By Mike Szostech Last updated
Searching for the best rice cooker? All of the rice cookers on our list will do a decent job of cooking your rice. Some just do it better – and those cost more than the budget options.
If you’re looking for a budget rice cooker, then any of the standard Hamilton Beach or Black & Decker models will do the job.
On the other side of the rice cooker pricing, there are multi-hundred dollar options that use steam pressure, micro-processors, and induction heating to try and cook the best rice.
Since there are so many different options, we’ve listed the best rice cookers starting with a budget microwave rice cooker, all the way up to our upgrade pick.
We’ve also written about other specific types of rice cookers, like ones with a stainless steel finish that look slick enough to leave out on your counter as a showpiece, and we’ve also put together a collection of rice cookers with a stainless inner pot.
What’s the best rice cooker brand?
There are a few famous Japanese or Thai brands, but they are very expensive – and it can be hard to find their rice cookers in Canada. Zojirushi, a top Japanese company, is available in the country and is our Best Rice Cooker in Canada upgrade pick.
When considering a rice cooker brand, just make sure it’s from a company or store that has a history of good customer service in case something goes wrong.
Don’t buy a no-name brand from some random online shop just because it’s the best cheap rice cooker at the time.
Specifically designed for microwave ovens, this microwave rice cooker is suitable for all types of rice. Made with food grade PP material, it's safe for cooking without worrying about harmful substances.
Get the best price M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker in Canada from:
M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker Reviews
GoodHouseKeeping ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Best Microwave Rice Cooker' in their product review. [November 2018]
Perfectly cooked rice that was up-to-par, if not better than, the stuff made in an Instant Pot
Wired ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Excellent, with room to kvetch.' in their product review. [December 2016]
"What takes my electric rice maker a half hour only takes the Joseph Joseph five minutes."
theStrategist ranked it as the #2 on their list claiming it was the 'Best-rated (less expensive) rice cooker' in their product review. [March 2020]
With a smart design featuring a built in strainer basket, and a spoon that locks in the lid, it's a cheap way to make easy fluffy rice in the microwave.
Depending on current pricing, sometimes the 20-cup version of this rice cooker is $15 cheaper than the 14-cup version. Sometimes, it's the other way around.
This stainless steel rice cooker is cheaper than the Cuisinart one, but it looks cheaper too. Perhaps it's the shiny black plastic top and bottom.
What I like about this option, however, is that it has a 5 year warranty and digital controls that allow you to cook white rice, quick rice, whole grains like quinoa, hot cereal setting, and a steam cook option.
Cooking capacity is 2-14 cups (1-7 cups uncooked), and it comes with a steamer basket. If you need more cooked rice, Hamilton Beach has a larger 20 cup version too.
Get the best price Hamilton Beach Digital 14 cup stainless rice cooker in Canada from:
Hamilton Beach Digital 14 cup stainless rice cooker Reviews
Wirecutter ranked it as the #3 on their list claiming it was the 'Budget Pick' in their product review. [April 2020]
Wirecutter called this a speedy, affordable rice cooker that cooks pretty well considering the price. And it cooks fast!
theStrategist ranked it as the #7 on their list [March 2020]
Available in 5-cup and 10-cup sizes, and we've sometimes seen it at Costco at a great price.
Built in Japan, this fuzzy rice cooker is straight from the land of rice experts. It's computer controlled, which means you have a highly trained robotic chef constantly monitoring the progress of your rice.
It can sense things like moisture and temperature, and make adjustments to make sure that rice always comes out properly cooked. Say goodbye to solid starch blocks of mushy rice or burnt on layers at the bottom.
Get the best price Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10 in Canada from:
Is the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy the Best Rice Cooker Canada?
Wirecutter ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Our Pick' in their product review. [April 2020]
Wirecutter says the Neuro Fuzzy produced the best rice all the time, even when the rice and water ratios were off. They did note that this rice cooker does take about 10 minutes longer than a simple, budget rice cooker
Amazon.ca ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Amazon's Choice' in their product review. [April 2020]
Amazon listed this rice cooker as their Choice in the fuzzy rice cooker category - meaning any rice cooker controlled by fuzzy logic
theStrategist ranked it as the #12 on their list claiming it was the 'Best Japanese Rice Cooker' in their product review. [March 2020]
With a slick design, retractable cord, and parts that come out for easy cleaning, it also makes rice taste better than those cheap rice cookers they've been using for years.
This Panasonic microcomputer controlled rice cooker uses fuzzy logic to cook great rice every time.
By monitoring temperature and moisture content, this rice cooker can increase or decrease temperature as needed during the cooking cycle to make sure the rice is done just as you want it.
