Even expert chefs with years of experience sometimes run into mishaps in the rice cooking department. Although rice cookers are common in Asian homes, more and more families continue to discover their convenience. Not to mention, the better results that come with using a rice cooker stove top replacement.
This is why the electric rice cooker industry projects the market to be $5.5 billion by 2026.
And if you’ve never purchased one of these kitchen appliances before, you may not know what to look for. Nor will you have have any idea what the right price range is, or which rice cookers are the best. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Why Buy a Rice Cooker?
If you only make rice once a week, then it’s possible a rice cooker won’t change things. However, if you make rice more than once per week, purchasing a rice cooker will save time. And it will help you consistently get the results you want, with no stress.
A Little Rice Cooker History
The very first electric rice cookers were invented in Japan. This makes sense considering how much of the Japanese diet consists of rice. The invention spread throughout East Asia and beyond, and eventually made it to the West by way of Asian immigrants who brought them from overseas.
These bulk cooking kitchen appliances take up a spot in Asian homes, similar to a Crock-Pot in America. While pricey, it makes sense to purchase if you cook rice a lot. Let’s dive into rice cookers usefulness!
Rice Cooker Benefits
Even if you aren’t cooking a pound of rice every night, rice cookers can be a very useful appliance to add to your kitchen. A few key reasons you might want to invest in this machine include the following.
Bulk/Batch Cooking and Meal Prep
Rice cookers allow you to make all the rice you might need for a week’s worth of meals all at once. For people who like to prep their dinners for the week on Sunday night, a rice cooker makes it easy to work on the starch component while doing something else. You can also pre-cook a lot of rice to make your own frozen meals.
Fast weeknight dinners
Rice cookers work quickly, often faster than stove top rice cooking. That’s why rice cooker stove top replacements are so popular these days. You can set your rice up to cook while you’re preparing other parts of your meal. No need to worry about having to start over, the rice cooker will make your rice correctly every
Most rice cookers don’t just cook rice, but also come with steamer baskets and other accessories. Many large, electric rice cookers allow you to make an entire meal in one machine, without dirtying pots or pans. Entire collections of recipes exist for complete meals prepared in rice cookers.
Rice cookers allow you to cook low-fat, low-sodium meals and better control what goes into your food compared to pre-cooked rice. Using the rice cooker as a steamer means you can make low-fat side dishes to go with your rice, like vegetables or fish.
Rice cookers can be a very useful tool for cooking rice in bulk. But they are also great for taking more
control over the amount of time you spend cooking every day and improving the healthiness of your meals.
What’s the Downside to Rice Cookers?
While there are a lot of reasons to buy a rice cooker, there are also some potential downsides to consider before you take the plunge. Rice cookers have become much more affordable over the years, but the best rice cookers still tend to have a high price point, over $100. This places them in “kitchen investment” territory, which not everyone can afford.
Cheaper, smaller models go for as little as $20, but they can be hard to find, and if you have a large family may not be worth the trouble.
Another potential issue is kitchen and counter space. If you have a tiny kitchen, a rice cooker may take up valuable real estate that you may prefer to use for something that gets more action. A microwave may be more useful to you than a rice cooker, or you may want to leave space open for a toaster oven.
If a rice cooker is out of your price range or simply takes up too much space in your kitchen, you can still achieve perfect rice every time by learning a few key techniques.
You Can Make Perfect Stove-Top Rice
Perfect rice cooking comes down to a few specific factors. While a rice cooker is a more consistent, foolproof option for getting the rice right every time, almost anyone can learn the techniques to get the right texture and consistency in their stove top rice.
Know Your Rice
Different types of rice need different volumes of water, different cooking times, and cook up with different consistencies. As long as you know what kind of rice you’re working with, you can get it right every time on the stove top, but with a rice cooker stove top replacement, it’s less of a science.
Long grain rice like basmati and jasmine rice need different ratios of water to rice, and different cooking times compared to medium-grain rice like what you’d get from Uncle Ben. Brown rice, with the bran coat still on it, takes longer to cook and needs more water.
Know Your Rice Cooking Ratios
As mentioned before, different types of rice need different ratios of grain to water. This matters somewhat less when you use a rice cooker, but if you’re making stove top rice, you should know what ratio of water to use to get the best results.
Using too much water is often the reason for mushy, soggy rice, while not enough water results in hard, undercooked rice. Worst of all, not enough water in your stove top rice cooking is a top reason for burned rice.
There are some exceptions, but the basic proportions to follow are pretty simple.
- Long grain rice (jasmine, basmati, and similar varieties): two cups of water for every one cup of rice
- Short grain rice (risotto, sushi rice, paella rice, etc): 1 1/4 cup water per cup of rice
- Short grain: two cups of water for every one cup of rice
- Long grain: 1 3/4 cups of water for every one cup of rice
- If you’re unsure of the rice type you’re cooking, check the packet to see if the producer recommends a particular ratio.
