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How to Choose a Rice Cooker

A rice cooker can make the process of cooking rice easier. Since rice is a staple food for many families all over the world, having a cooker to do the monitoring for you may help you enjoy this dish more often.

Many people find cooking rice on the stovetop to be intimidating.

While it isn't difficult to make rice, it does require monitoring to get the best results. Rice making units will vary in price and size. It is also very handy if you live in a dorm or studio apartment. Many of these cookers can be used not only to make rice, but to make hot cereal, soups, stews, steamed vegetables and even desserts.

Not every model can do everything, so if you want one that is more versatile, be prepared to pay a little more. Japan makes the best quality cookers, though the machines made in other countries will cost less. These cookers are a great time saver, especially if you get one of the deluxe models that can do more than just make rice. They take all the guesswork out of this process and give you perfect rice, every time.

Choose the Right Rice Cooker Size

Rice cookers measure their capacity by the cup. Small cookers may only make 3 cups of rice, while large ones may make up to 10 cups. Choose the one that is right for your family. Overfilling can cause a messy result that will ultimately ruin your cooker. It is better to have a larger cooker than one that is too small.

Use the Right Measuring Cup

All of these cookers come with their own measuring cups. Those made in Japan will have a cup that is a little smaller than what we use in the United States. They measure 200 ml instead of our 240 ml per cup. Recipes can be adjusted if necessary, but don't overfill the machine by using US cups.

Types of Rice Cookers

Simple On/Off Rice Cookers

These are the least expensive you'll find on the market. You fill the machine and turn it on. It cooks the rice and shuts itself off. If all you want is rice, you may find this machine will be adequate for your needs. These models won't come with indicator lights, steamer units or nonstick pans.

Cook and Keep Warm Cookers

This type of rice cooker will cook the rice, then reduce the heat when it is done, keeping it at a warm temperature. They only turn off if they are unplugged. They cost a little more than the on/off cookers, but don't do much more.

Electronic Cook and Keep Warm Rice Cookers

Electronic rice cookers can keep your finished rice warm for up to 12 hours. They cost more, but if you eat rice throughout the day, this can be a worthwhile purchase.

Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers

Fuzzy logic machines are very sophisticated. You'll find some very high quality fuzzy logic machines from Japan. They will have different settings for white rice, brown rice and sushi rice.

You can use them to make hot cereal or soup. They cost a lot, but if you eat a lot of rice and like your hot cereal ready in the morning, it may be worth the investment in this rice cooker. They even make rice perfectly at high elevations.

If you don't eat a lot of rice, it may not be worth the price tag.

Induction Heating Rice Cookers

Induction heating cookers are state of the art. They are very expensive, but the heating system will compensate automatically for any measuring errors you make between the rice and the liquid. Your rice will turn out perfectly every time. They also do an excellent job with sushi and brown rice.

Extra Features To Look For

Unless you like scrubbing, choose a cooker with a nonstick pan. Clear lids are also a plus so you can see what is going on during cooking. If you want to make more than just rice in your cooker, look for models that come with steaming trays for vegetables and fish.

Some models will also come with safety features like a fuse protector to prevent possible fires and an automatic cord reel that keeps the cord out of the way.

If you like different types of rice, don't buy a cooker that only makes white rice. Each type requires a different setting to cook properly. Don't buy one with a nonstick pan if you like using metal utensils.

Stainless steel rice cookers will last you a long time.


Choose a rice cooker that is easy to clean. Maintenance shouldn't be difficult. Just keep the cooking pot clean and don't dent the bottom of the pan.

Cooking Tips

Always use the same measuring cup for the water as you do for the rice. This will keep the ratio correct for perfectly cooked rice. You don't have to limit yourself to water, either. For tasty rice, use broth instead.

Where to Find Rice Cookers

You should be able to find a variety of models in cooking stores, department stores, discount stores, Asian markets and online. This should give you plenty of options for finding the model you want at a price you can afford.

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