One thing I’ve learned cooking at home over the years is that any meal I cook with rice is practically ruined if I don’t cook the rice right. In the last decade, we’ve owned several rice cookers and went without one, so we know our stuff. I’ve compiled a list of the best small rice cookers to help you choose the right one. Our ultimate goal is to ensure you can cook your rice, perfectly, every time in a more compact rice cooker. This includes rice cookers that cook up to three cups of rice.
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Our Top 3 Picks For The Best Rice Cooker
- Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker – one of the best rice cooker brands, super-reliable and very easy-to-use
- Cuckoo Rice Cooker – multiple functions including “turbo cooking,” widely popular rice cooker in Korea, perfect size for small kitchens
- Aroma Rice Cooker – easy-to-use features, includes steam tray for vegetables, available in multiple colors
Top Small Rice Cooker Reviews 2023
In this post, we share everything you need to know to buy a small rice cooker online. 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 great 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.) That said, we’ve also tried to include links directly to the manufacturer when possible. We are aware that not everyone shops on Amazon and want to make purchasing as easy as possible.
We provide reviews of individual small rice steamers and cookers below. But, if you are short on time, use the handy chart below to see our recommended top small rice cookers.
How To Cook Rice At Home
We lived in Southeast Asia for four years and during that time we cooked a lot of rice. Even before leaving the US one of our favorite and most-used appliances was our combination rice cooker and steamer. When we lived in Spain, it was a lot more difficult to find great Asian food. We ended up cooking rice at home more than ever.
There are a lot of ways to cook rice at home. The most classic and common way is to boil the water and the rice on the stovetop. We’ve done this. A lot.
One thing I’ve found over the years is that we stink at cooking rice on the stovetop. No matter what I do, no matter how closely I watch the pot, the water always ends up overflowing and making a mess. This is one of the main reasons why I love using a rice cooker.
I also find it difficult to time things well and to get the right mix of rice and water. Both can lead to overly mushy rice.
An Investment In A Small Rice Cooker
When we lived in Bali, we owned a super cheap tiny rice cooker that was pink with dancing bears. We didn’t know how long we would be living there and didn’t want to invest. It was a mess. It leaked invited bugs and all sorts of not-so-pleasant things. We ended up throwing it away. We’ve learned our lesson. It’s okay to invest in a rice cooker from a quality appliance brand.
Over the years, with all of our moves, we’ve owned a few different rice cookers, including ones from Aroma and Hamilton Beach. I’ve learned that a lot goes into purchasing a compact rice cooker and that is why I wanted to help people choose the perfect small rice cooker for their home.
Check out our recommendations for the Best Japanese Rice Recipes.
Why Buy a Small Rice Cooker?
There are a lot of alternatives to cooking rice on a stovetop including a pressure cooker, microwave rice cooker, or an Instant Pot. In this post, we focus on electric rice cookers that cook up to six cups of cooked rice. These rice cookers can be used to cook white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, sushi rice, and more. Some of them have steamer functions so that you can steam dumplings and buns at home as well.
We’ve been a family of two for over 20 years. Sure, occasionally, we cook to entertain, but we often struggle with how to make the perfect amount of food for two people. A small rice maker helps cook the perfect amount of rice for an individual, a couple, or a small family. It also makes a great appliance gift for students.
The average small rice cooker price is also pretty easy on the wallet. Sure, there is a range of prices between cheap and expensive rice cookers, even on the small side.
But, overall, this is not an expensive home appliance and can make life a lot easier if you cook a lot of Asian food (as we do). They tend to be pretty user-friendly, can offer a lot of functions in a small package, and help to cook rice super quick. Most importantly, a little rice cooker doesn’t take up a lot of counter space.
I’ve covered a lot already in this appliance buying guide including everything you need to know before purchasing a small rice maker. Here are our individual reviews for some of the best rice cookers that are smaller in size.
The rice cookers range from a one cup rice cooker up to a 3 cup rice cooker (with a travel rice cooker that cooks more). They come in a variety of sizes, designs, and budgets. We’ve organized this list based on the number of cups cooked, from smallest to largest.
In-Depth Small Rice Cooker Reviews – 2023
Building off our experience cooking rice around the world, we selected these rice cookers as some of the best to purchase. In the end, the right rice cooker for you comes down to personal choice. That said, having owned a cheap rice cooker, the mess it created each and every time we used it, caused buyers remorse.
Best Mini Rice Cooker Reviews
Panasonic Small Rice Cooker
This Panasonic Mini Rice Cooker takes all the guesswork out of cooking perfect rice. It is a 1.5 cup rice cooker, which results in three cups of cooked rice. There is a glass lid so that you can watch the rice cook and keep an eye on it.
