Ok, seconds away, round one, ding ding. The fight is on, and it’s going to be a doozy. Not so much Rumble in the Jungle as Rice Cooker in the Kitchen. This heavyweight contest will pit 5 of the best Japanese rice cookers against each other to see who will be crowned king of the ring (erm., kitchen). So, if you want to know who wins this titanic struggle, read on.
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Japanese Rice Cookers, Whats all The Fuss?
There is a lot of fuss about Japanese rice cookers because, quite simply, they are the best rice cookers around. It’s a fact, and anyone who tells you differently is either lying or just plain misguided. The reasons for this are simple: Japanese people know how to make good things. Rice cookers are no exception.
For centuries, Japanese companies have been producing high-quality rice cookers for their customers. With a history of quality and reliability, these cooking devices are made to last through generations in your family. They are perfect if you’re looking for a rice cooker that will make excellent dishes every time. The beauty of owning one is that you will be able to serve up any type or size bowl with ease! It doesn’t matter what ingredients you throw into them either, because not only can they whip out amazing meals, but also soups, congee, oatmeal, and even chocolate cake, so there isn’t anything this little powerhouse cannot do!
TL;DR – Our Top Picks
|Click to Edit
|TIGER JBV-A10U 5.5-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer Basket, White
|IMUSA USA GAU-00013 Electric Nonstick Rice Cooker 8-Cup (Uncooked) 16-Cup (Cooked), White
|Best Budget Model
|Yum Asia Panda Mini Rice Cooker With Ninja Ceramic Bowl and Advanced Fuzzy Logic (3.5 cup, 0.63 litre) 4 Rice Cooking Functions, 4 Multicooker functions, Motouch LED display (US Version)
|Best Ceramic Cooker
|Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker, 5.5-Cup, Premium White
|Best Fuzzy Logic
|Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1 L, Stainless Dark Gray
|Best High End Model
Why Do You Need a Japanese Rice Cooker?
Excellent rice as far as I am concerned, but they do come with another surprising benefit; they actually save you money! It’s true that in Japan, where meals are eaten at a much slower pace and people usually eat larger portions, it is not uncommon to see 3-4 rice cooker meals a day. Here in the US, lots of us eat just one main meal a day, so this would be very wasteful.
So, how do they save you money?
It’s simple – although a top-quality rice cooker will cost more to buy, using it will save you money.
By making your food last longer.
Most rice cookers offer features such as a keep-warm mode which means a rice cooker meal can be left in the rice cooker for up to 12 hours after being cooked and still tastes warm when reheated.
This means you can make one meal, set up the rice cooker, and get on with things. A top-quality rice cooker will be able to keep your dinner warm for more than 12 hours, so it is possible to eat two daily meals in one cooking session.
You could even start the rice at night when you go to bed; just add the ingredients, set it up, and leave it to cook all night. In the morning, you will have a delicious hot breakfast waiting for you. Think about how much money (and time) that would save.
Oh yeah, and they also do really good rice too – but that’s another discussion..
Of course, these are all benefits you derive from owning a rice cooker, but what about owning a Japanese rice cooker? What’s so great about them in particular?
The Benefits of Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
The big difference is build quality.
A good Japanese rice cooker, such as Zojirushi is made to last a lifetime. Most of them also come with an inner aluminum cooking pot, which means that it can be used to make anything from cakes, to soups and stews, or even steam vegetables, all without having to buy any extra parts!
Also, unlike the majority of budget rice cookers on the US market, with a Japanese cooker, you won’t have to worry about your food sticking to the bottom. That’s because these cookers generally come with high-grade one-piece aluminum pots that are not only super easy to clean but are very durable. These pots are much easier to clean than those provided by other brands, which can be made up of 8-10 separate pieces.
Another key difference is the inner lid of most Japanese rice cookers. Generally, instead of being made from glass, they tend to be made from a special ceramic material that retains heat and also distributes it evenly across the entire surface area. This ensures that your food is cooked properly and consistently every time you cook.
