There are those who would argue that automatic rice cookers are perhaps the most important kitchen appliance to come onto the scene in recent years, and rightly so. Gone are the days of wasted time and burnt pots. Using an automatic rice cooker couldn’t be easier, just add the rice, add some water, and turn it on. In no time you’ll have perfectly cooked rice without all the labor, mess and bother. If you’re looking to get yourself one of these automatic rice cookers it’s important you understand that there are in fact many different types of rice cookers and to get the best value for your money you need to choose the type that’s best for you. In this article I’ll go over the different types of automatic rice cookers out there, show you what those features mean and finally link some fine, highly rated examples of each type of rice cooker.
What different types of automatic rice cookers are there?
Believe it or not there are actually about 4 different types of rice makers out there, I say “about” because the differences are more in the features they offer and not in any absolute categories.
I’m going to go in order of the cheapest (and simplest) to the most advanced (and expensive) types available.
- First off we have the simple automatic rice cooker, this is the basic type and is darn good at making a simple batch of white rice. Usually this type will feature nothing more than an on/off switch. This is a great type of rice cooker for the casual “white rice” cook.
- Next we’ll add another feature to the above type, the keep warm mode. Like the above type it’ll make a great batch of white rice. This rice cooker however will go into a ‘keep warm’ cycle once the rice is finished. This is a good choice for somebody who doesn’t know exactly when dinner will be served. Some of these types will also feature a start timer, so you can load it up, and set it to start at a preset time.
- Now, we’ll get into some of the more advanced types of rice cookers. Next up is the fuzzy logic rice cooker. These automatic rice cookers are able to not only make white rice, but brown rice, sushi rice and even oatmeal. It’s totally programmable so you can select what you’re cooking and even how you want it to finish, firm, soupy etc.. The fuzzy logic rice cooker senses the moisture level and adjusts the cooking temperature for perfect rice every time.
- The final type is the induction rice cooker. This is the latest thing in automatic rice cookers and takes the cooking to new levels. Other rice cookers heat from the bottom which can potentially result in uneven cooking. The induction rice cooker uses heating elements all around the rice bowl resulting in even cooking. Like the fuzzy logic rice cooker the induction rice cooker will not only adjust cooking by moisture level but will detect heat levels and adjust automatically. This type of automatic rice cooker, in my opinion, is really for the person who demands perfect rice, and will cook many different types of rice. These ARE not inexpensive rice cookers.
Now, with that out of the way let’s look at some of the basic features that are common on just about all types of automatic rice cookers.
Common Features you’ll find on all Automatic Rice Cookers
- One of the things I absolutely demand in a quality rice cooker is a non-stick rice bowl. After all, the whole idea of a rice cooker is convenience and speed, having to clean the rice bowl after dinner is just annoying, a non-stick bowl will make this a snap.
If the rice cooker has buttons make sure they are easy to clean, even better, a plastic coating over the buttons to prevent getting moisture in the electric workings.
- I also like a stainless steel outside case, plastic is ok but stainless steel is sturdier and easy to clean.
- Most automatic rice cookers can double as a steamer, look for this attachment if you’re interested in that.
- One of the things I love to do in the winter is make oatmeal in my rice cooker. I load the ingredients at night and set the timer to start at 6:30am, when I wake up I have nice hot oatmeal waiting for me. If this sounds good look for a start timer feature, you’ll seriously appreciate this.
Now let’s take a look at some highly rated automatic rice cookers that are available on Amazon. I love Amazon because of the selection, the prices are very good and shipping is usually free.
Panasonic SRG06FG 3.3-Cup Automatic Rice Cooker
Oyama CFS-B12U All Stainless Rice Cooker
Zojirushi NS-LAC05 Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer, Stainless Steel
Zojirushi NP-HTC18 Induction Heating 10-Cup Pressure Rice Cooker and Warmer
Filed Under: For the Home