The most important food in Japan is rice. It is a staple in the Japanese diet and is definitely the most important crop here. Japanese know how to cook it to perfection and make it easy to do.
Japanese Rice Cookers are designed to simplify life in the kitchen. We all know that these products are expensive, but they can be a great investment.
Most of them are multifunctional. You can cook any type of rice with ease and they tend to speed up the cooking process quite significantly.
Choosing the right one might be a daunting task and with so many top brands, you might not know where to start.
Luckily, we have done all the legwork to ensure that you have the knowledge to make the right choice and get the best possible value for money. We have included a buyer’s guide to help understand the features these cookers offer and which ones are the most important.
What is the Best Japanese Rice Cooker in January, 2019?
Before we dive a little deeper into these products, it is important to know which ones we have chosen. If you are still unsure about the right cooker, the buyer’s guide should help you make the decision.
|Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB||3 CUPS||120 V / 450 W||Stainless Steel||LCD control panel with clock and timer functions, interchangeable melody and beep signal||Check price!|
|Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT||3 CUPS||120 V / 450 W||Stainless-steel||LCD control panel, automatic and extended keep-warm setting, reheating cycle, delay timer||Check price!|
|HITACHI RZ-VS2M-N||2 CUPS||AC100 V||Iron pot||Japanese notations||Check price!|
|Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K||10 CUPS||1,080 W||Stainless steel, ceramic pot||Brown rice settings, 2 preset cooking timers||Check price!|
|TOSHIBA RC-10VRG-R||5.5 CUPS||220 V / 1100 W||Copper coat inner, titanium diamond coated||Cooking timers, keep-warm function up to 40 hours||Check price!|
|Tiger JNP-1800-FL||10 CUPS||305 W||Non-stick coating inner pot, plastic, stainless steel||Keep-warm function up to 12 hours, retractable power cord||Check price!|
|Zojirushi NP-NVC18||10 CUPS||120 V / 1,370 W||Platinum infused nonstick pan||LCD control panel with clock and delay timer, automatic keep warm||Check price!|
|Midea MB-FS5017||10 CUPS||120 V / 875 W||5 kinds of material, non-stick coating, topaz honeycomb||LCD display, 11 function settings, 24-hour Delay Timer, BPA free steamer basket||Check price!|
#1 Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB – Nice Price/Quality Ratio, the top choice for everyday use
The Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB is a well-designed, affordable product.
It is made from durable steel. It includes clear coated stainless steel exterior
Cooks around 3 cups of rice for the average family.
This is three cup Micom rice cooker and warmer feautures expanded menu of settings. Beyond rice it’s included steal cut oatmeal. And it’s small size means you cook as little as a half a cup of material.
Advanced Fuzzy Logic detects a perfect rice every time you cook it.
Triple heating meaning the bottom, sides and lid heats for even heating automated keep warm and reheating cycles as well.
Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB provide interchangeable melodies and beep signals.
Included accessories: rice spatula, spatula holder and rice measuring cup.
Design and construction
The design is a little smaller and can be placed anywhere in the kitchen. An additional retractable cord makes it easier to store. Cable is embedded, so you can take it out, retract it and then put it back in. Really nice feature to have.
The quick release opens lid up just from one touch.
This model includes heat panels on the sides, the top, and the bottom.
This enables the rice to be cooked evenly and thoroughly, while the non-stick pan will keep the rice from sticking.
Cleaning is it simple as the lid can be detached and placed aside.
It is an affordable option for those smaller families or the bachelor’s needing rice for their diets. The GABA setting will be perfect to preheating the pan and speeding up the cooking session.
If you are looking to save a few bucks and get a great cooker, this one should be the choice.
The first interesting thing about display – it’s powered on when rice cooker does not plug in. Because there is battery cell.
#2 Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT — HI-END Japanese Rice Cooker for home professionals
With a 3 cup capacity, the Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT is one of our favorites. It is durable and stylishly constructed with an easy to use.
Its capacity is 3 uncooked cup’s of rice, so it makes around 6 cups of cooked rice that should be perfect for the whole family.
The design is quite compact, meaning it should fit into any kitchen with ease.
Controls and functions
Versatility is one of the key features of this product.
