If you eat a lot of rice in your home, you know how important a rice cooker can be. To get the perfect rice each time, you must spend time watching it. This can be time-consuming when you are trying to prepare other parts of your meals.
Luckily there are some great options for Japanese rice cookers that will allow you to focus on the rest of your meal while your rice cooks perfectly. There are quite a few variations of Japanese rice cookers on the market, but we pulled out nine of the best to help you narrow down your decision.
Best Japanese Rice Cooker
1. Tiger 4-Cup (Uncooked) Rice Cooker
The Tiger Rice Cooker makes it to the top of our list. Tiger has been a strong name when it comes to rice cookers for a long time. The Rice Cooker is available in many different sizes, depending on the amount of rice that you need to cook.
The Tiger 4 Cup also works as a warmer. You can cook white rice perfectly and serve it directly out of the Tiger if needed. One of our favorite things about this rice cooker is that you can keep rice warm for up to twelve hours.
If you happen to be serving a crowd and you need to keep the rice warm as people circle through the line, the Tiger is a great choice. The measuring cup and a removable steam vent are included with the Tiger.
- Retractable power cord
- Compact size for storage
- Available in other sides
- Spatula included
2. Tiger 5.5-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker with Food Steamer & Slow Cooker
Our second choice is also made by Tiger. You will quickly find out that the Tiger name is well known when it comes to cooking rice. This Micom Rice Cooker is a stainless model that looks quite nice if it has to be left on the counter.
There are four functions with your Tiger Jax and ten different menu settings. Some of the things that you can cook with this include porridge, mixed rice, sweet rice, brown rice, and you can even use it for steam cooking.
One of our favorite things about the Tiger Jax is that it has an easy to remove the inner lid. You can pull out just the inner lid and the steam cap when it comes time to clean up and keep the rest of the rice cooker on the counter.
If you like something that is high tech and capable of completing quite a bit of projects in your kitchen, the Tiger Jax is a perfect choice.
- High quality
- Able to do more than just cook rice
- Stainless steel finish
3. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
The Zojirushi offers some excellent value for a large rice cooker. You can make rice, porridge, and steam using this model. If you are cooking for a large group of people, this is going to be a model that works quite well.
The screen on the front of the Zojirushi is easy to use, as a detachable inner lid that is easy to clean and has two different settings. The delay timer allows you to put your rice in and have it ready for you when you get home from work.
This is a rice cooker that you will likely never need to replace as it is very reliable and works for a variety of purposes. The only time we wouldn’t recommend this rice cooker is if you are a single person or a couple that does not need large amounts at once.
- Easy to read screen
- Detachable lid for cleaning
- Large capacity
4. Tiger Rice Cooker with Slow Cooking and Bread Making Function
Here we go again with the Tiger JKT IH Rice Cooker. This is a very premium model; however, you will understand the higher price point on the Tiger IH once you see what it is capable of.
With the Tiger IH, you will be able to make oatmeal, porridge, bake bread, and even use it as a slow cooker. If there was ever an all in one rice cooker, this is it.
One of the things that we like most about this Japanese Rice Cooker is the synchro-cook function. The synchro cook allows you to make your rice on the bottom of the unit while you prepare something else on the top part. When you have a kitchen gadget that does everything you need to put a meal on the table, it’s hard to be disappointed.
- Lots of ways to use the Tiger JKT
- Steam vent cap
- 8 Layer inner pot
- Durable and long-lasting
5. Tiger Rice Cooker with Oatmeal Cooker
The Tiger JKT B18U C Rice Cooker is a perfect option for a family that needs to make a good amount of food at once. This is not just a rice cooker you can also make brown rice, porridge, and oatmeal as well.
The Tiger JKT C is a higher end model that has an easy to use screen and will allow you to preset your cooking times. Regardless of your price range, you are going to find a Tiger model that will work well for you.