Top 5 Japanese Rice Cookers
TIGER JBV-A10U 5.5-Cup Rice Cooker
Best Budget Japanese Rice Cooker
IMUSA USA GAU-00013
The IMUSA Rice Cooker is perfect for today’s busy lifestyles. It makes delicious rice in a few minutes with a minimum of fuss. What’s more, it’s perfect when you come home after work or school and need to prepare a quick, delicious meal. Although basic, it has an on-off switch that is easy to use, and it also has a warming setting that will permit you to reheat your rice. It still has everything you need to get the job done, at a sensible price. Its compact size makes it perfect for small kitchens or apartments, and if you are starting out or on a tight budget, then I believe that this is one of the best value Japanese rice cookers on the market.
Best Ceramic Japanese Rice Cooker
Yum Asia Panda Mini Rice Cooker With Ninja Ceramic Bowl and Advanced Fuzzy Logic
The Panda is a small, simple, and effective rice cooker that makes up to four servings of delicious rice in one go. It has multiple pre-programmed functions, including white rice, brown rice, and sushi settings, which make it incredibly easy to use. The non-stick bowl is removable for easy cleaning, and the built-in warmer keeps cooked rice at serving temperature until you are ready to eat. I like the fact that it features a detachable power cord that wraps around the base of the unit for neat storage. Other manufacturers, take note!
It features all the technology that you would expect at this price point and a lovely, sleek, easy-to-clean design that really makes it stand out in any kitchen. However, what really sets this model apart from the crowd, and why I’ve included it here, is the ceramic bowl! It’s got a superb 5-layer inner bowl with a hard-wearing ceramic cover that can not only stand the knocks but also offers superb heat distribution for an even temperature and, of course, better results. It’s also BPA-free so food safety isn’t an issue.
All in all, a great, compact Japanese rice cooker that will grace any home.
Best Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker, 5.5-Cup
What can I say-it’s a Zojirushi! I’ve owned several of these models, and I have to say that I’ve never had a bad experience with any of them. The NS-ZCC10 5.5-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer is one of the most advanced rice cookers available today.
It cooks flawless rice every time using the industry-leading advanced Fuzzy Logic technology that allows it to ‘think’ for itself and make fine adjustments to temperature and heating time for perfect results, every time.
This model has a generous 5 ½ cup capacity and comes with all of the usual refinements such as a range of pre-set programs, an audible chime, a large easy-to-read display, and, of course, the unbeatable Zojirushi build quality.
This model is finished in gloss plastic. Maybe it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the higher-end models, but I still like it. But, what I like best is the combination of great results, consistent cooking experience, and a reasonable price.
Best High-End Japanese Rice Cooker
Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System
The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer uses high-tech Induction Heating (IH) technology to heat the inner cooking pan. Using this special heating technology, the NP-HCC10XH is able to make precise temperature adjustments to cook exceptional rice.
The IH Technology also keeps rice warm for hours without letting it dry out, so you can enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal whenever you want. The multi-menu settings allow you to prepare a variety of different types of rice at the touch of a button and, of course, the build quality is second to none.
It’s not a cheap machine, but, believe me, the price is worth it when you taste the end result. It’s no wonder why this model is one of the best-selling Japanese rice cookers over the past 5 years.
If you are serious about getting top-quality results every time and you have a budget to spend then I implore you to get this rice cooker you won’t regret it and, with almost 5000 positive reviews on Amazon, it seems I’m not alone in this opinion.
What To Consider Before Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
So, you’ve decided that a Japanese rice cooker is for you. Before doing any shopping, take a moment to think about what you want and need in your new rice cooker. This will help narrow down the choices and make it much easier to buy the best possible product for your needs.
For our purposes, many different things come into play when shopping for a rice cooker, but I will only concentrate on the most important factors that you should consider before buying.
- Price: Expect to pay a bit more for a good brand such as Zojirushi. However, you can pick up many good models for under $100, such as Panasonic or Tiger.
- Brand: In my opinion, the brand is important. It is worth checking how well known the brand is and whether or not they have a good reputation, as this will affect the standard of the guarantee, among other things.
