Answering some rice cooker questions


A few readers have emailed me recently about rice cookers by coincidence. So I thought I would put my answers here for everyone's benefit.

Q. What size of rice cooker is right for me?

A single portion of rice ranges from 1/2 to 1 cup. So, if you are a single person or a couple you don't need a huge rice cooker unless you are the social type who regularly has parties. The smallest capacity I've seen sold outside of Japan (where they do sell 2-cup or even 1-cup cookers) is 3 cups.

However, the newer rice cookers from good manufacturers like Zojirushi, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and so on handle small amounts of rice in their big-capacity rice cookers. For example this 10 cup capacity Zojirushi model can cook 1 cup as well as 10 cups. So, the size issue may come down more to budget and how much countertop space you can give it.

Q. Do I really need to spend so much on a rice cooker?

My general philosophy is this: If you think you'll use it regularly, it's worth spending a bit more for any appliance. The if you'll use it regularly part is critical though. Will you be making rice at least 1 or 2 times a week, every week? Then a rice cooker is worth getting. And there's such a world of difference between a good rice cooker and a cheap one. The most important one is durability - my older Zojirushi rice cooker is 20 years or so old and still working fine. The more durable an appliance is, the less you're going to be adding crap needlessly to your local landfill. And you'll save money in the long run.

(Incidentally, I'm not being unfairly biased by always recommending Japanese rice cooker manufacturers like Zojirushi. For one thing, everyone in my family has had great experiences with them. For another - Japanese people eat a lot of rice and they are quite particular about how their rice cookers perform!)

Q. Should I get a rice cooker that can cook brown rice, or other types of rice?

Again, if you think you will be cooking other types of grains or rice regularly, definitely yes.

Q. What features should I look for?

In order of importance:

  • A timer! Most rice cookers have a timer function, but it's really handy to have. You can wash the rice the night before to have it freshly cooked in the morning, or wash it in the morning so you can come back to fresh cooked rice, etc.
  • Ease of use! You should be able to set it without thinking once you've read through the manual.
  • A durable, non-stick inner container is good to have, so that you can wash the rice in the container instead of having to bother with another bowl, etc.
  • An audible beeper, so you know when the rice is done.
  • Settings for cooking different kinds of rice or grains.
  • Sophisticated electronics that ensure your rice is cooked well (they are called Micom or Neuro-fuzzy or something like that usually)
  • Keep-warm feature. I have to say that I usually switch off the keep-warm as soon as the rice is done, because I think it makes the rice taste worse and worse. You should never use keep-warm for whole grains, including brown rice, because it will start to get odd fairly fast.

Q. I got a rice cooker but my rice still doesn't taste right.

If you're cooking Japanese style rice, are you sure you got the right kind? (See Looking at Rice.) Are you washing it correctly? (See How to wash and prepare rice.) You can't skip the washing part and expect to get rice that's as good as you can get at your favorite Japanese restaurant. (And to be picky, a lot of Japanese restaurants don't wash their rice well enough for me, or use the evil 'no-wash rice' (musenmai). But that's another story.)

Can I use a rice cooker for cooking other things?

You sure can. You have to keep in mind that a rice cooker is designed to start cooking at a low heat, gradually increasingly the heat, ending at a high heat. And it's also fairly (in some models completely) sealed, so you get a moist steam heat. So, things that can be cooked in that type of environment will fit. There are several books about rice cooker cooking in Japan, and All About (the Japanese equivalent of has a whole section devoted to the subject. There are some rice cooker books in English too, like this one. I can't vouch for any of the books, but I've tried some of the recipes on All About and they are rather fun.

Q. Do I need a rice cooker at all?

Our ancestors didn't have cute beepy electric cookers, so obviously it is possible to cook rice properly without one.

I have a little confession actually - recently, I've been cooking rice more and more in anything but my rice cooker. I still rely on it when I'm in a hurry. And when someone else is making dinner, I can just ask them to 'do the rice' and as long as it's using the rice cooker, everything is ok.

But I've found that the best tasting rice really is made in a regular, heavy pot, or in a pressure cooker. That's the only way I cook brown rice these days. However, it takes some patience and practice to cook rice without the handy set-it-and-forget-it-ness of a rice cooker. I never used to be able to cook rice properly without a cooker - the rice would always turn into mush, or be hard and raw. Even now, after years of fairly concentrated practice, I occasionally turn out a pot of inedible goo.

So for a busy person who cooks a lot of rice or other grains, I think a rice cooker is a great appliance to have. It's just one less thing to think about after all.

About the rice cooker cup

One very important thing to keep in mind if you purchase a rice cooker is that you should always use the little measuring cup that comes with it. The capacity of the cup is usually 180ml, which is less than a Japanese one cup (200ml) or an American one cup (236ml) or the offical metric one cup (250ml). If you do lose that cup though, just measure out 180ml with a regular measuring cup.

Shopping news: Zojirushi and Tiger rice cookers in Europe

Europe-based readers haven't had a lot of luck finding Japanese rice cookers, barring a trip to Japan. I've spotted this fairly new Zojirushi Rizo model on the web site of a German/Japanese mailorder store, Ja-Mart:


It's a 3-cup capacity model that cooks Japanese style rice, risotto, and also does 'steam cooking'. It comes in yellow, white and stainless steel, and it's available from The price for the yellow and white models is €186, which for a Japanese rice cooker in Europe is fairly reasonable. The site is in Japanese and German only, but they do deliver to several European countries, so try emailing them at customer.service at ja-mart dot de. (Note for people in Switzerland: they do ship here, even though Switzerland doesn't appear in their drop-down menu.)

