Five things to consider when searching for the perfect rice cookers
Rice cookers are without a doubt one of the most versatile and efficient kitchen gadgets to have debuted the world of cooking – they effectively take the stress and strain out of the process of rice cooking all the while churning out tastier and fluffier rice that we all have grown addicted to. As is the case with any disruptive piece of tech, the commercial success of rice cookers heralded the influx of a new wave of manufacturers. Consequently, the market is now saturated with a bevy of different cookers from different manufacturers each claiming to be the best there ever is – to help you sift through the ever-increasing pile of rice cookers we’ve gone round to summate the five essential things to consider when searching for the perfect rice cooker.
Purpose and Use
Top of our list of considerations to make before buying a rice cooker is the purpose you intend it to serve. When shopping for a rice cooker, it is quite easy to get swayed by the feature-rich rice cookers available in the market. Note, however, that many of these functions (Which you obviously pay more for) are unnecessary. Instead of succumbing to the marketing antics of salespersons and cooker manufacturers let your needs be your guide. What do you intend to use your rice cooker for? Are you a rice enthusiast or that guy who cooks rice once in every week? What kind of rice is your favorite to cook? How versatile do you expect your rice cooker to be? Clarifying what features you need in a rice cooker helps you avoid the literally costly mistake of paying for what you don’t need.
The size of a rice cooker is one aspect of the selection process you don’t to go wrong with – it makes no sense to get an excellent rice cooker that fails to cook enough rice or conversely purchase a large cooker that turns every cooking experience into party cooking. Rice cookers are graded by the quantity of rice they can hold in cups. On the average rice cookers come with carrying capacities ranging from one to ten cups. A one cup rice cooker will cook enough rice to serve one person, but since most people eat more than one serving of rice, you’re better off opting for a rice cooker rated two to three cups. A two to three cups rice cooker is also the ideal rice cooker size for a small nuclear family. Larger families of four to six people will find a 5 cup rice cooker to be particularly fitting. Anything above six people and a ten cup rice cooker would be the best choice.
Rice cookers of today come laced with a bunch of fanciful features some no doubt handy, others not so much. Like we’ve already reiterated let your need be your guide when selecting features. That said, with regards to features, three things stand out;
- The type of cooking tech; whether a conventional bottom plate cooker, a pressure cooker or an Induction cooker. Of the three, induction cookers lead the line in terms of performance (and price point)
- Extras; Steamer baskets, extra bowls, complimentary utensils and replacement cords are examples of extras most manufacturers ship with their cooker. Wouldn’t hurt if you go for one that packs at least one of them.
- Artificial Intelligence; surprised? Well, don’t be. Today’s rice cookers are smart cookers, and with that comes newer functionalities. Things like fuzzy logic which automatically alternates cooking temperature to produce that characteristically fluffier and tastier rice come bundled with the more expensive cookers.
Rice cookers were born out of the need to make rice cooking a tad bit easier. Ironically, however, the quest to imbibe as many features as is possible into rice cookers by manufacturers has made some of these gadgets unnecessarily complicated. The best rice cookers are those that manage to pack seemingly complex features into a simplistic and easy to use rice cooker design – those are the kind you should set your gaze upon. Another thing to consider is how easy a rice cooker is to clean and maintain. The Ideal rice cooker should come with a detachable lid or removable pot that gives you unrestricted access to its interior for cleaning purposes.
Your budget is perhaps the most important consideration you have to take, as it determines the type and quality of rice cooker you eventually get, irrespective of the other factors. Rice cookers typically cost anything from $12 to a few hundred bucks. Although the prissiest cookers aren’t necessarily the best, nor are the cheapest the worst, on a general note; you get what you pay for in the market for rice cookers.
That said whatever your budget is there’s an extensive list of rice cookers tailor-made to match. It is then left to you to compare/contrast and then select which one fits your needs the most, based on your other considerations.
Basic Rice Cooker
A basic rice cooker with just a few features, such as a timer and white vs. brown rice settings, should cost between $25 and $60, depending on the brand and capacity.
Mid-range Rice Cooker
A mid-range rice cooker with more features, one that comes from a well-known brand, or a multi-cooker that can also cook rice, will cost roughly $80 to $120.
High-End Rice Cooker
A top-of-the-line rice cooker with induction heating or neuro-fuzzy logic, plus all the texture settings and other features you could hope for, should cost about $200 to $400.
Quick Tips To Remember Before Buying
1. Do not cook brown rice in a rice cooker that only cooks white rice. The cooking procedures for each of them are entirely different. So, if you want both, buy a rice cooker that also offers a brown rice setting in addition to the basic white rice setting
2. Metal utensils don’t go well with nonstick cooking pots. Metal is bad for a nonstick surface. It scratches the non-stick layer, and soon, you’ll see rice sticking to the scratched part of the pot. So, if you have a nonstick pot, you should go for a wooden or plastic material for the rice cooker.
3. Stainless steel pots suit all. But they require a bit of cleaning after cooking. If you can compromise on this aspect, stainless steel inner pots are best for all kinds of rice cookers.