Japanese Rice Cookers
What is the best rice cooker that will make the best rice for when you’re cooking at home? This is something that I spent some time researching. After living in Asia for four years and spending years living on the road, we cook a lot at home. And, because we live in Europe, we cook a lot of Asian food at home. That’s why we created this buying guide to help you find the best Japanese rice cooker on the market.
Japanese Appliance Brands
I did a lot of research on the top rice cookers before creating our buying guides. I was not surprised, though, to find out that some of the best rice cooker brands are Japanese companies.
Some of the earliest electric rice cookers were introduced in the 1950s by Toshiba. The Toshiba brand certainly doesn’t corner the market on rice cookers today. But, Japan still makes some of the best rice cookers on the market. It’s really no surprise as the Japanese people each so much rice each year.
In this post, we offer reviews not just on Japanese brands but on Asian rice cookers, in general, to help you chose the best rice steamer and cooker for your home.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
3 Best Japanese Rice CookersFind the Best Japanese Rice Cooker On Amazon
Best Japanese Rice Cookers 2021
In this post, we share everything you need to know to buy a Japanese rice maker online. This includes discussing some of the top rice cooker brands, from Japan as well as other Asian countries.
We recommend using Amazon for online purchases for a few reasons. First, they offer one of the best selections of housewares on the internet at some of the best prices. Second, we try to recommend products that are part of Amazon Prime, which provides purchasers with free and often super-fast delivery. (Get 30 days of Prime free here.)
We provide reviews of individual products below. But, if you are short on time, and are wondering what is the best rice cooker to make the best Japanese rice, use the handy chart below see our recommended rice cookers.
Why Buy A Rice Cooker Made In Japan
Japan manufactures some of the best rice cookers on the market. Most of these machines are pretty high-tech, but you don’t necessarily need the most expensive rice cooker on the market to meet your needs. That said, an investment in a quality Japanese rice cooker can yield an amazing return on investment for serious home chefs.
Are These Rice Cookers Actually Made In Japan?
First off, yes, Japan manufactures some of the best rice cookers on the market. Some of the Japanese brands actually manufacture their products elsewhere in Asia and then sell them in the Western market. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are of lower quality. Instead, it usually means that they are sold at a lower price point.
A Japanese household might not flinch at spending several hundred dollars on a rice cooker, but an American household might. Just because a Japanese brand actually shows a manufacturing location outside of Japan doesn’t mean that it is of lower quality. Sure, try to choose a made in Japan rice cooker, but don’t rule out a recommended rice cooker with great reviews solely because it is manufactured outside of Japan.
I should also note, all of our recommended rice cookers from Japan can be purchased on Amazon and most are Prime eligible. That said, many of the top brands and models don’t ship in one to two days like other Amazon products. Some of these recommended appliances might take one to two weeks to ship – but they are worth the wait.
Check out our recommendations for the Best Japanese Rice Recipes.Check out the Best Amazon Rice Cooker Reviews
Japanese Rice Cooker Brands
There’s a reason why most of the rice cookers we recommend are made from just a handful of manufacturers. These are the rice cookers made in Japan that are most commonly found on sale in the US and in Europe.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker
Zojirushi is one of two of the most popular rice cooker brands from Japan. They also have a reputation for being the go-to brand for Japanese eaters. Although they don’t tend to have many lower-end models, all of their rice cookers are quality models.
Many include modern technologies like fuzzy logic and induction heating. Look for the fuzzy logic in their MICOM line of rice cookers. Aesthetically, the Zojirushi rice cookers look like you have a space ship on your counter, meaning they coordinate with most kitchen decor.
When traveling in Japan the Zojirushi brand is the most common we saw both in restaurants and at appliance stores.
Tiger Rice Cooker Japan
Tiger brand rice cookers come from one of our favorite cities in Japan, Osaka. Osaka is the food capital of Japan, at least in our opinion, so it is no wonder this company produces a top-notch line of rice cookers. Tiger offers a wider range of rice cookers than Zojirushi, with a variety of options at different prices.
They’ve been producing rice cookers for the US market for about 20 years. Tiger was the first manufacturer to introduce Induction Heating, or IH, technology for rice cooking. They also offer several models that use fuzzy logic rice cooking technology.
Other Asian Rice Cooker Brands
There are other Japanese brands that offer high-quality rice cooker models for sale in the US and in Europe. Some of the best Asian rice cooker brands include traditional appliance and electronic manufacturers including Panasonic. Toshiba, and Sharp.
Korean Rice Cooker Brands
Also, don’t shy away from some of the Korean rice cooker brands either. Brands like Cuckoo and Cuchen produce great, high-quality rice cookers. They might be a little more difficult to find but tend to be marketed to Koreans living in North America or Europe.
Japanese Rice Cooker Reviews 2020
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty with our recommended rice cookers and warmers made in Japan. If you are looking for rice cookers for couples or small families, check out our recommendations for the best small rice cookers, which cook under 3 cups of uncooked rice.
