Whether you live in a big house or a tiny apartment, a rice cooker can be a valuable addition to your kitchen. Rice cookers are surprisingly versatile as they can usually be used to cook things other than rice. You can use one of these small appliances to cook things such as desserts, hot cereal, stews, soups and steamed vegetables. Of course, not all rice cookers have this versatility, so if you are looking for a multi-purpose machine that is something to pay special attention to as you shop.
In my experience, you get the high quality from ones that are made in Japan. However, you can find more budget friendly units made in other countries that are of decent quality and offer good value for the money. If your budget can afford it, and you want a machine for long-term use, it is advisable to focus on the Japanese-made appliances.
Things To Consider When Shopping For A Rice Cooker
A key item to remember when you are shopping is the difference between the US cup and the Japanese cup. This is especially important if you are looking at Japanese-made rice cookers. In the US, the standard cup size is 240 ml while it is just 200 ml in Japan. Usually the rice cooker will come with a measuring cup so that you will not have to do any complicated calculations while cooking. However, you will have to be conscious of whether recipes specify “rice cooker cups” or normal cups.
The size of the rice cooker is another key figure to keep in mind when shopping. Due to the design of the small appliance, you must fill it with the required amount of water and rice for it to operate as intended. This means that you should not buy a rice cooker that is larger than you need unless you intend on making the full capacity each time you use it. Rice cooker sizes are done by cups and range from a small rice cooker at 3 cups capacity to around 10 cups for a large rice cooker. Sometimes you even see jumbo rice cookers that have a 14-cup or larger capacity. If you are not certain what size you will need, keep in mind that you get around 1.5 cups of cooked rice for every 1-cup of uncooked rice.
If your main concern is versatility, you need to check the features of the rice cooker. Some have options for multiple types of rice, which is called a Fuzzy Logic Advantage feature. Other features you might be interested in include a reheat option, a rice texture setting for softer or firmer rice, a quick cook option and a porridge cycle to make hot breakfast cereals.
Types of Rice Cookers
When you are evaluating the available brands in the market place, you will notice that there are just three basic types available. You can choose from:
- Cook and Keep Warm rice cookers
- On/Off rice cookers
- Electronic Cook and Keep Warm rice cookers
If you are looking for the cheapest option, then you need to stick with the on/off models. You just put in the rice and water and turn the machine on. Once the rice it done, it automatically turns off. You don’t get a steamer or non-stick pan with this type of machine.
If money is not of concern and your family eats rice many times during the week, then one of the electronic cook and keep warm rice cookers is your best option. With this type, you can usually keep the rice warm for most of the day – up to around 12 hours. This is the most expensive type of unit as well.
The moderately priced option is the cook and keeps warm type. With it, the rice cooks and stays warm until you unplug the small appliance. Our family has used this type for years without a problem. However, we are now moving up and getting a higher end model.
If you are just getting started with your shopping, it might be helpful to narrow down your focus to some of the most popular brands. These brands are some of the top rated by consumers and you can find models available for every budget.
Sanyo Rice Cookers
This well-known Japanese brand has a variety of rice cookers available for consumer purchase. They are consistently some of the top rated in this category. For more information – Click Here
Cuisinart Rice Cookers
While Cuisinart is a name associated with high quality products, their models are not as well-received as the rest of their products. However, if you are on a budget, this brand still represents a good value. To learn more – Click Here
Zojirushi Rice Cookers
The Maserati of rice cookers, the Zojirushi has all the features you could dream of and a reputation for being the best. Don’t let the high price of this brand deter you because an investment in a Zojirushi appliance is a lifelong one.
To read more about these 2 – Click Here