Rice cookers were first used in Asian Cuisines, however today they are common not only in Asian cuisines but also in India and Cajun Cuisines where rice part of the main course. Today across the UK, rice is made every day by hand, however over the last few years, people have started to use rice cookers to improve the quality and flavor.
In this section we’re going to be looking at the best rice cookers from across the market to decide which ones you should be buying and more importantly, which you should be leaving on the shelf.
The Problem With Rice Cookers
The biggest problem with using a rice cooker is that firstly you have two key types, a simple rice cooker or a multi-cooker that can also cook rice and secondly there are literally hundreds of different models across the rice cooking department with many coming from top manufactures such as Tefal, Breville or even Sistema.
The problem is that they are not all great models with some not working well and others not working at all. Models such as the Tefal RK1008 Rice Cooker which costs over £150, however the first cooker that arrived did not work, the second broke down after a month of testing and the third annoyed us so much we gave up, and it's a Tefal which is one of the top kitchen appliance manufactures across the market.
The Best Rice Cooker
Why Buyer A Rice Cooker
Using a cooker that has been designed specifically for cooking rice not only dramatically improves the flavor and texture of the rice, but can also save you time and because using a rice cooker is practically unburnable, it’s much easier to use and clean a rice cooker than a cooking pot.
Just because you only eat a small amount of rice in each serving does not have to stop you from enjoying a rice cooker. Rice cookers come in a range of sizes from small units that can only cook one or two cups of rice, to full blown industrial rice cookers that can cook 15 or more cups of rice in one session.
How To Prepare Rice For Cooking
Before you start cooking your rice, you need to make sure that you clean it properly. Search the internet for how to clean rice articles and there are millions of articles and different approaches on how to clean rice, however what’s important is that you take your time to clean your rice.
Generally speaking if you want to clean your rice properly, you need to make sure that you rinse the rice and wash it thoroughly using your fingertips at least five times using room temperature water. This way you can be sure that you will not start to cook the rice, whilst at the same time wash out any toxins or grit that will take away the flavor of the rice.
What Makes The Best Rice Cooker
If you ask anyone who has actively tested rice cookers they will tell you that unfortunately there is no single best rice cooker on the market, but there are a number of rice cookers on the market that you should not be buying.
Buying the best rice cooker on the market means that you’re buying the best rice cooker on the market for your own specific needs. This means that during this review, we’re going to firstly outline what you should be looking out for when you’re choosing rice cookers, but then point you in the right direction with a few rice cookers that will help you choose the best rice cooker for your needs.
Rice Cooker Size – Typically the average human will consume half a cup of rice per serving meaning that if you’re going to be serving rice for four people, you will need to two cups of rice and you’re rice cooker to be able to handle two cups of rice.
How much rice are you going to be cooking? It’s a great idea to take into account parties that you may have and need your rice cooker for, but if in the last year you have never cooked rice for more than 10 people, there is no point buying a rice cooker than is designed to cook for 20 people.
Material’s Used - You need to make sure that you’re buying a stainless steel rice cooker given that these are built to last and are much safer than either iron, plastic or lead based cookers.
Typically the cheaper models will be plastic based with stainless steel in any of the areas that heat up, whilst the better quality cookers will completely be made from stainless steel.
Non-Sticking Surface – All of the top rice cookers on the market will come with a non-sticking rice tray which is very important to stop your rice sticking to the pan, however it’s something you need to look out for if you’re buying a cheaper model.
Technology – is great and something that you should be looking out for when choosing the best rice cooker on the market for your needs. Technology comes in a range of different options, however generally you should be looking for a display panel that will help you choose from a menu of pre-entered cooking plans and any cooking options to adjust the heat levels depending on whether you’re trying to cook or just keep warm for serving.
Safety Features – Giving your mixing water with electricity, you should make sure that at the very minimum you have a fuse protector that will ensure that if your rice cooker comes into contact with water, the fuse it broken and the rice cooker switches off, although other features you should be looking for include over heat switch off’s,
Extra’s – You should make sure your rice cooker comes with extra's as such as options to use your rice cooker as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, soup maker and even for browning or sautéing.
You should also try and make sure that you’re buying a rice cooker that is dishwasher safe as whilst it’s not too difficult to clean your rice cooker by hand given there are no burnt patches, it’s much easier to simply put it in the dishwasher and let it do it’s job.