Zojirushi Induction Rice Cooker
When it comes to induction heating rice cookers the main alternative to the Tiger IH is the Zojirushi Induction Heating System Rice Cooker and Warmer. This induction heating system uses the high-tech method to heat the inner cooking pan. It’s a triple heater pot meaning the bottom, side, and lid heat to avoid rice on the bottom overcooking. This means the smart rice cooker can make precise temperature adjustments to make perfect Japanese rice. It also cooks brown rice, jasmine rice, sushi rice, and porridge as well.
So, what’s the difference between the Zojirushi and the Tiger induction heating rice cookers? They are pretty comparable. Zojirushi does more of an effort in marketing their brown rice cooking capabilities if that is important. The Tiger model also sells as part of a bundle with additional kitchen tools. In general, Zojirushi tends to have a better reputation with reviewers.
Tiger Rice Cooker and Warmer
The Tiger 5.5-Cup Rice Cooker is one of the most classic rice cookers to come out of Japan. Tiger has been manufacturing this Tiger Rice Cooker And Warmer for decades. It’s a lot less high-tech than the other products we recommend. In the end, it gets the job done consistently. This also means it is incredibly easy to use. There is a non-stick inner pan and a removable and washable steam vent. There is a keep-warm function that will keep rice warm all day, up to 12 hours.
This Tiger rice cooker cups in different sizes and colors, from stainless steel to a very classically Japanese white with pink flowers. Sizes range from three cups to ten cups of uncooked rice. The three cup option is a great option for a small Japanese rice cooker. There are no settings to cook brown rice or any other grain. That doesn’t mean you can’t cook other items in there, it just doesn’t have the settings to set-it-and-forget-it.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
As mentioned above, Zojirushi is one of the best Asian rice cooker brands. The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker cooks up to 10 cups of rice. Although it is not one of the most aesthetically pleasing of the Zojirushi rice cookers made in Japan, it’s a good value considering all that it packs into its compact rice cooker package. The menu is easy to navigate. It cooks white rice as well as brown rice and offers a keep-warm function. Even within the realm of white rice, it offers options to cook it regular, sushi-style, softer, harder, etc. The fuzzy-logic technology means that the rice cooker will think for itself and adjust as it needs to in order to make the perfect rice.
Tiger IH Rice Cooker
The Tiger Induction Heating Rice Cooker is one of our top choices for rice cookers from Japan. It uses magnetic technology to efficiently and evenly cook a variety of kinds of rice as well as porridge and oatmeal. It comes in both five and ten cups. It can also be used as a slow cooker and it even can bake bread.
Tiger also has Tacook technology, which allows you to cook a meal in the tray at the top of the rice cooker while the rice cooks. That’s versatility. The interface is not as simple as the more basic Tiger rice cooker mentioned above. It can take some time to get used to it but once you do, it unlocks a lot of potential.
Learn more about the Zojirushi Induction Rice Cooker
Panasonic Electric Rice Cooker
The Panasonic Electric Rice Cooker With Induction Heating is one of the newer Panasonic rice cooker models and is meant to compete with the Zojirushi and Tiger models. It uses induction heating to create an electrical current to better cook the rice. The non-stick inner pan has a copper exterior to make heating and cooking more efficient.
This Japanese rice cooker has 13 pre-set cooking programs that cooks rice, brown rice, quinoa, porridge and more. There is also a keep warm function that keeps the rice warm for up to 12 hours.
Japanese Clay Rice Cooker
Many people who look for a rice cooker made in Japan go straight to the high-tech versions. Before we offer our recommended rice machines, we want to mention one traditional option. A clay rice cooker is a Japanese rice pot that cooks rice in the most traditional way. “Donabe” translates roughly to clay pot in Japanese. It is the complete opposite of the high-tech rice cookers many people associate with Japan.
A Japanese clay rice cooker is an earthenware pot that works as a slow cooker over an open flame. It also works in an oven for people who don’t happen to have an open flame grill in their kitchens.
This clay pot can be used to cook stews and soups in addition to rice. The rice that comes from the Japanese clay rice pot tends to have a little bit of crispness on the bottom, which some say is the best part of the rice. It’s similar to the crispy parts of a traditional paella Valenciana.Shop For Japanese Clay Pot Rice Cookers Here
FAQs - Choosing An Asian Rice Cooker
Very important. Some say the art of sushi is really all about the rice. To learn more about sushi, check out our guide on how to eat sushi in Japan.
We layout each of the rice brands above, including their reputation. Our top pick, though, when it comes to a Japanese rice cooker brand has to be Zojirushi because of its wide variety of functions, including brown rice setting. We saw this brand the most when traveling in Japan.
Yes! If you cook Asian food as much as we do, an Asian rice cooker can be a great investment. This is particularly true because a rice cooker can do a lot more than just cook rice.
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The Best Japanese Rice Cooker For Your Home
We love sharing our food and travel tips to help people eat well on the road. But what happens when you get home? Whether you are traveling in your home state or on the far side of the world having a well-stocked kitchen at home will help you prepare loads of tasty dishes. Follow us on Pinterest to learn more tips about how to eat and drink well at home.