- Specialty rice products like wild rice may have different ratios.
Rinse Your Rice Before Cooking
Another key tip to master stove top rice cooking is to rinse your rice before you cook it. There are a few reasons to do this. For one thing, rice is an agricultural product, and most forms of rice you buy at the store are minimally processed. White rice gets some basic cleaning, and the bran coat is removed, before being packaged and sold. Brown rice just gets the basic sorting and cleaning. Rinsing your rice removes any bits of chaff or other seeds that can end up in the bag. But even if your rice is very clean, rinsing your rice will still give you better results.
Rinsing your rise helps to remove the surface starch on the grains, which helps prevent it from becoming sticky or mushy.
Rinsing your rice is simple. There are two methods you can use to get the same result.
- Measure out the amount of rice that you want to cook.
- Pour the rice into a mesh sieve or a colander with very small holes.
- Rinse the rice with cold tap water, occasionally moving it around with your hand in the sieve or colander, until the water runs clear. Alternately, pour the measured rice into a large bowl.
- Fill the bowl with clean, cool tap water, and stir the rice with your hand or a wooden spoon.
- Carefully empty the water, leaving the rice behind.
- Repeat until the water runs clear.
- Either of these two methods will give you clean rice, and also give you the chance to pick out any broken bits, pieces of chaff, or other fragments that you don’t want to eat.
Keep It Simple, Leave the Rice Alone
Once you have the right ratio of rice and water, and you have cleaned your rice, you’re almost to the finish line. All that remains is to cook. For basic rice, the process is very simple.
- Pour the washed rice into your pot with the correct amount of water if you want to add any flavorings or seasoning, do so.
- Salt is popular for most plain white rice, but rice for sushi and for Indian cuisines typically doesn’t have salt added.
- You can add seasonings like spices, ginger, oils like olive oil, butter, or sesame oil, and other flavors like citrus peel or dried fruit to get a unique, deep flavor.
- Bring the rice, water, and optional seasonings to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot.
- Simmer for the correct time according to the type of rice, usually between 10 and 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave the rice for a few minutes to finish absorbing the water.
- Take off the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, to keep the grains individual and prevent breaking them up.
The important factor is to cook your rice completely covered, and leave it alone. If you take the lid off constantly to check the rice, you’ll lose much of the water from steam and end up with dry, under cooked rice.
Fixing Botched Stove Top Rice
If, in spite of doing everything right, you find that your rice has come out too wet, or too dry, there are some things you can do to fix it quickly before serving.
- Wet rice: turn the heat on low, and gently stir the rice with a fork, letting the extra water evaporate.
- Under cooked/dry rice: add a couple of tablespoons of water to the rice, stir it well, and cover it. Turn the
heat on low, and allow it to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
While making perfect stove top rice is pretty simple, it does take some time. A rice cooker can help you get perfect rice every time, but you should know what to look for when you go shopping.
What to Look for in a Rice Cooking Machine
Rice cookers can be a pricey investment, so it’s important to know what to look for when you shop for one. There are a few key features that you should consider, to make sure you don’t buy a very expensive machine that will just take up space and never get used.
Rice Cooker Size and Capacity
The first factor to consider is the size of the machine. You want a rice cooker that will fit comfortably on your countertop, with space around it so that there’s no risk of knocking it over. You also want to find a rice cooker that cooks up the right amount of rice for your needs. Rice cookers come in a variety of sizes and capacities, but the most common sizes are 3-cup, 5-cup, and 10-
In general, a household with one or two adults should look for a 3-cup rice cooker at a minimum, while larger households (up to about 6 people) should seek out a 5 cup model.
Rice Cooker Build Quality
It’s relatively easy to find cheap rice cookers, but the best rice cookers stand apart due to their heavy-duty design. If you have a chance to look at the machine you’re going to buy up close, look for a sturdy build, with a metal insert, and heavy glass in the top.
The exterior for most commercial rice cookers is plastic, but there should be some heft to the machine and plenty of metal that you can see.
Single-Purpose or Multipurpose?
Most rice cookers come with a steamer basket and other accessories, even in the most basic models. But the truly great rice cookers allow you to program different functions to make an entire meal with just a few button-pushes. If you just want a machine that will cook your rice, stick with the minimalist models.
Rice Cooker Prices
Price is always a factor, but keep in mind that a low price isn’t always a better bargain. Try to aim for the middle of the road when it comes to price, to make sure the materials are high quality, and that your machine will be durable. Going cheap could just mean you end up having to buy a new rice cooker every year.
The 10 Best Rice Cooker Stove Top Replacements
These 10 rice cookers get top marks on Amazon, and they also boast good value for their price points. While the prices for each of these products vary, each one had something to offer for the home cook.