If you're in the U.S. and fall in love with the cutie, you can get it from Amazon.

(Update on JA-Mart: They now carry a 1 to 10-cup capacity IH (Induction Heating) rice cooker from Tiger, another very good brand.)

Shopping news: UK source for Zojirushi rice cookers

I received an email from Donna and Neil of Yum Asia, who currently sell two models of Zojirushi Fuzzy Logic rice cookers in the UK. They are 220-240v and have three-pin UK plugs (an adapter plug would be needed for continental Europe). Check them out!

See also

Filed under:  equipment japanese rice shopping

If you enjoyed this article, please consider becoming my patron via Patreon. ^_^

Become a Patron!


I must be especially bad-ass because I've never had a problem making rice on my stove. ^_^ Or maybe I'm just not picky about my rice? I dunno.

I'm exactly the same. The need for a rice cooker completely baffles me. Even if you cant handle the boil-dry method just bung the rice in a pot, cover with water, cook until soft and drain. Perfect rice every time. Especially for basmati etc.

I agree completely. For the last 30 years, I've used Pierre Franey's recipe with spectacular results. Melt butter in a saucepan; add some chopped onion (1/2 cup or so) and soften. Add some garlic 1 tbl or so) and soften. Add 1 cup of long-grain rice and stir to coat. Add 1.5 cups of water/broth/etc. and bring to a boil, stirring to be sure there's a slurry. Add herbs/spices of your choice - parsley, bay leaves, whatever appeals. Lower the heat so the rice is JUST simmering. Cover and cook for EXACTLY 17 minutes. Do NOT compulsively keep removing the cover to check doneness; it will be done in 17 minutes. If you have left the heat on too high, the worst that can happen is a slightly gummy pan bottom. The only changes I've ever made to this recipe are to use the oven (400 degrees if memory serves) and to change liquid content and cooking time IF you're cooking the rice at a high altitude. For example, at 7000 feet (Santa Fe, I add 2 tbls of additional water, cook around 5 minutes longer, and remove the cover after 17 minutes or so, so that any remaining liquid evaporates. Rice done in the oven has a different consistency from that done on the stove - a bit drier. You can jazz up the rice in any number of ways - - - with turmeric, curry powder, etc.

So far as I know, that will work for long-grain rices such as basmati, but Japanese rice needs more complex cooking (the recipes I've seen for it generally involve a couple of changes of temperature). It's not *ridiculously* difficult without a rice cooker, but it's a bit more fussy. I find a rice cooker very useful for something I can just forget about while I'm cooking the rest of the meal.

I am 38 years old, and have been cooking for my family for a long time and always cooked rice on the stove. I got a rice cooker last year, and I LOVE it. While cooking it on the stove is easy, using a rice cooker makes it easier. It's fix it and forget it. In my crazy house, that's a plus!

This is a great article. I'm with you - I still cook rice in a pot on the stovetop. I have tried cooking it in the microwave but I never get the proportions right because it invariably boils over and I spend most of my time cleaning out the microwave.

My mom taught me how to cook rice on the stove, even measuring the level of water by the digit in your finger so it comes out perfect everytime, fluff it once with a fork or spoon and let it cook.
That's really only at times there's no rice cooker around. We bought a rice cooker for family in the Philippines once but I'm not sure it caught on.
We've used the same Japanese one since I can remember, but we give it a break once in a while and use the Aroma brand endorsed by Martin Yan. It, out of all the American brands we've tried performs the same as our Japanese brand. It's a lot cheaper too, but I'd still like a Zojirushi someday.
Lastly, I can not get over the fact that Alton Brown refuses to get a rice cooker because he believes it to be a "unitasker", well I think the fact that he fails to think up other uses for it is the real problem. :P

hello I am in Japan and the rice cooker the price is about: 60$ small sizes. any Brands names you want. japanese Makers only .FOB price ( no deliver prices included).
if you have interest can ship it direct to your door step or you can Pick Up in Philipines. with a friend of mine.

I totally know what you mean by the measuring by the finger technique when it comes to cooking rice! That's how my mom taught me as well! Works for me too! I honestly don't like using an actually rice cooker but it helps when you have multiple things cooking on the stove I guess.

Hi M,

I have that same one and believe it or not I burned my left wrist on the top part. Now I have round shaped burn marks.

Ciao from South America


Hi Maki,
I Just Love Just Hungry.
After a lifetime of avoiding appliances that I was sure I would never use, you have fully convinced me that it's high time I got a rice cooker. I used to think it was a "unitasker" too, but now I see it can be used for brown rice as well. Cool! So now I need to find out where I can get one. I live outside of Zürich, and we have Asian grocery stores not only in Hauptbahnhof, but closer to me in Wetzikon and Uster. Do you think they might have a Zogirushi, the small one? Or do I need to go to a specialty kitchen appliance store?

Livia in the Zürich Oberland.

Livia, unfortunately Zojirushi doesn't seem to have much distribution in Switzerland (or the rest of Europe...not sure about that) yet. I've seen rice cookers at Nishi's Japan Shop, though they are direct imports from Japan and therefore rather expensive. I'd start looking there first though, then try the usual electronics stores, or Ricardo.

