Rice from ricecooker

Best Rice Cookers — Reviews & Buying Guide [2019]

Cooking rice can be a tricky process if you want to have a perfect outcome. Most chefs will cook rice on a stovetop with a regular pot, but most people do not have this luxury. There are some restaurants that do use rice cookers as well just because it’s easier, especially if you plan on cooking a large amount all at once.

When you use a rice cooker, you get simplicity and ease of use all in one. All you have to do is put in the recommended amount of rice, water and salt. Then you set the machine with the quick press of a couple of buttons, close it up and forget about it until it alarms or tells you when the rice is done.

It’s really just that easy and will change the way you cook rice forever. Never will you have to constantly check on the rice anymore in case you need to add more water so the rice doesn’t burn on the bottom. The rice will never be undercooked or overcooked again either. You will be able to cook any type of rice perfectly every time.

Continue reading to find out what to look for when purchasing a new rice cooker as well as some of the best rice cookers available for purchase on the market today.

Best Rice Cooker Overall

Instant Pot 6 Qt 6-in-1 

This machine costs just about the same as any other rice cooker and does a great job. Plus, it has the ability to act as several other kitchen appliances all in one. It is perfect for the person without a lot of time on their hands to make dinner for the family.

Features & Benefits

  • Pressure cooker function.
  • Multiple cooking settings.
  • Alerts and alarms.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Sealed lid with a safety feature.


  • Very affordable at only $60 and comes with a lifetime warranty to protect it. 
  • Able to cook rice perfectly without having to lift a finger, set it and forget it. 
  • Has the capability to cook other types of food using different types of functions on the machine


  • When the machine breaks, the company will only send replacement parts instead of the whole unit. 

Editorial Review

There are a lot of different rice cookers out there that’ll just cook rice and maybe steam some vegetables. But this machine will not only cook rice to perfection, it’ll also sauté, steam, slow cook, warm food and act as a pressure cooker.

This 6-in-1 wonder has a 24-hour delay start, a 10-hour warmer function and multiple alarms and alerts: to let you know when the food is done, how it’s coming along and hazard alerts.

The Instant Pot is more than affordable at only $60 and it comes with a lifetime warranty. The lid locks in place with a steam release valve and will not open unless the pressure is reduced to a safe setting.

This machine is durably constructed of heavy cast aluminum and stainless steel to ensure the strength and stability of the machine. 

What Others Are Saying

Positive – People love this machine because it can do so much. Just like the rice cooker function, all you have to do is put the food and ingredients in the pot, lock the lid, set the timers and wait for dinner. Plus, the machine can do so much more than just cook rice. 

Negative  There are not a lot of bad reviews for this product and most bad reviews start out with “I love this product, but…” the main problem is when it breaks from a seal or crack, they get sent replacement parts instead of a whole new unit. Most do not know how to install the replacement parts. 

The machine is very affordable and comes with a 1-year warranty to back it up on damages. It’s very easy to use and easy to clean. It’s basically a smaller yet lesser version of the Instant Pot for those on a budget.

Features & Benefits

  • Can cook up to 20 cups of rice.
  • Has the ability to steam, sauté, slow cook and bake.
  • Easy to use and easy to clean.
  • Non-stick inner pot.
  • Come with measuring cups and spatula.


  • Has the ability to cook rice easily and fast without any effort at all. 
  • Only costs about $40 and comes with a warranty.
  • Is able to cook other types of food using several different methods of cooking. 
  • Comes with useful accessories. 


  • May have a tendency to boil over if not sealed properly.

Editorial Review

This rice cooker is a pretty handy little machine and has a lot of the same qualities as the Instant Pot reviewed above. It’ll make rice perfectly as well as cook other types of food you wouldn’t think of. It can slow cook, sauté and steam foods with just the press of a button and it’ll even bake a cake under the correct conditions.

The machine is very easy to use with just the press of a button and they even include the measuring cups and spatula to help in the rice cooking and retrieving process.

The inner pot is also lined with a non-stick coating to make cooking food easier and with less burning. 

What Others Are Saying

Positive – People love how easy and effortless the machine is to use. Anyone can work this machine with ease.

Negative  There are a few bad reviews about the machine having a tendency to boil over or spew out the top causing messes. There have also been complaints about how the handles are not heat resistant. 

Best Budget Rice Cooker

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker

The machine is very easy to use and user friendly without over complicating things. It looks great in the kitchen and it is very affordable at about $30.

Features & Benefits

  • Able to make up to 8 cups of rice.
  • Comes with steamer basket, spatula and measuring cup.
  • Easy to use and easy to clean.
  • Able to make all other types of grains.


  • Able to cook up to 8 cups of rice at once or as little as 2 cups. 
  • Comes with a steamer basket, spatula and measuring cup. 
  • Has the ability to cook all types of grains and steam veggies or fish at the same time as cooking the rice. 


  • Since the inner pot is not lined with non-stick coating, food has a tendency to burn. 

Editorial Review

This budget rice cooker is more for individuals or small families since it’s a little bit more compact than the other machines. The machine is very easy to use, it can cook rice very quickly with just the touch of a button and an alarm will sound when the rice is done. It also has the ability to cook other types of foods like quinoa, lentils and hot cereal such as oatmeal.

