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.
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.
That being said, here are the TOP 7 of Japanese rice cookers you will find on the market in 2020:
7 Best Japanese Rice Cookers (as of February, 2020 ):
1. Zojirushi NP-GBC05XT Japanese Rice Cooker – Best Choice Review
Zojirushi NP-GBC05XT rice cooker is the best choice for a reason.
This item has many great features, from its 3-cup capacity to its multiple cooking settings, this rice cooker will give you the perfectly cooked rice you have been looking for.
And for under $230, it won’t break the bank.
Induction Heating Technology
This rice cooker comes with induction heating technology that helps keep your rice from being over, or undercooked. With 700 watts of power, you will get perfectly cooked rice with every use.
Multiple Cooking Settings
This Zojirushi rice cooker has multiple cooking settings that allow you to choose the one that will work for the dish that you’re making.
This rice cooker allows for up to 3 cups of rice to be cooked at one time so that you can make a large amount.
This product comes with a measuring cup to help portion the rice when adding it to the cooker so that you get the right amount each time. This measurement is with short-grain white rice, and it may be a little bit less with other grains.
Comes with Accessories
This rice cooker includes all accessories in the purchase price. This cooker comes with a rice spatula, a spatula holder, measuring cups, and a detachable steel inner lid.
The inner lid is made from stainless steel and is machine washable for easy cleanup.
Easy To Use Controls
This rice cooker is user-friendly with its easy to use controls that allow you too turn on the unit and choose your settings with the touch of a button.
Once you select your setting, the cooking light will turn on so that you know that the process has started.
The digital display will allow you to check the time so that you know when the rice will be done cooking and be ready to serve.
Keep Warm Option
If you are cooking for a large gathering, you may not serve the rice right away.
So, this rice cooker comes with a convenient keep warm option that will keep your rice at a serving temperature so that it will be ready whenever you and your guests sit down to eat.
Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-GBC05:
2. Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 Japanese Rice Cooker – Best Value Choice Review
Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 rice cooker is a great option for those looking to cook for large families or gatherings where you will have lots of guests.
With the 10-cup capacity, this product allows you to cook a lot of rice at one time and with the multiple setting options and included accessories, this model is a steal for the price.
Comes with Accessories
This Zojirushi rice cooker model comes with all the accessories that you will need for cooking included in the price of purchase. This product comes with 2 measuring cups, a non-stick rice scooper, a rice scooper holder, and a recipe book.
This rice cooker also comes with an LCD clock and timer and a cord that is fully retractable so that you can keep it out of view when not in use.
Multiple Cooking Settings
This Zojirushi rice cooker has a variety of different cooking options to choose from so that you can customize it for your specific dish. These settings include an automatic keep warm, extended keep warm, and reheating cycles.
There are also settings for sushi, white rice, brown rice, porridge, and a quick-cooking setting as well.
This rice cooker comes with a large capacity of 10 cups of rice in total.
This should be measured only with the measuring cups included for the best fit, and this feature allows you to cook for large groups at one time without having to take the time to cook the rice on the stove.
This allows you to focus on other menu items while the rice is cooking.
This rice cooker is simple to use and makes choosing the different cooking settings very simple.
With just the press of a button, you can select your menu item setting and the cooking light will let you know that the process has started.
There is also an LCD display that will tell you how much longer the rice has to cook before it will be ready to serve so that you can stay on track.
Comes with a 1-Year Warranty
This rice cooker is covered by a limited 1-year warranty that covers any damage that is due to a manufacturer’s defect or malfunction.
This gives you added assurance when purchasing this product and allows you to feel confident that your product will last, or you will get it repaired or replaced at no cost to you.
It should be noted that the inner pot is not covered by warranty and may need to be replaced.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy® Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-ZCC10/18:
3. Zojirushi NS-LGC05XB Japanese Rice Cooker – Nice Price/Quality Ratio, the Top Choice Review
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.
You can also choose programs for cooking brown rice, white rice, sushi rice and oatmeal. And every time the dish turns out perfect. You can use the measuring cup that measures slightly under a traditional cup size.
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.
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. If you chose this rice cooker, then be also prepared for rice to cook longer than usual. Cooking brown rice takes about an hour and twenty minutes. But according to many users, this rice is very delicate in taste.
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.
5. HITACHI RZ-VS2M-N Portable Japanes Rice Cooker — for Sushi with Iron Pot Review
HITACHI RZ-VS2M-N 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.
6. Zojirushi NP-NVC18 – Japanese Rice Cooker with Pressure Cooker 2 in 1 Review
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 has 1.8 liters sizes which perfect for little families. You can cook between three to four cups of rice without any issue, without it overflowing or having any hate problems.
Its stainless steel with some kind of easy wipe coating. Inside the rice cooker there is a stainless steel lid that you can easily unfasten to clean.
It has great little markings depending upon what kind of rice you`re doing. It basically tells you where you must fill your water for the rice level.
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 rice cooker perfectly cooks, like the Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K model.
This is possible due to the same technology IH. This means induction heating. This allows the rice cooker to evenly distribute heat during cooking. And also ready rice retains heat for a long time without losing the quality of taste.
Time of rice cooking
This rice cooker takes a little bit longer to cook. This is especially true for brown and unpolished rice. But this time spent is worth the result. You can cook sweet and fragrant rice in this rice cooker.
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.