Zojirushi Neuro-Fuzzy 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker
Zojirushi is a major name in rice cookers, and many of the best rice cookers on the market come from this Japanese company. The Neuro-Fuzzy is a very straightforward model, with straightforward settings and quality components.
The price is a little on the steep side at $230, but the compact design and the quality, compact build are definite advantages. The Neuro-Fuzzy uses advanced microcomputer technology and “fuzzy” logic to let the machine adjust to different rice types. The settings include a steam function, to let you cook other dishes along with your rice.
Zojirushi Micom 3 Cup Rice Cooker & Warmer
This model has a slightly smaller capacity, and a slightly smaller price point at about $150 on sale, $185 suggested price. Like the Neuro-Fuzzy, the Micom 3 Cup Rice Cooker uses a microcomputer function to let the machine “think” for itself, adjusting temperature and other factors to get the right result each time. The Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer uses a triple-heater design to cook and keep rice warm in three zones at the same time for even results, and the compact design lets it fit most countertops.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1
This machine is technically not a rice cooker. The Instant Pot Duo includes a rice cooker function among all of the other cooking options. The Duo’s rice cooking setting completely cooks your rice in less than 20 minutes, but you can also use other presets to get good results on wild rice and other types of grains. The biggest selling point is the ability to cook multiple things at one time. Using the rice setting, you can insert a steamer basket or other accessories to cook fish or chicken right with your rice, or steam vegetables for a healthy side dish.
Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Multipurpose Rice Cooker
This is a good option for anyone looking for a rice cooker on a tight budget, at $40. The Aroma Housewares 20 cup model includes presets for white and brown rice, along with steaming, slow cooking, and more. It’s a compact model, and looks similar to a standard Crock Pot cooker, with some of the same features. The inner pot is made of bonded granite rather than metal, helping it retain heat and keep your rice warm for longer.
COMFEE 5.2 Qt Programmable Multi-Cooker
The COMFEE multi-cooker throws a lot of bells and whistles in for the price point, just under $100. But the important thing is that the machine takes its inspiration from Japanese-style rice cookers, and it functions just as well as the more standard competition.
The COMFEE multi-cooker is a little more difficult to operate compared to the top picks, with a smaller display and buttons, but the functions are all clear and easy to understand, and it provides high capacity and efficiency for the price point.
Toshiba 6 Cup Rice Cooker Stove Top Replacement
The Toshiba 6 Cup rice cooker has a throwback look but maintains the high quality that Asian audiences require from their rice cookers. The buttons are big and easy to read, with braille for accessibility.
For a large quantity of rice cooked perfectly, this is a great choice. The Toshiba 6 cup rice cooker makes up to 12 cups of cooked rice perfectly every time, at a middle-of-the-road price of $135.
Panasonic 5 Cup Japanese Rice Cooker
There’s no question that this is one of the more expensive machines on the market, at just under $500. While that may be out of the price range for many, this rice cooker features premium materials like a seven-layer inner pan with high-tech coating for years of durability.
The machine comes packed with extras like the “umami-enhancing flavor catcher,” and added programming to let you cook a variety of dishes. If your budget is big, this is an excellent choice as an investment piece.
Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker, 8 Cup Capacity
Another budget option at under $50, the Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable rice cooker is fairly basic. Complete with a steamer basket, the presets let you make rice, porridge, steamed dishes, and multigrain dishes like couscous and bulgur.
This machine features very sturdy construction, easy cleanup, and a great price point for anyone looking for a first rice cooker.
Instant Pot Zest 8 Cup Rice Cooker, No Pressure Cooking
If you like the Instant Pot aesthetic but don’t want the added features, the Instant Pot Zest cooks rice and other grains without any pressure cooking accessories or functions. It’s a fantastic rice cooker stove top replacement. The price point is on par with other basic rice cookers, and with the dishwasher-safe accessories, it’s a very good value, priced at under $50.
Tiger JBV-A1OU 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker
This rice cooker is more basic in the controls compared to some of the models on this list. With no LED display and only 6 buttons, it incorporates microcomputer technology. At $76, it’s not the cheapest on the list, but it’s also not the most expensive, and if you don’t want a lot of bells and whistles, it’s a very good machine at the price.
Life is Easier with the Right Rice Cooker Stove Top Replacement
A rice cooker is the kind of kitchen appliance that many people think they don’t need. By choosing the right rice cooking machine, you can take a lot of the stress out of weeknight meals. With a rice cooker stove top replacement, rice cooking is easy – so you don’t have to stress after work. Learn more about appliances from our experts here!
This is Berk from the JarKitchen Team. I am a Mechatronics Engineer and I like cooking in my spare time. By bringing my engineering background into the business, product reviews are a specialty for me. During my travels across Europe, I have learned/tested many recipes and now I plan to bring them to you here!