Hi Maki,

This is a great article!

I have a Tiger rice cooker (also made in Japan), have been using it for about 4 years now. I had wanted to buy a Zojirushi rice cooker (heard they were very good), but unfortunately when I bought my rice cooker, the larger model I needed wasn't available so I ended up with the Tiger instead. Mine also has functions to cook other kinds of grains, although I must admit, I haven't used the other functions much.

A rice cooker (good one) is essential for us since we eat rice very often. I especially like the timer function on mine because sometimes I can pre set the time on when I want the rice to be ready.

I have gotten the "rice cooker" book from the library thinking it would be a cook book with recipes of dishes we could make using the rice cooker. It wasn't really that. It's more a cook book for people who cook rice a lot (lots of different grain dishes are covered).

Have also experimented with some recipes using the rice cooker (ex: buta no kakuni with coke in the rice cooker - the taste was okay, I wasn't wowed, but for the amt. of work I had to do, it was easy).

One dish I cook very regularly with my old rice cooker is steamed chicken thighs. I marinate the thighs with coarse salt (a lot of it, when you think it's too much, that's the right amount), some chinese cooking wine, some julienned green onions and ginger, freshly ground pepper. Marinate for about 2 hours. Then dump everything in the rice cooker. I let it steam until it's done. Sometimes if the thighs are big, it needs to go through two cycles. I don't eat the skin because it can be quite oily, but the chicken meat comes out very tender and nicely seasoned.
The chicken thighs are white looking cuz no soy sauce is added.

Maki, you seem like an expert, so here goes...

I have lived in Japan and had a rice cooker. Just having one there and seeing the difference between the rice I turned out and what my friend's rice cooker from Lakeland Limited makes is enough to make me realise I want a Japanese brand again.

I travel to Japan for work all the time, but live in Wales. What is your advice on buying in Japan and using back at home? I'm scared about the difference in voltage to be honest, I'd hate to blow up my kitchen!!

Love your page. Love, love, love it.

Peter, you need a good transformer, which you can get in Akihabara at stores that cater to people bringing electronics overseas...I can't say a specific store but there are several. (My transformer was bought locally here though, since it's very heavy! You might want to look around in Wales first to see if there's anyone that sells transformers, so you don't have to lug home a huge brick.) I do run several 100v appliances with the transformer and they all work fine.

Thanks Maki. I have to say, before reading your response, I decided to make getting a rice cooker my mission for the trip I was just on, and schlepped off down to Akihabara the other day. I asked about transformers and explained what I wanted them for, and the staff at Yodobashi Camera recommended just getting a rice cooker already volted up for use in Europe. They had a nice Zojirushi model for ¥15, 800, which has a 5.5 cup capacity, but which was sold out (typical). So I have one on order.

Thanks for your help though! One thing I would add if anyone else who travels to Japan is reading and also wants one - you don't even need to go to Akihabara. They sell the same model in the duty free store (also called Akihabara, strangely...) in Narita Airport, I subsequently found. I'll be getting mine from Yodobashi though - the man who helped me really went out of his way, and they work on commission. Plus I get points on my loyalty card! :)

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I didn't know about the store in Narita - I'll have to look next time. (Re the transformer, I have a couple of other 100 volt appliances so for me the transformer made more sense, but if it's just the rice cooker the already wired one is probably a better choice.)

I have an old old rice cooker that I inherited from my great grandmother. It's just an old Hitachi, nothing fancy. Looks like a beast! Missing a leg, I have to put a potholder under one spot to level it out when cooking. It makes wonderful rice! I tell my kids not to get me the Zoji just yet. This rice cooker has all the good juju from my great grandma. When it dies completely, I'll move on!

I inherited my rice cooker from my grandmother...
I have a picture of it here:

Good juju from your grandmother beats fuzzy-neuro-micom any time, I say. :)

I used to live with a Japanese girl and she had the best rice cooker, it was small and compact and made fab rice. I scoured London looking for one and couldn't find anything similar, I see now that hers must only be available in Japan. The one I have takes up about half the counter space in my kitchen.

I live in Japan and my pick is a small National model (SR-CH05). Panasonic is the name for National in the West. I haven't tried the Zoijiruchi but I'm sure they are good. They didn't have a small one when I went shopping, though, just the monster family-size, maybe 6 cups. Mine is a 2-cup raw, 4-cup cooked model, just perfect for me. It's round so it takes up less space, with a handle on top for easy pick-up and dark grey in colour, which is easier to keep clean. :)) Mine has been cooking most days for about 7 years now.

I always make brown rice with no special setting. I use Japanese short-grain organic rice and if I set the timer for 45 minutes it always comes out great. I would recommend experimenting with the times if you use another brown rice. You can always put the pot back on for another few minutes if it's too hard the first time or two.

I totally agree with buying one of the programmable rice cookers. Several mentioned that they can make rice as well on a stove top, but there's a much more important point. A rice cooker lets you prepare rice (steel cut oats, lentils, barley, etc.) in the morning with about 30 seconds of preparation. When you walk in the door in the evening, the house is fragrant with your cooked grain - and the rice cooker will keep it warm for hours if you're late. It's very quick to saute something additional, and dinner becomes an easy 10 minute task, even at the end of a long work day. My wife and I find we prefer cooking our meals rather than getting take-out or restaurants, and that's where you'll soon save the price of the rice cooker.