It has the ability to cook all of your favorite rice types in just a couple of minutes. LCD control panel makes it easier for you to navigate the settings and choose the way you would like the rice to be cooked.
The delay timer is something that makes it stand out and this means that it can be set to have the rice cooked when you arrive home after work. Lastly, it includes an inner cooking pan and this will help the rice cook much more evenly. The entire cooker can be cleaned with ease. The detachable lid will make this much easier to do.
The price is what you would expect to see in these cookers and this one is quite Affordable for all the features it includes. We would definitely recommend it to sushi lovers and those people eating rice often. This might not be the good option if you love foreign rice blends.
#3 HITACHI RZ-VS2M – Portable/Small Rice Cooker for Sushi with Iron Pot
The HITACHI is made in Japan. It is used by many of the locals to cooking sushi rice.
It features a basic jar design. It is quite compact and easy to move around when it is hot. It takes around 3 servings of rice at the most when fully stocked.
The display system is quite simple to use. You could easily choose the right setting. It cooks rice perfectly in only a couple of minutes and the compact design does not take up too much space in your kitchen either.
Unfortunately, the price of the cooker will make it a little bit expensive. If you are serious about Japanese cuisine and preparing smaller portions, Hitachi will definitely be ideal and easy to clean.
#4 Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K – Japanesse Rice Cooker with Increased Capacity, Slow Cooker and Bread Machine
Versatility is certainly the goal with the Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K IH. It includes a slow cooker and a bread maker.
The design is quite large. It might take up a lot of space in smaller kitchens, but it works with virtually any rice you could imagine.
This is one of the most durable designs and it includes 8 layers of metal padding to keep the heat inside and to keep your foot hot.
This ensures a more thoroughly cooked serving of rice and it will cook all your meat until they fall off the bone.
The addition of an inner pan is quite handy and carrying it around after cooking is now simplified and much safer.
The large model seems quite expensive, but when looking at all of the features and the size, you will see that it is definitely worth it. We would highly recommend this as an industrial grade rice cooker that can be used in restaurants for slow cooking and sushi rice purposes.
Cooking Healthy Brown Rice with Tiger IH Rice Cooker:
#5 TOSHIBA RC-10VRG-R — High-Quality Rice Cooker, but Overpriced
Toshiba is a well-known Japanese electronic brand. They have been in the industry for quite some time.
The TOSHIBA is quite portable and compact.
It will not take up too much space in the kitchen and it is constructed from Japanese metal to ensure that the heat is kept inside.
It makes around 5.5 cups of rice and this should be perfect for the family. It includes a detachable lid that speeds up the cleaning significantly. The inner pot can be removed to serve the rice. Since the rice is perfectly cooked, you have the ability to cook any type of rice without fearing the outcome.
The general thought on the price is that of being quite affordable and since it makes enough rice for the entire family, it can be used in smaller sushi shops to speeding up the rice cooking process. We would definitely recommend this one for the compact designed and the quality that is always ensured when purchasing Toshiba products.
#6 Tiger JNP-1800-FL – Budget Pick
The Tiger JNP-1800-FL is an cheap alternative, made for the average income household.
It features a metal design that will keep the heat insulted inside and keep-warm function will ensure that your rice can stay warm up to 12 hours when you are at work during the day.
A non-stick pan has been placed inside and this is where the rice will be cooked.
The sloe cooking design allow to use it as a slow cooker if you are looking to cook the meat and the removable steam vent is easy to clean. It has been designed in the form of a jar and this makes it easier to clean and pick up when moving to the table.
Tiger JNP-1800 is one of the cheapest on the market and while it is not the best, it can still cook up to 10 cups of rice. We would definitely recommend this for large family reunions and small startup sushi companies.
#7 Zojirushi NP-NVC18 – Japanese Rice Cooker with Pressure Cooker 2 in 1
Next, we have the Zojirushi NP-NVC18 and this 2-in-1 combo is designed to simplify your life when it comes to cooking those after work dinners.
It is designed from durable stainless steel and keeps the heat perfectly inside.
It can be used for virtually any type of rice, offering great versatility.
A steam reducing setting has been incorporated and this will reduce the amount of steam that is produced.
The LCD display makes it much easier to navigate the settings; while the delay timer helps, you have the food warm or ready once you reach home.
