Cooking rice in a saucepan can be a real pain, you need to constantly monitor it to make sure the starchy bubbles aren’t overflowing, then you need to make sure you cook it for just the right amount of time so it isn’t too hard or too soft. It is much easier to just use a dedicated rice cooker instead, then you can easily get perfect rice every time.
With a rice cooker you just measure out how many scoops of rice you want, add in the correct amount of water based on how much rice is in there (there should be lines on the side of the inner bowl) and turn it on. It then warms up, cooks the rice and then turns itself off and lets the rice steam for a while afterwards. The result? Fluffy, perfectly cooked rice without you having to do anything after you turn it on!
There are some things to watch out for though, first of all the steam that comes out of the lid can be a bit starchy, so don’t have your rice cooker underneath pictures or cabinets etc as it can leave a sticky residue. The second thing to note is that you need to leave the rice after the cooker turns off to steam the rice and properly finish the process, a lot of people get that wrong and then complain that the rice is not fluffy and soft! The steaming at the end of the process is not optional, so make sure you leave enough time for it when you are planning your meal (it’ll tell you exactly how long in the instruction manual, usually 10 – 15 minutes).
There are lots of rice cookers on the market at the moment, but we think that based on price, functionality and customer satisfaction that the best rice cooker at the moment is the:Aroma ARC-838TC 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker
While this might not be from one of the bigger brands like Panasonic or Sanyo then Aroma are well thought of in the cookware and tableware market and seem to have hit the nail on the head with this one as it is the number 1 bestselling rice cooker on Amazon.com at the moment, and the number 2 spot is held by another of theirs too!
This gives you all the features you need, without any frills. It can cook up to 8 cups of rice which should be more than enough for most families (don’t forget the cooking time goes up the more rice you add) and it has a delay timer so you can tell it when you need the rice to be cooked by, then load up the water and rice and leave it. It will then start cooking by itself at the correct time so that it finishes when you told it to.
Another great feature is that it can steam food as well, both vegetables and meat, while the rice is cooking. You can only use a maximum of 6 cups of rice if you use that feature though as you need room to fit the steam tray in (included with this model), but steamed vegetables are delicious so this is a great feature and stops you having to cook your veg separately.
It looks good, functions perfectly (I remember one we bought last year was useless!) and has over 100 5 star reviews on Amazon, and still costs less than $35 at the time of writing, which is why we picked this as the best rice cooker on the market right now.