The one major concern with this ten cup rice cooker is that you should use the measuring cup that came with the cooker. This helps to ensure you do not overfill the cooker and end up with a mess on your hands
- The inner pan that is easy to remove
- Quick cleaning
- Washable lid
- Preset cooking timer
6. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker
Here we are with another option from Zojirushi. This is a 5 ½ cup rice cooker that also works as a warmer. The Zojirushi is an affordable but high functioning model that works quite well to get your rice both heated and served.
One of the things that we like best about the Zojirushi is the fact that it has a reheating cycle. If you want to make your rice a bit earlier in the day but then use it a few hours later, you have that ability. Without using a Japanese rice cooker it can be challenging to reheat rice without losing the texture.
The built in retractable cord on the Zojirushi makes it easier to put the rice cooker away. Overall this is an easy to clean and nice looking Japanese rice cooker that will make your life quite a bit easier.
- Easy to read screen
- Nice stainless look
- Compact size for storage
7. Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi ZCC10 is a bit more of a premium model than the other Zojurushi options on our list. The number of features and options that you get with the Zojirushi is going to give you a bit more flexibility in what you can do with your rice cooker.
The menu is easy to read, and lets you choose between keep warm or reheat cycles. Some of the choices that you will have with the Zojirushi include white rice, mixed rice, brown rice. When it comes time for clean up, you can remove the inner bowl and be cleaned up in a matter of minutes.
Another great feature of the Zojirushi is that it comes with some accessories to make your life a bit easier. You get two measuring cups, a rice spoon, and a rice spoon holder as well. Certainly, everything you need to get a great rice based meal on the table.
- Premium model
- Many settings to choose from
- Quick and easy clean up
8. Midea Smart Multi-Cooker Rice Cooker
The Midea is known for being a value-priced rice cooker. The Midea is a 5: capacity that will feed anywhere from 3 to 10 people. Potentially the best thing about this Japanese rice cooker is that it is priced significantly less than other options on the market.
The menu on the Midea is easy to see and read and has 11 different menu options. With the 24 hour delay timer, you can prep a meal 24 hours in advance and have it on the table for you the next night. This is probably one of the most impressive features on the Midea as many rice cookers offer times but not 24 hours in advance.
The inner material on the Midea is quick to heat and holds its heat quite well. That helps to make this a more energy efficient model. The cleanup is quick and easy and will have you looking to add rice to more of your meals.
- Very low pricing
- Good capacity
- Easy to read menu
- 24 hour in advance timer
9. Aroma Housewares Select Stainless Rice Cooker
Last but not least on our list is the Aroma Housewares 6 cup rice cooker. One of the things that sets the Aroma Japanese rice cooker apart is the fact that it is quick and easy to use. With only one push of a button, your rice will be ready for you in no time.
The Aroma is a smaller model that is recommended for kitchens that are a bit smaller in size. Although you won’t get the same amount of options when it comes to features and settings on the Aroma, it is a great starting point.
If you have never owned a rice cooker and you think you want to start making some more rice, oatmeal, and soups, this is the option for you.
- Compact size
- 3 cups uncooked
- Easy to use (switches to warm on its own)
Things To Consider When Shopping For The Best Japanese Rice Cooker
When you are ready to purchase a Japanese rice cooker there are a few things that you must consider. As we always recommend if you pay attention to these small features prior to purchasing you could end up with a rice cooker that lasts you for fifteen years.
Here are the things that we would most heavily base your decision on.
When you consider the size of the rice cooker you purchase, you must contemplate whether or not you have space and how many people you are cooking for. If you have a large family, you will need a rice cooker with a larger cup capacity.
When you don’t choose something with a higher capacity, you may have to run your cooker several times to prepare meals for everyone.
Having to empty, refill, and then recook rice to feed your entire family is going to get old very quickly. With larger families, look for something that can make at least 6 cups of cooked rice. A model that makes closer to 8 or 10 cups could be more realistic.
Most rice cookers are going to take up about the amount of space as a larger toaster. They are not quite as big as a crock pot, but you will need some room available for the cooker in your cabinet. Try to balance size and functionality when you purchase a new Japanese rice cooker for your kitchen.
