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Rice can be temperamental to say the least. When you want to be able to give your attention to the main part of your meal, you need something to make sure your rice doesn’t boil over, run out of water or end up soggy or underdone.
Mumsnetters have a wealth of wisdom when it comes to the best way to prepare rice, with recommendations for rinsing, water ratios and the ever-controversial question of whether to cover the pan or not. However, most agree that a rice cooker is the best shortcut to perfectly done and reliably delicious rice - the kind you’d be served in a restaurant.
There are loads of different styles, brands and models on the market and deciding which one is right for you and your family can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve scoured the Mumsnet forums for rice cooker recommendations from real Mumsnetters.
Here are the best rice cookers to buy in 2021.
1. Best overall rice cooker: Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Price: £260 | Buy now from Amazon
"I lived in Japan for a while and have always had a Japanese rice cooker since then - always a Zojirushi - I love them" - Daydreaming
"What I like is that you can do different quantities, but it always comes out perfectly and never stuck to the bottom. I use it frequently and it does mean that I cook rice far more often than I would otherwise” - Twunk
We love this fail-safe rice cooker from Japanese brand Zojirushi because it’s easy to use and makes soft, fluffy rice every time, without the crispy bottom many cheaper rice cookers can leave you with. It can make enough rice for up to 10 people at once, and has settings for white, sushi, long grain, brown and congee rice.
Priced at just over £250, it’s pricey but it’s a great investment if you eat rice several times a week. Mumsnetters love its simplicity - just add rice and water, let it do its thing and it’ll keep the rice warm until you’re ready to serve.
- Capacity: 1.8 litres
- Size: 38 x 28 x 25cm
2. Best Budget Rice Cooker: Sistema Microwave Rice Cooker
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
"The microwave one is excellent and about £8 from Sistema" - Soupnsalads
At around £10, this microwave rice cooker by Sistema is a total bargain. Just add the correct amounts of rice and water, stick it in the microwave and ta-da: perfect rice. The clever design means rice stays warm and moist inside the container until it’s opened, and the cool-touch handles will stop you from burning your fingers on the steam. It can also be used for polenta and couscous; just make sure you read the manual to ensure you get the quantities just right.
- Capacity: 2.6 litres
- Size: 21 x 19 x 16cm
3. Best rice cooker for families: Tefal 8-in-1 Multicooker
Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon
"We have the Tefal 8 in 1 rice cooker and love it, it has a timer and keep warm function so I can put on earlier in the day and not have to think about it anymore. It makes very good rice, which is something I certainly wouldn't manage in the hob while juggling 3 DC and cooking dinner" - Duckchick
"Another vote for the Tefal 8-in-1 cooker. Makes amazing pilau rice. Of course you can do the same in a pan on the hob but with a rice cooker, you throw everything in, switch it on and that’s it, leaving you to focus on making the curry or whatever" - FamilyOfAliens
If you’re after something more versatile than a rice cooker, look no further than the all-singing, all-dancing Tefal 8-in-1 Multicooker. Not only will it make perfect rice as well as any other rice cooker, you can also rely on it to make porridge, slow-cooked chilli, steamed veggies and puddings.
Like other slow cookers, there’s a delay-start function, so you can time your rice to be ready when you get in. It’s got a handle for easy moving around the kitchen or to the dining table, plus all the accessories are dishwasher safe.
- Capacity: 5 litres
- Size: 29x26x30cm
4. Best multifunction rice cooker: Yum Asia Sakura Rice Cooker
Price: £130 | Buy now from Amazon
"We recently got this one as we do eat a lot of rice...it's so much better than our old Tefal and has a setting for mixed rice, so no blackened bottom. It's very bells and whistles compared to our old one, haven't used half the functions yet. But it kicks ass so far. Makes really fluffy rice! Even sticky rice has a much lighter texture" - wildstrawberryplace
"We eat a lot of sushi/sticky rice. I now have the Yumasia Sakura. It makes fantastic rice and I find the ‘keep warm’ function useful too" - boatyardblues
Mumsnetters say this Sakura rice cooker from Yum Asia is up to any rice-based challenge. Not only will it perfectly cook any type of rice you happen to put in it, the multifunctional cooker can also handle soups, cakes and even yoghurt making.
It’ll keep rice warm for up to a whopping 24 hours, and makes enough for eight hungry people. Its state-of-the-art control panel is easy to navigate and it has an extra-tough ceramic inner bowl. The cooker uses fuzzy logic technology to ensure rice is cooked to be just as good as the rice you’d eat in any Asian restaurant.
- Capacity: 1.5 litre
- Size: 39 x 29 x 24cm
5. Best one-person rice cooker: Lakeland Mini Electric Rice Cooker
Price: £36 | Buy now from Amazon
"Rice cookers are great, Lakeland do a fantastic small one for about £30, perfect for one hungry person" - homemadecommunistrussia
For a fuss-free automated rice cooker that doesn’t take up too much worktop space, check out this dinky model from Lakeland. Its simple controls and ability to whip up fluffy, effortless rice make it a hit with Mumsnetters. It’s perfect for a family of two, and it’ll even make you breakfast with its porridge function.