- Size: It is also worth making sure you get the right size for your kitchen (particularly if you live in a small apartment). I recommend getting one with at least 3 cups of uncooked rice capacity.
- Material: There are many different types of material used to make these cookers, but if you want something that will last the test of time, then go for one made from aluminum. Aluminum is more expensive than other materials such as plastic, but it won’t rust and is easy to clean.
- Indicator Lights: All good rice cookers come with indicator lights that tell you when the rice is done. You don’t want to be stuck standing in front of your cooker wondering if it’s done or not, so make sure yours has this feature. Better models, such as the Zojirushi, also have an audible alarm to let you know when the cook is finished, so you don’t even need to be in the same room to know when dinner is ready.
- Timer: If you are planning on using a timer, choose one that lets you set it for anything from 1 up to 12 hours. You want to be able to put it on in the morning and wake up in the evening with a delicious meal waiting for you.
- Detachable Power Cord: The cord should be detachable so that if anything goes wrong, you can easily replace it. Also, there is no need to worry about leaving your cooker plugged in if you can just unplug it.
- Extra Accessories: Avoid buying a cooker with extras like measuring cups or rice spatulas, as these come separately and cost more money. However, some cookers come with wooden utensils, which might be something to look out for.
- High-Tech: Some of the higher-end cookers come with large, color LCD screens and a range of pre-set programs to make cooking easy. You can also be able to find models that allow you to set the temperature manually, so if you are more of an expert chef, then these are for you because they give a greater degree of control. Also, try and get one with built-in fuzzy logic; – you won’t regret it.
The Japanese are master craftsmen, especially when it comes to creating amazing home appliances. The rice cooker is a prime example of this, as these devices must be able to withstand super-fast changes in heat and high temperatures and offer the reliability to feed families several times a day for years.
Most Westerners tend to use an electric stovetop these days, unlike the Japanese, who prefer to cook over an open flame and where there is often no countertop due to space limitations (especially in large cities where space is very much at a premium). This means that Japanese cooks need a different approach to cooking, which explains why their rice cookers are specifically designed for them.
The Japanese have a centuries-old tradition of cooking rice, which is why most of their dishes taste so awesome. The cooks use an absorption technique that makes their rice fluffy, light, and slightly sticky, unlike other methods of boiling, which tend to make the rice more starchy. Once you understand how they do it it can be somewhat difficult if you’re not familiar with their culture, you’ll never cook them any other way again because it will always seem second-best by comparison! And, of course, using the same equipment that the best chefs use is a huge help if you want to get the same results.
Interested in finding out how to choose the correct rice cooker for your needs – I have done a full write-up here.
Ever since the invention of the electric rice cooker, cooking good quality rice has been much simpler. I have always loved eating my mom’s cooked rice that she made on the stove; it was savory and perfect every time! In fact, it wasn’t until fairly recently, when I made our first family meal with one of these newfangled machines, that I finally understood how much they improved cooking for me. Not only is the rice cooker easy to use, but it also cooks my favorite dishes perfectly 100% of the time (or at least as close to that standard as I need).
In the dark days, before I owned a rice cooker, there were many times when I ended up with wet, burnt, or mushy rice. But, with the help of a rice cooker, consistently cooking good rice has become super easy! The entire process of making perfect-every-time cooked grain is as simple as it gets: Measure water and put that in your pot on top of a layer of some uncooked grains; let it cook till the boiling point, then turn to low heat for about 20 minutes; VOILA!
Ok, I admit there were many occasions where my food was not what you would call “perfect.” but. honestly, that all changed once I bought myself a high-end Japanese rice cooker.
So, if you love eating rice and cooking a lot of it, using a Japanese rice cooker could help you save a lot of time, energy, and heartache. And, as I’ve mentioned, a rice cooker can cook a lot of other foods as well.
Now that I have shown you the best Japanese rice cookers, it becomes a little easy for you to pick the right one that best serves your requirements. However, before making the purchase, ask yourself a few questions such as:
•How frequently do you plan to use the rice cooker?
•How much are you willing to invest?
•What kind of features do you seek in your ideal rice cooker?
Answering these questions will make sure you get the best one at the right price.