For centuries, rice has been a staple food in Japan. It is not only a form of sustenance and a source of nutrition, but it is also a strong symbol of Japanese culture and tradition.
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The most important social element in Japanese society is the concept of living in harmony, with people supporting each other, working together, and showing respect for others. Planting and growing rice is a communal effort, with each member of the group having a crucial role to play in working together for the common good.
Preparing and cooking a meal, too, is a communal affair. Sitting down to a meal together with your family and extended family is the most important time of day in Japanese culture. Sharing their rice symbolizes their love and support for one another.
It is hard for the Japanese to imagine a meal without rice. In Japan, rice is literally eaten for breakfast, lunch, and supper. The Japanese word for cooked rice is ‘Gohan”, which is also the word for ‘meal’. This illustrates to us how rice is considered to be the essence of every meal, and no meal is complete without rice.
There are many different types of rice, such as brown rice, white rice – which is the same grain as brown rice – but the hull has been removed together with the bran layer; Basmati rice, which is long, thin-grained rice; Jasmine rice, long-grain rice with a unique fragrance; Par-boiled rice, which is basically white rice that has been partially cooked by boiling it in the husk, and then removing the husk.
Which rice you should choose depends entirely on your personal taste and preference. But whichever variety you prefer, there are numerous different ways that you can cook your rice.
The electric Japanese rice cooker is a relatively new invention. In traditional Japanese homes, before electric rice cookers simplified their lives, cooking the daily rice was an important activity that took up a large part of the day.
Every Japanese kitchen had a Kamado, a big stove that stood in the corner of the kitchen. A fire would be lit in the Kamado, and it was essential to watch over the fire and control the heat carefully.
The rice was cooked in a big pot of boiling water on the Kamado, and the taste and flavor of the rice were determined by the strength of the flame.
With the invention of the electric Japanese rice cooker, life became much easier, and cooking the daily rice became much less of a chore. The first electric rice cooker was made and marketed by Toshiba in the 1950s. This rice cooker introduced a revolutionary new method of cooking rice.
It was only quite a few years later that a Japanese rice cooker was invented that could keep the rice warm after cooking was complete. Their introduction into Japanese homes made a significant improvement to the daily lives of the people.
The Kamados were removed from the kitchens, and the people had much more time to attend to other chores. Perhaps this is why electric Japanese rice cookers have become so popular today, not only in Japan but all over the world.
There are many different brands and styles of Japanese rice cookers on the market today, ranging from simple, inexpensive models with basic functions, to higher-priced, luxury models with more advanced functions.
Best Japanese Rice Cooker Comparison Table
Japanese Rice Cookers Under $50
|1. Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer with Removable Nonstick Pot, Keep Warm Function & Recipe Guide, Black
|2. Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
|3. Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) (3-Cup Uncooked) Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (ARC-743-1NG), White
|4. Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cups uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer, SS Exterior (ARC-150SB), Black
Japanese Rice Cookers Between $50 – $150
|1. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5½-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
|2. Toshiba TRCS01 Cooker 6 Cups Uncooked (3L) with Fuzzy Logic and One-Touch Cooking, Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge
|3. Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker Rice Cooker||
Japanese Rice Cookers Above $150
|1. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5½-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter
|2. Tiger JAX-T18U-K 10-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel Black
|3. Panasonic 5 Cup (Uncooked) Japanese Rice Cooker with Induction Heating System and Pre-Programmed Cooking Options for Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge or Soup – 1.0 Liter – SR-HZ106 (Black)
In this review, we will take a look at some of the Japanese rice cookers currently available on Amazon, and give our opinion on them. There is a big variety to choose from, ranging in price from the budget models to the more extravagant models. We will look at a few in three different price ranges: Budget models under $50, middle of the range models between $50-$150, and luxury models with advanced features, above $150
Things to Consider When Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
- What is your budget?
- How many people are there in your family?
- How often do you eat rice?
- How much space do you have to store your Japanese rice cooker?
- What accessories do you want?
- How will you wash your Japanese rice cooker?
