Want to cook your rice efficiently and without wasting any time? Then you need the best Japanese rice cooker in your kitchen.
These appliances provide the ideal speed and convenience to get rid of the sometimes laborious rice cooking process. You won’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen, and the rice will end up almost perfect (if not better than that).
That’s what we want to talk about today: Japanese cookers and why they are so good. We are also reviewing some of the best models available out there, along with a straightforward buying guide to help you pick the right one.
If that info may help you in any way, then don’t hesitate and start reading further! You won’t regret it!
How Does a Japanese Rice Cooker Work?
Many people think a Japanese rice cooker is like any cooking appliance you can have in your kitchen. But in reality, they’re somewhat different.
A standard cooker is comprised of 5 different parts: the controls, the body, the cooking pan, the heating plate or system, and the thermal-sensing apparatus.
Inside the body of the machine, you will find the inner cooking pan. That’s the part that heats up to make sure the rice cooks.
But that wouldn’t be possible without the heat plate or heating system. It could be either a heating element or an induction mechanism, always below the pan or bowl.
To make sure this system heats up to the right level, the sensing device below makes sure it is always at the right temperature. You could say it is a thermometer that keeps the heat stable. But it all works according to the input in the control panel.
Once the thermal-sensing part selects the right temperature (according to the pre-set mode), it sends a signal to the heating element which starts augmenting or minimizing the heat accordingly.
Then, heat bowl or pan will heat up accordingly. This will eventually start cooking the rice until it’s done.
How to Use a Japanese Rice Cooker
After learning how an instant pot Japanese rice machine works, it is time to learn how you can make it work. Here’s what you should do:
- Pour the amount of rice you want inside the bowl of the cooker.
- Add enough water. It should cover the rice entirely. You can add the desired spices, vegetables, or any ingredients at this point too.
- Now close the lid and select the mode for the cooking. They have different types of cooking modes depending on the rice kind.
- Once you have the selected mode, you can push the START button on the machine. It should start cooking the rice by now.
- Finally, wait until the machine tells you (from 20 to 40 minutes), and you’ll be ready to enjoy your rice. It should be fluffy and water-free.
- Serve the rice and eat it!
This process is as straightforward as it can be. And most models are this way without much more to think about.
Of course, some machines will have a few different functions and things to consider, but nothing too tricky. Overall, you just need to add the rice, water, and start the appliance. That’s it.
What to Look For When Buying a Japanese Rice Cooker
If you want a high-quality rice cooker Japanese brand, you must know what to look for. That’s why we’re going over the key factors to think about when buying a cooker. Here they are:
The first thing to consider is the rice capacity. You’ll want a model that can host enough rice for your needs.
That’s why you should think about it this way: every 2 cups is one person’s worth of rice. So, for models with 3 cups of capacity, you can get one a half or two servings. As for models with 5.5 cups, you can get up to 3 to 4 servings. And as for models with 10 to 12 cups, you can serve up to 10 people or more without any problems.
The easiest-to-use model you can go for will only have a START or ON button and that’s it. But sometimes, you will need a few other controls and setting options. Whatever it offers, make sure it is user-friendly and doesn’t demand much to work. If you want something simple without much functionality, then go for it.
A superb feature that you shouldn’t overlook in a Japanese rice cooker is the keep-warm function. It maintains the rice warm or hot even after several minutes or hours of being cooked.
For example, if you cooked the rice at 11 AM and you want to eat it by 1 PM – then you can set up the keep-warm function to never stop heating the rice. This feature doesn’t overcook the rice; instead it just maintains sufficient heat to make sure the rice never cools down.
Apart from keeping your rice warm, it shouldn’t be a problem to handle. We always recommend cool-touch cookers because they go the extra mile to help users manage their cooking. This will prevent burns on your hands and make cleaning easier overall.
Every Japanese cooker should be easy to clean. For that, try to get models with non-stick bowls or pans. Those will prevent the rice from sticking and makes cleaning effortless.
If you can go for models with plastic or stainless steel inserts or detachable bowls, then you are getting an even better product. These will make the cleaning process even easier overall.
Retractable or Removable Cord
A power cord that you can retract or separate from the machine always delivers extra convenience. From the installation process to the storage, one of these will make your overall experience better.
Offering an extra advantage when cleaning and better serving experience, a removable lid is a must-have feature. We recommend one of these made of plastic above all others. But stainless steel or glass ones are not too bad either.
Other features like digital controls, delay timers, Fuzzy Logic that cooks automatically, beep or alert sounds, and many others – are always useful to have.
Any feature that makes the whole experience better will be a great choice to consider. Especially if you are a big rice eater, these practical features can go a long way.
5 Best Japanese Rice Cookers Reviews
As soon as you start looking for a new Japanese cooker, you will find hundreds of options out there. To make the process easy, we simplified your search with 5 of the best models. Here they are with their own reviews:
When someone says Japanese rice cooker Zojirushi, you should know that it is easily among the best out there.Every model from this brand offers exceptional results. But the NP-NVC10 from Zojirushi (check more from this brand here) is probably the highest-quality option out there. Offering 5.5 cups or 10 cups of capacity, it leaves nothing to be desired.
It comes with all the cooking options for all kinds of rice, going from white to porridge, brown, mixed, sushi, GABA, or quick-cooking if you just want fast results.
