The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer is our top pick because it offers thermal sensor technology that adjusts time and temperature for the type of rice being cooked, and it performed superbly in testing. For a budget-friendly option, the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker is a good choice, with easy-to-use functionality and cleanup.
Rice is an affordable and versatile grain with many different varieties that can be enjoyed alone, as a side dish, or as the base for recipes like grain bowls, jambalayas, stir fries, and so much more.
Although the process of cooking rice on the stovetop is fairly easy—after all, it's just water and rice, usually in a 2-to-1 ratio—it's also easy to under or overcook your rice. If you've ever scorched a pan of rice or wondered why your rice is overly soft and mushy, you've realized cooking a pot of rice requires precise timing and supervision.
Rice cookers allow you to make a pot of perfectly textured, fluffy rice without any guesswork or babysitting. Most models can also be used to cook other grains, such as oats, quinoa, or polenta, and you can even use a rice cooker to make a no-stir risotto. Before buying, you'll want to consider a rice cooker's capacity and cooking functions for how much rice you eat and which types of rice you eat most often.
Here are our top rice cooker picks.
Best Overall: Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
Built-in retractable power cord
Cooks a variety of grains
Detachable inner lid
Not the fastest rice cooker
Timer doesn't display total time
Inner handles get hot
Who else recommends it? Wirecutter and CNET both picked the Zojirushi Rice Cooker.
What do buyers say? 89% of 8,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
Zojirushi makes some of the best-selling and most loved rice makers. This model takes our top pick because it's compact and has computer chip technology to turn out perfectly cooked pots of rice. The Neuro Fuzzy line has two different capacities available: the 5.5-cup and the 10-cup model which is ideal for frequent entertaining and big families. Our review focused on the 5.5-cup model.
This technology, called "fuzzy logic," assess the cooker's temperature via a thermal sensor built into the bottom of the unit. The machine then makes adjustments to the cooking time and temperature according to the cooking requirements for the type of rice you selected.
You can choose between regular white rice, sushi rice, mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, and brown rice settings. There are also settings for cooking rice without pre-rinsing, quick cooking, and options for softer and harder grains of white rice. Our tester did note that "a little planning goes a long way with this rice cooker. It took a whopping hour and 30 minutes to cook 2 cups of brown rice with the brown rice setting." Even with the longer cook time, the perfect results made it worth the wait.
The nonstick cooking pot has measurement markings on the inside so you can quickly eyeball how much water to add for different types of rice. The pot also has stay-cool handles so you can transfer a hot batch of rice to the table. Other noteworthy features include a removable inner lid for easier deep cleaning, carrying handle, retractable cord, LCD timer, and the inclusion of two measuring cups, a rice scooper, and spoon holder.
This 5.5-cup cooker makes up to 10 cups of cooked rice.
Price at time of publish: $231
Uncooked Capacity: 5.5 cups | Cooked Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 10.13 x 13 x 8.13 inches | Weight: 6.4 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 48 to 55 minutes | Power Rating: 680 watts
"From half a cup of medium-grain white rice to about 5.5 cups of long-grain white rice, the appliance produced perfectly cooked rice every time." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer
Cooks rice perfectly
Can cook several types of rice
Large countertop footprint
This rice cooker uses induction cooking that heats the bottom, sides, and lid of the pan and can make precise adjustments to the cooking temperature to make perfect rice, no matter what variety you're cooking, every time. It can make up to 5.5 cups of uncooked rice at a time and has settings for white rice (regular, softer, or harder), jasmine white rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, porridge, sweet rice, brown rice, GABA brown rice, and quick-cooking.
Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka, owner of Philadelphia-based sushi restaurant Zama, recommends Zojirushi rice cookers, which he grew up with in Japan and still uses in both his restaurant and home today. He says, "The best thing about the Zojirushi induction cooker is the way it brings the boiling temperature up so quickly and evenly. It cooks the rice from both sides and top to bottom."
In our product testing, our reviewer was able to turn out an "absolutely perfect" 0.5-cup each of white and brown rice, with no gumminess or clumping, after following the manual instructions.
There are two keep-warm settings, one for holding rice for a short time when dinner might be delayed, and another for keeping the rice warm for longer than eight hours. The extended keep-warm uses a slightly lower temperature to keep the rice from drying out and can hold the rice for up to 24 hours.
The cooker lets you choose between a standard beep notification, melody, or silent mode to let you know the rice is ready. The cooking pot has a nonstick coating for easy cleaning, and the cooker includes a measuring cup and rice paddle.
Price at time of publish: $348
Uncooked Capacity: 5.5 cups | Cooked Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 10 x 14 x 8 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 47 to 54 minutes | Power Rating: 1,230 watts
"The Zojirushi is simple to get the hang of, despite its technologically advanced design. Its orange LCD control panel is easy to read, and choosing the appropriate cooking setting using the Menu button is intuitive—even if you’re typically tech-averse." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
Easy to use
Accessories are dishwasher-safe
Additional settings for other grains
Cooks even small batches slowly
Warm setting can overcook rice
Our testers reviewed a previous model of this product and loved its value—this newer model has additional features at the same price point. Hamilton Beach's wallet-friendly rice cooker includes a basket for rinsing rice or for steaming foods in the cooker and has a removable nonstick cooking pot for easy cleaning. It holds up to 8 cups of cooked rice to feed a crowd. Users note that it cooks rice beautifully every time.
