best japanese rice cooker review

Best Japanese Rice Cookers Review: Zojirushi vs. Tiger vs. Oyama

At Thrive Cuisine, we work hard to make you the best recommendations on food & appliances in the kitchen. One of the ways we support ourselves is by getting a small commission on some purchases made through our links at no cost to our readers.

Rice is a staple food for millions of people the world over and forms the bedrock of Japanese cuisine. The low cost and versatility of rice means that a rice cooker may fast become one of the most useful items in your kitchen. If you love rice, owning a Japanese rice cooker will ensure that you can enjoy it more often while also making life easier by saving on prep time and ensure your rice is prepared according to high traditional standards. 

Why are these Japanese rice cookers so great for cooking rice?

Rice has been enjoyed as a staple food in Japan for thousands of years so it should come as no surprise that Japanese rice cookers are synonymous with quality and reliability.

Japanese rice cookers are considerably more expensive than their non-Japanese counterparts and are a worthwhile investment if you plan on making a lot of rice-based dishes. They are also great for cooking rice to a consistency that works very well for sushi dishes so if you are a sushi aficionado then you may wish to consider investing in a Japanese rice cooker.

Rice cookers are great for always cooking rice to the desired texture and consistency that you need. Rather than cooking rice on the stove, a rice cooker allows you to add rice and water to your machine, alter the settings depending on the amount of rice you are cooking, and then leave the rice to cook so that you get on with other things. This makes it a worthwhile investment for those of you who have busy lifestyles.

If you are just getting started in the world of culinary exploration and are still not confident enough to cook rice on the stove, these machines can help save you a lot of heartache. Besides saving you on time, the added peace of mind you get knowing that your rice will cook evenly and consistently is worth its weight in gold.

japanese rice cooker

Enjoy Rice Perfected Over Thousands of Years

When people are just getting started in the kitchen they often come to the conclusion that they can’t cook rice due to many failed attempts. They consistently cook rice that is scorched or burned leading them to give up on rice altogether. This happens because it is often hard to get the temperature on a burner down to a low simmer, which invariably results in burnt rice. Rice cookers ensure that rice comes out light and fluffy every time and you also won’t ever have to worry about burning your dinner.

What is the difference between these models?

All the models featured on this list are Japanese and have been built to an extremely high standard. While some models are all stainless steel, others feature nonstick inner pots and steamer trays so there’s something here to suit everybody’s needs.

Some models feature fuzzy-logic technology which means that they come with computer chips that can direct their ability to make proper adjustments to cooking time and temperature. Unlike standard rice cookers which cook rice mechanically, fuzzy logic rice cookers make your cooking “decisions” for you and so all you need to do is push a button and set your rice cooker aside.

Although fuzzy logic is not essential when getting a reliable, high-quality machine, it is certainly worth the extra splurge if you are looking to get a lot of use out of your rice cooker. Standard rice cookers are still great at cooking rice and other grains but using the correct measurements is essential to making moist, fluffy rice. Luckily, standard rice cookers come with custom built measuring cups so you know how much to water to add depending on the kind of rice you are cooking.

Both fuzzy logic and standard machines can also be used to make other grains and can even steam veggies so if you thought that rice cookers could only be used to cook rice –think again!

If you’re looking to get a computerized rice cooker with advanced Neuro fuzzy logic technology and multi-menu selections this model is great value for money.

There is an automatic keep-warm function, an extended keep-warm function as well as reheat cycles and a spherical nonstick inner pan that allows for uniform heating. There is also a delay timer with two settings and an LCD clock and timer and a retractable cord.

It includes two measuring cups, a nonstick rice spoon/scooper and a rice spoon holder and comes with a one-year warranty.

The advanced menu settings on this device include white (regular/sushi, softer or harder), mixed, porridge, sweet, brown, rinse-free and quick cooking. There is also a programmable melody or beep audio indicator that tells you when your rice is done.

This machine comes with a spatula, spatula holder and two measuring cups and can be used to cook other types of grains like Japanese or silverhull buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and teff porridge.

PROS

  • Fuzzy logic technology
  • Cooks other grains as well as rice
  • Doubles up as a veggie steamer
  • Sophisticaed and versatile functions
  • Includes measuring cups and spatula
  • Comes with a delay timer

CONS

  • May not be budget friendly
  • One year warranty

The micro computerized fuzzy logic technology makes the Zojirushi Micom rice cooker an ideal gadget to use if you are looking to cook your rice consistently and evenly while saving on prep time.

Zojirushi is one of the most trusted brands in Japan and their name is synonymous with reliability and quality. Besides being sturdy and high quality, it also comes with a built in retractable power cord and has interchangeable melody and beep signal. It is also easy to clean and has an attractive stainless steel exterior.

This is a higher tier product that delivers on all fronts and is worth the investment if you are looking to get a lot of use out of your rice cooker. The automatic keep warm function as well as an extended keep warm function and two delay time settings make it a good option for people who want their rice cooker to do all the work for them.