The Panasonic electric rice cooker also comes with a rice cooker measuring cup. One-switch automatic cooking means just flip the switch to start cooking. There is an automatic shut-off function when the rice is complete.
The interior includes a non-stick coated aluminum pan making clean-up easy. It also distributes the heat evenly to make sure the rice is perfectly cooked. And you can cook more than rice. It works for oatmeal, soups, and stews too.
Aroma Mini Electric Rice Cooker
The Aroma Mini Rice Cooker has a compact design. It comes in blue and white, which might not match everyone’s kitchen or a pure white model. Aroma has a great reputation for rice cookers and this one is a pretty good value simple rice cooker, without any bells or whistles.
The mini Aroma rice maker cooks 1.5 cups of uncooked rice, to 3 cups of cooked rice. It’s one touch, just like the Panasonic. The main difference is that the Panasonic turns off when done but the Aroma rice maker switches to warm. It stays on for up to 12 hours. The non-stick rice pot is dishwasher safe, but several people have said the cooker is a little messy.
Small Rice Cookers
Zojirushi Micom 3 Cup Rice Cooker
Our TOP PICK for a quality small rice cooker from a reputable company, has loads of great features!
This Zojirushi 3 Cup Rice Cooker And Warmer offers the best value in a higher-end rice cooker making it one of the best small electric rice cookers on the market. Zojirushi is a company that has been around for over 100 years, which is why it is a trusted appliance manufacturer. It’s also one of the most popular rice cooker brands I saw when traveling in Japan.
It prepares up to six cups of cooked rice, but you can start by making as little as a half cup of uncooked rice or oats. The inside of the lid is detachable making it super easy to wash. This Zojirushi rice maker also has a removable steam vent that prevents messy overflows that plague many less expensive small rice cookers.
There is a retractable handle making it easier to store and because it is a little squatter in its height, it is easy to store in a cabinet as well. This might not be as travel-friendly as the Aroma micro rice cooker above, but it does have a handle for easy transport.
This is also the only compact rice maker we recommend with fuzzy logic technology. It is also fully programmable, with a timer and delay as well as a keep warm and reheating cycle.
We even saw a lot of restaurants in Osaka Japan using the Zijorushi brand rice cookers, so this brand is legit!
Tiger Rice Cooker – 3 Cup
This Tiger 3 Cup Rice Cooker is a great all-in-one small rice cooker. In general, Tiger brand rice cookers receive rave reviews. The Tiger Rice Cooker 3 Cup makes up to 6 cups of rice but makes less rice just as easily. Inside the rice maker, there are lines to help measure depending on how much rice and what kind of rice you are cooking.
There is also a “Synchro-Cooking” feature that allows you to cook food on the top of the rice cooker while steaming rice on the bottom. It includes a cookbook to show how to use this handy feature. The square shape means it takes up less counter space and will store easily in a cabinet if need be.
The small Tiger rice cooker is definitely an investment, but an investment in Japanese technology. And they take their rice seriously. This would be our recommendation for the best small Japanese rice cooker.
Aroma 3 Cup Rice Cooker And Steamer
This Aroma Small Rice Cooker and Steamer prepare up to 6 cups of cooked rice. There’s a one-touch operational button, which switches to warm when cooking is finished. There is a non-stick rice pot as well as a steam tray allowing you to steam meats and vegetables while your rice is cooking for easy meal prep.
For people concerned with kitchen decor, the Aroma rice cooker comes in black, white, and red. This is a larger quantity and more visually appealing rice cooker than the Mini rice cooker, but still at a great value.
Cuckoo Electric Rice Cooker
The Cuckoo Electric Heating Rice Cooker cooks up to three cups of uncooked rice. It uses fuzzy logic and a fancy algorithm to cook rice perfectly for each use. There is also a turbo cooking function, which cooks rice super quickly. This is great for last-minute meal prep.
Cuckoo is a reputable Korean company and is known for its quality rice cookers. This is one of the entry-level appliances. The others start to get a lot larger in size. This makes the Cuckoo one of the best small rice cooker options at this price, with this quality.
Plus, when recently traveling in Seoul, I saw loads of Cuckoo rice cookers being used at restaurants by professional cooks. It’s a brand that can be trusted.
While traveling in Seoul, we saw loads of restaurants using the Cuckoo brand, so I know it’s a good brand of rice cookers, even on the small side.
Oyama 3 Cup Traditional Rice Cooker
The Oyama 3 Cup Traditional Small Rice Cooker is another great option. It cooks up to 3 cups uncooked (6 cups cooked) rice. It has fewer bells and whistles than some of the others on this list with a simple one-touch cooking function. There is also an automatic keep-warm function when the rice is complete. The interior bowl is non-stick as well, making cleaning a breeze.