Consider how much you want to spend. Read our reviews of the different models in each price range, and then decide which one will give you the best value for money while meeting all your needs.
If you have a small family and don’t need to cook large quantities of rice, you can go for a smaller model. But if you have a large family, or you like to entertain often and have lots of guests, then we would advise you to select a bigger model with a greater capacity.
If you are like the Japanese and rice is a staple food that appears on your table almost daily, select a hard-wearing, good quality model that will be very durable and will last a long time.
If you have a very small kitchen with limited storage space or very little counter space, go for a smaller model that will not take up too much space.
Many Japanese rice cookers come with extra accessories like measuring cups, ladles, and paddle scrapers.
In all-electric rice cookers, the rice itself goes into an inner container that often has a special coating. Some of these are dishwasher safe, but others need to be washed by hand and should not be put into the dishwasher.
Let us now start with the reviews. We will consider the pros and cons, and point out the best features of each model that we review.
Our Best Japanese Rice Cooker Our Reviews and Comparisons Reviews and Comparisons
Japanese Rice Cookers Under $50
1. Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
This ‘entry-level’ rice cooker is a fantastic choice if you are on a tight budget and only need to cook for up to 4 people. It has all the necessary basic functions, without the complicated features, and is extremely simple to operate.
- Single switch control, easy to use
- Stay-cool handles
- 3 cup capacity
- Non-stick inner cooking pan
- Automatic keep-warm mode
What We Like About Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
This cute little rice cooker has a clear glass lid, making it easy to see how your rice is doing. The knob on the lid is made of stay-cool plastic. The non-stick inner cooking pan is very easy to clean. The controls are very simple to operate, with only two buttons, one for cooking and the other for keeping warm. The cord is detachable, so it is easy to store in a drawer. There is a measuring cup included with the rice cooker.
What We Don’t Like About Zojirushi NHS-06 3-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
Although it’s convenient that this rice cooker comes with a measuring cup, the measurements are annoying, because it is not a standard US size cup. One cup is only 6 ounces or ¾ of a standard cup, so you need to be careful not to get confused with your recipes. A lot of steam escapes from the steam hole and tends to make a mess, so you have to place a towel underneath it.
- Simple to operate and user-friendly
- Easy to clean non-stick coating
- Small and compact, not bulky
- Cooks quickly
- High quality
- No LCD panel
- Water splatters from the steam vent, making a mess
- The warm setting left the rice a little dry.
2. Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) (3-Cup Uncooked) Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (ARC-743-1NG), White
This low-cost rice cooker is perfect for the budget-conscious cook who only needs to cook small quantities of rice at any time. Despite its small size and low price tag, it can steam vegetables at the same time as cooking your rice, making it both cost and time-efficient.
- 3 cups uncooked or 6 cups cooked capacity
- Simple one-touch control
- Keep warm setting
- Comes with measuring cup and serving spatula
- See-through tempered glass lid
What We Like about Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) (3-Cup Uncooked) Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (ARC-743-1NG), White
This basic little rice cooker is not only great for cooking perfect, restaurant-quality rice. It also lets you cook porridge so easily. You can steam veggies in it, and it is even perfect for steaming chicken or fish. You can also make soup or jambalaya in it. The one-touch control is very easy to operate.
What We Don’t Like about Aroma Housewares 6-Cup (Cooked) (3-Cup Uncooked) Pot Style Rice Cooker and Food Steamer (ARC-743-1NG), White
The non-stick coating uses old technology, rather than the latest ceramic coating. You need more water than the guide given in the instructions, otherwise, your rice will be hard and dry.
The bottom gets very hot, so be careful not to damage your kitchen surface.
- Very affordable
- Great steam basket
- Small and compact, saving space
- Excellent value for money
- Perfect size for a single person or a couple
- Burns quickly on the keep warm setting
- White color shows dirt easily
3. Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cups uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer, SS Exterior (ARC-150SB), Black
This enormous rice cooker can produce 20 cups of cooked rice, enough for a big dinner party or a very large family. It also steams other foods such as vegetables, chicken, meat, and fish.