Multiple Cooking Capabilities
If you follow our guides and reviews, you know how we feel about kitchen gadgets that have multiple capabilities. If a kitchen gadget or appliance is going to take up space in the cabinet, it may as well do more than one thing.
The great news about the Japanese rice cooker is that you can find models capable of cooking a variety of things. Some of the Tiger models will cook rice on the bottom but work as a slow cooker on the top.
Some rice cookers can make soup, oatmeal, sushi rice, or simply work to heat up food for you. If you already have a slow cooker and other similar gadgets, then you may want to choose a rice cooker that is a bit smaller in size.
If you are not going to use a kitchen product for more than one thing, then you may as well save yourself a bit of cabinet space and use something that is more compact but just as capable. Rice is a prevalent side dish, and if you find that you eat it one or more times per week, there is no question you will get your money’s worth out of a rice cooker.
Type of Rice
Not all rice cooks the same. If you are making brown, sushi, yellow, or white rice, you will need to adjust a rice cooker accordingly. With the higher end rice cookers, you will notice that you don’t need to change the settings all that much.
The only adjustment that you will need to make is to press a button to activate the setting.
Trying to put brown or mixed rice in at the same setting as white rice can end up ruining your rice. If you like to cook a variety of meals that use rice, there is no question you need a rice cooker with settings.
The pricing on Japanese rice cookers will vary quite a bit.
There are basic models that are going to be priced less than $100 and others that will be priced well over $200. Part of this decision will come down to what you can afford and what features that you expect the rice cooker to have.
The more features and capabilities that a Japanese rice cooker has, the more expensive it will be. Features, accessories, and capabilities directly affect the pricing of a Japanese rice cooker.
You will notice that rice cookers that also double as other cookers are at the top of the market as far as pricing is concerned. As the pricing lowers, the capacity usually gets quite a bit lower, and so do the functionalities.
If timed cook, warming, brown rice cooking, or oatmeal matter to you, we recommend going with something slightly higher in price.
When you look at the capacity of a rice cooker, you need to consider if they are talking about cooked or uncooked rice. Many people have made mistakes by choosing something based on the cooked or uncooked capacity and being disappointed by the capabilities of the cooker.
Take a look at a chart that describes how uncooked rice will transfer to cooked rice when it spends time in the cooker. Not only is this important for meal prep and planning, but it is essential to consider when you purchase the rice cooker.
Cleaning and Care
As you will see, a Japanese rice cooker usually comes with an insert that you will be able to lift in and out of the unit. The outside and bottom of the rice cooker are electronic devices.
You will not be able to submerge these in water. This is what makes a removable insert so easy to use.
The insert is probably going to need to be hand washed and not put in the dishwasher. Most of the rice cookers do a great job of cooking and then just simply keeping food warm. You should not have to worry about the rice overcooking and sticking to the pot.
Most of the time, a rice cooker is not a difficult kitchen appliance to clean but make sure the inside is removable.
So What is the best Japanese rice cooker?
We did a lot of research and a lot of rice eating when we put together this review. We can honestly say that the Tiger brand of rice cookers stands out as the best. It is clear to see that the Tiger company knows what they are doing when it comes to making rice.
The top of our list is the 4 Cup JNP model. This model seems to offer the best balance of pricing functionality and ease of use. If the Tiger models are priced slightly higher than you would like, the Zojirushi is another excellent option to consider.
By now, you should have a good handle on what it takes to find a perfect Japanese rice cooker. The rice cooker is a time saving kitchen gadget.
While your hands are busy working on other kitchen projects, you can plug your rice cooker in, set it, and forget it. When it is time for dinner, the side is all set, and you can just add in the other food.
When you choose your rice cooker, make sure to consider the size of the cooker, the cleaning, the type of rice you cook, and the functionality. There are many options out there, and they should last for a very long time if you choose the proper model.