10 of the Best Japanese Rice Cookers For Your Kitchen

Rice has always been the staple food (grain) for the Japanese, having turned rice cooking into an exquisite art form. No wonder then that the Japanese excel in making the world’s most versatile rice cookers. If you’re someone who takes rice along with other food items at least 3-4 times in a week, then you’ll find a Japanese rice cooker extremely handy for everyday or regular use.

What, in your opinion, should be the must-haves for the best Japanese rice cooker?

Product Comparison Table

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Cook brown rice, white rice, risotto, and slow cook a range of recipes with the Tiger Corporation’s JBV-A10U-W rice cooker.  This is one multifunctional rice cooker that lets you can prepare two dishes at the same time as the appliance exploits the signature ‘tacook’ synchronized function.

 All you need to do is load the ingredients in the right proportion in the non-stick bowl, push a knob, and sit back. JBV-A 10U’s automated cooking logic technique will effectively regulate the temperatures for rustling up a sumptuous dish.

The cooking plate’s innovative design means textures and flavors as well as the nutrients in the different rice dishes stays intact.

Pros

  • The cooking plate is made from BPA-free material
  • The spare steaming cap supplied with the cooker is removable
  • Single-push operation
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    4 distinct menu settings-Synchronized cooking, brown rice, plain rice and slow cooking
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    Non-stick cooking bowl which is easy to clean as well
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    Comes with non-stick scooping spatula, recipe booklet, cooking plate, and measuring cup
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    5.5 cup size

Cons

  • Not suitable for a family of four or a family with more members
  • Some customers have complained that the non-stick coating peels off
  • It make take a longer time than usual to cook brown rice
  • Water may spill out often

The ‘Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer, 1.0-Liter’ makes the most of Micom Fuzzy Logic Technology for cooking rice that is perfectly fluffy. A steaming basket comes in handy for preparing stews and steamed vegetables which you can take with boiled rice.

You can also use this Japanese rice cooker to bake a variety of cakes, thanks to the option in the menu setting. Also, thanks to the NS-TSC10 5’s versatility, you’ll get 10 cups of perfectly cooked brown rice, plain rice, and mixed rice as well as prepare porridge, soups, jambalaya, and many other meals.

Pros

  • Fuzzy logic technology
  • Also functions as a steamer cooker
  • Stainless steel exterior with coating and easy to clean as well
  • Automated reheating, ‘extended warm’, and ‘keep warm’ features
  • Inbuilt foldable power cord
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    Crystal clear LCD control panel
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    Dual settings for ‘delayed timer’
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    Removable inner lid that is also washable
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    Steaming basket included
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    Settings for different cooking programs
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    Cooks 5 and a half cups of cooked rice

Cons

  • Many users will feel the absence of a cookbook
  • The model is unduly expensive compared to other rice cookers

If you’re looking for a premium Zojirushi rice cooker model, then go for the NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter’.

 This rice cooker model from the renowned house of Zojirushi takes advantage of ‘Neuro Fuzzy Logic’ technology enabling it to automatically make cooking temperature and time tweaks for dishing out flawless cups of steamed rice each time.

You put in 5-and-a-half cups of raw rice and out comes 10 cups of immaculately boiled rice. You can prepare sushi rice, mixed rice, brown rice, semi-brown rice, porridge, and sweetened rice. 

Pros

  • Used microcomputer ‘Neuro fuzzy logic technology’
  • A gamut of menu settings for different cooking options
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    Programmable melody
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    Large and clear LCD display
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    Automatic extended keep warm, keep warm, and reheating functions
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    Advanced heating technology coupled with spherical pan promotes even heating
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    Retractable, built-in power supply cord
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    Programmable delay timer with twin settings
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    All necessary accessories included
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    Good for cooking for a family of moderate size or family of four

Cons

  • Some users may not like the Hello Kitty alarm but it is a minor issue
  • This is a costly model when compared with other similar brands

Aroma Housewares has a reputation for coming up with some of the most performance-oriented Japanese-styled rice cookers and the ARC-914SBD happens to be one such cooker.

 With the help of this rice cooker, you can cook up to 8 cups of rice and the steaming attachment helps you to vegetables and meat while rice gets steamed in the chamber below.

The digital controls are conveniently programmable and the ‘keep warm’ feature can be used for keeping food palatable for hours after cooking is complete. Using the ‘flash rice function’ enables you to cut down on cooking time up to the extent of 50%.