- User-friendly digital control panel
- Built-in steamer function
- 15-hour delay timer
- Slow cook function
- STS technology
What We Like About Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cups uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer, SS Exterior (ARC-150SB), Black
This low-cost rice cooker comes at a budget price, but offers many features, considering the price. We love the fact that this rice cooker can double up as a slow cooker. This is very convenient for leaving soups and stews to cook overnight, or while you are at work during the day.
It is so helpful to be able to walk in the door after a long hot day, and have a hearty hot dinner ready and waiting for you. The STS (saute then simmer) technology makes your rice perfectly soft and fluffy.
What We Don’t Like About Aroma Housewares 20 Cup Cooked (10 cups uncooked) Digital Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Food Steamer, SS Exterior (ARC-150SB), Black
On the keep warm setting, if you leave the rice keeping warm for too long, condensation from the steam builds up on the inside of the lid and drips down onto the rice. This makes the rice gooey and sticky. You need to cook big quantities of rice. Anything less than 3 cups and the rice burns quickly.
- Can cook rice and steam other foods simultaneously
- Keeps rice nice and moist
- Multiple cooking options
- Huge capacity makes a large quantity of rice
- Excellent value for money
- Brown rice takes very long to cook
- Big and bulky
- Difficult to clean
4. Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer with Removable Nonstick Pot, Keep Warm Function & Recipe Guide, Black
This small rice cooker is absolutely ideal for those people on a low budget who want the convenience of an electric rice cooker, but cannot afford a fancy, hi-tech model. For such an inexpensive appliance, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to the basic requirements in a rice cooker.
- PFOA-free non-stick coating
- Includes rice paddle and measuring cup
- Small and compact
- Light-weight and easily portable
- Keep warm function
What We Like About Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer with Removable Nonstick Pot, Keep Warm Function & Recipe Guide, Black
This little rice cooker is a working wonder. It is small and compact, making it easy to store. It is ideal for a single person and is perfect for students in dorms. It is very simple to operate. We love the recipe guide, with 14 delicious meals and side dishes. Although this review refers to the black model, we love the fact that it is also available in funky colors like pink or red.
What We Don’t Like About Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer with Removable Nonstick Pot, Keep Warm Function & Recipe Guide, Black
Brown rice needs more water to cook, so this dinky-sized rice cooker can only cook very small portions of brown rice at a time. If you don’t rinse your rice very well before cooking, it will be sticky and gooey.
- Takes up very little space
- Simple to operate
- Easy to clean
- Perfect for singles or a couple
- Fantastic value for money
- The water guideline is not very clear
- Rice dries out too quickly in keep-warm mode
Japanese Rice Cookers Between $50 – $150
1. Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5½-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
This rice cooker is ideal for a large family. It has a capacity of 5.5 cups. It is made of stainless steel.
- Micro computerized fuzzy logic technology
- 5.5 cup capacity
- 120-volt / 610-watt electrical rating
- Automatic keep warm setting
- 2 delay time settings
- Built-in retractable power cord
What We Like About Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5½-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
This rice cooker has an attractive stainless steel exterior that is very easy to clean. It is strong and durable and should give you many years of use. The advanced Fuzzy logic feature is a sensor that adapts the heat to the weather conditions, ensuring that your rice is cooked perfectly. You can cook many different kinds of rice in it, and you can also steam veggies, bake cakes, and make porridge in this Japanese rice cooker.
What We Don’t Like About Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5½-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker
We don’t like the scoop that comes with this rice cooker. It does not fit nicely inside the inner steamer basket and this is not convenient for storage. The tunes on the interchangeable melody and beep signal can be quite annoying.