Some review sites listed it as a budget fuzzy rice cooker, but in Canada, it costs more than the Tiger brand fuzzy logic rice cooker so check that one out before you buy the Panasonic. The Tiger is about half the price, although Wirecutter said it didn't make good rice.
Panasonic Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker Review
Wirecutter ranked it as the #6 on their list claiming it was the 'Competition' in their product review. [April 2020]
Wirecutter tested this rice cooker because it was one of the cheapest fuzzy logic rice cookers. They didn't like how long it took to cook rice, and they also noticed there was no finishing jingle to let them know when it was done cooking. None of their complaints said that it didn't cook rice well, which is why I think it's worth including in the list as a budget fuzzy logic rice cooker.
Alternative to consider:
The SR-ZG105 is a discontinued rice cooker. While not exactly the same (and why would it be if its a replacement?), this rice cooker from Panasonic is also microcomputer controlled and has even more auto cooking menus for a variety of meals and grain types - even cakes!
Panasonic Rice Cooker SRJMY108 Microcomputer controlled
This rice cooker from Cuckoo tops our list as the most expensive. It's also the only pressurized rice cooker dedicated just for cooking rice.
Cuckoo has updated their pressurized rice cooker and released a new model. We used to complain about the flip-up lid.
It's great for flipping up to remove the inner pot, but it was hard to clean because the lid stayed attached to the rice cooker. Now, this updated rice cooker has a detachable inner lid to make it easier to clean.
Plus, they dropped the pink color for a more modern look!
With it's pressure, it can cook rice faster than the other rice cookers, and it cooks brown rice perfectly. The Cuckoo has a 10-cup capacity so you can make large batches of rice.
Get the best price Cuckoo 10-cup pressure rice cooker in Canada from:
Cuckoo Rice Cooker Review
Wirecutter ranked it as the #2 on their list claiming it was the 'Upgrade Pick' in their product review. [April 2020]
With it's pressurized cooking, the Cuckoo cooks brown rice best, and does it quickly.
Get the best price Tiger JBV-A10U-W 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker in Canada from:
Tiger Rice Cooker Reviews
theStrategist ranked it as the #9 on their list claiming it was the 'Best multifunction rice cooker' in their product review. [March 2020]
The Strategist ranked it in their list of the best rice cookers because the rice comes out nice and fluffy, and has a synchro-cooking option to cook multiple foods at once.
GoodHouseKeeping ranked it as the #8 on their list claiming it was the 'Easiest rice cooker to use' in their product review. [June 2019]
GHK likes the Tiger rice cooker because it's advanced, but doesn't have so many buttons that it is intimidating. Plus, it can be used as a slow cooker.
Wirecutter ranked it as the #0 on their list claiming it was the 'Competitor, but not recommended' in their product review. [April 2020]
Wirecutter likes it because it's one of the cheapest rice cookers with fuzzy logic. However, the rice it cooked wasn't good enough to recommend it over the cheaper, simpler rice cookers.
Aroma touts this rice cooker with "Pick a grain, any grain". With 7 automated controls, you can cook quinoa, barley and more.
The actual Aroma Rice Cooker model (the ARC-914SBD), that most review sites said was a good value, isn't available in Canada - it seems to be an old discontinued model. This version is really similar - it just lacks the 'flash rice' feature of the 914SBD.
However, since this model is quite a bit more expensive (because it's a different rice cooker or because it's available in Canada we aren't sure), we don't recommend getting this particular Aroma rice cooker.
We still love Aroma, but the price doesn't make this particular rice cooker a great buy. If you're looking for a budget rice cooker, go for the Hamilton Beach model instead.
Get the best price Aroma ARC-994SB Rice Cooker in Canada from:
Aroma ARC-994SB Rice Cooker Reviews
Wirecutter ranked it as the #6 on their list claiming it was the 'Competition' in their product review. [April 2020]
While this wasn't their first choice, they did say that it had a nice low price, and didn't take up much space on the counter. It wasn't great for brown rice.
GHK ranked it as the #2 on their list claiming it was the 'Best Value Rice Cooker' in their product review. [June 2018]
It's hard to beat for value and performance. The flash rice setting cooks up to 50% faster
theStrategist ranked it as the #6 on their list claiming it was the 'Best rice cooker for brown rice' in their product review. [March 2020]
In contradiction with Wirecutter's opinion, theStrategist claims the Aroma rice cooker was best for brown rice - cooking it perfectly.
Classy looking rice cooker, but small too. Only rated at 4 cups, this is one of the best rice cookers by reviews, and we think it's purely because of how it looks.
Cuisinart has a 4-cup rice cooker that has a stainless steel body as well as chrome plated handles that stay cool to help you move the whole cooker. The inner pot is a non-stick style, with a stainless steel steaming basket. It also comes with a glass lid, and plastic rice paddle.