Thank you for this great article =D Since I am Asian (father is from Hong Kong), I have definetly grown up with one of those things xD We currently have one from Walmart (it was cheap, sue my father x.x). But I'm seriously gonna persuade him into buying an actual quality one (and hopefully from an Asian company, cause they just rock ^^). Which brand (and model if you have any in particular) would you suggest? It has to be a fairly large one (we have 4 people in the house, and we just love rice, haha), and also with the features that you mentioned above. Thanks! =)

I just bought a Cuckoo rice cooker, nicest version with trilingual guided voice and man do I love it? I could swear I can't live without it any more

Steph, my favorite brand is Zojirushi - I've listed some of their models on my astore page. I have two Zojirushi cookers, one is more than 20 years old and still works great! Other brands include Tiger, Panasonic/National, Mitsubishi, Toshiba etc.

Zojirushi is probably the best, but there are also some good Chinese rice cookers out there-- if you happen to live in China, a Midea rice cooker will be a lot cheaper and also works quite well. I wish I could have taken mine back to the states with me!

That was a very informative article on rice cooker selection.

I'm Chinese so a rice cooker is about as normal to me and my family as a coffee maker is to other North American/European families. My mother doesn't even know how to make rice on the stove. (I learned from my grandmother how to cook rice on the stove.)

I agree that it's very important to get a good quality rice cooker. I have a National SR-CF05N and I think my mother got it over 10 years ago. I love it so much that I brought it with me to Sweden. I had to get a more powerful power converter to get it to work but it's all worth it.

I'm a bit biased in my rice cooker selection as well. A friend of mine was given a Cuisinart rice cooker and he says that it's more work to use it than to cook rice on the stove. After looking at the design, I quickly realized why it's inferior to its Asian counterparts. Asian rice cookers usually come with a locking lid, a sufficient steam vent and some sort of escape route for the rice water to "boil over" without it boiling over on to your counter.

I am hopeless at cooking rice on the stovetop. I can never ever get the setting that will simmer it gently. Either it's still trying to cook two hours later, or, more usually, the water is gone too soon and the rice isn't cooked. I like my cheap Aroma rice cooker, even if it is unsophisticated.

I also use Minute brown rice sometimes. Not as good as regular brown rice, but sometimes ten minute preparation in the microwave is more important.

a big microwavable casserole and the microwave works fine too!

pop it in for about 20 mins on high.

the water content is usually one quarter MORE than the volume of the rice.

then once it stops leave it to stand for about 5 mins or so.

:D we always cook our rice that way.

Im a Singaporean Chinese & rice-cooker is an essential in all homes here. The latest rice cooker craze here is the Philips model (10-cup capacity) & it can bake cakes too.

I never use the measuring cup to add water, prefer to measure with the 1st digit of my index finger. When you put ur finger on the top of rice, the water shd cover up to the 1st digit of your index finger mark. If your rice turns out too watery, just leave it on "Keep warm" mode and it will turn dry soon.

If you have rice leftover frm dinner and a very good chicken broil with yummy chkn/seafood, you can all dump into the cooker and leave as "Keep warm" mode overnight. By morn, you shd haf a delicious chkn porridge (rice-stew) for breakfast.

Another way is to use a covered container in the microwave. The reason why it boils over is becuz it's not covered.

For normal rice, you can always add a clove of garlic in the cooker for a nice fragrance in your rice. Instead of water, you can use a gd chkn stock too (for normal rice).

I used to cook rice on the stove top and burnt it on the botom lots of times but saw directions for microwave & have beern doing it that way eversince. Just make sure you use a big enough microwave casserole with lid. Since I started cooking rice this way I have good results. Now I think I would like to try a rice cooker and am not sure what to get but was in one store tonight having a look at what they have & need to check it out first.
Don't know what's available in Canada.

I was wondering about spices or other things to add flavor to plain rice - need some fresh ideas.

I bought a Zojirushi like the one pictured above at a big market a few months ago, and everytime I make rice or anything else, it has a strange taste, like plastic. I lived in Japan for years and have a few rice cookers over the years, but this is a first for me. I tried cleaning it again, wiping it out and so forth, but it still tastes like plastic. Do you have any advice, or is my cooker just ca-put?

That really doesn't sound right to me. It seems like some residual coating or something was left on that shouldn't have been.

(Edited a bit later): Did you remember to wash the inner lid besides the inner pot? That could have been coated with something. Also, have you tried another rice? I once got a batch of rice that had a terrible almost kind of gasoline taste (badly polished).

(If none of the above is the cause) - can you exchange it? I'd try to do so I think if I were in your place. If not, you may want to try the suggestions in the comments here. Good luck!

Urg, I just figured out why that rice had been soo bad. It was musenmai, and I just didn't know about it at the time. I usually buy Nishiki in a white bag about the size of a gallon of milk, since they were out of that size, I had bought the smaller bag that had musenmai rice. I thought it was just the cooker, so I stopped using it. By that time, I had used up the small bag, so I was cooking the regular rice on the stove.

Recently, I moved to a new town, and all of the Nishiki brand is musenmai, and on that first bite, I knew what had happened. Poor little rice cooker, left all alone for a year for no reason.

Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes, information and stories. I have enjoyed them, and hope to continue for quite some time to come.

I'm looking to buy a rice cooker but don't know which brand i should buy. I use a rice cooker everyday and need it to keep warm all day so which brand is good to use?