This hard-working little machine’s got a delay-start timer and will keep its contents warm for up to 12 hours, taking the pressure and precision out of rice cooking.
- Capacity: 500ml
- Size: 16.5 x 14.5 x 19cm
6. Best microwave rice cooker: Joseph Joseph Microwave Rice Cooker
Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon
"I have an amazing Joseph Joseph one that goes in the microwave. Not bulky like an electric rice cooker, but makes great rice" - Peony99
"Another vote for the Joseph Joseph one, great rice every time and it's good for porridge too" - ContadoraExplorer
Almost too beautiful for something you put in the microwave, we love the look of this Joseph Joseph rice cooker as much as the rice it cooks. The rice paddle cleverly slots into the lid to lock it, plus it provides handles for lifting it out of the microwave with ease.
Reviewers advise reading the instructions to make sure you get the quantities right - microwave rice cookers aren’t as sensitive as electric ones. It comes complete with a colander for rinsing uncooked rice, and you can even use it for steaming vegetables and cooking pasta.
- Capacity: 2 litres
- Size: 22 x 13 x 18cm
7. Best speedy rice cooker: Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker
Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon
"I came on this thread to run around in circles and shriek 'BUY AN INSTANT POT'. They are brilliant. Works as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, yoghurt maker, and as a hob. I love mine - use it nearly every day" - shovetheholly
A cult favourite among Mumsnetters, the Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker cooks all sorts of food up to 70% faster than traditional methods, with rice taking a speedy 4 minutes. Their motto is “set it and forget it”, and you can cook up to five dishes at once within the magical gizmo.
Reviewers say rice isn’t the Instant Pot’s strongest or simplest suit, but if you’re looking for a pressure cooker that’ll produce great rice in a flash, this is the one for you.
- Capacity: 6 litres
- Size: 31 x 34 x 31cm
8. Easiest-to-use rice cooker: Reishunger Rice Cooker and Steamer
Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon
"It has made a huge difference. Perfect rice every time" - willowstar
German rice enthusiasts Reishunger have created this super-simple, one-button rice cooker that makes rice for one to six people. It’ll keep warm for up to eight hours, and takes about 15 minutes to cook a portion of white rice.
It’s super easy to clean thanks to the honeycomb textured interior and great quality nonstick coating. The rice cooker comes with a handy steamer insert so you can cook your veggies at the same time, and it’s suitable for any type of rice.
- Capacity: 1.2 litres
- Size: 27 x 27 x 26cm
9. Best pressure cooker for rice: Crock Pot Express Programmable Multi Cooker
Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon
"I've got the crock pot express. I love it. As others have said, the risottos are amazing and so easy" - AngelsWithWings
For a pressure cooker that’ll take care of almost everything, the CrockPot Express is a godsend. With pressure cooking, slow cooking, steam and saute functions, it really earns its place on your kitchen worktop, reducing time and effort for a whole host of recipes.
Reviewers say the power cord isn’t very long, so it’s worth making sure you have space near a power source before buying, but other than that, it’s a brilliant all-rounder.
- Capacity: 5.6 litres
- Size: 34 x 30 x 34
10. Best compact rice cooker: Judge Mini Rice Cooker
Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re pushed for space or looking for a rice cooker for one, the Judge Mini is a great choice. At just 17cm wide with a 300ml capacity, it’ll give you one or two perfect portions of rice and keep them warm for up to six hours.
The cooker is easy to clean and has a nonstick inner bowl with clear markings to make measuring simple.
- Capacity: 0.3l
- Size: 17x17x20
How do rice cookers work?
The basic function of a rice cooker is to keep moisture in and heat rice evenly, so the rice absorbs just the right amount of water, ensuring that it doesn’t get crispy or burned on the bottom of the pan. Electric rice cookers use ‘fuzzy logic’ technology to give consistent results every time, while microwave rice cookers rely on exact amounts of rice and water being added.
Are rice cookers good for all types of rice?
Yes! The amount of cooking time and water will vary, but rice cookers can generally deal with any kind of rice.
Are rice cookers worth it?
If you eat rice regularly, a rice cooker will take all the stress out of what can be quite a high-maintenance side dish. It’ll mean your rice is taken care of and kept warm until you’re ready to use it, plus it won’t take up space on the hob while you’re preparing other things.
What is the best rice cooker to buy?
Zojirushi is the best rice cooker to buy. We love its high-quality Japanese design and the delicious rice it whips up.
How we chose our recommendations
Most of our recommendations for rice cookers came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which rice cookers Mumsnetters really rated for quality, ease of use and of course, great rice. We also researched various review sites to find out which rice cooker both performed well across the board.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.