Operation is easy, just note that all batch sizes take 45 minutes to cook. When the rice is done, it automatically switches to a keep-warm setting—although some users reported that the warm setting overcooked the rice at the edge of the pot if left on for a while.
Besides making rice, you can cook whole grains or use the steamer basket for vegetables or fish. For easy cleaning, both the cooking bowl and steaming basket are dishwasher-safe, while the lid is removable for hand washing. A carrying handle makes it easy to move or store.
Price at time of publish: $47
Uncooked Capacity: 4 cups | Cooked Capacity: 8 cups | Dimensions: 8.25 x 9.74 x 9.88 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 45 minutes | Power Rating: 250 watts
"You’d be hard-pressed to find a rice cooker that’s easier to use." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Best Basic: Aroma Housewares 8-Cup Rice and Grain Cooker
Keep warm function
Only has white and brown settings
This best-selling rice cooker get high marks for being affordable, easy to use, and the perfect size for most households. Measuring almost 10 inches tall by 8.9 inches wide, it's got a small footprint that won't take up too much counter or cabinet space.
It has settings for cooking white and brown rice and can cook up to 8 cups of cooked rice per batch. A warming mode switches on automatically when the rice is finished cooking so your rice stays at the perfect temperature for serving.
The newest version of this cooker has an upgraded pot made of bonded granite construction for added durability, nonstick cooking, and easy dishwasher cleanup. Previously, our tester noted some chemical smell during cooking, but that issue should be fixed with the new pot.
User-friendly features include a non-stick interior for easy cleaning, a condensation collector to capture cooking steam, and a slot built into the lid to stash a spatula for scooping. It comes with a measuring cup, plastic rice spatula, and a removable steamer tray. The steamer tray can be used to steam meat, fish, tofu, or vegetables while the rice cooks so you have a complete meal with minimal work or cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $40
Uncooked Capacity: 4 cups | Cooked Capacity: 8 cups | Dimensions: 8.6 x 8.5 x 9.3 inches | Weight: 4.9 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 36 to 41 minutes | Power Rating: 450 watts
Best Smart Cooker: Panasonic 5-Cup One-Touch Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker
Detachable power cord
Keep-warm and auto-shutoff functions
No bell when rice is done
This is another smart rice cooker with a micro-computer that adjusts its power depending on how much rice is being cooked. This means the rice is cooked perfectly every time, whether you’re cooking rice for one person or for your whole family.
While the cooker is a smart model, the controls are very simple to use, with icons on the buttons for selecting white rice, brown rice, porridge, or soup, or the quick-cooking or steaming modes. It has an auto-shutoff and can keep rice warm for up to 12 hours after it has been cooked.
The cooker comes with a steaming basket, rice paddle, and measuring cup. The power cord is detachable for safety and storage, and the interior bowl has a nonstick coating for easy cleaning.
If 10 cups of cooked rice isn’t enough, there is a larger model that can make up to 20 cups of cooked rice.
Price at time of publish: $94
Uncooked Capacity: 5 cups | Cooked Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 10.2 x 13.9 x 7.8 inches | Weight: 6.6 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 38 minutes | Power Rating: 750 watts
Best Stovetop: Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Can be used on any stovetop
Easy to clean
Built-in helper handle
Requires assembly outside of the box
Sure, you can cook rice in a standard pot, but a pressure cooker does it easier and faster since pressure cookers work up to 10 times faster than normal cooking methods. Even better for your wallet and your storage space, a stovetop pressure cooker is a multi-use item that you can use every day. If you don’t pressurize the pot, you can use it just like a standard saucepan.
This has a 6-quart capacity and is made from stainless steel that’s rustproof, nonreactive, and stain-resistant. It can be used on any type of stove, including induction, and it has a helper handle to make it easy to move.
During pressure cooking, the pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically, and the cover locks securely while under pressure with a sealing ring that keeps the steam inside the cooker. For safety, an overpressure plug releases pressure if it builds up too high. The pot is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Price at time of publish: $80
Uncooked Capacity: 10 cups | Cooked Capacity: 20 cups | Dimensions: 17.31 x 9.12 x 8.75 inches | Weight: 5.32 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 5 to 8 minutes
Best Large-Capacity: Aroma Housewares 20-Cup Digital Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
Inside pot is nonstick and dishwasher-safe
Includes delay timer
Steam tray is made of plastic
If your goal is to cook a lot of rice without a lot of fuss, this 10-cup cooker can make up to 20 cups of cooked rice per batch.