The Rice Cooker Range
Sistema Microwave Rice Steamer
Lloytron Non Stick Rice Cooker
Crock-Pot Large Rice Cooker
Elgento E19013 Rice Cooker
Breville 1.8L Rice Cooker
Morphy Richards Multi Cooker
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
Tefal 8-in-1 Multi Cooker
Russell Hobbs 21850 MultiCooker
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Types Of Rice Cookers
Typically there are two key types of rice cookers that you need to be aware for before choosing the best rice cooker for your needs. Firstly there is the conventional on/off electric rice cookers and then there are multi-cookers with the key difference being that multi-cookers are packed with many different programs and features to help you not only cook rice, but also use your rice cooker for things like stews, porridge and even cake.
If you’re looking for a simple, cheap rice cooker that will allow you to simply cook rice, then take the basic rice cooker, however if you’re thinking that you will use your rice cooker for more than just cooking rice, then the multi-cookers rice cooker is far better. The key problem with the multi-cookers rice cookers is that they are much more expensive, but that is the price you pay for quality.
Best Rice Cookers
Our Rating -
The Lloytron Kitchen Rice Cooker is a fantastic small rice cooker that has performed well during test’s and comes with hundreds of satisfied customers in the review section. We love the simple design and easy to use design meaning that you can quickly and easily cook a small amount of rice to eat that evening or store for another day.
Remember, the Lloytron Kitchen Rice Cooker is a small rice cooker meaning that it has been designed with a 0.8 Liter tank meaning that it should be able to cook four cups of rice as a maximum although during our test’s we found that actually it was more suited to three cups of rice meaning that it’s suitable for small families where you’re unlikely to cook for more than six people.
The small rice cooker comes with dimensions of 22.2 x 22.2 x 21.6 cm, weighs in at around 1.7KG and is built in stainless steel, although features a non-stick removable rice bowl and a toughened glass lid that allows you to see your rice through the window whilst it’s being cooked. The great 350 watt electric element means that cooking is easy and the cooker heats up and stays at the right temperature quickly and easily.
As mentioned above, the Lloytron is small, cheap rice cooker and therefore comes with minimum features apart from the stainless steel build. Really you only get two settings, cook and keep warm, however if you’re only looking for a small cheap, value for money rice cooker, that is really all you need.
Downsides are limited, however if we had one compliant, it’s that the Lloytron is a 3 cup of rice cooker and not a four. During our test’s we found that if you max out the rice at four cups, and fill it with water, all that happens is that you end up spraying water everywhere when it heats up.
Overall, if you’re looking for a small, cheap rice cooker, you cannot go wrong with the best small rice cooker, the Lloytron Kitchen Rice Cooker.
Best Rice Cooker
Our Rating -
If you’re looking for something slightly larger as you feel that the Lloytron above is slightly too small to feed rice to your family, then you need to be looking at the Crock-Pot 1.8L Saute Rice Cooker which has been well featured on Amazon.co.uk and comes with over 100 comments of which over 60 are 5-star ratings.
We specifically like the Crock-Pot given that it offers rice cooking in a well-built value for money product that offers a few features that you will be using.
The Crock-Pot comes with dimensions of 29.2 x 28.9 x 24.1 cm, weighs in at around 2.8KG and comes with a 1.8 Liter tank meaning that it can easily cook eight cups of rice which should be good for around 12 people. The cooker is built using stainless steel and features both a non-stick-lined stainless steel cooking pot which sit’s on a 600 Watt heating plate allowing for perfectly cooked rice in 15-20 minutes.
Performance is fantastic and even when full of rice, the heater comes with enough power to really heat up and cook the rice. Like the Lloytron above, the Crock-Pot also comes with an auto heat function meaning that once you have heated your rice, you can use this function to keep it warm.
Extra features that the Crock-Pot comes with include an in-the-pot sauté function that when switched on gives you the option to brown off meats and vegetables, whilst the package also contains a measuring cup to help you choose the right amount of rice.
Overall the Crock-Pot is a brilliant rice cooker that offer value for money rice cooking. All said and done, it’s not perfect and there were a few crumbles along the way. The electric element is powerful and probably too powerful for the contents. This means that it lets off considerable steam which struggles to escape from the steam whole.
We found the only solution was to place the lid at an angle and let the steam flow out of the cooker, otherwise we thought the lid might take off with the amount of steam that it produced. The only other key problem that we found was to do with the heating plate which does get really hot.
Don’t think that you’re going to be able to cook your rice and then take it out of the cooker because it’s just too hot for this. Both of these are not killers, and we have see far worse with other products, however they could be improved.
As we discussed above, there are two key types of rice cooker, the basic cookers such as the Lloytron and the Crock-Pot above which will do a great job of cooking rice, but will struggle to do much else and the Multi-Cookers below which will cook rice, but will also cook other foods such a stews or noodles.
