Last updated: August 11, 2021

Welcome to our big rice cooker test 2021. Here we present all the rice cookers we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best rice cooker for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a rice cooker.




The most important facts

  • Rice cookers are mainly suitable because they are very practical and simplify or even fully automate the preparation of rice as well as other meals for you.
  • A basic distinction can be made between electric and powerless rice cookers. The latter also includes traditional bamboo steamers, which can preserve vitamins and nutrients in the rice thanks to their gentle cooking method.
  • Rice cookers come in different sizes. Depending on how much capacity you need, different capacities are more suitable.

The Best Rice Cooker: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a rice cooker

Who is a rice cooker suitable for and what are its advantages?

A rice cooker is basically suitable for everyone, because it is impossible to cook rice more efficiently. It not only simplifies the work, but also takes a lot of it off your hands so that you can devote yourself to the other dishes on the menu.

With the help of a rice cooker, the preparation of rice can be simplified and speeded up. (Image source: unsplash.com / Mgg Vitchakorn)

Rice cookers are commonplace in many countries, but in Western countries rice is still often cooked in the classic saucepan. However, it is worth investing in a rice cooker for the following reasons:

  • They are very convenient because you don't have to stir constantly and keep an eye on the time.
  • Rice cookers can prepare large quantities in a short time, which is very time-saving.
  • Vitamins and nutritional values are almost completely preserved by the gentle cooking method.
  • The rice always turns out perfectly because a rice cooker prevents overcooking and burning.
  • Many rice cookers include additional functions such as keeping your food warm for hours.

How does a rice cooker work?

There are two main types of rice cookers: electric rice cookers and traditional rice cookers without electricity. In turn, there are different sub-types, so that the way rice cookers work differs, also from brand to brand.

Nevertheless, rice cookers basically work in the same way. Electric devices are always constructed in the same way, only their design varies. There is always a heating element in the base, a removable insert on top, the actual cooking pot, and last but not least a lockable lid.

This is equipped with a steam outlet so that pressure can be released continuously and there is no overpressure.

Basically, you simply fill your washed rice with the correct water ratio (see more on this later) into the inner container of your rice cooker. Then you switch on the appliance and set the cooking time if necessary.

However, many rice cookers do not require this step because they have an integrated automatic switch-off.

Electric rice cookers often have additional functions. (Image source: unsplash.com / Katherine Chase)

Rice cookers operate at a constant temperature of about 100 degrees and work until all the water has evaporated. Depending on the type of rice, this may take longer or shorter, but you can usually expect to have your rice ready within 10-15 minutes.

It is important to let the rice rest in the rice cooker for a few minutes. This not only gives the rice the best possible consistency, but also allows its aromas to fully develop.

Traditional rice cookers and those without electricity in general work a little differently. But more on this in the individual subsections on the different types of rice cookers.

What sizes are rice cookers available in?

There are many different sizes and volumes of rice cookers. When making your choice, you need to be clear about the maximum number of people you want to cook rice for per preparation.

Normally, one cup of rice is calculated as a portion per person. In order to be able to buy a sufficiently large rice cooker, we have prepared a table for you below, in which you can see exactly how many people your desired rice cooker can prepare rice for.

Size in litres size in cups number of people
0.6 L up to 3 cups 1-3 people
0.8 L up to 4 cups 1-4 people
1.0 L up to 5 cups 1-5 persons
1,5 L up to 8 cups 1-8 persons
1,8 L up to 10 cups 1-10 persons
2,5 L up to 15 cups 1-15 persons
4,5 L up to 25 cups up to 25 persons
(catering size)

There are also mini rice cookers, which are mainly for singles or couples.

What are the alternatives to rice cookers?

In principle, there are four possible alternatives for preparing rice. Of course, you can cook your rice in the classic way in a pot if you don't want to use a rice cooker. It is best not to cook the rice on the highest heat and stir occasionally.

Another option is to cook the rice in a wok. You can simply cook the rice with the desired amount of water until the rice is cooked and then add some oil and vegetables or meat, depending on your preferences.

However, if you need to cook more quickly, it is worth buying a pressure cooker or steamer. The pressure-proof pot allows you to shorten the preparation time thanks to the increased boiling point, as a higher pressure can be built up.

Another alternative to the rice cooker is the Thermomix or a multi-cooker. You can prepare rice in a modern and super simple way and save a lot of time.

Many of these multifunctional machines can also conjure up entire dishes for you in no time at all, but they are also more expensive. However, if you want to cook your rice the way the Asians do, it's definitely worth buying a rice cooker.

