The Best Rice cooker makes perfect rice every time. It offers the convenience and comfort of cooking rice right at the table. However, it can be confusing with all the different models on the market. There are various models at different price point. Some even going up to thousands of dollars in Japan. Luckily, in the states, prices are more reasonable just without the bells and whistles of the Japanese models. Not only that, you can still get really good rice out of these models. To make it easier for you, I compiled a list of some of the best rice cooker available. I will also discuss why some of the more expensive models are worth it.
Best and Most Expensive Rice Cooker List
Below, you will find some of the best rice cooker around.
Zojirushi Induction Heating (Winner)
Zojirushi is considered to be the best rice cooker around. They are known for their quality and durability. This model uses induction heating to cook the rice. It heats up the rice at a much quicker rate than the electric model. Heating elements are also placed on the bottom center and top of the cooker. This ensures even heat distribution throughout the pot. As a result, you should get firmer and sweeter rice. This model is also made in Japan so you get the quality of a Japanese made product.
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Aroma Rice Cooker (Best Buy)
With that being said, not a lot of people are willing to spend hundreds of dollar on a rice cooker. Especially not as a first time rice cooker purchase. Luckily, Aroma makes a very good rice cooker at a reasonable price. The quality of the rice is almost as good as the higher end brand. Much so that the average consumer will hardly notice the difference. There are some complaints
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TOSHIBA Variable Pressure IH Rice Cooker (Most Expensive Rice Cooker)
For the truly dedicated rice cooker. This model cost over a thousand dollar. It uses a Japanese Charcoal lining called Binchotan. It supposedly purifies the rice of any off flavor developing a quality of rice that is unrivaled. While this may sound ridiculous for the average consumer. They are selling like hot cakes in Japan. Only get this model if you truly love rice.
Zojirushi 3 Cup Rice Cooker (Best 3 Cup Rice Cooker)
If you have a smaller kitchen or just plan on cooking for 1 or 2 a 3 cup rice cooker is a good choice. Smaller rice cooker will cook small batch of rice better than the larger capacity. The sensors are more tuned for the smaller quantity of rice. In this category, I recommend Zojirushi 3 cup rice cooker model. This model will cook perfect rice each time. All you need to do is measure the correct rice to water ratio and pop it in. There are also settings that you can choose for different type of rice like brown rice. No more under cooked rice in your diet!
Why Use a Rice Cooker?
If you grow up in an Asian Household a rice cooker is a given. However, in a western house most rice are cooked on the stove top. Growing up, I did not even think it was possible to cook rice this way. Not only that, there are many challenges that is involved with stove top rice cooking. Cook it wrong and it will either stick or burn. If you peak under the lid, the whole thing is ruined. There are some complaints of it breaking down but that is a given considering the volumes of which the product is sold.
Cooking rice before the 1950’s was even worse. Instead of a gas stove, cooks in Asia will use wood or charcoal to cook rice. They had to monitor the heat and adjust the fire as necessary. It was truly a laborious task. It wasn’t until Yoshitada Minami developed the automatic rice cooker. This invention allowed millions of household to easily cook rice at home. All you needed to do was put in rice and water and press the button. It revolutionized how rice is cooked. Having read this, why would you put yourself through cooking rice without a rice cooker.
Rice Cooker Designs
At its core a rice cooker works via temperature. When you press the button, the machine starts heating water. At sea level water cannot reach over 212 degree Fahrenheit. As such, if the machine detects that the rice is below 212 degree, it will assume that the rice is not cooked. However, once it reaches past that, it will assume that rice is done cooking and it will shut off.
This design have been used for the past 50 years. There are quite a few innovations along the way. Some of which is the gas stove or the more recent induction heating. How induction heating rice cooker work is via magnet. It runs an magnetic field through the cooker making it heat up faster. They can heat up the rice to a higher temperature at a faster rate. Not only that, manufacturer commonly run the coil from the bottom of the pot to the side. This produce very even heat throughout the rice cooker. Rice cooked via this method generally tends to be fluffier than other type of rice cooker. However, those models are generally much more expensive than your standard rice cooker.
Gas stove rice cookers are more common in a commercial setting. They typically comes in size of 40 cups and larger and actually provide the best rice out of the bunch. It can heat up the cooker at a rate much better than what electric rice cooker can. Some model uses a combination of both pressure cooking and gas heating. This provides an ideal cooking condition for rice and improves the overall rate of water absorption. As a result, rice are generally more sweet and firm than a standard electric cooker. However, they are not convenient and as such, not common in the household.
The Most Expensive Rice Cooker
In recent years, Japanese manufacturer have tried to capture the upscale market of rice enthusiast. These rice cooker can go for thousand of dollars. Instead of the standard nonstick coating. These pots are lined with binchotan. A Japanese Charcoal that is used for traditional Japanese cooking. It supposedly purifies water and absorb off flavor given by chlorine or other minerals. The charcoal apparently helps absorb toxins when digested. Of course these type of rice cooker are generally out of the price range of your typical american. But this goes to show you how seriously some people take their rice.
Are Japanese Rice Cooker Worth it?
For asians, nothing beats a Japanese Rice cooker. Even among high end brand like Zojirushi. If its made in China, many would return it for a Japanese made one. There is a perception that the build quality and durability of a product is simply better. Manufacturer knows this as well. If their products are made in Japan, they will proudly slap it across the packaging. It also tend to fetch a higher price than a Chinese made one.
In my opinion, Japanese made product tend to be better. There is a philosophy called Kaizen that a lot of Japanese people follow. It is the thought where you should continually improve yourself. If you ever open up a Japanese made product, all the internals are made with precision and care. Something that is rarely seen in other parts of the world.
Are Cheap Rice Cooker Good?
With that being said, for the vast majority of people the cheap rice cooker are good enough. It gets to a point of diminishing return. Unless you are eating rice everyday, you will not notice the minute details of rice. As long as its not turning out rice that are burned or mushy, you will get the same level of enjoyment as the higher end rice cooker. Manufacturer have re engineer the basic design of expensive rice cooker and manage to driven the cost to unbelievable level. They might cheap out on some components and they might have a shorter life span. But in terms of rice quality, you will most likely not notice.
Best and Most Expensive Rice Cooker Thoughts
The Best and Most Expensive Rice Cooker are from Japan, They offer induction heating with charcoal lining that brings out the best quality of rice. However, cheaper models like those from aroma can do the job just as well. Whether its worth it to spend a thousand dollar plus on a rice cooker is up to you. However, I personally think that for the average consumer, cheaper rice cooker can satisfy their need. I personally would go for the Zojirushi model for its durability and quality.
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