You could devote your whole life to searching for the finest electric rice cooker out there, but unless you try the best Japanese devices, you will never get the most out of your beloved rice.
But what exactly makes Japanese rice cookers so awesome? Firstly, all of Japan is into rice in a big way. It is their staple food and so they have created innovative rice cookers to get the best out of the ingredient.
Moreover, abrupt weather changes there have led to Japanese rice cookers having the best heat modification technology, which guarantees that your rice will always be deliciously cooked.
With so many Japanese companies manufacturing this cooking amenity now, it is not that easy to decide which of them to choose and get for your kitchen. But luckily for you, I have carried out some in-depth research into rice cookers, and in the next section, I will highlight the best choices for this handy item. So keep on reading and check them all out!
The Best Japanese Rice Cooker: Top Brands To Consider
If you live in Japan, then the Zojirushi brand will doubtless be familiar to you. This company is one of the top producers of top-quality, ergonomic rice cookers whose products should undoubtedly be featured on this list. Here are some of them.
This is one of the finest rice cookers on the market today, which has built a great reputation in the industry for cooking well-made rice for people like you and your family. It has the latest AI technology that enables the rice cooker to "adjust" its cooking style automatically, so that you can be confident it will provide you with the best results every time.
The rice cooker itself selects its three pressure settings automatically. Once you have chosen your cooking preferences on its menu, this device will do the rest and ensure that the rice it cooks will suit your own taste and palette.
This impressive product also has a non-stick inner pan that is crafted from food-safe platinum. This feature can enhance the quality of the water you use and will also help the rice to absorb this water efficiently.
This rice cooker undoubtedly fulfills Zojirushi’s proud promise of intuitiveness and innovation. You will find that its heat induction technology is way superior to most of its counterparts. With ordinary rice cookers, the heating element is just located at the bottom, but with this device, the entire pan becomes a full heat conductor. As a result, the heating this device delivers is both uniform and precise.
This rice cooker also features a pressure cooking system. It does this by ensuring the liquid and air inside the pan cannot escape, so the device is able to easily maintain specific temperatures. There is also a reheating function that improves its overall usability in the kitchen.
This rice cooker can deliver perfect, evenly cooked rice in the most authentic way possible! Although its capabilities are not the same as the Zojirushi NP-NVC10, this rice cooker still works like magic.
It is flawless in making various types of rice, thanks to a menu that enables you to make sushi rice, brown rice, and even porridge. In fact, it can create mixed rice as well. You can use this device to steam various ingredients too, which makes it undeniably versatile. The rice cooker also automatically adjusts itself in every configuration to create the tastiest results.
Another great feature that you will like is its large cooking capacity, as this product can cook up to ten cups of rice. This is good news if you have a lot of tummies to feed. So, if you have a large family, you can be sure that this product will serve you well. Furthermore, the interior cooking pan has a spherical shape that allows the heat to be evenly distributed. It also has a cool-touch handle that will save you and your family from burns and make it safer to use.
You will also enjoy the fact that this rice cooker features a programmable sound indicator. The alarm activates as soon as the cooking has been completed. This is a great feature for those of us who are always busy in their homes. Meanwhile, the LCD control panel has been properly labeled for easier toggling and hovering. Just like the NP-NVC10, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker provides a reheating feature, so you can guarantee that none of your rice will go to waste.
The Tiger Corporation is another reputable manufacturer of Japanese rice cookers that has made a big name for itself. The company was established in 1932 and has been producing high-quality kitchen amenities and appliances ever since, trouncing the entire competition with its products. Here are some of their most popular Japanese rice cookers.
This is a great product to invest in as it is well suited to home usage. This rice cooker is not too bulky or heavy and can fit in any cabinet or storage space that you have in your kitchen. Although it is not as flashy as the first two rice cookers I have mentioned here, it can still prepare perfectly cooked rice. The operation is hassle-free too, making it an ideal choice for many simple folk out there.
The Tiger JNP-1800 features a warming function that can last up to 12 hours. This is an ideal feature for those who don't have the time to cook when they get home. After it has cooked the rice, you just activate the warming feature, which will ensure the rice still tastes fresh and delicious after you have returned home.
Meanwhile, the inner pan has a non-stick layer which improves the intuitiveness of this appliance. You don't have to worry too much about cleaning this appliance either, as there will be no rice residue on the surface of the pan. Meanwhile, the non-stick pan allows you to scoop out the rice cleanly and evenly.
The ergonomics of the Tiger JNP-1800 do not stop there. The steam vent of this rice cooker is removable, so you can clean it separately in the dishwasher. It is the same story with the measuring cups and spatula. Meanwhile, the cord is retractable for simpler storage.
This is perhaps one of the most oddly designed Japanese cookers. Unlike most of the rice cookers you will see today, which have circular shapes, this device follows a peculiar square-shaped design. The reason for this is quite simple. According to the manufacturer, this type of construction gives the rice cooker indispensable heat induction and distribution, which ensures that the rice will always be fresh and delicious.
Just like the other rice cookers from the Zojirushi, the Tiger JAJ-A55U features various rice-cooking presets. Specifically, there are eight menu settings available on this device. For example, you can cook brown rice, sweet rice, and cakes with just a few taps of a button. These kind of cooking options are not something that an ordinary rice cooker can offer.
However, the biggest perk is its specialized cooking plate, which enables you to prepare two different rice recipes in a one go without affecting the texture or flavor of either dish. This cooking compartment is BPA-free too, so it is extremely safe to use.
The Tiger JAJ-A55U has a removable inner lid for easier washing and its front panel has a simple but effective interface that is designed to give you better control. It is also notable that the warming function is automatic. Even if you are forgetful, this rice cooker won't let any of your food go to waste. Meanwhile, there is a cooking timer with two presets that enable you to cook the rice at your desired pace.
