The 3 Best Stainless Steel Rice Cookers

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If you’re making an effort to swap out the nonstick cookware for stainless steel in your kitchen, the best stainless steel rice cookers offer a foolproof way to make, fluffy, perfectly cooked rice, grains, and much more. Even better? Because they lack the Teflon coatings of some of their nonstick counterparts, stainless steel rice cookers can cook up all your favorite rice dishes without any risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. If you're shopping for a new rice cooker, here are some things to consider.

First, do your homework. Some rice cookers with nonstick pots are still marketed as being stainless steel. If you have any doubt, surfaces should have a shiny, metallic appearance, not a matte finish. Next, decide what you want to use your rice cooker for. If it’s simply rice, you can find affordable models that have basic on/off switches, and can prepare anywhere from 6 to 22 cups of cooked rice. Other models have digital controls, with settings for different rice varieties and cooking methods, but might come at a higher price.

Whichever capacity or technology you choose, the best stainless steel rice cookers simplify the process for making restaurant-quality rice at home. Here are our top picks.

1. The Overall Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker: Aroma Housewares NutriWare 14-Cup Digital Rice Cooker

This stainless steel rice cooker from Aroma’s NutriWare series has the added bonus of digital control, making it the overall best pick. It can prepare up to 14 cups of cooked rice, making it good for larger households or meal prep (as a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of uncooked rice is equivalent to 2 cups cooked).

The digital panel gives you the option to select from six functions, including white rice, brown rice, steam, sauté-then-simmer, and keep-warm. The sauté setting is great for infusing rice or grains with flavors before cooking, and the included stainless steel steam tray allows you to steam vegetables, meat, or fish above grains while they cook for complete meal-making. A tempered glass lid makes it easy to see into the pot during cooking, and a measuring cup and rice paddle are also included.

2. The Best Value: Aroma Simply Stainless Rice Cooker

This other model from Aroma has a more straightforward design than the overall best pick, and is available in two sizes. Whether you choose the smaller model that can prepare up to 6 cups of rice, or the larger 14-cup size, both are affordably priced at under $38. The simple-to-use rice cooker has one-touch functionality that takes the guesswork out of making rice, though people who want specific times for different rice varieties may want to consider one of the other models featured on this list.

Once the rice cooking program finishes, the machine automatically enters keep warm mode to make sure rice is still steamy if you’re not eating until a little later. The glass lid lets you check on cooking progress without opening it, and it also comes with a measuring cup and serving spatula. One cute feature? The handle of this Aroma rice cooker also functions as a spatula holder so you don’t have to rest it on your countertop.

3. The Best For Large Batches: Tatung 11-Cup Multi-Functional Stainless Steel Rice Cooker

For large households, or anyone who likes to entertain or do a lot of meal prep at once, this rice cooker from Tatung is a great choice. Capable of making up to 22 cups of cooked rice (compared to just 14 cups of cooked rice in the best overall pick), the Tatung has a pretty unique design. Often, when cooking such a large volume of rice, the bottom can scorch or burn before the entire load has finished cooking, but the Tatung is designed like a double-boiler. Though it isn’t shown in a photo here, imagine a pot within a pot (both stainless steel, of course), separated by steaming water. This ensures that the contents cook evenly without burning, and can actually aid in making food more moist.

Four modes allow you to cook rice, braise, steam (which requires the use of an included steam plate), and stew/soup. The Tatung is a bit more of an investment than the other models on this list, but with so much versatility, it's like getting several appliances in one.

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Studies referenced:

Sajid, M., Ilyas, M. (2017), PTFE-coated non-stick cookware and toxicity concerns: a perspective. Environmental Science And Pollution Research International. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28913736