Tips on Shopping for Rice Cookers

by Amy Chang

Tips on Shopping for Rice CookersBefore shopping for a rice cooker, it is best to determine the needs of the household menu. If rice is not a component of many meals throughout the week, investing a large amount of money in a rice cooker may not be the wisest choice. There are many simple rice cookers under $30 that can serve the occasional rice cooking purpose quite well.


Decide on the Size Needed

Once the household need for a rice cooker has been determined, the next point to consider is the size or capacity of the rice cooker to be purchased. It is important to remember that the capacity on the packaging may be in terms of “cups” but that does not always refer to standard 8 ounce cups.

Many rice cookers come with a designated cup for use with the appliance that is a different measurement and specifically designed for measuring rice and water to go into it. Capacity almost always is in terms of dry rice before cooking.


Inner Pot Construction

Some models have a removable inner pot which can make food preparation easier. A non-stick surface on the inner pot is generally more desirable. This is achieved by a coating that has been applied to stainless steel or aluminum or by having a clay or charcoal inner pot.


Lid Style

Another decision to be made is the type of lid on the rice cooker. Most of the better, more expensive models have a hinged lid made of the same material as the rest of the outer construction. Although this lid cannot be seen through, it is considered preferable because it more securely closes locking in the steam while cooking. If the lid is removable, glass is the best material for it to be made of to allow the cook to see the food’s progress and because the weight helps to keep it in place.


Rice Cooker Settings

Even the simplest model should have a setting to keep food warm after cooking. Rice cookers can have multiple settings for cooking different types of food or just have “on/off” modes. The shopper will have to determine whether or not variations for cooking are necessary and it will largely depend on how much use the rice cooker is to receive.


Steaming Baskets

Models that are designated “rice cooker/steamer” will have a steaming basket which can be used to cook meats and vegetables. This feature adds value and versatility to the rice cooker as well as increasing the price. Although a steaming basket is beneficial, it is not necessary for the preparation of rice in the electric rice cooker.


Fuzzy Logic

A rice cooker’s ability to determine the timing and temperature needs of food while cooking by means of sensors is referred to as “fuzzy logic”. Rice cookers that have this capability will slow cooking or adjust temperature based on multiple variables that can be determined through computerized programming. Appliances with this feature will be at the higher end of the cost spectrum for the rice cooker.