Even if we live in the West, we are still familiar with the name Panasonic, which has been in the appliance and electronics industry for many years. The fact that this company is still here proves the quality of its products. In fact, one of its Japanese rice cookers has captured the hearts of many food lovers (including me).
This rice cooker is the epitome of simplicity. It may have a similar appearance to ordinary rice cookers, but don't let that fool you for a minute. After all, the performance of this Japanese rice cooker is acknowledged by the industry itself. One of its best features of this appliance is its intuitiveness. The simple layout makes it very straightforward to use.
This rice cooker can prepare six cups of rice in a single cooking, and you won't need to bother with confusing buttons and controls with this rice cooker. A single press of a button will automatically cook the food for you, which is very helpful for busy individuals.
The aluminum inner pan is covered with a non-stick coating so that no residue will be left on the device once you have scooped out the rice. The pan also has decent heat distribution that further improves the taste of the rice. It is also easy to clean and fairly durable.
It is notable that this rice cooker comes with an automatic shutdown feature, so once the cooker has finished preparing the rice, it will turn itself off. As a result, you will not waste too much power when you make rice. There is also a light indicator that tells you about the cooking progress of your rice.
How To Choose The Best Japanese Rice Cookers
Rice cookers have already been with us for about 60 years. As far as I can remember, it was Toshiba that made the first commercial rice cooker in 1956. Since then, the development of these cooking appliances has known no bounds. And that is no fluke at all.
Japan, as a leading industrial country, has taken the game to a new level. Most of the companies there have revolutionized rice cookers and constructed devices that reflect both their craftsmanship and excellence. These impressive Japanese products reflect the rise of ingenuity and innovation in the field of rice cookers.
I still believe that stainless steel rice cookers are great options for your kitchen. But if you placed them side by side with Japanese rice cookers, then you would immediately spot a number of differences.
So how do you spot a Japanese rice cooker that fits your needs? Well, here are some basic guidelines for you to follow.
The cup capacity of a device can determine which of the many rice cookers on the market is the best for you. If you are living alone, it is not logical to get a large rice cooker, as you will only be wasting space and power. But, on the other hand, a huge pot is more than necessary if you are cooking for your whole family.
Most modern Japanese rice cookers have capacities that range from just two cups to as many as ten. But take note that these sizes are different from US cups. Japanese cups usually have a capacity of six ounces, whereas their US counterparts have a standard capacity of eight ounces. We can really spot who are the most demure consumers here!
Kidding aside, you should base your reference on Japanese cups. Since we are talking about Japanese rice cookers here, it is the obvious thing to do.
When making family-sized rice servings, it is important to ensure that your rice cooker has enough power. You cannot have a huge rice cooker with low wattage as it won't be able to generate the heat to cook the rice evenly.
A rice cooker that is made for large servings should possess enough power and speed. If you are looking for a big rice cooker, its wattage should be between 600 watts and 900 watts. Meanwhile, compact rice cookers have a wattage of around 300 watts to 400 watts. When they are full, both small and big rice cookers should be able to stir uncooked rice for 50 minutes or less.
Nobody likes to eat cold rice. In fact, many Japanese folk would get mad at you if you ever served them this. Fortunately, we are talking about Japanese rice cookers here, so there is no chance of such a thing happening. This is because Japanese rice cookers usually come with a handy warming function, unlike many of their Western counterparts. This capability allows the Japanese devices to not only cook the rice, but also keep it warm for any given period.
You will find that the warming function of a rice cooker varies from one brand to another. Some of the Japanese rice cookers have a warming feature that is automatic. So, once the device has finished preparing the rice, it will automatically switch to the warming mode. Other rice cookers require you to activate this function manually, but this is no big deal as it is an easy enough thing to do.
Rice comes in different varieties, which the rice cooker should also be able to accommodate. Many high-end Japanese rice cookers feature multiple cooking modes that are capable of making steamed rice, porridge, brown basmati rice, and other kinds of rice.
In fact, there are rice cookers that will allow you to cook vegetables and other soft ingredients as well. If that is not enough, then you should get a unit that is capable of cooking two different dishes at the same time! However, if you are satisfied with just simple white rice, then you will find that a plain Japanese rice cooker is more than enough for your needs.
Not all Japanese rice cookers have fuzzy logic technology. This is a unique innovation that enables the rice cooker to automatically determine how well done the rice should be. It is quite hard to technically describe this mechanism, but I can give you an example of how the technology works.
Let us assume that you are cooking rice on a very cold day (probably in the winter). As the external temperature will affect the internal temperature of your home’s interior, we can say that this coldness will slow down the cooking process. If the rice cooker has a fuzzy logic technology, however, this predicament is not a problem and can be easily solved.
Fuzzy logic enables the rice cooker to compensate for any external factors that affect the generation of its heating element. Therefore, if the temperature is hot, the device will automatically adjust its heating element to prevent the water from evaporating quickly and prevent the rice from being overcooked or undercooked. The same thing happens if the external temperature is cold. It will adjust its heating element accordingly. In short, the rice cooker does all the guesswork for you.
Only two of the rice cookers that I have featured, which are both from Zojirushi, have this capability.
The best Japanese rice cookers bring out the optimal flavor and texture of your rice. Their functionality and high level of performance will ensure that your favorite food is properly cooked and tastes better than ever.
The brands that I have mentioned here are all great in their own right. We can thank Zojirushi, Tiger Company, and Panasonic for producing such high-quality yet affordable Japanese rice cookers for us. Their creations allow many ordinary folk like us to cook rice with a 5-star rating.
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