Just about any decent rice cooker has a 'keep warm' feature. However I don't use it much since I think it alters the flavor of the rice for the worse. I prefer to take the rice out of the cooker, cool it and wrap it up, and then heat it up later in the microwave - it tastes much better that way.

If you need hot rice at the end of the day, get a cooker with a timed cooking feature, and set it so the rice is cooked around the time you get home.

If you read the article above you'll see which brand I like :)

Hi there, I found a Zojirushi cooker online from a US seller. I'm not sure whether the voltage would be the same for Europe though? It says it uses 310 watts of power, is that Japanese standard? And if so, is it ok to use in Europe (Great Britain)? Do you use an adaptor plug with yours?

To use a US or Japanese electrical appliance in Europe you will need a transformer. An adaptor plug is not enough, since most kitchen appliances (unlike for instance laptop computers) are not dual voltage. Europe uses 220V(olt), while the U.S. uses 110V. (Japan uses 100V or 110V, mostly the former.) Transformers aren't that cheap. So...unless you plan to use more than one U.S. voltage electrical appliance, it won't be that cost effective to get a U.S. electrical appliance. (FWIW I use a Japanese rice cooker with a transformer, which cost me about 120 Euro, but I use about 4 different appliances with it so it's worth it for me!)

It can be really inconvenient to be in CH sometimes. I checked the website of Ja-Mart and die Schweiz isn't on the usual delivery list. I'll have to email them, but I think I know what the answer will be.

I think I'm going to go your way, with the transformer. We have a Tefal rice cooker we bought here but I'm not pleased with it. By the way, note to your readers: if you go this route, make sure your transformer rating (in Watts) is higher than the rating on the device you want to plug in.

Ja-Mart does actually ship to Switzerland. I bought some stuff from them a while ago (not a rice cooker though) and it came fine, and we could pay them by bank transfer. (Also z I replied to your earlier question here - sorry for the late reply!)

I've had some issues with finding rice cookers so when a microwave rice cooker was on sale at a store for $5, I said "Why not?". It came with a paddle and had instructions on how to prepare different types of rice. My question is, have you ever used a microwave rice cooker? Would they be good to use to make Japanese-style rice?

My rice cooker looks similar to this one:

Microwave rice cookers are used in Japan, especially when kitchen equipment is limited. I do have one but I've used it exactly once...because it's easier to make rice in a rice cooker. But to answer your question, it should work fine for Japanese rice.

I grew up in a Cuban household where just about every meal we had included rice. My mother used the same Oster rice cooker for at least 10 years or more and it always made great rice.

When I went off to college, my mother bought me a microwave rice cooker. I used it a few times, before I became frustrated with it -- it just never seemed to make rice like I used to back home. At that point, I decided it would serve better as an ice bucket in my tired fridge!

Since then, I've always cooked rice on a stove top with a good non-stick sauce pan like the ones made by Scanpan Cookware. Lately, however, I've been feeling nostalgic for having a rice cooker so I'm now considering the Krups Rice Cooker.

Has anyone used it?

Dear Sirs,

I have been cosidering of buying a rice cooker. Searching, I found that Zojirushi and Tiger rice cooker models are generally very good but expensive.
Has anyone a cheaper suggestion for a rice ccoker to use and still cook all types of rice?
Will a Zojirushi model cook risotto?
Has anyone bought or heard of Hitachi rice cooker models available in US for European export use?

I would thank you in advance.


Hello maki and friends! I recently received an oster rice cooker / vegetable steamer for the holidays and have been using it regularly since, but one problem that I notice for my turnout is that when the rice is done cooking, the bottom layer of the rice is stuck to the bottom of the pan and has turned crunchy. The inner pan is non stick coated. Do you think this is a heating element design flaw? or am I not preparing my rice correctly? help would be appreciated!

It does sound like there is a problem with the heating element. I have seen the crunchy-bottom rice thing happening with older rice cookers, where the heating element has somehow gotten encrusted with old residual stuff and is not making proper contact. I am not familiar with the rice cooker model you have, but you could try cleaning off the heating element parts carefully, and also seeing what the instructions recommend for cooking rice.

I did my research .. and while the reviews for the Zojirushi were awesome -- I went with a Sanyo. It also got awesome reviews on Amazon ... so far so good ...

Made sushi (cali rolls) for the first time last night!

I have a Korean Lihom that I bought at my local market. It was pricey (but not as much as the Zo), and has every feature imaginable and performs each one well. I highly recommend the Lihom (mine is a 10 cup). The ONLY drawback I have found (I've had mine for over 2 years) is that there limited English instructions, but there certainly are enough to operate the unit.

Hi Maki,

Great site - I just wanted to write and thank you for the section on where to buy Zojirushi rice cookers in the UK. I had been looking for so long and when I read this entry from you, I checked out Yum Asia and I ordered from them.

Wow, my Zojirushi rice cooker is everything I hoped for and more it is by far the best investment in a kitchen appliance I have ever made!

I have to say the service from Yum Asia was great - I ordered and my cooker was delivered the next day...I asked loads of questions too which they patiently answered when I was trying to decide which model to buy (I got a bit confused!) and their advice was spot on.

Thanks again Maki for such a good site and leading me to the best product I ever bought! I'll be sure to check out your recipes!