There are presets for cooking white and brown rice and the cooker can also be used to slow cook or steam. A steaming tray is included and can be used at the same time rice is cooking. Place meat or veggies on the tray, and the steam from the cooking rice will cook the rest of your food for a one pot meal.
The 15-hour delay timer means you can prep your rice and cooking water in the morning and program the cooker to start cooking later in the day so that your rice is done and waiting for you when you get home.
This cooker also comes with a measuring cup and rice paddle. All removable parts, including the inner pot, can be washed in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $40
Uncooked Capacity: 10 cups | Cooked Capacity: 20 cups | Dimensions: 11.3 x 11.3 x 11 inches | Weight: 8.7 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 40 to 45 minutes | Power Rating: 860 watts
Best Microwavable: Sistema 2.6L Microwave Rice Cooker
Easy to use and clean
Can be used to steam vegetables
No sealing lid
For an easy way to cook rice that doesn’t involve yet another countertop appliance, this microwave cooker is ready to produce perfect rice in your microwave.
The cooker has an 11-cup capacity, so you can make rice for the whole family, and the steamer plus pressure chamber design produces fluffy rice every time. Locking clips hold the lid in place during cooking, while steam vents release steam without spatter. Side tabs stay cooler and make it easy to remove the cooker from the microwave when cooking is done. The cooker is made from BPA-free plastic.
Price at time of publish: $29
Uncooked Capacity: 5.5 cups | Cooked Capacity: 11 cups | Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.68 x 6.34 inches | Weight: 10.9 ounces | Time to Cook White Rice: 8-12 minutes
Best Multipurpose: Instant Brands Zest Plus 20-Cup Rice and Grain Cooker
Nonstick, easy to clean
13 settings cook different grains perfectly
Doesn't pressure cook like Instant Pots
If you don’t make rice on a daily basis, it might make sense to get an appliance that can cook more than just rice. While this Instant Pot can cook rice for sure, you can also use it for slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, and warming. The Zest lacks the pressure cooking feature that other Instant Pot products offer, which may be ideal for cooks who don't want to pressure cook but want all the other features.
It's available in 8-cup, 20-cup, or 20-cup Plus models. The 20-cup Plus stands out because it has 13 preset cooking functions to perfectly cook every grain you can think of, from white and brown rice to couscous, oats, risotto, and more. It includes a steamer basket, rice measuring cup, and rice spoon.
Price at time of publish: $60
Uncooked Capacity: 10 cups | Cooked Capacity: 20 cups | Dimensions: 11.3 x 11.26 x 11.42 inches | Weight: 6.61 pounds | Time to Cook White Rice: 25 to 60 minutes | Power Rating: 860 watts
What to Look for in a Rice Cooker
A rice cooker's capacity is usually measured in the number of cups of uncooked rice it can hold, and most types of rice expand to double that amount when cooked.
Many rice cookers come with presets for different types of rice, as well as ones that include adjustments for making your rice softer or firmer than usual. Basic cookers, on the other hand, might just have an on/off toggle with no additional settings.
Besides being able to cook different types of rice, some units venture beyond grains and can be used as slow cookers or steamers for vegetables or fish. If you don’t cook rice regularly, those extra features might make a rice cooker more useful more often.
How do you use a rice cooker?
Making rice in a rice cooker is as easy as measuring your uncooked rice, rinsing your rice until it runs clear, measuring cooking water, placing your rice and water in the rice cooker, adding any additional seasonings you like, and setting the rice cooker according to the type of rice or grain you're cooking.
The exact instructions for your rice cooker will be included in the user manual. You should read over the instructions so you know exactly how to get perfectly cooked rice in your cooker.
Can you cook quinoa in a rice cooker?
Yes, you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker. Consult the cooker manual for recommended grain to liquid ratios for best results.
What else can you make in a rice cooker?
Most grains can be cooked in a rice cooker including barley, farro, grits, quinoa, and oats. Some rice cookers include steaming inserts that can be used to steam vegetables, meat, or fish.
There are also recipes for cakes and egg dishes that are cooked in a rice cooker. Some home cooks even use rice cookers to steam-cook hard-boiled eggs.
How do you clean a rice cooker?
Before cleaning, make sure the rice cooker is turned off and cooled down. The cooking insert and detachable lids can be removed and washed by hand or placed in the dishwasher. Check the manual to verify whether these parts are dishwasher-safe. If there is stuck-on food in the pot or lid, you can let them soak first in hot, soapy water.
If your cooker has a lid that does not detach from the cooking base, use a wet sponge to wipe it clean, but do not submerge the cooker in water. The inside and outside of the cooking base can also be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author who writes roundups and reviews products for The Spruce Eats. She has tested more than 90 kitchen products for the brand.
This roundup was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef, Sharon Lehman, RDN, a home cook and registered dietician nutritionist, and Katrina Munichiello, a writer and editor who specializes in the tea and food industries.
The Best Rice Cooker. Wirecutter. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/the-best-rice-cooker/
Best Rice Cookers for 2022. CNET. https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/best-rice-cooker/