Pros

  • Commendable cooking capacity: delivers up to a maximum of 8 cups of cooked rice
  • Digital controls are easily programmable
  • Vegetables/meat steaming goes on simultaneously with cooking of rice
  • Automatic ‘keep warm’ mode
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    ‘Flash Rice’ functionality reduces cooking time to the extent of 50%
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    Delay Timer keeps meals warm for 15 hours after cooking is done
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    Advanced ‘Sensor Logic Technology’ enables the appliance to mechanically select optimum ‘cooking time’ and ‘temperature’
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    Toughened stainless steel body
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    Steam tray is BPA-free
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    Accessories provided includes recipe booklet, soup ladle, serving spatula, measuring cup, and steam tray

Cons

  • One has to strain his or her eyes to see the water markings inside the pan
  • Some users might find the ‘beep signals’ a tad too loud

The Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH easily makes the grade for quality Japanese rice cooker’, thanks to its using induction heating technology for cooking rice as perfectly as your mother does.

 This superior heating technology lets the cooker make the exact temperature adjustments for preparing perfectly boiled or steamed rice each time. The multiple cooking programs allows you to make mixed, jasmine white, white (hard, soft, and regular) and sushi rice, GABA brown, brown, and sweet rice.

Layering on base, sides, and lid promotes uniform heating for thorough cooking and you can also take advantage of the ‘keep warm’ and ‘extended keep warm’ functions. 

Pros

  • Dual settings for ‘delay timer’
  • Exterior is of toughened stainless steel
  • Clear coating on the exterior protect the core material as well as expedites smooth and easy cleaning
  • Sophisticated IH technology helps in preparation of delicious meals
  • Multifunctional rice cooker: Has settings for a range of cooking programs
  • Three-tiered layering supports even heating and hence cooking
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    Rice is perfect for serving long after cooking, courtesy ‘warm’ and ‘extended warm’ functions
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    Inner lid can be detached and washed
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    Cooks 5-and-a-half cups of raw rice

Cons

  • Extremely expensive in comparison to other rice cookers
  • Water markings are somewhat small in size and may not be legible to many

The BLACK+DECKER 16-Cup Cooked/8-Cup Uncooked Rice Cooker and Food Steamer, White, RC516 comes in incredibly handy for preparing perfect, fluffy rice for a large family.

 The RC 516 from Black & Decker can deliver up to 16 cups of cooked rice from 8 cups of raw rice, for serving piping hot on the dinner table within minutes.

A steaming container stews fish, chicken, and veggies while rice is getting cooked in the inner pan. Both the lid made of tempered glass and the nonstick bowl are dishwasher safe which makes cleaning the appliance effortlessly easy.

Pros

  • Single-press knob for operation: Convenient to use
  • Can cook up to a maximum of 8 cups of uncooked rice
  • Automated keep warm mode
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    The nonstick layer on the inner cooking vessel safeguards the base material
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    Inner pan can be taken out for cleaning convenience
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    Basket for steaming vegetables, fish, and meats
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    Lid made of tempered glass that is see-through
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    Capable of preparing porridge, soups, jambalaya, paella, polenta, and other dishes
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    Indicator light

Cons

  • Not measuring the rice and water portions (or proportions) might cause spilling
  • The absence of an (on/off) switch means you always to need to unplug the socket after use
  • There is no receptacle for safekeeping the (power supply) cord

You can bet that the JKT-B18U-C Rice Cooker with Oatmeal Cooker, Stainless Steel Beige, 10 Cup from Tiger will become your most useful kitchen appliance in the long run.

 As it exploits ‘induction heating’ system for uniformly heating up the ingredients, each and every dish it prepares tastes great. At the same time, the perfect cooking means all the nutrients are retained in the foods.

The 1.5mm thick stainless steel inner bowl boils and steams 5.5 cups of uncooked rice to deliver 10 cups of fluffy rice. You can preset the timer in two modes to make the cooker prepare meals according to your convenience.

Pros

  • Uses IH technology: uniform heating of contents
  • Nonstick inner bowl can be removed for easy cleaning
  • Handles on both ends of inner pan for comfortable lowering and lifting
  • Prepares 5.5 cups of raw rice
  • Cooking timer that can be preset in two modes
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    Stainless steel inner pan with three layers of coating

Cons

  • Many users will feel the need for a power cord that is retractable
  • Exorbitantly priced

In case you’re looking for a Japanese rice cooker that does not come with all the bells and whistles but does the basic job of ‘rice cooking’ with perfection, then the Zojirushi NHS-06 is ideal for you.

This is a hardwearing kitchen appliance that comes with only one switch which you need to push mildly after lowering the cooking pan containing the rice grains and water, into the receptacle. A fully transparent tempered glass lid lets you keep an eye on the food being cooked while a heat-resistant knob allows you to lift the cover comfortably. 