I have a LiHom rice cooker which works extremely well. However, I need to find a replacement inner pot. I've searched many sites, but not able to find a way to purchase just the replacement inner pot. Does anyone help me???

I have a LiHom rice cooker which works extremely well. However, I need to find a replacement inner pot. I've searched many sites, but not able to find a way to purchase just the replacement inner pot. Can anyone help me???

Your best bet is to try to contact the manufacturer or a distributor I think. Good luck!

My fiance has a Korean rice cooker but can't use it here in the United States because the plug isn't compatible. What type of adapter do I need to buy to enable her to use it?

I know it is an old post, but anyways...
In the US you use 110V like in japan, so a japanese rice cooker is fine as is there.
In Korea, the mains is 220V like in china and europe. So you would need an expensive transformer to use a korean rice cooker in the US, though it would be great in europe.

can you keep rice warm for 24 hours in a rice cooker

You can...but it may not taste that good, and depending on the type of rice may get a bit funky.

Hi, could use some brand recommendations. I know that Zojirushi is good but can't find it locally. After a horrible experience with a glass lid $20 5 cup from Proctor Silex (went back the next day) I'm deciding to spend a bit more. The Aroma's are in the right price range but I've read some flaky reviews on Amazon. A local store carries Tiger, Panasonic, and Sanyo as well. I'm eyeing a Sanyo possibly though it's a lot more $$$ but read that it will need to go back to Sanyo to have the battery that runs the clock replaced.

I can't find much on the's a fuzzy logic model...because their website has nothing but the standard glass lid type on it (discontinued maybe?). The Tiger ones seem like they might be in the Zoji range but I can't find reviews on them anywhere.

Hi, could use some brand recommendations. I know that Zojirushi is good but can't find it locally. After a horrible experience with a glass lid $20 5 cup from Proctor Silex (went back the next day) I'm deciding to spend a bit more. The Aroma's are in the right price range but I've read some flaky reviews on Amazon. A local store carries Tiger, Panasonic, and Sanyo as well. I'm eyeing a Sanyo possibly though it's a lot more $$$ but read that it will need to go back to Sanyo to have the battery that runs the clock replaced.

I can't find much on the's a fuzzy logic model...because their website has nothing but the standard glass lid type on it (discontinued maybe?). The Tiger ones seem like they might be in the Zoji range but I can't find reviews on them anywhere.

Tiger is a main competitor of Zojirushi, also specializing in kitchen equipment only, so they are your best bet imo. Though either Panasonic or Sanyo should be ok too.

Thanks for the info on Tiger. Hmm going to be a tough call. Part of it is figuring out if I really need a fuzzy logic type cooker I guess. I want to be able to do different type of rice and things and I guess since I'm buying my first rice cooker I feel like I should just get a really good one that I know can do it all in case I end up needing the extra capability lol. In the same sizes, from memory I believe the Panasonic was about $85, about 105 for the Sanyo, and about 120 or so for the Tiger, all US dollars, in 10 cup models. Oh and sorry for the double comment, I didn't see the "pending approval" the first time I guess.

Hi Maki,
I have been looking at rice cookers and notice that Zojirushi has both a fuzzy model and an IH model. I recently returned from living in Japan and the one I had there was IH. The IH rice cooker made great rice, but I haven't used a non-IH rice cooker in so long that I can't compare them.

Do you think it is worth the extra $90 to get an IH rice cooker? Hoping you can help. Thanks!

Hi Jane, basically an IH rice cooker does its best work with plain rice. But if you plan on cooking anything else in your rice cooker (grains, risotto, porridge, desserts, etc.) the fuzzy logic models outperform the induction models.

The actual differences in plain rice cooked in a fuzzy vs. induction model are so minimal *most* people won't detect any difference at all - we tried white rice from both a fuzzy logic and an IH model side by side and we couldn't tell any difference at all. Rice is the main staple of our diet and we lived in Asia for 3 years - we own a fuzzy logic model.

Oh, and IH models really don't handle oatmeal porridge well they seem to overflow and cause an awful mess whereas the fuzzy logic models cook great oatmeal.

Hope this helps!

Donna and Neil

Maki, another source in UK for Fuzzy Logic rice cookers is
I have just ordered one from them and it will be delivered soon. I'll be reviewing it on my blog when I get a chance to play with it!

[quote=Susan]Maki, another source in UK for Fuzzy Logic rice cookers is
I have just ordered one from them and it will be delivered soon. I'll be reviewing it on my blog when I get a chance to play with it![/quote]

Hi. The reason why everyone on this blog is recommending Zojirushi is because its a Japanese brand with Japanese high build quality and this is something I completely agree with. I bought a non-japanese branded rice cooker which was made in China and the electronics didn't last very long. It failed after 3 months use. Even Sanyo's which you would think are a good brand have failed my friend on occasion.

What we all love about Zojirushi's is their ease of use and they have menu settings for different types of rice which the ones you quoted to have bought don't feature. They can be used as a slow cooker if you want but perfect rice comes top of my 'want list'.

As a Japanese person, I believe that the quality of rice cooked in a dedicated rice cooker is better than that of a slow cooker. My Zojirushi has not failed me in over 5 years and I use it twice every day.

I've got a question. What's the opinion of the Cuckoo brand? Apparently they're a popular Korean brand and I've seen a good deal of one. Just wondering if they're any good?