It also comes with a steaming basket that steams veggies as well as rice and other grains. The device also features a brown rice setting so that you can cook brown rice to perfection without having to worry about burning the bottom. There is also a cake menu setting to bake cakes.

Other features include an easy-to-read LCD control panel with clock and timer functions and a detachable and washable inner lid. The varied menu settings include white/sushi rice, mixed, congee (porridge), sweet, brown, cake, steam and quick cooking.

It also doubles up as a slow cooker and cooks things like legumes and oats and features a digital clock display shows a countdown as the food is close to completion.

PROS

  • Fuzzy logic technology
  • Cooks other grains as well as rice
  • Doubles up as a veggie steamer
  • Sophisticaed and versatile functions
  • Comes with a countdown timer
  • Comes with a delay timer

CONS

  • May not be budget friendly

This 10-cup microcomputer controlled Tiger rice cooker and warmer with “tacook” synchro-cooking function is sturdy and reliable. Great for large families or people looking to batch cook rice. This machine also allows you to cook two dishes simultaneously which makes it super efficient at helping you get your meals ready in good time.

It has 10 computerized cooking menu settings, which makes it extremely versatile. It can be used for many different things besides just cooking different kinds of rice (white, basmati, long grain etc) and is great at making oats, Japanese buckwheat groats and other grains like quinoa and amaranth.

It also comes with a specially designed cooking plate that doesn’t affect the flavor and texture of your rice. The automatic cooking logic system actively monitors cooking temperatures to create your meals

The 1.8mm thick inner pan keeps your rice well insulated and can be used to keep your food warm once it’s finished cooking. It can also be used as a steamer to steam veggies

The device is easy to clean and the inner lid and steam cap is easy to remove and wash and includes a cooking plate and cookbook. Other features include a delay timer.

PROS

  • Easy to clean
  • Cooks other grains as well as rice
  • Doubles up as a veggie steamer
  • Sophisticaed and versatile functions
  • Uses fuzzy logic
  • 10 computerized settings
  • Good for large families

CONS

  • Not ideal for smaller households

The Oyama 7-cup rice cooker has a stainless steel body and comes with a stainless steel cooking bowl that has a triple layered base for uniform heating without the risk of burning your rice.

There is also a setting to keep your food warm for extended periods after cooking, allowing you to keep it warm for up to 24 hours. This makes it ideal for large families with busy schedules or for couples who eat their meals at different times. Despite the non-stick coating, cleanup is a breeze and takes a short amount of time.

Besides a sophisticated keep warm function and a three dimensional heating base, side and lid, there is a stainless steel steamer tray so that you don’t burn your rice.

This is a great option for people who avoid non-stick surfaces as the stainless steel material means that chemicals don’t leech into your food. The steamer tray can also be used to steam vegetables (or any other foods that can be steamed or cooked).

Besides regular white (sushi) rice, this gadget also cooks jasmine, basmati, Arborio, and other short grain rice as well as other grains like quinoa, buckwheat groats and oatmeal.

This is a great choice if you’re looking for an all stainless steel model that is simple to use. If fuzzy logic is not important to you then this is a great device that will cook your rice to your desired consistency.

PROS

  • Keeps food warm for up to 24 hours
  • Cooks other grains as well as rice
  • All stainless steel
  • Three dimensional heating base
  • Good for both small and large households

CONS

  • Doesn't use fuzzy logic

This is a small, streamlined rice cooker with a rice cup capacity that is great for people tight on space or not looking to cook large batches of rice. It comes with an easy-to-use single switch control and see-through glass lid with a stay cool knob, making it easy to handle while you are cooking your rice.

The durable nonstick inner cooking pan makes it a great option if you are looking to buy a nonstick model. This makes it ideal for cooking all kinds of grains besides rice. You can make all kinds of rice using this device including brown rice and short grain varieties like Arborio.

Besides being small and compact it is easy to use with a single switch control and a stainless steel steaming tray that can be used to steam veggies. There is also an automatic keep warm function that keeps your rice at the desired temperature while you get on with other food prep. This device also comes with a custom built measuring cup and nonstick rice spatula for serving.

As far as small Japanese rice cookers go, this one is reliable and great bang for your buck as well as saving on space.

PROS

  • Keeps food warm for up to 24 hours
  • Cooks other grains as well as rice
  • Easy to clean
  • One switch makes it easy to use
  • Small and compact
  • Ideally suited to smaller households
  • Great value for money

CONS

  • Too small for large households

Conclusion

Japanese rice cookers are the pinnacle of quality and a worthwhile investment if you are looking to get a lot of use out of your rice cooker. They are amazing timesaving devices and a foolproof way of cooking rice and other grains to perfection. As far as top-notch rice cookers go, however, it was the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 that came out on top thanks to its ability to act as your “head chef,” taking the stress out of meal time prep.

About the Author Michelle B

Hey! I’m Michelle and I write product reviews for ThriveCuisine.com. I’m always preparing healthy / plant based foods and I’ve developed a knack for helping people get the best bang for their buck.

Leave a Comment: