1

Rice Cookers

Sunday, 24 August 2008

A common food staple around the world, rice in North America is often enjoyed as a side dish with many types of cuisine. Rice cookers promise to simplify the cooking process and give you perfect rice every time. We find out if rice cookers are worthwhile to add to your kitchen appliances.

   BUYING TIPS

The Basics

  • A rice cooker with a removable pot is handy for serving at the table, and also makes clean-up easy.

  • A pot with a non-stick surface helps rice come out easily every time.

  • A “keep warm” setting is useful if you aren’t going to eat immediately. Some keep rice warm for up to an hour and others longer. (We even tested one that kept things warm for 18 hours!)

  • Some rice cookers come with an steaming tray for vegetables.

  • There are two main types of rice cookers:

    • Basic are less expensive and usually have just two settings: cook and keep warm. Sizes vary, from single serving to large family.

    • Fuzzy logic models are more expensive because they have many functions, including a microprocessor to program settings like slow-cook, quick-cook, and timed/delay cook, and an LCD menu screen. They often allow you to select different types of rice.

Other Considerations

  • For best results, use the measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker. Store it with your rice or the cooker itself so it’s always ready.

  • Always follow the measurements provided to ensure your rice comes out perfect every time. If you like softer rice, add a little more water.

Be Aware

  • If you like to rinse your rice before cooking to get rid of some starchiness, remember you’re also washing away some of the added vitamins (domestic rice only).

   TEST CRITERIA

We invited two big families who enjoy rice daily to help us test these four cookers using a variety of rice:

  • Rival (16-cup): $29.99
  • Toastess (20-cup): $44.99
  • Cuisinart (7-cup): $59.99
  • Zojirushi (10-cup): $185

Cook Test

  • The Toastess had one serious flaw: each time we opened the hinged lid, excess water ran into the rice, which created a mushy effect.

  • The Cuisinart yielded good rice results, but it bubbled over and made a mess and its smaller capacity wasn’t a good choice for a large family.

  • The Rival was the top pick for three out of our four of us for its price point, ease of use and good results.

  • One tester who cooks rice everyday for a large family chose the Zojirushi as her top pick.

   OUR TOP PICK

For the casual rice eater, we recommend the basic Rival model. For larger families who eat a lot of rice often, the full-featured (and more expensive) Zojirushi is a good investment.

 

 

 

 

top of page | | back to posts |
  • Subscribe to the A&K Newsletter