Decision: What types of rice cookers are there and which is the right one for you?

You can actually distinguish between two types of rice cookers. There are electric rice cookers and traditional rice cookers, which work without electricity. Induction rice cookers and steam cookers belong to the electric rice cookers.

Microwave rice cookers and traditional bamboo steamers are all rice cookers without electricity. Basically, many of these rice cookers can be further differentiated, especially with regard to additional functions (more on this later).

We distinguish between the following:

  • Induction rice cooker
  • Microwave rice cooker
  • Steamer
  • Bamboo steamer

What distinguishes an induction rice cooker and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

High-quality induction rice cookers heat via so-called induction plates. The cooking pot is heated evenly thanks to the integrated steam pressure system and cooked particularly quickly and gently.

Fuzzy logic technology is one type of these intelligent pressure systems. It helps you to ensure that everything happens automatically after you switch on your rice cooker. First, sensors determine the current rice condition so that the temperature can always be adjusted.

After the cooking time, your rice cooker switches off automatically thanks to the fuzzy logic technology and switches to the keep warm function.

An induction rice cooker not only saves you a lot of preparation time, but is also very user-friendly. It is also easy and quick to clean because the cooking insert is removable. It can also be used to prepare other dishes such as soups, bread or cakes.

Advantages
  • Simplified or automatic preparation
  • Fast cooking
  • Nutrients are preserved thanks to gentle cooking
  • Integrated automatic switch-off or timer
  • Integrated keep-warm function
  • Energy-efficient
  • Easy to clean
  • Other uses
Disadvantages
  • Rather inexpensive
  • High space consumption

What distinguishes a microwave rice cooker and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Microwave rice cookers tend to belong to the price category below. The inexpensive devices, however, consequently require a microwave in which the container fits. The rice in the plastic container cooks thanks to a steam circulation system and the energy of the microwave.

When buying, make sure that your plastic container does not contain BPA.

The preparation is rather energy inefficient and not every type of rice can be prepared with it. Cleaning, on the other hand, is very easy because the container is dishwasher-safe. In addition, they usually take up less space, as they are easier to handle and more suitable for small households.

Advantages
  • Simplified preparation
  • Fast cooking
  • Easy to clean
  • Less space required
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Nutrients are lost because there is no gentle cooking
  • No additional functions
  • High energy consumption
  • More environmentally harmful option
  • No other uses
  • Not suitable for every type of rice

What distinguishes a steamer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Steam cookers do not really belong to the classic rice cookers, as they are more like multifunctional appliances. The rice cookers are therefore also suitable for steaming other foods and therefore usually have several levels.

This way, you can easily steam meat, fish and vegetables gently so that nutrients and vitamins are better preserved.

In terms of price, they tend to be a little more expensive and usually larger. Therefore, they are particularly suitable for cooking enthusiasts and large families. They are also very professional in terms of quality and ensure full flavour.

Advantages
  • Simplified preparation
  • Fast cooking
  • Nutrients are preserved thanks to gentle cooking
  • Full aroma
  • Energy-efficient
  • Other uses
  • High quality
Disadvantages
  • Rather inexpensive
  • High space consumption
  • Cleaning-intensive
  • No additional functions

What are the characteristics of a bamboo steamer and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A bamboo steamer or Japanese rice cooker is a special type of steamer. You simply put a pot of water on the cooker and your bamboo pot on top of it. Steam is drawn through the baskets, which gently cooks the rice.

Traditional bamboo steamers are very inexpensive, but need to be replaced from time to time. They are also very decorative and can be placed directly on the table for serving.

Thanks to their gentle preparation, they have become indispensable in the latest trends of healthy cooking.

So if you want to make healthy and vitamin-rich rice with little time and money, a bamboo steamer is perfect for you. The traditional Asian preparation method is also ideal for sushi rice, as the rice becomes particularly sticky.

The baskets also come in different sizes and can be stacked on top of each other to prepare several dishes at the same time.

One disadvantage is the more intensive cleaning, as the baskets have to be washed by hand and then dried very well.

Advantages
  • Simplified preparation
  • Fast cooking
  • Nutrients are preserved thanks to gentle cooking
  • Full flavour
  • Energy-efficient
  • Other uses
  • Inexpensive
  • Little space required
Disadvantages
  • Cleaning-intensive
  • No additional functions

For a better illustration, we have selected a video in which you can see how you can easily prepare rice and other dishes with a bamboo steamer.

