes around 50 mins to cook white (jasmine) rice in the rice cooker, but about 20 mins on stovetop.

Congee done using the rice cooker is thick, not runny. You can pick up a clump of it using chopsticks. It’s not complete mush, nor is it soupy.

Yes. That’s why I got this. It is a model with a steamer basket, so it is intentionally supposed to allow steaming for vegetables and such.

I noticed that a lot of people were upset with how long it takes to cook the rice, but that will not be a problem for us. The additional time required to cook will be far offset by not having to actually watch it cook.

The cake mode supposedly makes cake. I know that it sounds odd. One of the comments said that they made a cheesecake that did not taste like a traditional cheesecake, but it tasted very good in its own way. I too am curious to try it.

Have you ever had Malay Cake (Ma La Gau) at a Dim Sum restaurant? That’s a steamed cake. They’re good, although the texture is quite different from a baked cake.

I’ve never made it in a rice cooker, although I’ve made a very similar steamed cake in the microwave. Which was more neat than good, but surprisingly edible.

I cook rice several times a week in our rice cooker. It’s a Breville, 9 years old now and still works perfectly, although there’s not a lot that can go wrong with them (my mum has a Sunbeam she bought in Hong Kong nearly 20 years ago which still gets weekly use). We use it nearly exclusively for brown rice, and risottos. Ah yes, risottos! These have become a regular fixture now and they’re much easier in the rice cooker. As someone who has done their time with pan risotto, I can confidently say the taste is no different, only it’s much simpler to prepare (just make sure you use the right rice). Also, brown rice works just fine, it just needs a lot more water (approx. 1.5 times as much) and takes longer to cook. Much tastier and healthier than white.

I eat rice all the freakin’ time, yeah I’m half japanese. I have a 5 cupper that I’ve had for years, a simpler Zojirushi without the LED readout, etc. You will be happy with it for sure.

Yeah, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, which is unusual for me. But I have successfully been eating healthier (just to do it, not for any other purpose) for awhile now. Discovered brown rice - tastes great, and apparently so much better for you than white rice.

Though I won’t give up my occasional bowl of white rice, warm milk, cinnamon, and raisins. :)

I wouldn’t mind spending money on a rice cooker if it were good, but I can’t really justify the counter space for one.

For me, there’s no real improvement in terms of ease of use, since you still need to do the “hard” part… which is measuring rice and water amounts.

Once the stuff is measured and in the pot, there’s not really much left to do to produce perfect rice. Heat pot till it starts to boil, turn off heat, leave alone. Done.

That still requires you to pay attention to when it boils, and to time the “leave alone” portion. A rice cooker allows you to ignore it after it gets going. And it may not be important to you, but there are useful functions on models aboce the basic one-button ones which allow for timed cooking. Rice can be reasdy when you get home from work. Microwave some leftovers and you have a quick and easy meal. Or congee ready for you when you wake up in the morning.