This model is quite expensive, but when looking at all of the features, it does not seem as expensive. This is definitely one of the best rice cookers on the market and we would highly recommend it to rice lovers, business serving tons of rice during the day.
#8 Midea Mb-fs5017 – Budget Pick #2
Last but certainly not least, we have the Midea Mb-fs5017. This is definitely the budget cooker on the market.
It includes multiple different functions and great versatility. It is quite small and only features a 5l capacity, which means that you will not be able to cook a ton of rice for the entire family.
The control panel features 11 different setting. It enables to cook entire dishes in this one cooker and saving a little on the dishes.
A 24-hour delay timer has been included and this makes life easier when you are coming back from work.
Since the lid is detachable, it makes the cleaning process that much easier.
We would recommend this product to new couples just buying their first house. It will be perfect for two people cooking and the cooker can save you some time and effort on doing the dishes. It is the perfect thing for college students who love cooking.
17 Tips You Need to Know Before Buy
The Japanese Rice cooker is specifically designed to cook rice and while cooking it in the pot is fine for normal rice, you might not be able to do this correctly with specialty rice. The rice cooker offersa the ability to cook these specific types of rice without any hassles.
They cook the rice a little more evenly and this eliminates the reason for having overcooked/undercooked rice.
Multiple functions are included in many of the designs and they can be used as slow cookers as well. With this versatility, you could cook an entire meal in one session and save a lot of time on doing the dishes and cleaning up. These cookers can be seen as an expensive way to cook your food much faster and better.
The Four Types of Japanese Rice Cookers
There are 4 different types. Each of these will have its benefits and reasons why they are effective. Here is the short breakdown of these cookers:
- Electric Rice Cookers with removable lids. These are the older models and they are extremely popular in other countries around the world. However, they are not available in Japan anymore and these cookers only have one setting. They are the most affordable and should not cost you more than $50.
- Electric Rice Cookers with microcontrollers. As the cheapest modern version, this is the cooker will find in most shops. It uses the same method of cooking the rice but includes additional features like warming it up. These cookers have timers and will be good choice for the new chefs to start out with.
- Electrical IH (Induction Heat) Rice Cookers. With a modern design, this rice cooker is a little more expensive. It is the most famous Rice Cooker found in Japan. It heats up the entire pan and this ensures that the rice is cooked evenly. It gives the rice that tasty and fluffy texture.
- Electrical IH Pressure Rice Cookers. The Electrical IH Pressure Rice Cookers are the most advanced models. They include LCD display systems and multiple different rice features. These cookers will speed up the cooking time and the rice will be cooked perfectly. However, they are the most expensive rice cookers on the market today.
These 4 rice cooker models will essentially do the same thing and cook your rice. While we would recommend the final three models for the new innovations in technology, the good one will come down to your budget.
Key Features to Consider
These cookers are rather expensive and they tend to be quite intricate. This makes it all the more important for you to buy the right one that will not only fit your budget but also include all the features that you need. Luckily, we have done the legwork to find out exactly which features are the most important.
The inner bowl quality will have a major effect on the quality of your rice. The more insulated the bowl, the better it will retain the heat and regulate it. This means that every portion will be thoroughly cooked and you will never have to fear someone eating an undercooked portion of rice. The quality of the outer bowl influences the texture of the rice.
We highly recommend looking for a good Japanese steel inner bowl. Thicker stainless steel will be great for insulting the heat, but it does not conduct the heat as well.
How to properly wash rice look at the video:
The bowl capacity is one of the first features you look at when looking at the size. The larger models will be more expensive, they can cook double the amount of rice in one serving. If you are living on your own or you are only 2 people, there is no use in buying a bigger model unless you are entertaining guest quite often.
It is worth mentioning that the size of the rice cookers is measured in Japanese cups. They use uncooked rice and this means that one cup will be quite a lot of servings.
Different heating methods are used for different types of rice. These methods will be more advanced in the more expensive models and they are used to cook all these foreign rice types. Japanese rice cookers are generally designed for cooking normal and Japanese rice, it might not be the best option for cooking other rice types.
You should consider the rice you will be cooking most frequently and this should be the one you stick with when making your decision.
