Best Small Rice Cookers
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 best 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.
Our Top 3 Picks For The Best Rice Cooker:See the Top-Rated Amazon Rice Cooker Reviews
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Top Small Rice Cooker Reviews 2021
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 of the best prices.
We provide reviews of individual small rice steamers and cookers below. But, if you are short on time, use the handy chart below see our recommended top small rice cookers.
How To Cook Rice At Home
We lived in Southeast Asia for four years and in 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 stove top. We’ve done this. A lot.
One thing I’ve found over the years is that we stink at cooking rice on the stove top. 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 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 best small rice cooker for their home.
Check out our recommendations for the Best Japanese Rice Recipes.See the Top-Rated Amazon Rice Cooker Reviews
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 instantpot. 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 uber quick. Most importantly, a little rice cooker doesn’t take up a lot of counter space.
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.
How Does A Small Rice Cooker Work:
Top Small Rice Cooker Reviews – 2021
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.See the Top-Rated Amazon Rice Cooker Reviews
Best Mini Rice Cookers
Panasonic Small Rice Cooker Review
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 one 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 Review
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 And Warmer Review
This Zojirushi 3 Cup Rice Cooker And Warmer offers the best value in a higher-end rice cooker making 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 of cup of uncooked rice or oats. The inside of the lid is detachable making it super easy to wash. This Zijorushi 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 more squat 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.
Tiger Rice Cooker 3 Cup With Synchro Cooking Review
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 in 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 Review
This Aroma Small Rice Cooker and Steamer prepares 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 each use. There is also a turbo cooking function, which cooks rice super quick. This is great for last minute meal prep.
Cuckoo is a reputable Korean company and is known for their 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.
Oyama Traditional Rice Cooker - 3 Cup
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 less 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 Review
The DCIGNA Travel Rice Cooker measures at 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 cup, not 1.2L. When the rice is done, this small electric rice cooker turns to its warming function. This 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.
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The Best Small 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.
Looking for something a little bigger or more specialized? Check out these related posts:
Best Japanese Rice Cooker – How To Make Japanese Rice At Home – here we share the top Japanese and Korean rice brands to use at home
Best Brown Rice Cooker Reviews – How To Cook Brown Rice – Looking for something a little healthier? How about learning how to properly cook brown rice at home!
FAQs - How To Make The Most Of 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 with some of the more intelligent electric rice cookers, they will cook rice perfectly every time.
This depends on the type of rice used. Generally, I use two cups of water for every one 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.