I would like to read someone's response to this as well. I've seen the Cuckoo rice cookers around. They are very expensive. All the ones that I have seen are pressure cookers, which I hear makes a better rice than even the micom/fuzzy logic Zojirushi.

I have an overseas assignment and moving to Hong Kong sometimes next year. Does anyone know if the supermarkets there are selling brown rice/ wild rice or other grains?

Your help is much appreciated.

What a great article. I have had a rice cooker for years and hardly ever cook rice in it. I use it for seafood and vegetables and cook my rice on the stove.

hi maki, I've loved reading your blog and am now finally getting to be on my own, where i would want a rice cooker.
however in my college dorm they only allow the microwave rice cookers (basically nothing with a coil)
pampered chef makes one, and i was wondering if you had anything to say about it?

I tried a ceramic microwave rice cooker once, and it worked well, but I abandoned it because it takes just as long as an electic rice cooker for a small amount. But for single portions they do work pretty well in general (I haven't tried the brand you're talking about myself though).

Great job on this site and on Just Bento. I've already preordered my copy of your book and am looking forward to it.

I have a Zojirushi rice maker with a setting for sushi rice and white rice. I cook Japanese rice, or what is called Japanese sushi rice here. However, I'm not cooking it to make sushi, just to eat with meals. I'm wondering which setting I should use, sushi or white?

Thanks again!

Hmm that's a good question. It could either mean that white rice = plain Japanese style rice, or white rice = plain American or Western style (e.g. Carolina) long grain rice. (When rice is cooked for sushi, you do use a tad less water, but not that much.) Do the instructions say anything? If not, I would say just try both settings and see which works best. ^_^;

I inherited a programmable Hitachi rice cooker which my Japanese flat mate left behind,but did not inherit instructions. I can make rice, but now it says "Steam Warm" and I cannot work out how to move it to "Congee Cook". Please help.

Is it super necessary to get a Japanese brand? I live in the US and there are plenty of types of rice cookers available that are in my price range (which is a very low range), but I don't want to buy a $20 rice cooker if it's going to put out bad rice. I generally cook rice in a pot and have had no issues doing so, though I'm starting to dabble in rice balls and more interesting uses for rice other than the general Mexican and Asian dishes that use it as a side.

For the short term (the next 2-3 years, maybe?), could I get by with a cheaper model off Amazon? I'm asking because I am a major newbie in the world of rice and I respect anyone's opinion who has experience in these kinds of things. Thank you!

A cheap rice cooker will do the basic job of cooking rice fine. It may not have all the features of a more expensive cooker, and it may or may not break down faster (though price does not equal longevity, just like with cars).

No one really *needs* an expensive appliance. No one really *needs* a KitchenAid mixer, for example. A much less expensive electric mixer will do a serviceable job, or you can do it manually. But good quality appliances do make life easier if you can afford one. Hope that makes sense!

Rice can be prepared really well in a slow cooker - an isolated box. Just boil the rice for three minutes and put in the bosx for a couple of hours - works like a charme!

Hi, we recently bought a Philips rice cooker and on the trials we did, halfway thr' the process, steam and the contents of the rice bowl oozes out of the steam hole at the top of the cooker. We checked the gasket position and eveything seems to be correct. Can not figure out what the problem is. Are we missing any parts? Thought of posting here before I went to the service engineers. Thanks in advance for your reply. Cheers!

Hmm, are you sure you didn't try to cook more rice than the specified capacity? (Note I don't have a Philips rice cooker so this is just general speculation)

The model you suggest from CasaBento has risen in price. Right now is cheaper in Yum Asia, the white model tho is cheaper in CasaBento, but is shipped from Japan so there is the risk of customs.

I already sent Yum Asia a mail to ask some more details about the models. But I would like to ask you as well:
if I usually cook rice just for myself is it better to buy a 3cup model or a 5.5cup model in case I want to make more rice? (I'm thinking to start trying new recipes instead of simple white rice, and probably share it with friends)
Do I have to make more rice everytime or can it be just occasional?

Thinking it's a quite expensive rice cooker I'd like to use it as much as I can in the future, so I thought that if my habits change I might need a bigger one. But I'm afraid it wont work with small amouts as well as a 3cup one.
What do you think?

Given that I wrote this post in 2007, it's very likely prices have changed since then!

As far as rice cooker size, it all depends on how often you think you will be cooking for a crowd. You can always cook rice in advance, portion it and freeze it for daily use. See the How to freeze rice article over on JustBento.

I'm sure anime is definitely not the best source for this kind of thing, but apparently you can cook bread in there too! It's a rather complicated recipe, involving turning it 3 times, but the result looks rather tasty!
Sadly, we have no rice cooker. We have a little microwavable rice steamer, and 1 mug and a bit (no idea how much in grams) is enough for a 4 person family dinner!

In a rice cooker you dont have to worry about how long to cook it in there and you can keep rice in there longer without it hardening or spoiling as fast as with a microwave.

I bought a big Zojirushi rice cooker at the local Korean store, and it was an outstanding rice cooker. It survived over 8 years of almost daily usage before it died. Of course, I replaced it with another Zojirushi. However, the second one didn't work nearly as well as the original, and it lasted less than 4 years. Has anyone else experienced a decrease in Zojrushi's quality in recent years? After my last one, I'm tempted to try another brand this time.

My Spring Switzerland rice cooker has the electronic panel which is falling out every day. Can you tell me with should I do?