This one's a little more expensive, but I think the modern square design really makes it worth the extra cost. Even the Cuisinart logo is embossed onto the stainless housing giving it a commercial luxury look.
Get the best price Cuisinart 4-cup stainless steel rice cooker in Canada from:
Cuisinart 4-cup stainless steel rice cooker Reviews
theStrategist ranked it as the #4 on their list claiming it was the 'Best stainless-steel rice cooker' in their product review. [March 2020]
Easy to clean, and looks great in the kitchen
Do I need a large or small rice cooker? Or maybe a mini rice cooker?
Typically, when preparing rice, a 1/2 cup* of uncooked rice is enough per person. This turns into approximately 1 cup of cooked rice. If rice is not a side dish, but a main dish like in a curry or sushi meal, then you may need closer to 1 cup of uncooked rice per person.
In our family of 2 adults and 4 young but hungry children, 3 cups of rice is more than enough for a meal.
**Note: Measurements above are referring to a standard measuring cup. If using a rice cup (closer to 180ml) rather than a 250ml measuring cup, you will want to use closer to 1 rice cup per person.
What about the best rice cooker for brown rice?
All of the top rice cookers we reviewed are all capable of cooking brown rice properly. If brown rice is a main staple in your kitchen, you will want to consider one of the more expensive smart rice cookers with multiple functions.
If you decide to go with a simple or budget rice cooker, just be prepared to do a bit of adjusting to water and rice ratios to get your brown rice to turn out perfectly.
Are microwave rice cookers any good?
They can do a decent job of cooking rice (see the M-Cuisine rice cooker above), but I have some reservations about using a microwave rice cooker:
- They are made of plastic, and since you are boiling/steaming rice in them for extended periods of time (more than a few seconds), you should wonder what is being transferred from the plastic into your rice.
- The cooking time will vary greatly depending on the power of your microwave, and how much rice you are cooking each time. This can make cooking rice in the microwave properly quite difficult.
What about a multi-function cooker, like the Instant Pot, for making rice?
Yes – that absolutely works. We love the Instant Pot, and it can cook rice. It doesn’t cook rice as well as a dedicated rice cooking machine especially when you get into brown rice or sushi rice. But to save money or counter space, the Instant Pot will definitely work.
We had an Instant Pot already, but opted for a dedicated rice cooker as we often need both cookers for the same meal.
What is a fuzzy logic rice cooker, and are they worth the extra money?
Fuzzy logic rice cookers use a complex set of rules and concepts to cook the rice perfectly every time – regardless of changes in water to rice ratios, or ambient temperatures and humidity.
Instead of simply turning on the cooking element to boil the water, and then shutting it off again when the temperature rises above the temperature of boiling water (signalling that the water has all cooked off and the rice is now going to start burning), a fuzzy logic monitors more than simply temperature.
These advanced rice cookers also monitor amount of steam, speed at which the rice is cooking, and they can manage the doneness of rice from hard to soft to even sticky or wet rice settings. And, they can do all of this for different types of rice – white rice, sushi rice, brown rice, and rice mixtures.
Is the best rice cooker an induction rice cooker?
Induction rice cookers are the newest technology in rice cookers – that makes them the most expensive too. Ok, actually, induction heating was first used in a rice cooker in Japan back in 1955 – but with cheaper technology, induction rice cookers are just becoming available at reasonable prices for home chefs.
Typical rice cookers have a heating element at the bottom of the cooker and the heat created rises up through the rice to cook it. This can lead to uneven cooking as the rice at the bottom will be more cooked than the rice at the top (although good rice cookers have managed to minimize this uneven cooking to a point where it can be barely noticeable).
Induction heating is created by the electromagnetic field of the electricity around the cooking pot. This causes an invisible friction force field that generates even heat all the way around the pot of rice – not just at the bottom.
All of the sci-fi talk means that an induction unit is often the most expensive rice cooker you can buy, but it usually has a space-aged look that would lend itself well to being displayed on your counter and showed off to your friends.
Plus, induction rice cookers do cook the rice really nicely. We do have one of these listed on our roundup of the best rice cookers, but because of it’s high cost, it isn’t our top choice for a rice cooker in Canada.
Teflon-free Rice Cooker options
All of the official health recommendations are still saying that Teflon is safe to use – and I would tend to agree, except for when the non-stick coating starts to flake off into your food.
Instead of worrying about damaging the non-stick coating when trying to clean, we opted for a rice cooker with a stainless steel inner pot. If we do have to scratch hard-cooked rice off of it, there is no risk of damaging it.
There are also a few rice cookers with a ceramic inner pot, but all of the reviews we came across claimed they were difficult to clean.