Buying Guide: The Best Rice Cookers For You

Rice Cookers 101: From Simple to Digital

How To Choose Rice Cooker

Rice cookers make it super easy to cook batches of brown, white, jasmine or sushi rice, all at the touch of a button. These small kitchen appliances save space on your stovetop, so you can take up every burner without trying to squeeze a pot of rice into the mix. The key to perfectly cooked rice is to know how to buy a rice cooker. Once you know what features to look for, you'll be able to make delicious batches of light, fluffy rice to go with your favorite entrees.

Before you select your ideal rice cooker, you'll need to consider the size, capacity, features and functions of each model, so you can perform the best possible rice cooker comparison. This guide will help you determine which features are the most important for your individual cooking needs.

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Rice Cooker Components

When you know how to buy a rice cooker, you'll find that most models have similar components. A rice paddle and measuring cup are typically included, and most rice cookers come with a removable liner. Some models offer tempered glass lids that let you see the rice as it cooks, while others have connected lids. These hinged, locking lids seal in flavor and moisture to make your rice tender and delicious. If you plan to use your rice cooker to steam vegetables, look for a model that comes with a steamer tray that allows you to cook rice and steam vegetables simultaneously for a quick and healthy meal.

Rice Cooker Features

Rice Cooker

As you learn how to buy a rice cooker, you'll need to consider all the features that are available, so you can get the most out of your countertop appliance. From rice settings to timers, rice cookers come with lots of different options that make perfect rice as easy as pushing a button. Here is a brief rundown of what you need to know before you decide on a model.

Rice Cooker Sizes

The size of your rice cooker depends largely on what you will use the cooker for. You can find rice cookers with anywhere from a 3-cup to a 10-cup capacity. If you plan on making large family meals or do a lot of entertaining, then a larger capacity cooker is your best bet. For making small batches of sushi, a 3-cup cooker will work beautifully. You may also want to take size into consideration if you have a smaller kitchen, as a compact 3-cup model takes up little room on your counter.

Rice Cooker Settings

Electric Rice Cooker with Display

The best rice cookers offer a host of easy to use settings to get the best results out of every batch. Some rice cookers come with settings for brown rice, sushi rice, white rice, and even porridge and oatmeal. You'll find that some rice cookers also come with dessert settings that let you prepare cakes as well as rice. As you conduct your rice cooker comparison, look for a model that has delayed timer settings if you'd like to do something like set up the cooker before you leave for work so it's ready when you come home. LED display panels on some cookers make it easy for you to see which setting you are selecting and how much longer your foods have to cook. Smaller, more compact rice cookers come with retractable cords for easy storage when not in use. Comparing settings on each machine and understanding how these enhance a rice cooker's benefits will help you choose the right cooker.

Removable Cooking Pans

As you learn how to buy a rice cooker, remember to pay close attention to the removable cooking pan. The best models feature a nonstick cooking pan, so you can remove even the stickiest rice. These cooking pans slide in and out of your cooker in a matter of seconds. Some pans are dishwasher safe, while others require hand washing, so you'll want to consider what matters more to you.

Multi-Cooker Options

Multi Cooker

Multi-cookers are specialty appliances that function as both slow cookers and rice cookers, and they are versatile additions to any kitchen. You can use one of these small kitchen appliances to cook soups and stews for slow-cooked meals, or you can use it to make a quick batch of rice. Multi-cookers often come in larger capacities than rice cookers, so be sure that your cooker can able to handle small batches of rice if you tend to just need a cup or two at a time.

Rice Cooker Uses

Rice cookers have a variety of uses in your kitchen. Your cooker can make sticky rice for Japanese or Thai dishes, or it can make plain white or brown rice for use in your favorite soups or stews. Make hearty porridge or oatmeal for breakfast on cold days. Baking in your rice cooker can be surprising quick and easy. There's recipes that make delicious chocolate cake or a rich cheesecake in the same time it takes to make a batch of rice without the need for stand mixers and accessories.

There are many different types of rice cookers and electric cookware. The key to knowing how to buy a rice cooker is to be able to compare the features and benefits, so you get the model that meets your unique needs. Whether you make rice every day or only with specific recipes, a handy rice cooker is the ideal addition to your kitchen for beautifully cooked rices.

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