The Best Rice Cookers of 2018

By Bethany Kwoka

Is there anyone who doesn’t like rice? It's a pantry staple. And while it’s completely possible to make great rice on the stove, doing so means hovering over the pot to ensure that your grains cook fully without burning. By using a rice cooker, like our new favorite Panasonic One-Touch Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker (available at Amazon for $105.99), you can avoid that hassle and focus on the rest of your meal. There's a reason these devices are a fixture in professional kitchens—they promise fluffy rice every time, and they do the work for you.

But which rice cookers fulfill their promise of perfection? If you're going to give up precious kitchen counter space for yet another gadget, it needs to be worthy. I tested six of the top rice cookers on the market to find out which ones were convenient, consistent, and—ultimately—which ones could make that ideal bowl of rice.

Here are the best rice cookers, in order:

  1. Panasonic One-Touch Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker
  2. Aroma Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
  3. Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
  4. Oster Rice Cooker with Steamer
  5. Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker
  6. Instant Pot 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated October 10, 2018

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Best Overall Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Panasonic One-Touch Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker

  • Editors' Choice

Panasonic One-Touch Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker

Best Overall

If you’re looking for phenomenal rice every time, this is the rice cooker for you. During testing, the results were fluffy yet soft and never overdone, each batch the kind you'd be proud to serve to dinner guests. While the Fuzzy Logic cooker took a little longer than I might have anticipated, the final product was worth the wait.

Using this rice cooker was also incredibly easy. It has only four buttons, all clearly labeled, which makes it simple to plug it in and just get cooking. The cooker fits best in a kitchen with a bit of extra counter space, but overall it topped the charts when it came to making great rice and steaming fantastic dumplings with very little effort on my part. It's a bit on the pricy side, but for anyone serious about their rice and looking for a simple set up, this Panasonic is just right.

Best Value Best Value
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Aroma Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

  • Editors' Choice

Aroma Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer

Best Value

The Aroma Digital Rice Cooker packs a big punch for a small footprint. It looks sort of like a tiny Instant Pot, but with more focused features. And while it didn't make perfect rice every single time, it came pretty close (one test out of five came out spottily cooked). Regardless, this was the cooker I reached for when I thought, “Maybe I’ll make more rice and dumplings tonight.”

It might feel a tad rickety compared to higher-priced models, but the results are tasty, the price is low, and the machine is downright easy to use. That makes it an easy pick for "Best Value." My only significant qualm: there's no way to tell how much time is left before your rice is done. A minor annoyance if you’re only an occasional rice devotee, but if you make rice every day, you might want to splurge on the Panasonic.

How we tested

The tester

My name is Bethany, and I cook a lot of meals at home. My go-to is tofu, veggies, and rice.

This means that I often find myself trying to simultaneously fry tofu and sauté vegetables, and the multitasking goes much better for me if I don't also have to babysit a pot of rice. A rice cooker is a good solution, doing the work for me so I can focus on browning the tofu.

The tests

I put six rice cookers through their paces by using them to make long grain brown rice and short grain white rice. I made each kind twice—and judged the cookers critically based on the results. I also tried steaming frozen dumplings in each rice cooker using the included steamer basket. (It’s 2018—If my rice cooker can’t make more than just rice, have I really chosen the right one?)

I considered how easy each rice cooker was to clean, whether it cooked rice consistently from one batch to the next, and whether it could handle cooking a single cup of rice (enough for just a couple of people) or could only perform well when used to cook larger quantities.

Other rice cookers we tested

Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer


Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer

The Zojirushi made the best rice of them all. If I was judging purely on the quality of the finished rice product, this cooker would have won. The inner bowl was also easy to clean and had markings for different types of rice as well as quinoa. Amusingly, it sung when starting and finishing a batch of rice.

However, the Zojirushi didn’t come with a bowl to steam vegetables or dumplings in, which I found unforgivable at this price point. For such a hefty price tag, I’d want this rice cooker to replace my Instant Pot, or at least walk the dog in the mornings, so without the steamer basket it seems a little too single function for the cost. Maybe if this rice cooker was able to produce perfect rice quickly I would understand, but it also took the longest of any cooker to finish a batch. The Panasonic Fuzzy Logic cooker made comparable rice, comes with a steamer basket, and costs a fair bit less, so there's no reason to spring for the Zojirushi.

Oster Rice Cooker with Steamer


Oster Rice Cooker with Steamer

If you’re the type of person who throws all of your laundry—sheets, towels, fancy clothes, and jeans—into the wash together, this might be the rice cooker for you. Its super simple setup means tossing rice and water in, pushing a lever, and waiting for the lever to pop back up. You never really know if you’re making rice correctly, but you just have to trust it will work. Luckily, the rice always turned out okay during testing, and it steamed my dumplings perfectly, though I simply had to guess when I thought they might be done.

This cooker is nice and compact, comes with a steamer bowl, and won’t break the bank. The rice doesn’t compare to our winner, but I wouldn't turn up my nose at it either.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker


Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker

The Hamilton Beach rice cooker feels like a pressure cooker missing a bunch of functions. It's larger than a rice cooker really needs to be, and during testing it had trouble cooking a single cup of rice without overcooking the bottom in some ares. The rice it produced was okay, but not stellar, and had a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot.

The one truly awesome thing about this rice cooker is that its steaming basket can double as a colander for rinsing your rice, which means that the Hamilton Beach is more of a “complete package” than the other cookers.

Instant Pot 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker


Instant Pot 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker

While I love the Instant Pot for more complex meals, including rice-studded risotto, I can’t say I recommend buying one if the rice setting is the function you're looking to use the most. It doesn't make bad rice, but the other cookers on this list do it better. That said, the true power of the Instant Pot is in its ability to cook stews and soups and vegetables and everything else under the sun. Its focus is not making the perfect bowl of rice.

If I already had an Instant Pot to use as a pressure cooker or general multifunctional cooking device, I would certainly use it to cook up some rice as needed. That said, I wouldn’t choose it over a real, dedicated rice cooker if I was specifically looking for one.

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