Dear. I can Export Used in excelente Make UP and work conditions or New if you want. any Japanese Makers like Fujitsu. Toshiba, Panasonic. zhojirushi sanyo etc...
get the last Price. Small Sizes Rice Cooker/to Bigger sizes for Restaurantes Owners.
between 30$/550$ FOB Prices . as well Microway
please contacts:

If you are going to cook brown rice, you should definitely get a brown rice cooker. I tried to use a regular rice cook to cooker brown rice and it was a mess.

I've just started looking for a rice cooker and really found your article helpful.

The cookers available in Sweden are all cheap non-fuzzy logic ones but I found one called "Sanyo ECJ-F50S" on that they ship to Sweden. They have Zojirushi also but not for shipping to Sweden.
The total price with shipping and stuff along with an 220V -> 120V adapter will be about double the purchase price.

From the reviews this seems to be a good value fuzzy logic cooker but I was hoping for your input before I order.



Been thinking of buying a rice cooker for a few years now. I can usually get the rice done right on the stove, but haven't been able to do it consistently. About every fourth batch comes out with the rice touching the pan burned, and the rice in the middle having the consistency of oatmeal. Definitely love adding Tumeric to the rice to give it a lovely golden color, and bay leaves add a great aroma to the rice. Especially when paired with a spicy dish.

haven't considered a cooker because whether it is sticky or basmati (my favourites) or plain old long or short grain or brown I have never had any trouble with rice.

I did over cook my soba the first time I made them but haven't had trouble since nor with the somen.

I learned in Korea and ate exclusively with chopsticks for a few years and they are still my primary utensile

Got my Rice Cooker from Amazon and I really love it. I'm so excited that I would like to share the reviews and discounts that I received: - One happy lady here.

Thank you for your wonderful site, words of wisdom and delicious recipes. I have been a silent reader for a long time, and wanted to finally tell you how appreciative I am to find just what I need from your site.

After living in Sasebo, Japan, where my dad was stationed in the military, for several years when I was young, I learned the value of a good rice cooker. My mom still uses the Zojirushi she bought there, back in the early 80's and it *still* works great. When I got married 10 years ago, the Zojirushi rice cooker was the first thing on our registry, thought my husband couldn't figure out why. He is now the first one to pull it out of the cabinet when we prepare meals. It still works like a charm every time and through 1-2 batches of rice per day, although I am ready to replace it with a model that has a timer and other functions.

If you live in the Kansas City Metro area, there is a wonderful grocery store called the Oriental Super Market at 103rd and Metcalf (in KS behind the furniture store) where you can peruse a huge array of rice cookers and ask lots of questions (and comparable to Amazon prices). In addition, they have a marvelous grocery store of all foods Asian at wonderful prices. The only other option to purchase in store at 888 market or Bed Bath & Beyond... Which I found to be over priced. My one piece of advice to readers would be to purchase the best rice cooker that you can afford if you are going to use it regularly. It will make a HUGE difference in the way the rice cooks.

Thank you again for what you do here!

A friend who has recently emigrated kindly gave me her almost new Midea FD 162 1.6 litre rice cooker. It has seven push buttons on the front with Chinese characters and the manual is also written in Chinese. Do you know how I could obtain a manual in English or how I could contact the manufacturers? Many thanks in advance.

I finally bought my first ricecooker a couple of month ago, and had a HUGE problem, i am a poor studen with no money... and no microwave, so freezer rice is out. So I went and try to buy a rice cooker, un fortunatly i cound not find ANY with a timer, unless you count those multi-tire-steamcookers. But those were simply out of my reach.
So i bought a REALLY cheap one. It was under 30€, but it cooks rice. It is so cheap it doesn't even have an on switch... you have to pluck it in and turn it from "warming" to "cooking". So in the beginning i got up early to turn it on, before slipping back into bad for 30 minutes or so... but than my wonderfull boyfriend pointed out the genuis idea of use one of those timed switches for the electrical outlet, and it worked.
So if you don't have the money or the oportinuy to buy a small ricecooker with timer, just get one of those, they are like 5€ a piece... and ends the early morning problem.

i use one Zojirushi IH rice cooker 120v/60Hz in USA. Now i return to VN so how can i use the mentioned Zojirushi rice cooker in VN network 220v/50Hz. any electronic part we can buy from Zojirushi to upgrade the IH cooker from 120V to 220V. If any know, please helf me.


You'll need a transformer that converts voltage. You should be able to get that at any well stocked electrical parts shop. My instinct is to say wait until you're back in Vietname to buy it....those things are heavy!

I'm confused by something, and was hoping to get an answer. I'm finally replacing my (very) old Aroma rice cooker that I have had since dinosaurs roamed the earth. My husband and I decided on a fuzzy logic cooker, and it has a delay time function. If I want rice when I get home from work, do I wash the rice, then leave it soaking all day in the water before the timer goes off and cooks the rice? Will this change the texture and flavor of the rice? I'm hoping to use this feature, but still want the same lovely texture and flavor. :)

How long is it safe to leave white rice, brown rice, or steel cut oats to soak on the delay timer function? I unfortunately have a sleep disorder that means if I want fresh rice or oatmeal in the morning, I'm going to have to set it up and turn on the timer around 12 hours before it will be ready.

haven't considered a cooker because whether it is sticky or basmati (my favourites) or plain old long or short grain or brown I have never had any trouble with rice.