Oyama specializes in kitchen appliances and although they are most known for their rice cookers, they also make good air fryers too.
Travel Rice Cooker
DCIGNA Portable Travel Rice Cooker
The DCIGNA Travel Rice Cooker measures 1.2L, which means it is a rice cooker for 1-2 persons (between two and six cups of rice). It is a little larger than the Panasonic or the Aroma, which are both 1.5 cups, not 1.2L. When the rice is done, this small electric rice cooker turns to its warming function.
The interesting thing is that the handle makes this a portable rice cooker. I, personally, have never traveled with a rice cooker before, but some people do. I could see this being helpful if purchasing a mini rice cooker for traveling in an RV or camper van, particularly because it’s pretty compact.
Which Small Rice Cooker Is Best For You
Using a rice cooker is a great way to cook rice perfectly, without fuss, and allows you to focus on the other elements of your meal. It also doesn’t take up a burner if you have a small stovetop or hob.
Here is what should you look for when purchasing a small rice cooker for your home.
Rice Cooker Cup Capacity
The first thing to decide is what capacity you need. This refers to the cups of rice you would like to cook. Most rice cookers are measured in uncooked cup size. This means a 3-cup rice cooker can cook up to 6 cups of cooked rice, which is a good amount for a family of four or five people.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to cook that amount. Most rice cookers will have measuring cups or lines within the rice cooker to help you cook one or two cups of rice.
We normally cook one cup of uncooked rice when we are cooking rice at home. Also, the cup capacity will usually be for long-grain white rice. Some of the best small rice cooker brands, like Tiger and Zijorushi are better at helping to cook a variety of rice and grains perfectly.
Today, most of even the smallest rice cookers do more than just cook rice. They act as warmers, steam food, and can cook different varieties of rice, grains, and oats. If you plan on just cooking rice, a less expensive model with fewer features is probably sufficient. If you want to cook a lot of different items in your rice cooker, then investing in a better quality rice cooker might be best.
Some of the top rice cooker brands are now equipped with fuzzy logic. This is less common in some of the compact rice cookers that are more value priced. It is still important to know what this means.
Without getting into all the nerd-rice-science behind fuzzy logic rice cooking this means that the machine uses mathematical data to make a judgment call on when the rice or other grains are cooked. The rice cooker might adjust for room temperature, amount of rice, type of rice, etc. It’s like rice cooker magic.
FAQs – Using A Small Rice Cooker At Home
This is one of the best things about using a rice cooker. You set it and forget. There is no need to constantly check to ensure the rice is not burning or the water overflowing. Particularly some of the more intelligent electric rice cookers will cook rice perfectly every time.
This depends on the type of rice used. Generally, I use two cups of water for every cup of rice. Depending on the recipe, sometimes I will use a cup of chicken broth in place of one cup of water, which leads to more flavorful rice. For brown rice use slightly more water.
This depends on the amount of rice and the rice cooker you are using. Generally, it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to cook rice in a rice cooker. Other grains, like quinoa, can take longer.
The rice cookers we recommend range in cost from $20 to $150. Expect to pay around $50 for a quality rice cooker.
It’s hard to find a rice cooker smaller than 1.5 cups although you can find mini rice cookers or travel rice cookers that might cook as little as one cup of rice.
Generally speaking, a rice cooker of 5 cups or larger is sufficient for 4 people. This portions out approximately one cup of rice per person.
This all depends on how many people you are cooking rice for. If you are trying to cook for a large dinner party, then yes, a 3-cup rice cooker is too small. For one to two people, a 3-cup rice cooker is an ideal choice. A 3-cup rice cooker is perfect for cooking approximately 1-2 cups of rice, daily.
How We Review And Rate Products ⭐️
We only recommend brands we trust. We try to recommend kitchen products we’ve owned or used personally and we offer alternatives. We choose these alternative products based on recommendations from other food bloggers and chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers.
We conduct thorough research on the company, how the products are made, and whether they are a good value for home chefs. This allows us to offer competitive analysis, provide pros and cons of various products, and ensure you are purchasing quality products for your home.
- Some of the kitchen brands we love the most include 360 Cookware, UnoCasa, Calphalon, Ninja, and Instant Pot.
- For wine and drink products, we love Wine Enthusiast, VinGarde, and Danby.
- We often recommend purchasing products from Amazon because of the variety of kitchen and homeware brands they carry.
- Sometimes, we recommend buying a product directly from the manufacturer when we know it’s a brand we trust.
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