Top 7 Best Japanese Rice Cooker Reviews
Cooking rice is a no-brainer task. Simply place a cup of rice in your rice cooker, add water, turn the cooker on, and voila! You have a serving of carbs! If cooking rice is that simple, why would one even consider buying the best Japanese Rice Cooker?
What is Japanese rice cooker and why choose it?
A lot of us grew up using the all-too-common, cheap rice cooker available at any grocery store. They can surely do the task quite well but they don’t compare to the pricier, high-quality Japanese rice cookers.
Japanese Rice Cookers are not like your regular rice cookers. These multi-functional cookers can make your life in the kitchen simpler and proves to be a great investment. They can be used for cooking different types of rice varieties as well as different recipes with ease. They are also made under stringent Japanese standards, so expect them to perform better and be more durable than your usual rice cooker.
At first glance, you might easily notice that these Japanese Rice Cookers have a pricey tag. Well, I hope that doesn’t discourage you from considering this kitchen essential because they have a lot of surprising features and capabilities that no regular rice cooker can do. Along with the higher price of this rice cooker is the guarantee that you’ll get your money’s worth.
How to choose a rice cooker?
Now that you’re convinced about the advantages of using Japanese Rice Cooker over the regular brands, it’s time to choose the best models.
Picking the right Japanese Rice Cooker can be a daunting task especially if you have grown accustomed with the cheap rice cookers. But don’t worry as we’ve come up with this list of features to look into when comparing different brands and models.
- Capacity – Know how many cups the rice cooker can handle. Consider how many you will most likely need. Rice cookers range from a half-cup to 10-cups capacity. Don’t forget the manufacturer’s standard cup measurement in terms of ounces as there can be differences.
- Warmer function – Rice is best eaten while still warm, so make sure you check if the Japanese Rice Cooker has keep warm function. Some models offer extended keep-warm features that keeps the rice perfectly warm while idle.
- Size and weight – If you live in a smaller living space, the dimensions of the rice cooker is important. Of course, your priority should still be the capacity of the cooker as it should be able to cook the right servings. Portability is another consideration. Some prefer rice cookers that weigh less and are easy to move around. Take note that the weight of the rice cooker may be reflective of the materials used in it – and also its durability. For instance, those that are made in thick stainless steel may be a bit heavier than those that are not. Make sure you consider which one is your topmost priority before making that final decision.
- Watts – How fast a rice cooker can cook depends on its wattage. Usually, the larger rice cookers will get a higher wattage. It would also be good to check the energy efficiency rating of the cooker. There are rice cooker models that are equipped with auto shut-off feature that helps you save on energy when the unit is not in use.
- Added cooking settings – Extra features that allow you to change the heating and cooking process for special recipes are most welcome. Some Japanese Rice Cookers are capable of cooking different rice varieties as well as grains such as quinoa. Others can even be used for steaming or making a cake. There are also pricier models that allow extended cooking. You can pre-program the rice cooker so that the rice is soaked in water for certain period of time before it cooks. Others can even warm your rice for days.
7 Great Japanese Rice Cookers
Let’s check out some quality Japanese Rice Cookers based on our list of features.
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter
Coming from an Japanese international manufacturer of consumer electronics, the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Japanese Rice Cooker offers very straightforward functions with its easy-to-use buttons. It comes with essential rice cooker features: cook, warm and timer, plus a re-heat feature. You can even keep your rice warm for a very long time with this Japanese Rice Cooker.
Powered by a 680-watt heating element, inside this rice cooker is a non-stick inner pan that allows great cooking and easy cleaning. But what really makes it easy to clean is its detachable inner lid. Its makers sure know rice can be a pretty mess, so they added a mount for rice paddle on its side.
Although it is mostly good, it does have some cons such as the rather complicated user manual and the loud alarm at the end of the timer. Also, the timer doesn’t show up until the last 10 minutes.Buy from Amazon
One of its best features is its umami setting that allows you to cook the traditional way. With this setting, the rice is soaked and steamed for an extended time giving you perfectly cooked rice.