Pros

  • The nonstick interior cooking vessel is made of stainless steel
  • Glass cover is transparent: Clearly see what’s cooking
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    Knob fixed atop the lid remains cool to touch
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    Attachments on both sides for holding and carrying the cooker
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    Single switch operation
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    Low power rating: 300watts
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    Comes with instruction manual, serving spatula, and measuring cup
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    Cooks up to 3 cups of uncooked rice

Cons

  • Steaming tray is only available with NHS-10 and NHS-18 models
  • Does not have a ‘keep warm’ feature
  • Not suitable even for a family of three: cooks only three cups of rice
  • Not ideal for preparing a wide variety of meals

The ‘Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup (Uncooked) Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Multi-Cooker, 1.8 L, White’ is definitely a good Japanese rice cooker you can buy. This is one extraordinarily versatile rice cooker that offers way beyond its monetary worth as it exploits an avant-garde 2-tier induction heating system, delivering you almost 20 cups of fluffy rice out of 10 uncooked rice cups.

You also get to make the most of 13 automated cooking programs for delighting your family and guests with a delectable range of rice dishes, pot foods, steamed foods, cakes, and soups.

Pros

  • Stainless, 4-tiered charcoal-coated inner pan promotes easy cleaning
  • Electrostatic control panel made of tempered glass facilitates fingertip control as well as thorough cleaning
  • 2-layer induction heating technology stimulates uniform heating: perfectly cooked meals
  • 13 preprogrammed cooking techniques: cook variety of meals
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    In built umami-augmenting taste locker regulates cooking temperature: retains flavor and nutrition of meals
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    12-hour ‘keep warm’ feature
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    24-hour timer
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    Steaming basket, measuring cup, rice and cereal scoops

Cons

  • Many users may not be able to spare the time required for slow-cooking some meals, like pancakes and jasmine rice
  • Very costly in comparison to other models with almost identical features

All you need to do for rustling up a mouthwatering paella or risotto dish in the ‘Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker’ is simply press a few knobs after putting in the prescribed amount of ingredients.

A steaming basket placed above the inner cooking bowl stew meats or veggies simultaneously with rice cooking. Of course, you can prepare an assortment of dishes from grains other than rice as well as cereals. You can also use the steaming basket for rinsing the grains before placing them in the bowl so as to prevent clomping.

Pros

  • Delivers up to 8 cups cooked rice
  • Steam meats and veggies while rice is cooking via the steaming basket
  • Steaming basket also good for rinsing rice grains to check clumping
  • Inner bowl and the rice cooker is dishwasher safe
  • ‘Keep warm’ function
  • ‘Countdown’ timer

Cons

  • There might be spillage even after rubber gasket is set properly
  • The plastic hinged cover is prone to breaking
  • The directions given in the recipe booklet are not clear and misleading

Numerous advantages or benefits of using Japanese rice cooker

It is now a long-established fact that the best Japanese rice cooker is designed and produced in the land where the appliance first evolved-Japan. Japanese rice cookers that have become synonymous with the modern-day versions were first developed by Mitsubishi Corporation. Since then, rice cookers have come a long, long way.

If you wish to speed up your conventional rice cooking or steaming process without compromising on the quality front, then a Japanese rice cooker would be indispensable. Using the best Japanese rice cooker offers you the following unique advantages:

  • Every cooking cycle offers you cups of boiled, fluffy rice to place on the dining table
  • Rice cookers come with a built-in ‘keep warm’ feature which keeps the cooked rice tepid and fresh for consumption long after the cooking is complete.
  • You can choose a range of automated cooking programs and feel relieved that the appliance will prepare the dish perfectly without your having to keep a watch.
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    The rice cooker offers you spare time in the kitchen which you can devote to preparing extra dishes or meals or carry out other household tasks.
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    The best Japanese rice cooker is incredibly versatile in that this kitchen appliance comes in handy for steaming vegetables and meats as well as preparing kedgeree, paella, jambalaya, soups, and stews etc.

Modus operandi of a Japanese rice cooker: Induction heating and Fuzzy Logic

The very first rice cooker manufactured by Mitsubishi Corporation comprised of a cooking pot made out of aluminum. Built into the aluminum pot was a coil that supplied electricity to the container for heating it up.

The earliest version was a no-frills gadget that did not take advantage of any advanced technology for doing the simple job of boiling rice.

Japanese rice cookers evolved greatly during the 80s with the introduction of products that were compatible with induction stovetops. Although the early rice cooker models did boiled or steamed rice perfectly, the flavor which was delivered from cooking on a stove that used wood as fuel was missing.

