Quick tips on buying the best rice cooker for your needs
What size of rice cooker is best?
A single portion of rice ranges from 1/2 to 1 cup. So, if you are a single person or a couple you don’t need a huge rice cooker unless you are the social type who regularly has parties. Typically the smallest sizes available outside of Asia are 3 cup models. Personally I would recommend purchasing something slightly larger since you may wish to cook for friends on occasion or use your cooker for something other than rice, such as breads or rice cooker cake recipes which would necessitate a larger cooker in most cases. Most rice cookers from good manufacturers like Zojirushi rice cookers, Panasonic, Toshiba, Aroma, Tatung, etc. all do well cooking smaller amounts of rice in their larger-capacity models. Also give some consideration to countertop space issues.
How much should I spend on a rice cooker?
If you plan on using your rice regularly, it’s definitely worth spending a little more. This holds true for most any appliance in my opinion. How often will you be making rice? If it’s everyday or even once or twice a week then make sure you get a good one. You’ll save money in the long run buying a rice steamer of good quality rather than buying a cheap one and having to replace it in the near future.
Should I get a rice cooker that can cook other types of grain?
Most rice cookers will do well cooking other types of grain such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc. even if they don’t have a specific setting for it. Many people, particularly those that require a gluten free diet, use their cookers to cook grains other than rice. You may just have do a little experimentation in the beginning to get the correct ratio of water to grain.
What rice cooker features should I look for?
* Ease of use! You should be able to set it without thinking once you’ve read through the manual.
* A durable, teflon or other non-stick coated inner pot – (you may want to consider a stainless steel rice cooker due to possible concerns about teflon)
* A beeper, to tell you when the rice is ready.
* A steamer tray or basket which can be used at the same time you are cooking rice. This is very handy for cooking a variety of things, steaming vegetables, etc.
* Keep-warm feature – though I generally turn this off once the rice is done.
Do I even need a rice cooker at all?
Yes, you do. You really do.
For more information on purchasing a rice cooker check out our Rice Cooker Buying Guides Review as well as our review of the best Zojirushi Rice Cookers Under $100. You can also take a look at the many rice cookers available at Amazon.