Some who prefer that scorched rice taste, this rice cooker has that feature. You can intentionally scorch the rice for a flavorful taste and crispy finish.
Some things that aren’t nice with this Zojirushi cooker are its rather pricy tag and the military time setting that can cause confusion to unfamiliar users. Some users also point out that the lithium battery that powers the clock cannot be manually changed.Buy from Amazon
If you want your Japanese cooker to be sleek and sporting a contemporary design, check out Tiger JAC-T18U. Designed to cook large servings, this rice cooker has a 10-cup capacity. It gets a 4-in-1 functions and 10 cooking menu settings that you will make cooking in your kitchen easier.
This stainless rice cooker is capable of slow cooking, steaming and even synchronized cooking that will surely help save you time in the kitchen. But what really gets great reviews from users is its user-friendly and automatic cooking function. Moreover, its cooking plate and pans guarantee that the flavor, texture and taste of your rice remain great!
Don’t worry about cleaning as its plates and lids are easy to remove and cleanup. It’s also energy efficient with just 641-watts running it.Buy from Amazon
An improvement from its previous models, one of the first things you will love with this Zojirushi rice cooker is that it lets you choose and change the alarm sound. This also has a display that shows the time elapsed (that’s not like other models that only show the last 10 minutes).
Other great things about this model are: easy to clean, very durable and cooks evenly. It can also keep your rice warm for an extended time without the other cover getting unduly hot.
Just like other models, this one has downsides too. For instance, the quick cook setting is not really that quick (taking around an hour to cook). Setting it up is also a little tedious, plus the price is heavy on the pocket.Buy from Amazon
Perfect for people living alone or with a very small family, the Panasonic SR-3NA rice cooker can cook up to 3 cups of rice. It produces just fluffy rice in just a short time. Don’t get fooled by its small size as it can actually do more than just cooking rice. It can also be used for other recipes.
If you are in search for something portable to share around, make sure you check on this model. As to the controls, you don’t ever have to worry as this unit only has one button control.
The automatic shut-off guarantees that the rice is cooked to perfection at the same time saves on energy consumption. Of course, the downside with this very small rice cooker is that it can be used when cooking larger servings of rice.Buy from Amazon
If you are feeding a large family, then the Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB surely fits the bill. With its stainless steel exterior, you are guaranteed of the quality of this Japanese Rice Cooker. It gets an easy to use digital control and intuitive controls for choosing specialized cooking functions. Some of its added features include the keep-warm, programmable steam and extended delay timer for slow cooking.
Steam your vegetables and meats while cooking rice as this comes with steam tray. Worry not about after-use as this is also very easy to clean due to its non-stick inner cooking pot. All accessories of this rice cooker can also be washed in the standard dishwasher.
But be advised that this model has some cons such as reports from other users of scorching. Perhaps, this is due to the keep warm function being a little hotter than expected. Also, the lid is fixed and thus cannot be removed for better cleaning.Buy from Amazon
Try cooking rice the traditional way with the Japanese Style Donabe Rice Cooker. Very stylish and authentic-looking, this Asian earthen pot comes with artisan-made look and natural undertones that give you that genuine Oriental feel. It makes a good piece in your table while dining.
But while it is intended for cooking rice, you can also do other functions with this Japanese Rice Cooker. You can braise, stew, steam and do other recipes with just this cooker. It is relatively small in size and capable of serving up to 4 people. But the best thing is that it is guaranteed durable.
The cons about this rice cooker mentioned by users are that it is very small. If some guests unexpectedly come, you may need to do several cooking. Also, it doesn’t come with a friendly user manual so be ready to learn it yourself. Some have found it a hit-and-miss when cooking your first time. Others even reported burning or scorching the lower layers.Buy from Amazon
If you are someone who loves rice as a source of carbs, you pretty much know how important it is that you cook the rice properly. If cooked improperly, rice can turn into an unpalatable food. You’ll be finding yourself munching on sticky or sometimes mushy or even scorched or burnt rice.
Make sure that you’re cooking your rice the way it should be by using the right Japanese Rice Cooker. Hopefully, with our guide, you can find the one that best suits your rice-cooking needs!