The right rice cooker can be a great product for people. Think about it. Students can benefit from a compact version for their dorm rooms, Mom & Dad who need an appliance that will help them make ready-to-eat dinners after a busy day, or those who need extra help in the kitchen. So, by now you are asking yourself what rice cooker do you really need?
The first question is, “Do you want a lot of features or get a cheap model?”
When considering a high-end model, some of them do come with great advanced features and programs. These bonus features often include programming to help keep the rice warm and ready to eat, speed up cooking times, and a function to reheat rice or even a timer to start the cooking process. These features have to balance with the cost. Some of these features can really increase the price.
What size will you need?
When you are choosing a rice cooker, you need to consider how much rice you will actually be preparing. The actual amount you will be cooking every day, not just the days that you will be throwing a party. If you plan to prepare rice just for yourself, buying a larger-capacity rice cooker might be a poor choice. You will get the best results when you purchase a rice cooker that is built for the intended serving sizes that the manufacturer built them for. So, consider that a 3 cup rice maker will cook rice perfectly for exactly 3 cups of rice. So, when you are deciding, try to think on those lines. Also, do you want to cook other foods in your rice cooker? If so, then you may want to consider a rice cooker that features a steaming tray. Steaming trays are a great addition that allows you to load them with vegetables above the water level. As the rice cooks and the water starts to boil off, it will evaporate and cook the rice, the steam that is released will also cook the vegetables.
Does the inside Pan Matter?
Something you should consider in this quest is what is kind of inner cooking pan you prefer. Most models have an inner pan made of aluminum or stainless steel. There are versions that feature a nonstick coating that will provide easy cleanup. Higher-end models offer a natural nonstick coating of charcoal or clay.
Should you consider other features?
There are other common features you may want to consider such as a see-through lid. For those anxious and impatient cookers, this will allow you to see your meal’s progress. Steam vents will help prevent any bubbling over. Measuring lines are helpful to ensure you are portioning out the right amount of rice with the perfect amount of liquid.
Do Brand names matter?
When you are choosing a rice cooker, you should consider choosing a brand that is well known to you. There are many 3rd party models out on the market and they can be manufactured in a variety of different places: Japan, Thailand, China. We feel that the Japanese brands provide better designs, quality and overall have a better reputation for their durability.
Do rice cookers last a lifetime?
The quick answer is there are no rice cookers that will really last you an entire lifetime. Most on the market are electronic appliances, and the best analogy is to think about them like computers and they do have a chance to break down. There are, of course, steps I would recommend to help increase your rice cooker’s life. They are:
- NEVER rinse rice inside the inner pot of your rice cooker. This will scratch the nonstick coating.
- Many manufacturers actually discourage the addition of ingredients such as oil, salt and other spices into the cooker as this can damage the nonstick coating.
- Do not use a rice cooker that is larger than what you need. Don’t use a 10 cup cooker for 2 cups of rice.
- Keep the rice cooker clean and don’t allow food to sit in it for long periods of time.
- Ensure the heating element always remains clean.
- If you have an electronic rice cooker, make sure the control panel is clean.