Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Reviews and Buying Guide

quadcopter reviewsBest Japanese Rice Cookers

How to Pick a Japanese Rice Cooker

It makes sense that the best rice cookers would be made in countries that eat plenty of it and thus have lots of experience and high standards. Japanese rice cookers are famously well-made and great at what they do. There are also a lot of them with many features to choose from! We tried and tested 20 different models to write the rice cooker reviews below and help you pick the best one. The Japanese really do make great rice cookers, although we never doubted it. Before we get to the buying guide, check out what features you need to take into consideration to find your dream rice cooker.

Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Cup Capacity - How much rice do you want to be able to make at a time? Do you want to make one big pot for the family dinner or enough to last you through the week? The capacities of our best rice cooker picks range from 0.5 to 10 cups, from single servings to a full-on rice party. Keep in mind that the cup size for these rice cookers is measured in uncooked Japanese cups, which are six ounces compared to the US eight-ounce cup.

Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Watts - A family rice cooker needs family-sized wattage to cook lots of rice quickly. Watts are an indicator of the rice cooker’s power and cooking speed. Most of the larger rice cookers have wattage in the 600 range--although one is over 900--while smaller rice cookers tend to be around 300 watts. Most can churn out a basic pot of delicious cooked white rice in 50 to 60 minutes at full capacity.

How to Pick a Japanese Rice Cooker

Keep Warm Function - If you like to help yourself to a cup of delicious carbs throughout the day or just don’t want your rice to get cold halfway through the meal when it’s time for seconds, a Japanese rice cooker with a keep warm function is a good idea. Some kick in automatically, but with others, you have to toggle the function after cooking is completed. A few also have extended keep-warm features for extra-long wait times.

Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Cooking Settings - Some Japanese rice cookers only prepare rice, but others come with extra features that change the heating and cooking process for things like steaming vegetables or making different kinds of grains like sushi rice or quinoa. A few of the rice cookers on our list even make cake or porridge. If you like to use different kinds of rice, having these cooking settings can help you get the perfect texture every time. It’s worth experimenting.

Best Japanese Rice Cookers

Dimensions - The size of a kitchen appliance is an important feature, especially for students living in dorms or people with smaller living spaces. Large rice cookers obviously offer greater capacity, but you may prefer a smaller rice cooker to preserve valuable kitchen counter space or to make them easier to transport from the kitchen to the dinner table. A smaller rice cooker is also easy to pack up and move from one apartment to another.

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Weight - Apartment tenants, we’re looking at you. No one wants to transport a heavy appliance from one place to another, whether you’re moving houses or apartments or just want to take a pot of rice to a friend. Weight can be an indicator of quality, as heavier units are often made of stainless steel, but lighter units offer greater portability. The most massive cooker on our list is 13 pounds, but most hover around 9 lbs.

Top 10 Products

After lots of testing (and eating mountains of delicious rice), we found several great Japanese rice cookers in a variety of sizes. Some are complex multi-function machines, while others just cook the rice and turn off. Keep an eye on the capacity and cooking settings as you read the reviews below. You’ll notice a lot of cookers from Zojirushi and a couple of Tiger rice cookers that impressed us as well. Get ready for the best-tasting rice you’re ever tried. Bon Appetit!

Zojirushi NS-TSC10

Top Pick
Have you ever wanted to bake a cake in a rice cooker? The Zojirushi NS-TSC10 has a cake setting in addition to settings for white/sushi rice, brown rice, mixed rice (rice with seasonings and other ingredients), porridge, and steaming. We liked its multi-featured keep warm function as well: it works automatically, but you can also choose to extend it or set a reheating cycle. To help use the steam setting, this Japanese rice cooker includes a BPA-free steaming basket, as well as a rice measuring cup, nonstick rice spatula, and spatula holder. The microcomputer “fuzzy logic” technology in this Zojirushi rice cooker adjusts the raw pre-soak time and steaming time depending on what cooking setting you choose. This stainless steel rice cooker has an inner container made from nonstick-coated aluminum that’s easy to remove and clean between uses. You can set the rice cooker to start cooking at a certain time or to be ready at a certain time. This is one of the best rice cookers for people who want to regularly serve rice and other grains, thanks to its smart cooking settings and ease of use.
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Zojirushi NHS-06

Budget Pick
For the rice-lovers just looking for a basic rice cooker for small servings, the Zojirushi NHS-06 has two controls: one to switch on the cooker, and one to keep cooked rice warm for up to five hours. Six-cup and ten-cup models are also available for a similar low price, too. The glass lid lets you monitor the cooking process, and the non-stick inner pot is easy to clean. The six and ten-cup models have an automatic keep-warm function as well as a steam cook function for boiling vegetables. This conventional Japanese rice cooker keeps it simple, and sometimes that’s all you need. It’s also small, lightweight, and easy to transport, making it ideal for college students and apartment dwellers. Like all Zojirushi rice cookers, this one comes with a rice measuring cup and a spatula to help you get started. If you want a good but cheap Japanese rice cooker, the Zojirushi NHS-06 is a great choice.
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Tiger JBA-T10U-WU

Review
Tiger rice cookers are another popular Japanese brand besides Zojirushi, and it’s easy to see why: the Tiger JBA-T10U-WU rice cooker is powerful and multi-featured. This model, like our top pick, uses a microcomputer to control the cooking process. You can choose from settings for plain rice, quick rice, porridge, mixed rice, sweet rice, brown rice, multi-grain rice, slow cook, and steam. The computer handles the intricacies of the different rice types, and an automatic keep warm function kicks in once the cooking process is complete. This Japanese rice cooker is slightly smaller and lighter than our top pick, too, despite sharing the same capacity, so if you want to make a lot of rice in a smaller package, the Tiger rice cooker will work well for you. You can set steaming times in increments of five minutes and set delays as well. Overall, this is a great multi-function rice cooker.
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Zojirushi NS-ZCC10

