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If You Love Rice, You Need One Of These Easy-To-Use Japanese Rice Cookers — & Here's Why

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Since rice is an important staple of Japanese cuisine, it's not surprising that the country has a reputation for producing some of the best rice cookers in the world. In fact, thanks to sophisticated technology, the best Japanese rice cookers allow you to make a batch of rice so easily, the process is nearly fail-safe. You only need to load the cooker with rice and the corresponding amount of water, hit the start button, and the machine does the rest. There's no waiting for water to boil or watching the clock to make sure you don't overcook your meal.

Although Japanese rice cookers come in a range of prices, the higher-end models are multi-functional kitchen gadgets that might be worth the investment. These rice cookers have settings for different styles of rice (white, brown, and long grain to name a few), and can also be used to cook other things — like oatmeal and quinoa— to the most delicious texture. Some can even bake a cake! Don't overlook more basic models, though. Although they lack bells and whistles, they can still cook a great small batch of rice quickly.

Best of all, you don't need to travel to Japan (or spend tons on shipping) to get your hands on one of the best Japanese rice cookers; you can find them for sale on Amazon. Keep scrolling for more info on the three top picks.

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1

The Overall Best

This 3-cup capacity Zojirushi Micom rice cooker does so much more than make perfectly cooked white and brown rice. Among its seven settings, there are modes for long-grain white rice, quinoa, steel-cut oatmeal, and cake. (Yes, you read that right. You can use your machine to bake a delicious cake!)

The triple-layer heater cooks food evenly on bottom, sides, and top and features a nonstick pot. This rice cooker also boasts a "quick" mode — perfect for those occasions when you need to whip up a fast meal in as little as 30 minutes — and a programmable, delayed timer. Plus, the "keep warm” and "reheat" features maintain the rice at the perfect temperature until you're ready to serve it. It's also designed with a removable steam vent cap and removable inner lid to make it easier to hand-wash it.

Helpful review: "I have made brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, and steel cut oatmeal. Every time I get perfection. Very easy to use. I can't wait to try making a cake. This size machine is the perfect size for three adults."

2

The Best For Families

Need to feed your family or a larger group? This Toshiba rice cooker can make up to a pound (or 12 cups) of cooked rice at a time and relies on smart sensors to produce seven different options for cooking. While many larger rice cookers may take up to an hour to cook, this model boasts a “quick rice” setting that cooks in 30 minutes. It also has settings for white and brown rice, mixed rice, multigrains, oatmeal, and porridge. In addition, you can prep rice in advance with the two programmable delayed timer settings and "keep warm” feature works for up to 24 hours after cooking.

Despite its large capacity, this rice cooker has a relatively compact profile that doesn't take up too much counter space. It's also built with a handle to make it easier to move and comes with accessories like a steamer insert, measuring cup, and a ladle and serving spatula. Note: Because the inner pot is nonstick, it requires hand-washing to maintain the coating.

Helpful review: "I absolutely love this rice cooker and its compact design. It is very easy to use and clean. My rice cooks evenly every time, and there are very clear instructions on how to cook different meal options. I love how fluffy the rice is, and the flavors are perfect. I recommend this to anyone looking to make easy perfect rice."

3

The Most Budget-Friendly

For an affordable Japanese rice cooker, look no further than this Zojirushi 3-cup model. This machine, which is also available in 6-cup and 10-cup capacities, lacks the programmable features of fancier cookers and has just a simple one-switch control button. Although it's basic in design, reviewers say this pick is fast, making white rice in about 20 minutes and brown rice in double that time. Plus, it sports a nonstick pot, glass lid, and side handles that don’t conduct heat. Like the other rice cookers on this list, the inner pot must be hand-washed.

Helpful review: "I love this rice cooker. It's simple, straight-forward, and does the job of making rice. The size of this rice cooker is about the same as a 1.5 quart slow cooker. I do 3 cups of white rice plus 3.25 cups of water. I don't find any water splattering to be a problem."