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Are you a big family, or dining solo? Do you want a budget-friendly buy or a multi-purpose design? Let’s take a look at some of these factors before we divulge our favourite picks.
The capacity is usually measured in litres and cups, going from around a 3-cup yield all the way to 10+ cups. Keep in mind that this is not a baking cup, but a rice specific portion - if you're unsure about cups and litres, check the cooker's description. Helpful cookers should also come with a measuring scoop or an indicative line on the insert.
A 3-cup capacity will be sufficient for 1-3 people, whereas larger families or meal preppers will want to go up to around a 5-cup model to yield 4-6 portions. If you’re batch cooking or have lots of mouths to feed, you can go for a 10-cup capacity or above.
Aside from microwave steamers, the most basic rice cookers will have just one function: starting the cooking process. Sounds easy enough, but there are advantages to the fancier models that can benefit most home cooks.
Keep in mind that basic cookers only feature one heating element which can sometimes result in uneven cooking or a 'crust' on the bottom. But if you want a little extra functionality, look for additional steaming trays for vegetables or fish, so most of the meal is ready to go in one sitting - great for meal preppers.
Less confident cooks looking for a stress-free way to master rice cooking once and for all could also consider advanced models that integrate fuzzy logic. This is a built-in thermal system that manages the temperature and boiling time, regardless of any mistakes in water or rice quantities or any accidental setting changes.
Love cooking up a storm at home? You could opt for a multi-cooker design, which will act as a rice steamer, a slow cooker, a poacher and a roaster all-in-one. With these smart gadgets, you'll be able to whip up hundreds of different meals, often setting them to cook at certain times.
Although they'll entail a bigger spend initially, they're a good buy economically if you are planning on buying a few new kitchen appliances but can’t decide which to invest in!
Looking specifically for a multicooker to combine the functions of different kitchen appliances?
A fuss-free option for easy cooking is a microwaveable rice steamer. They are simply plastic containers with breathable lids, and only involve measuring the rice, selecting the cooking time, and waiting for the ping of the microwave.
They also eliminate the need for large gadgets cluttering up small kitchens with limited worktop and cupboard space. Of course, they are very basic and will probably only cook white or brown rice (with less consistent results than 'real' rice cookers), but they could be handy for students and small households.
Take a look at our top microwave picks while you're here!
The purpose of investing in any kitchen appliance is to make your life easier, so it’s worth thinking about some additional extras and designs to make dinner time stress-free.
If you appreciate coming home to half of your dinner prep already done, choose digital designs that can be programmed to start the cooking process at a selected time. They can also include options for temperature and time adjustment such as a quick-cook mode, and a number of pre-programmed settings to just push and go.
Those short on time or cooking for families should also look for a model with a 'keep warm' setting, so rice can be thrown on whilst you get on with other parts of the meal, and will never overcook or go cold if family members are eating at different times.
Inserts or outer containers with handles are also helpful for transporting around the kitchen or to the table, especially ones that look as stylish as a regular serving bowl!
For even easier clean-up, look for removable lids, and parts that can be put in the dishwasher. The manufacturer should state whether the entire insert or just its lid and accessories are suitable for putting in the dishwasher, so scan these if you want to save on the washing up.
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Drew & Cole
CleverChef 14-in-One Multicooker
A Cracking Kitchen Sidekick for Any Cook
Rice Cooker and Steamer
Simplicity and Value From a Trusted Brand
The High Performance Mid-Range Family Cooker
Panda Rice Cooker
A Pro-Quality 2-Person Rice Cooker With a Small Footprint
Fabulous Value All-In-One Cooker for Home Cooks
M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker
Top Pick for an Efficient and Easy Microwave Steamer
Saute Rice Cooker
Make Tasty Rice-Based Meals in One Pot
Stainless Steel Rice Cooker
A High-End Option for Aspiring Chefs
Good Mid-Range Features on a Budget
Personal Rice Cooker
Cheap and Cheerful for Solo Diners
This intelligent multi-cooker will be your new best friend whether you're a novice cook or you get your Masterchef on every night of the week. It reduces the need for any other gadget with its ability to cook rice, stews and curries, poach and roast meats, and even bake a loaf of bread.
You might not believe it when you look at the price, but this classy-looking steel cooker from reliable brand Russell Hobbs really does produce some of the best rice out there!
Look no further than this model for a simple, easy-to-use cooker that guarantees no burnt rice and a very quick and even cooking time compared to similarly-priced options. It has a unique honeycomb design in the removable inner pot and a double non-stick coating, as well as an additional insert for steaming vegetables.
This is a quality rice cooker with the added benefits of tailored multi-cooker settings such as soup making, steaming and even cake baking. With all the latest tech such as an LED screen, advanced fuzzy logic and 3D surround heating, you can guarantee everything you make will cook evenly and faultlessly.
Tefal’s smart stainless steel multi-cooker impresses with 8 cooking settings enabling you to quick-cook rice, slow cook stews, steam vegetables, and even make desserts. Its 10-cup capacity makes it best for both batch-cookers and families, and it features a carrying handle for table service.
Stylish enough to be served at the table and easily thrown in the dishwasher afterwards, this design is our top choice for fuss-free rice steaming. The included rice paddle even acts as a lock for the lid and ensures that it won’t get lost in the cupboards.
This smart cooker is a great budget option for those with plenty of mouths to feed, and not much time to feed them! It produces not only well-cooked white rice with a simple one-touch operation, but using its namesake 'saute' function, it can create delicious paella, risotto, pasta and other rice-based dishes.
Japanese brand Zojirushi have created the ultimate in rice cookers, utilising fuzzy logic technology to create exceptionally fluffy and delicious rice, even by beginners. The digital display enables a preset timer and one-touch functions to cook all types of rice perfectly.
It also has a steaming function for other dishes and promises to keep rice warm for 12 hours. The only thing we would change is the price! But if you want rice worthy of a Michelin star and a long-lasting design sleek enough for a luxe kitchen counter, you can’t go wrong.
Here's another decent-value cooker from Vonshef, with a few handy extras. This larger-sized model can cook several types of rice as well as grains like cous cous and even pasta, and has measuring implements and an informative manual to ensure perfect ratios regardless of what you're cooking.
Solo rice-munchers will love this low-key personal cooker that quickly steams plain white rice. Four recipes for flavoured rice are also included. A perfect choice for students, occasional cooks or even for travelling, this cooker includes a useful carrying handle for transporting it around.
Rice cookers come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from those offering the simplest of functions to models that can replace every appliance in the kitchen. Investing in any new gadget can seem daunting, but we hope we have shown you just what you can get for your budget. Happy cooking!
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: Drew & Cole | CleverChef 14-in-One Multicooker
No. 2: Russell Hobbs | Rice Cooker and Steamer | 19750
No. 3: Reishunger | Rice Cooker
No. 4: Yum Asia | Panda Rice Cooker | YUM-EN06
No. 5: Tefal | 8-in-1 Multicooker | RK302E15
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