You don't have to spend a ton of money to find a great rice cooker. From modern options with digital control panels to traditional one-button versions, the best rice cookers under $50 have the functionality you need and are sized to suit your space.
When shopping for an affordable kitchen appliance like a rice cooker, the first thing you'll want to consider is what size you need. Rice roughly doubles in volume after it's cooked — for example, 4 cups of uncooked rice will usually yield somewhere around 8 cups of rice — so the specs you'll see for a machine's capacity are determined by how many cups of finished cooked rice it makes. While preferences will vary, keep in mind that the average serving size of cooked rice per person is around 1 cup cooked when used as a main dish and 1/2 cup cooked if used for as aside.
You'll also want to consider what kind of functionality you're looking for. Some traditional rice cookers deliver on one simple goal: to cook rice. This type is the easiest to operate as they feature either a one-button switch or the ability to be used in a microwave. If you're willing to spend a few more dollars, though, you can get a more multipurpose appliance that gives you both the options to choose time and temperature settings and presets so that you can also use them to prepare other foods like steamed vegetables and meat. It's essentially a slower cooker, steamer, and rice cooker in one. No matter which style you go with, though, keep an eye out for bonus accessories (like a steamer basket) so you will be ready to make a variety of dishes from day one.
Below, you'll find a list of the best budget rice cookers on Amazon. For less than $50, you can now have a savory bowl of cooked rice ready when you need it.
1. The Overall Best
- Capacity: 2 to 8 cups of cooked rice
This Aroma rice cooker has earned more than 13,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers because it's a great value and so reliable. Although it's compact in size, it can make a decent amount of rice at a time. The digital control panel has four settings (white rice, brown rice, "flash rice" for quick cooking, and steam) as well as a “keep warm” feature that the machine automatically defaults to once cooking is done. If you want to meal prep ahead of time or have food waiting for you at the end of the day, you can activate the 15-hour delay with the built-in timer. In addition to a measuring cup and paddle, the machine also comes with an insert for steaming meat or vegetables simultaneously as you cook the rice. The only downside to this device is that the nonstick inner pot must be washed by hand, but for the low price, it's a minor inconvenience.
Helpful review: “This is a really great rice cooker. I found it very easy to use and clean (the lid that seals the inner cooking part is removable so you can clean off the residue). The delayed cook timer turned out to be a wonderfully useful feature and allows me to have rice or quinoa ready to go when I come home at lunch. Compact design with plenty of space for larger batches though I tend to just make one cup at a time to fit my needs and keep leftovers from going stale in the fridge.”
2. The Most Versatile
- Capacity: 10 to 20 cups of cooked rice
This Comfee' rice cooker has a large 20-cup capacity and a lot of the same features of more expensive models but at a price that's just below $50. The digital settings on this machine make cooking a breeze, and there are 12 to choose from, including options for rice (quick, brown, and white) as well as for other foods (oatmeal, chili, pasta, soup, stew) and styles of cooking (slow cook, saute, steam). There is even a DIY mode that you can use to customize the temperature and cooking time to make whatever you'd like. In addition, a "keep warm" option and a 24-hour preset timer ensure that your food will be ready exactly when you want it to be. Best of all, it comes with a 1-year warranty, and the nonstick, BPA-free pot, and other included accessories (a paddle, soup ladle, measuring cup, and plastic steamer insert), are all dishwasher-safe, so cleaning up couldn't be easier.
Helpful review: “Great product and great value! Soups, stews, rice, pasta . . .. it does it all! I have made soup from scratch, stew from scratch and brown rice. The soups and stews are cooked perfectly. This is very easy to use, safe, and cleans up in a snap. And talk about rice cooking perfection! I add brown rice and water, close and press the brown rice setting. That's it, the unit does the rest. The rice is cooked perfectly. Never hard, dry, or mushy, always fluffy perfection.”
3. The Largest
- Capacity: 30 cups of cooked rice
For meal prepping or cooking large batches of rice at a time, you can't go wrong with this Proctor Silex rice cooker. It couldn't be simpler to use. Just load the recommended rice to water ratio in the pot, press down on the power button, and that's it. It will automatically change from "cook" to “warm” once it's finished. Because of the large size of this machine, it also comes with a steaming basket that you can use to steam other foods, like vegetables, on top of the rice as it cooks. However, keep in mind that you can't choose the temperature or cook time like with the previous picks, so it's not a good choice for steaming meat. As a bonus, the nonstick pot and all of the accessories that are included (a steaming basket with removable divider, rice paddle, and measuring cup).are top-rack dishwasher-safe.
Helpful review: “Great rice cooker. I got large size to minimize bubble over. Pan and glass top clean up easily or go in top rack of dishwasher. This replaced a fancy rice cooker that could do all sorts of things. But it was a pain to clean, and I just wanted to cook rice. Love it.”
4. The Best Mini Rice Cooker
- Capacity: 2 cups of cooked rice
Don't need more than a cup or two of rice at a time? Then this Dash mini rice cooker might be the best option for you. Available in five color options, this small, compact rice cooker is highly portable. It also boasts a simple one-button operation that automatically changes to the “warm” setting after it's finished cooking the rice. It also comes with a 1-year warranty, and non-stick pot, lid, rice paddle, and measuring cup can be placed on the top rack of a dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Helpful review: “This is a minimalist personal rice cooker that has one simple button: Cook Rice. Put the rice in the bowl, add water, and press the button. In about 20-25 minutes, the rice is ready and comes out perfectly. It's easy to clean and it's reliable.”
5. The Best Microwave Rice Cooker
- Capacity: 4 to 5 cups of cooked rice
When you want to cook rice as quickly as possible, this Sistema microwave rice cooker delivers, whipping up fluffy batches in mere minutes. Made of BPA-free plastic, it's designed with a pressure chamber, a steam-release vent, and cool-touch tabs on the lid to make cooking rice in the microwave safe and easy. Plus, it's freezer-safe and can also be cleaned on the top rack of a dishwasher.
Helpful review: "I've had this for 7 months now, and I think it's still my favorite tool in my entire kitchen. I eat a ton of rice, and I love how easy this is to use and how easy it is to clean. I put in one cup of white rice and two cups of water, and microwave it for 15 minutes. It comes out consistent every time."