You will also enjoy an Umami setting that steams the rice to get an extra fluffy grain as a result. But if you don’t want this feature and adjust the steam yourself, there’s a steam-reduce setting that reduces up to 50% of the total steam when cooking.
All of this appears on the control panel with LCD, offering a clock and a delay timer for extra convenience. Along with its 1240 watts of induction heating power, this machine will cook your rice in almost no time.
- Superb induction heating system
- A wide array of rice cooking options
- Practical steam & Umami settings
- Effortless to use controls with LCD
- More expensive than alternatives
- Too many features can be tricky at first
If you don’t like costly options, you will find the Aroma professional rice cooker an almost perfect alternative.Everything it offers is uniquely practical, from the cool-touch tech that allows handling when it’s working, to the vast array of cooking modes. You can prepare anything from rice to soups, steaming vegetables, and more.
The system works with steam, which cooks rice and other foods effectively. It isn’t the faster out there, but with its 12-cup capacity you can cook a lot of things inside without setbacks.
It even offers the chance to keep the food warm for several hours thanks to its Keep-Warm setting. And with its additional accessories such as the steaming tray, measuring cup, inner pot, and plastic rice paddle – it doesn’t leave anything behind.
You will also get a Sensor Logic Technology which adapts the appliance to the right cooking mode when needed. Getting an undercooked or overcooked meal will be a thing of the past. And for a fantastic cost, you won’t get anything better than this easily.
- Large 12-cup design for extra rice capacity
- Handy Keep-Warm and Cool-Touch features
- The internal sensor prevents undesired results
- Exceptional cost for the quality
- The lid is pretty hard to clean
- The keep-warm feature may dry out the rice
Panasonic is a brand that always goes the extra mile to deliver quality above everything else. And with this Japanese style cooker, they make it clear they’re here to stay.What makes this model so fantastic is the chance to get the 5-cup option with 18 functions, or the 5-cup model with standard features. And if you want to go bigger, the 10-cup design with standard functions also works wonders.
All of them work with a Fuzzy Logic technology, a micro-computer that makes sure your rice cooks exactly how it should. By a single touch of a button, you will receive the pre-programmed cooking for your rice, going from brown to mixed, to short or long-grained, and even glutinous and so on.
You will also get the keep-warm function to prevent your rice from cooling down, a steaming basket, a non-scratching spoon, and a measuring cup. Put it all together, and this machine doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.
- Comes in various models & sizes
- Extra convenient Fuzzy Logic feature
- A handy set of accessories for easy use
- Very affordable for its quality
- No timer makes cooking a little difficult
- The cord is not retractable or detachable
Now going for one of the highest-quality brands in the market – you could say Tiger never disappoints. And that wouldn’t be far from the truth.The JAX-T10U-K micro-computer is a model that delivers the ideal heating capacity never to undercook or overcook your rice. It offers 5.5-cups of rice capacity, which allows you to make enough rice for up to 4 people. But you can also pick the 10-cups model, for up to 10 or more people.
An exciting feature of this machine is the tacook synchronization cooking, which works as a keep-warm function to never let your rice cool down.
You will get a straightforward control system too, with 10 cooking settings, an LCD panel, and handy features like a delay timer, and automatic keep warm.
And inevitably, it comes with an easy-to-clean design, especially with the removable lid so you can get it neat in no time. Overall, it is exceptional, especially for its decent cost.
- Unique heating system for excellent results
- Effortless operation with LCD panel
- Decent rice capacity for several people
- Easy to clean & maintain
- The power cord is not retractable/detachable
- Leaves the rice moister than expected
A model that lets you choose between its 5.5-cup or 10-cup cookers is always an excellent option. And the JAX-S18U is not an exception.You will get 10 cooking options with this machine, going from Synchro-Cooking that prevents overcooking and undercooking to a Plain mode, a Sweet mode, one for Mixed rice, another for Porridge, and a final one for Brown, Multigrain, Slow Cook and even Steam.
If you are a heavy rice eater and you want some versatility, this model works wonders. You can even let your rice sit for 12 hours without letting it cool down thanks to the Keep-Warm function.
Apart from that, the machine is straightforward to clean and comes with a non-stick coating pot. Everything it delivers makes sure you can have a convenient & enjoyable experience when cooking your rice.
And with its LCD control panel and cool-touch design, you won’t have any issue operating this machine. It will go the extra mile without costing the additional fee.
- A superb array of cooking functions
- The highly convenient keep-warm feature
- Straightforward controls for ease of use
- Totally effortless to clean and maintain
- Comes with a built-in battery that lasts only 5 years
- Lasts longer than expected to cook
After reading all of our reviews, you are ready to pick the right machine for your kitchen. Remember, it’s all about the practicality it will offer in your life.
If picking one yourself feels a little hard, we can recommend the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker as the highest-quality choice in the list. Its superb cooking power and system, the wide array of functions, and extra practical design simply have no competitor. But it can be heavy on your wallet.
That’s why the Aroma ARC-616SB Professional Rice Cooker can be an excellent alternative if you still want something well-made and convenient without breaking your wallet. It is fantastic in every way and leaves no space for mediocre results.
Still, the best Japanese rice cooker is the one that covers all your requirements perfectly. As long as it offers exactly that, then you’re probably going for the right product. So choose one now!