A tip: Always wash rice with a little water before cooking, as this flushes out excess starch and makes the rice more grainy. This also prevents the rice from sticking and reduces the arsenic content in the rice.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate a rice cooker based on these factors

In the following, we will show you which buying criteria you can use to decide between the many possible rice cookers.

The factors that you can use to compare the different rice cooker offers include:

  • How it works
  • Power
  • Capacity
  • Preparation time/workload
  • Cleaning
  • Material
  • Size and weight
  • Accessories and extra functions

In the following, we will briefly explain what is important in the individual buying criteria.

Functionality

The most important purchase criterion is probably the way it works. Depending on the preferred type of rice and preparation preferences, certain rice cookers are more suitable than others.

Basically, a distinction is made between electric and currentless rice cookers. Induction rice cookers and steam cookers with steam pressure systems tend to be more expensive but are usually of higher quality. They are also easy to use.

However, bamboo steamers are particularly suitable for making sushi rice, as they make the rice sticky. (Image source: unsplash.com / Klara Avsenik)

Microwave rice cookers and bamboo steamers are, as mentioned above, not electric appliances and are rather inexpensive. The devices are not particularly high-quality but are also easy to use.

Power

You can further differentiate the appliances by their power. Depending on the size of the model, your rice cooker needs between 400 and 700 watts. Microwave rice cookers require the most electricity due to the use of a microwave and are therefore the most energy inefficient.

Capacity

The capacity of the rice cooker is certainly a decisive factor in your purchase. The more rice you want to cook at once, the more capacity your rice cooker should have. However, the larger the capacity, the larger the effective size of the appliance and therefore requires more storage space.

As already mentioned, there are so-called mini rice cookers for single households. For more information on the required capacity in relation to the number of people, see above.

Preparation time/workload

Almost all rice cookers are particularly fast in terms of preparation time. Primarily, however, it can be said that gentle cooking methods generally require more time.

Microwave rice cookers therefore prepare rice the fastest. But induction rice cookers, especially those with quick-cooking functions, also cook rice quite quickly, but in a healthier way.

Steam cookers and bamboo steamers take the most time, but are also very gentle.

The amount of work required is minimal for all rice cookers. Induction rice cookers with fuzzy logic technology, in particular, minimise your effort to zero, as all you have to do is switch on the rice cooker and add the rice and water.

Cleaning

Depending on the type of rice cooker and model, the ease of cleaning also differs. In general, however, rice cookers with removable inserts are the easiest to clean, as they are largely dishwasher safe.

This usually includes all microwave rice cookers and some induction rice cookers. Bamboo steamers, on the other hand, must be cleaned by hand.

Steam cookers also often need to be washed carefully with a cloth to avoid damaging the coating on the inner surfaces.

Material

The material can also be an important purchase criterion. Many rice cookers are made of aluminium or stainless steel, especially high-quality premium products. Less expensive appliances such as microwave rice cookers are often made of plastic.

It is very important that you look for BPA-free plastic when buying. Steam cookers can also be made of glass. This has the advantage that they do not get hot as quickly as stainless steel cookers and the risk of burns is minimised.

Size and weight

Another purchase criterion is the size and weight. Depending on how much space is available in your kitchen, the larger your purchase can be.

If you cook rice regularly and also want to prepare larger quantities, it is worth buying a somewhat larger rice cooker. The larger the rice cooker, the heavier it usually is.

If you don't have much space in your kitchen at home, a compact model is more suitable. Bamboo steamers in particular are very space-saving, but microwave rice cookers also serve smaller households.

Accessories and extra functions

When deciding what to buy, extra functions and accessories are also important. A large number of induction rice cookers and steamers are equipped with additional functions that further simplify use and can even completely automate the production process.

They often have an automatic switch-off or a timer. This can even be adapted to different types of rice. The integrated function switches the rice cooker off at the end of the cooking time and switches directly to the keep-warm function.

This keeps your rice warm if you haven't finished cooking other items in your meal. Your rice cooker can keep the rice warm for several hours without it burning, browning or drying out. The keep-warm function is also useful for hygiene reasons.

Thanks to the constantly increased temperature, it prevents the growth of bacteria.

The timer function is also very practical, as it allows you to cook rice in advance for the next day. Many rice cookers come with additional accessories. These include rice spoons, rice bowls and chopsticks.

Rice cookers with these functions are often also called fuzzy logic technology or Minicom system.

But measuring cups, additional inserts or a cookbook are also possible components. Less expensive induction rice cookers, on the other hand, contain only a few or no additional functions. Microwave rice cookers and bamboo steamers are of course not equipped with any additional functions either.

Image source: unsplash.com / shawn-fields

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