Different metals are generally used to keep the heat out and ensure that the exterior stays cool. This will be affected by the quality of the interior and should this be weak, the heat will spill over to the exterior.
Which Brand of Rice Cooker Choose?
With multiple different quality brands to choose from, you might be daunted to go for a cheaper model. The cheaper models are perfect for training and infrequent use. When you are cooking at a high scale, the better brand will be better and much more durable.
We recommend sticking with the Japanese brands and the Zojirushi is known for creating quality Rice Cookers. The only downside is the fact that they are based in Japan and you might occasionally need a converter for the power supply to work in your country.
Lastly, you should invest some time in the features and have the right features are fundamental. The cooker should have a keep-warm function as this will keep the food warm until you are done with work. Secondly, the timer is fundamentally important as well. It allows you to set cooking times and having everything ready on time.
The last thing you should look into will be the settings and versatility. If it is a multi-cooker, you could save additional money on new kitchenware and this can be used for more recipes. You should define the main reason of buying and select your features accordingly.
Why Japanese Rice Cookers Are So Expensive
Since these cookers mainly focus on cooking specialty rice, they are designed for these chefs. This cooker is seldom found in homes, but it can be a really effective way of cooking. They are made in Japan and this will cost a little extra to import.
There are top brands in the US, but many of these Japanese brands focus only on Japanese cuisine and equipment.
Are You Ready To Improve Your Rice?
Improving the taste of your rice is now in your hands and these 8 rice cookers can be your way to better rice. We would like to recommend all of them and we would like to encourage you to share your thoughts on these products if you have used them. Please let us know if you think we might have missed any of your favorite rice cookers in the comment section below.
How to Cook Rice in Japanese Rice Cooker
Before you cook the rice it is important to wash it. Most rice comes pre-washed in America that’s generally not the case in Japan.
I’ve put a cup of rice into the removable rice cooker pot and now I’ll give it a good rinse of water. Wash it by hand 10-15 seconds. Water turns cloudy those are tiny little particles that you’re washing off of the rice. Drain the water. Repeat the process. Three or four times is fine. Now that it’s rinsed off.
Use the measuring guide on the inside of the pot to figure out how much water to add.
Usually, there are three different measurements: one is for sushi mushy or sushi rice “Oh Caillou”, the second is to make rice porridge and the last one is for everything else.
Since we are using one cup of rice we fill the water up to the line with the number “one”, if we are making two cups we’d fill it up to the “two” etc.
Now put your pot inside rice cooker and it’s time to pick a cook setting.
There are several different settings and buttons and when they’re all labeled in Japanese it can seem daunting to use but once you know the basics it’s quite simple.
First these three buttons on the left. This top one is “Muhsin my” if you happen to have pre-washed rice press this button.
The middle one is the Menu button. When you press it this little black arrow moves to the different settings. Let’s talk about what they are in a minute. The third button turns on the warming setting. It will keep your cooked rice heated for several hours.
Now back to the settings of menu Button.
1) Means ordinary or usual it’s the standard setting and I usually use this one.
2) “Mochi Mochi” is a setting to use if you are planning to make mochi which is a Japanese rice cake.
3) “Shakti” means crisp for ice that’s well done.
4) This is the Express setting. It cuts several minutes off the cooking time. 5) “Taki Komi” is a fun one. It means something cooked with rice. You can put your entire meal in the rice cooker. Meat, seasoning veggies and all you want. It saves on prep time.
Then on the right, you have:
1) “Sushi mushy” for sushi ice.
2) “Oh Caillou” for porridge
3) “Okoye” is rice with red beans or perhaps another similar ingredient.
4) Brown rice
5) Brown rice activity. It’s another one that I haven’t used and I’m not quite sure what it’s for these three buttons on the right are.
This three buttons on the right side operate the delayed start timer. Using these you can set your rice cooker to have freshly made rice just as you wake up in the morning or when you get home from work.
It’s incredibly handy when everything is set how you want it.
Press the big red button and you’re done till the rice is ready your rice cooker will let you know every time it starts and when it’s finished.
Once your rice is cooked it will remain in the warming mode indicated by a red light.
If you use all the rice right away press the off button.
If you have leftovers or if you don’t get around to eating your rice for a while just leave it on. But remember the rice will begin drying out after a few hours.