Built-in retractable power cord
Cooks a variety of grains
Detachable inner lid
Inner handles get hot
Timer doesn’t display total time
Takes a long time to cook
We purchased the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Whether you're whipping up pilaf or biryani rice, or perhaps brown rice or perfectly cooked sushi rice, cooking this pantry staple is both an art and a science. With each variety of rice, time and temperature requirements change, as does the quantity of water needed to cook it.
Furthermore, millions of people worldwide eat rice every day. It is a staple in many households and restaurants; many of us grew up eating it as part of at least one meal a day until we went to college. As for me, I learned the art of cooking rice from my mom, who always seemed to be able to make perfectly cooked rice magically appear on the table; even so, I grew up preferring the ease of a rice cooker.
I figured out soon enough that not all rice cookers are the same; not all of them can cook my favorite mango sticky rice or even long-grain basmati rice. In my search for the rice cooker that could do it all and do it well, I landed upon the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer. The cooker was as cute as a button—and promised a lot of things. So, I took it for a test run, cooking copious amounts of rice with it. Read on because I'm bursting at the seams to dish these findings to you.
Design: So cute!
The thing with all countertop appliances is that they need precious real estate on your counter. The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker looked adorable on mine, and it also easily fit into one of my kitchen cabinets. But if you make rice often as I do, you'll likely be fine leaving it on the counter.
It has sleek lines and a soothing color. Its capacity is ideal for a small family plus a few additional guests. Whether you're a busy parent (like I am!) planning a well-rounded meal for a weeknight dinner or a host prepping for your weekend party with a few friends, this rice cooker can meet your needs. Plus, the inner pot has handles for easy grasping, but they do get hot, so you should put on some oven mitts.
Features: User-friendly, diverse, and intentional functions
This rice cooker is programmed to cook many varieties: most white, sweet, sushi, semi-brown, and brown rice. With the mixed rice settings, I prepared pilaf, quinoa, wild rice, and long-grain white and brown basmati rice. But the cooker can also cook other grains. The porridge setting was great for making a batch of old-fashioned oats. The rice cooker comes with two measuring cups that are fashioned after the Japanese masu cup, which is traditionally used to measure rice or sake. These cups are slightly smaller than the standard measuring cup. I recommend you use these cups to make sure you get a great cook on your rice.
The rice cooker doesn’t work close without the inner lid, and you will need to clean the lid after every use. The inner pot has visible markings for measurement, making it easy to see how much water you need for the amount of rice you want to cook.
The automatic keep warm and extended keep warm functions are very handy, as is the delayed cooking setting if you make your sides or bases first for your meals before the larger entrees.
The automatic keep warm and extended keep warm functions are very handy, as are the two delayed cooking settings, especially if you make your sides before your larger entrees. Once you set the appliance to cook, you can only see the countdown clock toward the final minutes, which sometimes can be as long as 15 minutes or as short as five. The rice cooker notifies you that it is done cooking with a distinct melody.
Performance: Slow—but cooks beautifully
Let’s get this out of the way: a little planning goes a long way with this rice cooker. It took a whopping 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook 2 cups of brown rice with the brown rice setting. Sweet, sticky rice clocked in at about 45 minutes. Even long-grain basmati took about 45 minutes. There's also a quick-cooking setting meant for "quick-cooking rice." I ended up using it for regular white rice, and the results came out only a bit faster.
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.
Evidently, the Neuro Fuzzy cooks rice much slower than regular rice cookers. With a little planning and by using the intuitive programming of the cooker (such as using the delayed timer), users can overcome that issue because of the upside: 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.
The reheating feature in the cooker worked very well, too. I took rice I had cooked two days ago from the fridge and set it up to reheat with a little water. It was hot and fluffy within a short time.
It made all the adjustments for time and temperature based on the quantity of rice or other grains, the type of rice, and the desired texture.
If you enjoy pilaf, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer makes an exceptional vegetable pilaf with long-grain basmati if you use the mixed setting. All rice grains were soft but not stuck together. The sushi rice was perfect: shiny, and the grains were sticky yet separate. Rolled oats for breakfast with the porridge setting also came out great.
I also cooked rinse-free rice. This variety is known for its nutritional benefits, which match those of brown rice, and its texture, which resembles that of white rice. This rice, as well as the wild rice and black quinoa I also made in the cooker, turned out well: Again, there was no mushy stickiness or overcooking with any of the grains.
Cleaning and Maintenance: It’s a process
The only (slight) woe I had with the rice cooker: The inner pot and the inner lid both need to be hand-washed. You also cannot soak the inner pot for too long because it can rust. So, the process of cleaning is a bit cumbersome. I had to hand-wash and dry the pot and inner lid every time I used the rice cooker; then, I had to wipe down the rice cooker, inside and out, with a damp dishcloth. The vent for steam was a bit troublesome to clean after using spices in the rice cooker for pilaf.
The only (slight) woe I had with the rice cooker: The inner pot and the inner lid both need to be hand-washed.
Price: Outperforms its price tag
Retailing between $160 and $260 (depending on where you buy from and if it’s on sale), the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer is not a cheap appliance, but its performance makes up for its price tag. It makes cooking rice effortless and easy. Although the price is on the higher end, this appliance is not just like any other regular rice cooker: The versatility of being able to cook several types of grains to perfection and its automatic self-adjustments stand out.
Competition: Other rice cooker options
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy 10-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer (view at Amazon) would be ideal for cooking large batches of rice for a gathering or a family that loves to eat rice for most meals. It is a larger-capacity rice cooker with the same Neuro Fuzzy technology and built-in thermal sensor to cook perfect rice. However, it is hard to drop a lot of money (it retails at around $280) on an appliance that basically only cooks rice, especially if you won't need to make a lot of it or very frequently.
If you are that someone who will occasionally use a rice cooker, then the Panasonic 5-Cup Rice Cooker with Fuzzy Logic (view at Amazon) is a more affordable option with the same ability to intuitively decide how much rice is cooked and adjust its power settings. Still, though it has similar features to the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, it doesn't have all the capabilities of the latter, such as the extended keep warm functionality.
A resounding yes from a rice fanatic.
The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer impresses with its versatility and performance. Even though it may require planning, not only does it cook all kinds of rice, but it also efficiently cooks other grains.
- Product Name Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer
- Product Brand Zojirushi
- Price $260
- Weight 3 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.13 x 8.13 x 13 in.
- Color Premium White
- Capacity 5.5 cups / 1.0 L
- Electrical Rating 120V / 680 W
- Warranty 1 year (limited warranty for material and workmanship)
- What's Included Spherical nonstick inner cooking pan, detachable inner lid, spatula holder, nonstick spatula, rice measuring cup, rinse-free rice measuring cup