Rice cookers powered by induction heating (which used AC current) heated up the contents uniformly which resulted in the rice tasting better and very much similar to the aroma that the Japanese derived from cooking on the ‘kamado’.

Rice cookers suitable for using on induction cook tops also enabled the cooking of rice grains that were of inferior variety and still achieve better results compared to cooking in traditional rice cookers.

The next wave of technological revolution pertaining to rice cookers took place in the 1990s that witnessed the emergence of appliances that exploited microcomputer technology.

This technology which became widely known as ‘Fuzzy Logic’ essentially involved the embedding of an AI (artificial intelligence) chip in the gadget that enabled modifying the temperatures and cooking times by regulating the electric current supply. 

The extent and frequency of modifications triggered by the chips depended upon the volume or quantity of rice you loaded on the cooker. Knobs on the best Japanese rice cooker using ‘fuzzy logic’ indicated a range of cooking programs and you just had to press a specific button to activate the program.

 Nowadays, you’ll come across rice cookers that use two distinct variations of the Fuzzy Logic technique-Neuro and Micom. While Micom technology facilitates the rice cooker to correctly guess the exact measure or amount of rice (or other grains) to be taken for a perfect preparation, Neuro goes the extra step by helping the appliance to memorize the input data for future cooking cycles.    

Choosing your best Japanese rice cooker based on its essential features

Though zeroing in your best Japanese rice cooker should not be a cumbersome process given that operating the gadget is normally convenient, the sheer variety of brands available could make your task quite overwhelming.

However, the entire process of selection becomes easier and convenient to a great extent if you know exactly what you are looking for in a standard Japanese rice cooker.

Make a list of 5-6 most popular brands of rice cookers and crosscheck each against the following key attributes:-

Size of the rice cooker or inner pan capacity

Will you use the Japanese rice cooker for steaming rice and vegetables for the entire family or exclusively for yourself? Determining how much cups of rice you’ll boil on a regular basis will help you in choosing the product size.

 A single cup of Japanese cooker holds six ounces of uncooked rice grains whereas the standard measure for in the US is eight ounce.


Inner pan or bowl quality/material

Cooking bowls where you load the rice with water are either made of stainless steel or aluminum. Nutritionists and dieticians recommended cooking in stainless steel pans owing to the material being chemically inert which means the foods never get contaminated.

 More often the bowl base is usually coated with a non-sticky material to protect the core but cheaper brands use a low quality coat.


Programmable controls

It is a given that expensive models are equipped with state-of-the art features which amongst other things include:

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    Large digital display
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    Delayed timer
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    Keep warm function
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    Settings for a range of cooking programs

On the other hand, run-off-the-mill models feature the basic functions and controls, allowing you to cook a few simple dishes.


The heating method

Japanese rice cookers have traditionally used electric heating coils for steaming rice and cooking other foods.

 However, such models have become obsolete now and almost all advanced Japanese rice cookers now bank on induction heating technology which promotes even heating and minimizes risks of electric shocks.


Does the outside stay cool?-The best Japanese rice cooker

has an exterior shell with an insulated layer that keeps the surface stays cool. Also, silicon or Bakelite handles are fixed on either side for convenience in holding the appliance.

The wattage

Large cookers that can cook up to 10 cups of uncooked rice have a power rating ranging from 600 watts to 900 watts whereas the smaller ones usually have a 300 watts rating.


The brand matters

You can bet that you’ll never go wrong with the following Japanese brands-Zojirushi, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi (Panasonic).

Conclusion

Some of the most reputed brands of rice cookers were reviewed in this blog including Zojirushi, Tiger, Aroma, and Black + Decker.

Though all the models of the aforementioned brands met the criterions for ‘best Japanese rice cooker’, the Zojirushi models, NHS-06, NP-HCC10XH, and NS-TSC10, and Tiger models JBV-A10U-W, JKT-B18U-C stood out from the rest owing to their superior heating technology, multiple cooking programs, and durable construction.

 If price is not an issue then you can also opt for Panasonic SR-AFG186 10 Cup that comes with some resourceful features like 13 preset cooking programs and dual-layer induction heating system.

If this article helped you a lot, then why not like and share it! Please consider posting your comments below as well. Don’t hesitate to post any of your suggestions or additional information related to this article.

Jeanette Schmidt

Hi all, I am Jeanette Schmidt. At the age of 29, my learning never stops. A native of Texas, I was raised to go big or go home. Although food is currently my life, I’m still looking forward to the day when I can cook for my own family. At present, I am engaged to my long-time boyfriend, Paul, who’s very supportive of what I do. Read more about me here.

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