- Rice made in this cooker comes out beautifully fluffy and perfectly cooked
- It has a non-stick inner pot that is simple to remove and very easy to clean
- The internal reel that winds up the power cord is great for easy storage
- It has a battery-operated clock, so it will keep time even when not plugged in
- It is very simple to operate
- The cooking cycle takes a long time, which is a nuisance if you are in a hurry to prepare a meal
- The cup measure is not a standard size US cup, it is slightly smaller. This makes it a little complicated when following a recipe that calls for a cup’ of rice
- The markings inside the pot are a little confusing because it has different markings for long and short-grain rice
2. Toshiba TRCS01 Cooker 6 Cups Uncooked (3L) with Fuzzy Logic and One-Touch Cooking, Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge
This professional rice cooker is made by Toshiba, which is a well-known company with over 140 years of innovation in the industry. The modern-day successor to the first-ever electric Japanese rice cooker, this model uses new 3-D technology, and an intelligent 6 step cooking process.
- 7 pre-programmed settings
- Steam valve
- Inner non-stick pot
- 6 cup capacity
- Keep warm feature
- 12-hour delay timer
What We Like About Toshiba TRCS01 Cooker 6 Cups Uncooked (3L) with Fuzzy Logic and One-Touch Cooking, Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge
The large 6 cup capacity yields about 12 cups of cooked rice, so this is perfect for large families. The quick rice feature enables you to cook your rice in under half an hour, which is great for those days when you need to get dinner ready in a hurry. The keep-warm feature activates automatically once cooking has been completed, and can keep the rice warm at a regulated temperature for up to 24 hours.
What We Don’t Like About Toshiba TRCS01 Cooker 6 Cups Uncooked (3L) with Fuzzy Logic and One-Touch Cooking, Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge
The cord is not retractable, making it a little clumsy and messy to store. The power cord is also shorter than usual for this type of appliance, so you may need an extension cord. We found this to be a bit of a nuisance. The rice comes out extra soft, which might not be to everyone’s liking.
- Excellent user manual, with clear instructions for cooking each type of rice
- Rice never burns
- Can also be used for porridge, and makes lovely, smooth, creamy porridge with no lumps
- Automatic switch off when the rice is cooked, which is very handy if you want to put your rice on to cook and leave it to do its own thing while you go out
- The cover is not easy to clean and marks easily
- There is no reservoir to catch the water left from the condensation when you open the lid. Water drips from the lid and makes a mess
3. Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker Rice Cooker
This large 5L capacity rice cooker is perfect for big families. It is reasonably priced, considering the features it offers. It has a touch control panel, making it very easy to operate at the touch of a button.
- Rotating handle
- Topaz honeycomb tank
- BPA-free steamer basket
- Removable easy-to-clean cover
- Stainless steel
What We Like About Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker Rice Cooker
The inner pot of this rice cooker is made of 5 different materials, which makes it very solid. The 24-hour daily timer makes it a good appliance to use when you want to plan ahead. It is not only good for cooking rice. Pasta also comes out perfectly in this rice cooker. This rice cooker has an attractive appearance and looks much more expensive than it actually is.
What We Don’t Like About Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker Rice Cooker
While this rice cooker cooks the rice beautifully, it tends to go hard and dry out if you leave it in on the warm setting for too long. The plastic parts don’t look very strong and might not be long-wearing and durable.
- Fast-heating inner pot
- 24-hour delay timer
- Easy one-touch control panel
- 11 settings for different cooking options
- Small quantities of rice can burn easily
- No water drainage
Japanese Rice Cookers Above $150
1. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5½-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter
This Japanese rice cooker comes with a spherical inner pan, an LED clock, and a timer. It offers numerous cooking options for different varieties of rice. It has numerous menu settings to help you cook your rice perfectly.
- Neuro-Fuzzy logic technology
- Keep warm option
- Wall mountable
- Includes 2 measuring cups and other non-stick accessories
- Quick-cooking option
- Programmable delay timer
What We Like About Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5½-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter
One of the best features of this rice cooker is the plastic handles on the pot, which stay cool and enable you to lift the pot without having to use clumsy potholders. We love the fact that this rice cooker is wall mountable, as it is a huge space saver if you have a small kitchen with limited counter space. The Quick cook option is very useful for days when you are in a hurry and don’t have much time for cooking.
