Enjoy warm rice as a side dish or make it a part of a new or classic recipe. With a quality rice cooker, you can take the guesswork out of stovetop rice and cook your favorite varieties with ease. Use this simple guide to help you find the best rice cooker for your needs.
Rice Cooker Sizes
Whatever type of rice you enjoy, having enough on hand for the whole family is a must. To ensure you’ve got seconds for everyone, you’ll need to choose the rice cooker size that’s right for your home. Here are a few popular options:
- 3-cup rice cookers: These small rice cookers are great for one or two people. They’re also ideal for small kitchens or office kitchens.
- 6-cup rice cookers: Offering double the capacity of a 3-cup model, you can easily prepare rice for four to six people with a 6-cup rice cooker.
- 8-cup rice cookers: An 8-cup rice cooker is a great option for those with bigger families. Many 8-cup rice cookers also provide steamer and slow cooker functions due to their high capacity.
- 10-cup rice cookers: High-capacity 10-cup rice cookers can churn out perfect rice for larger family gatherings or dinner parties. Many 10-cup rice cookers feature steam and slow cooker functions as well.
Rice Cookers with Slow Cooker Functions
Warm, freshly-cooked rice is a staple in many households. Some electronic cooking devices offer more than just the capability to cook rice though. One great example is a combination rice cooker and slow cooker.
- If you're interested in cooking beautiful soups, sumptuous stews and cook large cuts of meat like brisket or pot roast, the best rice cookers to meet your needs with have slow cooker functions.
- Many models even allow you to set a timer so your food can cook while you’re gone and be ready to eat when you arrive home.
- If you decide that a multi-cooker is ideal for you, look for a large capacity model so you don’t limit the foods you can cook.
Rice Cookers with Steamer Functions
Once you’ve got plenty of rice ready to serve, it’s time to fix the rest of the meal.
- Electric rice cookers with a steamer function can create perfectly cooked vegetables like broccoli, carrots and shrimp. You can even steam foods like stuffed buns as an appetizer or main course.
- Most rice cookers that have a steamer function come with a basket designed to hold your food above the water.
- Large models come with a variety of different baskets so they can be layered in tiers, allowing you to cook multiple foods at once.
Rice Cooker Special Features
Some advanced models offer additional feature, so you can tackle other dinnertime tasks or set it and forget it. Here are a few special features to look for:
- Stay warm. Ideal for families that can’t always eat at the same time, a stay warm function keeps your rice ready to eat without it getting burnt or soggy.
- Automatic shut off. Never leave your rice, soup, stew or meat cooking longer than intended with an automatic turn off feature. Some models feature stay warm functions that go off automatically after a set period of time.
- Sauté. Various rice cooker and slow cooker combos allow you to create better meals by sautéing ingredients like onions and garlic first. Examine rice cooker reviews for models that feature a sauté function for an all-in-one cooking solution for soups, stews, meats and more.