Rice Cookers

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Great rice cooker?

June 2007

Love your rice cooker? What brand is it? I looked on Amazon and got overwhelmed by the variety. I just want something that a) stores in a cabinet and b) helps me cook great rice and c) doesn't leech a toxic material. Thanks! can't cook good rice

I've tried quite a few rice cookers in my time. You have to understand that in my family (Taiwanese), having a good rice cooker is like having a good source of oxygen. So I've been absolutely ecstatic with the Zojirushi ''Fuzzy'' line of rice cookers. There are different settings for different rice cooking preferences with a lot of presets (Brown, Sushi, Porridge, White, etc.). There are also elaborate timed cooking and keep-warm features which we never got around to learning how to use.

The real winning feature for me is that this cooker makes brown rice taste GREAT. I've been eating brown rice for health reasons for a few years and always assumed it was inherently kind of crunchy and unpleasant. Tasting the results from this cooker has been a huge revelation. I never knew rice of any kind could be so fluffy and flavorful.

As for dangerous chemicals, there is some controversy over ''nonstick'' coatings. I am personally a bit fatalistic about that... there is a fair amount of PFOA already in the environment and in restaurants, and the temperatures of a rice cooker are quite carefully controlled to be far away from the supposed release temperature of trace PFOA. I do think our government needs to take it seriously, but in my opinion, this rice cooker doesn't contribute to health issues. And probably, allowing us to enthusiastically eat brown rice has itself improved our health. Eric Hsu

I am a native Japanese. Believe or not, my current beloved rice cooker is from Japan. We are very happy even though we need the big capacity transformer. The reason was my old one worked fine,but not great. Every time I go to my parents' house, I realize how tasty the rice is. Finally I found out the difference comes from the pan; the thicker, the better. I know most of people can't get the same one sold in Japan. My advice is to get a rice cooker with a thicker and heavier pan. It might cost you more, but it is worth the price. Another thing to mention. A friend of mine had one which cooks too quickly, like for 15 min.They always complained how bad their rice tastes. Mine takes about 50 min by the regular setting. Just keep in mind... Rie

Looking for good rice cooker

Feb 2004

I'm looking for recommendations for a good rice cooker. If possible, I'd like to have one that will have settings for brown rice, porridge and white rice. I've seen one (only one) at Frys Electronics for about $130. Does anyone know of a place where I can choose from a good selection at competitive prices (below $100?) Any specific recommendations? Can' t live without rice

The Chronicle did an article on rice cookers in December, here is the link http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/10/FDGNB3FHP81.DTL. If the link does not work search for ''rice cooker'' in the archive search from www.sfgate.com. Liz

Cook's Illustrated (kind of a Consumer Reports for cooking) rated the Rival 4310, listed at $58, as the best they tested. The Oster ($59) came in 2nd, and was rated better for cleaning, less good for keeping rice warm. I don't think they have separate settings for different kinds of foods because they all work the same way. When the water is gone, the temperature of the inner vessel begins to rise, and the cooker shuts off. I'm not sure where to go to buy these, but they can't be hard to find. Probably Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond would have them. Mimi M

Try Soko Hardware in Japantown. You can get rice cookers of various sizes and functions at reasonable prices. Soko Hardware is adjacent to a couple of pedestrian malls with lots of other Japanese shops. I hear that there are a few professional chefs that like to buy their knives at Soko, too. Soko also has lots of Japanese specialty dishes and lamps.

If you don't feel like going in to San Francisco, you might try Pacific East Mall in El Cerrito just off of 80/580 and Central. I don't know which store in particular to recommend, but the mall has lots of specialty shops and I do remember seeing rice cookers there--maybe at the grocery store(?).

And Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo in Berkeley *might* have a few rice cookers. I'd call first if it's not on your way. Good luck! Nikki

If you like Japanese-style rice, get the Zojirushi ''Neuro Fuzzy''. We got ours at Costco.com. If you like it browned on the bottom, a cheap one will do. I think you can get one at Costco store for under $50.

We went to Japantown in SF a couple of years ago and sprang for about $100 for a Zojirushi ''fuzzy logic'' rice cooker. It looks like a space ship and I was skeptical at the time about spending so much. Now we love it. The rice is always perfect, whether it is white or brown, and you can even set it up in advance to have the rice ready at a certain time. It never spills sticky water on the counter the way our old cheap one did. I'd say we eat rice much more often because of it. It does not appear to have aged a day, and seems like it will last for decades. It's worth the cost. Anne

Pusan Plaza (local, large korean market), on telegraph near 27th street has a kitchenware store in it's parking lot. They carry many of the zojibu...brands and usually at great prices. stacy