Technically they are not rice cookers and we have moved more into the food cooking territory, however given that many users, use a multi-cooker to cook rice in larger quantities for parties or gatherings at home, they are useful to have in your kitchen.
What’s the best multi rice cooker? Again difficult question, because you generally pay for what you get, however below we have two great options that we would highly recommend.
Our Rating -
The Russell Hobbs 21850 is a great value for money multi-cooker that offer a lot of features and settings that are usually only found on much high priced items. Firstly it’s a Russell Hobbs that has been designing and building kitchen products for years and therefore you can be sure that you’re buying quality.
The cooker comes with dimensions of 43 x 32 x 29.6 cm, a cooking capacity of around 5 litres, a dry weight of around 5KG and a 900 Watt electric heating element that can really heat up.
It’s built in stainless steel and uses the rice cooker design of a heating element at the bottom, surrounded by a stainless steel bowl that has been coated in a non-stick cover to ensure that you’re food does not stick to the bowl.
It’s a big bowl and therefore if you’re thinking you will use your multi-cooker to cook a couple of cups of rice, then probably this is not the right unit for your needs, however if you want to do some major cooking, the Russell Hobbs is brilliant and offers users a powerful heating element that heats up quickly and will ensure your food is cooked correctly.
To control the heat, the unit comes with a large LED display and range of buttons that help to set up the unit to one of the 11 programmable settings. The heating element works brilliantly and even when your using a full five litre tank of rice, the unit as ample power to cook with. The Russell Hobbs comes with an anti-condensation lid which is supposed to stop the amount of condensation that drips back into your food whilst your cooking. Honestly, it does not work unless you have minimal food in your cooker.
Extra Features Include
- Pre-set 24 hour timer – meaning that you can prepare your food, set it to when you want it to start and therefore have a ready to eat meal for when you get home.
- Keep Warm Function – If you’re not home by the time the cooking has stopped, don’t worry, the Russell Hobbs comes with a keep warm function that means the cooker will keep your food warm until your ready to eat.
- Guarantee – One year guarantee which is very good and very easy to make a claim against if you run into problems.
Overall, if you’re looking for a value for money Multi-Cooker then look no further than the Russell Hobbs, however if you can afford to spend a little more, then take a look at the Insta Pot Duo below as this is a more expensive, but does offer a few extra features that are very useful.
Our Rating -
The Instant Pot Duo Electric Pressure Cooker is a multi-cooker of sorts, but one that comes with a few features that are really useful. The biggest difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the rice cookers above is that the cooker has been designed as an electric pressure cooker and a safe one at that which helps to speed up your cooking whilst at the same time using less energy.
The cooker comes with dimensions of 33 x 32 x 31 cm, a cooking capacity of 6 litres, a weight of around 5KG and a heating element of around 1000 Watts. Like all the models that we have recommend, it has been built in stainless steel and comes with a re-enforced glass lid, and a stainless steel cooking pot that sits on top of an electric heating element.
The key difference is the fact that the Instant Pot Duo adds the pressure element to your cooking meaning that it can automatically cook at High and Low pressures, act as a slow cooker a steamer and a porridge maker.
In the past pressure cookers were considered un-safe due to the risk associated with cooking your food in a pressured environment, however with the Instant Pot, this is no problem given that it has been designed with ten proven and patented safety mechanisms to include a highly energy efficient twin layered insulation and microprocessor controlled temperature levels.
What does this mean for you? Firstly, no more worrying about the temperature, it comes with 14 built-in smart programs and three extra temperature settings for slow cooking which are all controlled by the fantastic LED screen and 14 buttons that control the options. Cooking programs are all fully digitally controlled meaning that you can set up your time and leave the room.
You can even delay your cooking time for 24 hours, set the cooking time for up to 120 minutes of pressure cooking or up to 24 hours of slow cooking time. As an added benefit, on the cooking cycle has finished, it automatically switches to a a “keep warm” setting which can last for another 10 hours.
The end result? If you cooking rice, simply add one part rice and two parts water with a pinch of salt and close the lid. In 15 minutes, you will have perfect rice without the rattles and hisses or mess that other cookers have.
Overall we really like the Instant Pot Duo. We like the fact that we’re cooking in safe, but controlled environment and when we’re buying, we liked the fact that when we started reading the reviews there were very few bad reviews.
On Amazon.co.uk there are over 700 products reviews of which over 650 are 5-stars and of the few bad ratings most are when users try to cook a small amount of food and run into problems. It’s been designed for 6 liters of food meaning that if you only put in a cup full of rice, it’s likely to not perform as well as your cheap small rice cooker like we have at the start of this review.
Check Out Our Other Reviews Here
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