It comes with a steamer basket to steam fish or veggies while the rice is cooking as well. It also comes with a measuring cup and a spatula to help retrieve the rice from the pot once it’s cooked. 

What Others Are Saying

Positive – Most people love how easy the machine is to use and how you can get perfectly cooked rice every time (when used properly). They also like the sleek look of the machine and it looks great on the countertop of the kitchen.

Negative – Some say the food cooked within the pot will burn on the bottom due to it not having a non-stick lining. Others said the machine just stopped working after six months or so. 

This machine is very easy to use — just flip the switch and leave it alone. Even when the rice is done cooking it will automatically turn to warm and keep it that way until you change it. For about $20, this machine is completely risk free.

Features & Benefits

  • Can cook up to 16 cups of rice.
  • Very affordable.
  • Easy to use and easy to clean.
  • Can cook other types of grains and hot cereal.


  • Comes with a steamer basket to cook other foods while the rice is cooking. 
  • Is very user-friendly with just the flip of a switch.
  • Will cook rice perfectly then switch to keep warm automatically until you turn it off.


  • Has a tendency to leak steam and moisture during the cooking process, which could make some foods cook unevenly. 

Editorial Review

This rice cooker is probably the simplest machine there is on the market. It doesn’t do as much as the rest of the rice cookers but will do the job of cooking rice fast and efficiently. There’s only one button on the machine and it’s to switch it on and off.

It will cook the rice automatically and then turn over to keeping it warm until it’s manually shut off. It also steams fish or veggies while the rice is cooking. There’s a glass tempered lid on top so you can see inside while the food is cooking.

It will also cook other types of grains like orzo and lentils as well as some hot cereals like oatmeal. The machine is one of the cheapest out there for about $20 so there really is no risk at all when purchasing it new. 

What Others Are Saying

Positive – People like how easy it is to use. It’s just one switch to flip, no presets or overthinking. They also like the steamer basket for cooking other types of foods at the same time. 

Negative – The comments on the bad reviews are very short and even one-worded so it’s hard to get a handle on why people don’t like it. For the most part, people didn’t like how the steam escaped from the pot and made the food cook unevenly. 

Buyers Guide to Rice Cookers

How to Choose the Best Rice Cooker

When choosing the best rice cooker, it’s important to consider the quality of the machine. When rice cooks in one of these machines, it’s cooked under extreme pressure. So, it’s best to think about the construction of the machine and the quality of materials used to build it. You wouldn’t want the machine to crack or break a seal over time which would compromise the cooking process.

It’s also wise to have a backup plan like a manufacturer guarantee or some kind of warranty to protect the machine from damages or defects that may occur during the cooking or shipping process. Make sure to do the research before buying a machine and read the reviews to make an educated decision. 

What to Look for When Purchasing a New Rice Cooker

When you’re looking for a new rice cooker there are a few things to abide by. You want to make sure the machine is very easy to use and easy to clean. There’s no reason a rice cooker should be overcomplicated. Just a few buttons, an alarm and a couple of safety precautions.

The process of cooking the rice is very simple so it’s no wonder that the machine should be equally easy to use. Making sure it’s easy to clean is a plus. Usually, the inner bowl will come out of the heating element so you can hand-wash it. If the inner bowl and other parts of the machine are dishwasher safe, this is an even bigger plus.

A lid that is tempered or possibly see-through is also a bonus so you can see what is going on inside while it’s cooking. It may not be necessary with these machines but it also may come in handy every once in a while, depending on what you’re doing with the rice after it’s already cooked.

Some of the models also come with their own measuring cup, spoons or spatulas to help cook the rice. Yes, you could use your own kitchen tools, but chances are the tools that are provided will better help you to cook the rice perfectly.

You also want to decide how big of a rice cooker you’ll need. If you have a large family or are planning on using it in a restaurant setting, then you may want a larger machine. Whereas if you’re just cooking for yourself or maybe one or two other people, then you may only need a smaller model so you don’t waste any product or have to cook a large amount of rice every time you use the machine. 

Construction and Design

For the most part, rice cookers are designed the same, where they’re different is how they’re built, what materials are used and what functions come with the machine. All machines can cook the rice but some machines also have other functions.

You may want a setting that’ll allow you to cook the rice to a different texture, either softer or firmer. There are also indicator lights on some models to let you know the machine is on, cooking or done cooking.

The inner pot will usually be made of stainless steel though other materials are also used. You’re probably going to want a non-stick surface to aid in cooking other items or for the easy release of the rice once it’s cooked.

First, you also want to make sure the machine can cook all types of rice. Second, it’s a huge bonus if the machine has the ability to cook other types of grains like quinoa or lentils so you can diversify your meals. Some models also come with steam trays that’ll insert at the top of the machine and allow you to cook vegetables while the rice cooks as well.

Most of the machines are going to be somewhat small so they can fit on your countertop and some come in very stylish designs too. This is important to some people who have limited storage space or just want to spruce up their kitchen by displaying the kitchen appliances. If you do have the space for storing, just make sure to clean the machine and make sure it’s very dry before storing it in a closet or cabinet. You can also just wipe down the outside of the machine with a warm, damp rag if it becomes dirty at all. 

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Image: Lesterman

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