7. Midea Mb-fs5017 – Budget Pick #2 Review
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.
Best Japanese Rice Cookers in 2018
1. Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K – Japanesse Rice Cooker with Increased Capacity, Slow Cooker and Bread Machine Review
Versatility is certainly the goal with the Tiger Corporation JKT-S18U-K. 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 IH feature
This rice cooker effectively cooks. This is possible thanks to the technology IH. IH or induction heating is a technologically advanced heating method that creates precise and instantaneous heat.
This method causes the inner pot of your rice cooker to become hot extremely quickly distributing focused heat at optimal level. And it has automatic adjustments of heat to ensure proper temperatures for each of the program cooking presets.
How does IH work?
Coils covered by the inner casing of the rice cooker create a magnetic field. During the cooking process the magnetically charged cooking pot and the internal heating element communicate with each other and deliver ever exact and lightning-fast team.
With an IH the rice cooker the inner cooking pot becomes the heating element.
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:
2. TOSHIBA RC-10VRG-R — High-Quality Rice Cooker, but Overpriced Review
The TOSHIBA RC-10VRG-R 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.
3. Tiger JNP-1800-FL – Budget Pick Review
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.
This rice cooker is made in Japan and its instruction is also in Japanese. Therefore, we want to remind that this device prepares only white rice. There is no additional functions.
The device has only one power button. It automatically shuts off when the dish is ready.
But if you like brown or unpolished rice, you can try cooking it too. Brown rice has a fluffy texture after cooking.
The advantage is that rice is still warm for a long time. But we do not recommend leaving it in a rice cooker for more than six hours. Because, rice loses its taste.
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.
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.
Easy to use
As you have already noticed, rice cookers of different brands have different settings and number of functions. There are rice cookers that allow you to cook only rice. There are models in which you can cook additionally oatmeal or bread, like a Tiger corporation model.
If ease of use of rice cooker matters to you, then pay attention to the Tiger JNP-1800-FL model. It has only one power button. And this is enough to get delicious rice. But if you cook different rice, like sushi, Japanese rice, then other models with a large set of presets for you.
Easy to clean
The importance of easy cleaning is of particular importance if you have limited time for cooking. Pay attention to special coatings that are enough to wipe to keep the rice cooker clean.
It is also very good when there is an opportunity to fasten the inner lid of the rice cooker. It must be cleaned from time to time. So you will be sure that the remains of food will not give an unpleasant smell when you next use the device.
All rice cookers have a non-stick coating inside. To prevent food from burning, clean the bowl with mild, non-abrasive detergents. It is better if it will be organic detergents. So you protect yourself from possible contact with chemicals that are poorly washed out. Try not to scratch the bowl. Use soft wipes to remove dirt, stains or residue.
How to clean rice cooker?
Remember that cleaning the rice cooker bowl after each cooking will prolong its work. Allow time to cool the bowl. Clean it of food debris with a mild organic cleanser and a soft sponge. If you do not have time to clean the bowl, just fill it with warm water. And wash it when it’s time.
Do not leave the bowl dirty. Dried food is stuck on the surface of the non-stick coating and spoils it. In addition to the bowl, you need to wash the lid and the inside of the heating element.
If the lid is removable, rinse it under running water. If not, wipe the rest of the oil and water with a damp cloth.
Wipe the heating element with a damp cloth. Wait until it dries and then put a clean bowl. Make sure the rice cooker is unplugged.
Check the water collector. This is under the lid attachment on the outside of the rice cooker.
When to clean rice cooker?
To keep the rice cooker clean all the time, you have to clean it completely once a week. Where to repair rice cooker? Pour out excess water.
Famous models of rice cookers are made in Japan. Before purchasing such a device, ask about the availability of replaceable parts. You must be sure that you can change the bowl or inner lid if necessary.
Also, find out about the availability of adapters to connect it to your home outlet. Because when buying Japanese rice cookers, adapters are not included in the package.
Where to replace replaceable parts?
In the rice cooker there are four parts that you can replace. Bowl, removable lid, water tank, and cord. All these parts are easy to install at home. But if you have more serious damage, contact the service center for the repair of household appliances.
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.
Use as not intended
Many people are adventurous and manage to use a rice cooker for its not intended. We do not recommend this. But you can know about it.
How to use rice cooker aroma?
Yes, the rice cooker can work as an aroma diffuser. Pour enough water into it. Add a couple of drops of essential oil. Set the program and the timer to boil the water. And aromatherapy is ready. In my opinion this is not the best use of rice cookers. The aroma of the oil remains in the bowl and the next portion of rice will have this smell.
Can rice cooker steam vegetables?
Vegetables are not rice. But you can cook it with steam. To do this, you need to buy a plastic bowl for steaming.
Can rice cooker be used for frying?
Even if you do not have a special function for frying, you can fry in a bowl. But you will need to pick a program and constantly stir the dish so that it does not burn. Use enough oil. After cooking, wash the bowl well.
Can rice cooker be used to heat food?
This is possible, but not for all food. Some rice cookers have the function of heating and cooking soups. This means that you can warm up liquid food, porridge, rice. If we talk about cheeseburger, then this is unlikely.
Can a rice cooker to heat water?
Directly rice cooker is not intended for boiling water. As a rule, there is an electric kettle in our homes. But if the kettle broke, for example, the rice cooker can temporarily replace the kettle. Simply select a program with a maximum heating temperature.
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.