Review
This Zojirushi rice cooker uses “fuzzy logic” technology with a thermal sensor to monitor cooking temperatures and adjusts them depending on the cooking setting selected. You can choose from white (regular/sushi, softer or harder), mixed, porridge, sweet, semi-brown, brown, rinse-free, and quick cooking options. The rounded inner cooking pan encourages even heating. This Japanese rice cooker also comes with a spatula, a spatula holder, a regular rice measuring cup, and a rinse-free rice measuring cup. We think the NS-ZCC10’s fold-down handle combined with its light weight is great for taking the rice cooker to a potluck or just transporting it from the counter to the table. Its other programmable features include automatic and extended keep warm cycles, a reheating cycle, and a delay timer that allows you to set the start time or finishing time of the cooking process.
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Aroma ARC-150SB

Review
Does the idea of a 5.5-cup rice cooker being “big” make you laugh? The stainless steel Aroma Housewares ARC-150SB rice cooker can make almost double that. It has settings to cook white rice or brown rice, as well as steam and slow cook functions. It comes with a rice spatula, a measuring cup, and a steamer basket insert. You can set a delay of up to 15 hours, and a water reservoir helps drain excess condensation during the cooking process. Bonus: the nonstick Teflon aluminum inner cooking pot is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. It has an automatic keep warm function, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to push a button when your rice is done. This rice cooker has a smaller LCD screen than most of the comparable multi-featured Japanese rice cookers on our list, but serving up 20 cups of cooked rice in 45 minutes is nothing to sneeze at.
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Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT

Review
We liked that this stainless steel rice cooker had a higher wattage than the others we tested with similar cup capacities, so even if you’re only cooking a few cups of rice, it will be ready quickly. It is a little larger than our budget pick but comes with more cooking settings: white/mixed, sushi, porridge, brown, and quick-cooking. The keep-warm cycle starts automatically, but you can also extend it, and it has a handy delay timer as well. If you want a small rice cooker that still has a lot of features, we recommend the NS-LAC05XT. This Zojirushi Japanese rice cooker also comes with a spatula, spatula holder, and a rice measuring cup. The removable inner cooking pan has a curved design for efficient and even heating, and the microcomputer’s “fuzzy logic” technology keeps an eye on the temperature of the pan to cook your rice perfectly.
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Tiger JAX-T18U-K

Review
This jumbo size Japanese Tiger rice cooker has a large and easy-to-access LCD screen, and it comes with a BPA-free cooking plate for steaming inside the rice cooker as well as a cookbook (plus a rice spatula). This rice cooker can handle as much rice as the Aroma Housewares rice cooker, so it’s great for big households. A synchro-cooking function called “tacook” lets you steam ingredients in the included basket while your rice cooks at the same time. The other settings are plain rice, quick rice, porridge, mixed rice, sweet rice, brown rice, multi-grain rice, slow cooking, and steam cooking. Of course, this top-of-the-line rice cooker also has delay settings, and an automatic keep warm feature. It is pretty easy to clean, although we wish it had a retractable power cord to make storage a little easier.
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Zojirushi NP-NVC10

Review
Japanese rice cookers are more innovative than we thought: the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 uses the magic of induction heating. This highly efficient form of heating distributes heat evenly throughout the ingredients in the cooker, so you’ll never have rice cooked in layers of doneness. This pressure rice cooker has a reheat function, an automatic keep warm function, and an extended keep warm function that uses a lower temperature to preserve the texture and appearance of the rice. It has settings for white rice, brown rice, mixed rice, porridge, and GABA brown rice, plus umami and “scorch” options. The Zojirushi NP-NVC10 keeps track of how many times you’ve opened the lid and for how long, and will remind you to open the lid periodically to fluff the rice or to close it if you’ve forgotten to. It adjusts its keep warm temperature setting based on how much rice is left in the cooker. If you want a smart rice cooker, it doesn’t get much smarter than that!
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Zojirushi NS-VGC05

Review
The Zojirushi NS-VGC05 is a petite but multi-featured rice cooker. It has cooking settings for white rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, porridge, rinse-free, and cake, plus a quick cooking feature to get it all done faster. A microcomputer chip uses “fuzzy logic” to adjust the cooking temperature for each setting. It also has a keep warm setting that kicks in automatically. If you’re looking for a rice cooker that is cute, ideal for small portions, and can do more than turn on and off, this one is a great option. The LCD panel also has clock and timer functions to help you remember to check on the rice, and the full package includes a rice spatula and measuring cup. The inner lid is detachable, so it’s easy to clean, and the power cord is detachable, too!
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Panasonic SR-G06FGL

Review
A simple on-off rice cooker, the Panasonic SR-G06FGL doesn’t have any frills. Use the included measuring cup to portion out the rice, pre-soak it for extra fluffiness, then add it to the cooker and let it do its thing. This is the lightest rice cooker on our list by half a pound, making it a good choice for people who are on the move. The cooker also comes with a rice spatula. It shuts off on its own, so no keep-warm function, but if you like to chow down as soon as your rice is ready, that won’t be a problem. There’s not much more to say about the Panasonic SR-G06FGL. It has a glass lid, which helps you monitor different types of rice as they cook without venting steam. It’s small, it’s aluminum, and it has a non-stick inner pan--the perfect minimalist rice cooker.
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