The programmable delay timer is a lifesaver when you know that you will be home late and need to have dinner ready quickly. You can set it before you leave the house, and it will come on at the right time to cook your rice before you get home.
What We Don’t Like About Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5½-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter
The non-stick Teflon coating is great, and it makes for easier cleaning, but the Teflon coating looks very thin. Hopefully, it won’t chip and peel too soon. The LCD menu is big and easy to read, but it does not have a backlight, making it difficult to see in the dark. We don’t like the fact that the batteries can only be replaced by a service center. This is a nuisance and could become expensive in the future.
- Retractable cord
- The detachable and washable inner lid
- High quality, made in Japan, not China
- 9 preset menus, giving multiple options
- Automatically switches to keep warm mode when cooking is complete
- Rice dries out when keeping warm
- Not dishwasher safe. Must be hand washed.
2. Tiger JAX-T18U-K 10-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel Black
With its unique Tacook synchro-cooking function, this rice cooker offers 11 different options for cooking rice. It has a massive 10 cup capacity, which is fantastic for entertaining or cooking for a large family. It is also available in a smaller 5.5 cup model, for those of you who don’t need to cook such big quantities at once.
- Micom technology
- 4-in-1 functions
- 1.8mm thick inner pan
- Spherical inner pot with non-stick coating
- Available in 2 sizes
- 12-hour keep-warm function
What We Like About Tiger JAX-T18U-K 10-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel Black
This rice cooker has a very handy setting that enables you to steam other veggies while cooking rice at the same time. This is super-convenient and a great time-saver, while also helping to save electricity. We particularly love the recipe book that comes with this rice cooker. You can get some delicious-looking ideas from it.
What We Don’t Like About Tiger JAX-T18U-K 10-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel Black
This rice cooker does not have a brown rice option. You have to use the multi-grain rice option, which is not perfect. It has a lithium battery, which can only be replaced by an authorized dealer.
- 11 different cooking settings
- Weather-sensitive Micom technology
- Stainless steel inner pan
- Very durable
- Adjustable cooking time
- Large capacity
- Non-retractable power cord
- Condensation builds up in the lid.
3. Panasonic 5 Cup (Uncooked) Japanese Rice Cooker with Induction Heating System and Pre-Programmed Cooking Options for Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge or Soup – 1.0 Liter – SR-HZ106 (Black)
This is the ultimate Rolls Royce of Japanese rice cookers. While it comes with a fairly high price tag, it is superior to its cheaper competitors and many people will consider it to be well worth the money.
- Induction heat
- 7 layer inner pan
- 13 pre-set cooking programs
- Clear markings for different types of rice
- Micro-computer for precise cooking
- Automatic keep warm setting
What We Like About Panasonic 5 Cup (Uncooked) Japanese Rice Cooker with Induction Heating System and Pre-Programmed Cooking Options for Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge or Soup – 1.0 Liter – SR-HZ106 (Black)
We love the induction heat distribution, which optimizes the most even cooking. The outer edges are only lightly sealed so that water vapor is easily directed out through the steam vent. This rice cooker’s keep warm function can keep your rice warm for over 24 hours without it going dry or spoiling. It is strong and durable.
What We Don’t Like About Panasonic 5 Cup (Uncooked) Japanese Rice Cooker with Induction Heating System and Pre-Programmed Cooking Options for Brown Rice, White Rice, and Porridge or Soup – 1.0 Liter – SR-HZ106 (Black)
The quick cook function on this rice cooker is not as quick as some of the other models available. The fan is noisy, which we found disturbing.
- Simple to operate
- Easy to clean
- Very even cooking, no burning of the rice
- Diamond hard coating
- Detailed, easy to understand instruction manual
- Not dishwasher safe
- Cooking time takes quite long.
We liked the Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker Steamer with Removable Nonstick Pot the best because it is so compact and is ultra-simple to use. It is the perfect little one-person rice cooker and offers incredible value for money. You cannot go wrong with this cute appliance in your kitchen. It is the runaway winner in our contest.