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Zojirushi Rice Cooker - Which one?

We are considering the purchase of a Zojirushi rice cooker, but which one?

I am especially interested in cooking grains, and I hope to do so without the constant vigilance that is needed when cooking them on the stove top. Also, easy clean-up is a must, so I want the top piece to release so that I can clean it as well as the bowl.

We are considering the NSZCC10 which is a 5+ cup Neuro Fuzzy model, or the NH-VBC18 which is a bit larger and offers the inductive cooking process. With your advice, we will consider any others.

Please let us know how large to go, and should we consider the more expensive models with more features?

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  1. We have had the 5 1/2 cup model for about two years and have greatly appreciated it. I think the size to get depends on how many you are cooking for. Clean-up is so easy.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Bramble

      Thanks, Bramble!
      I have done some research since posting, and I really like the features of the Induction Heating System, Zojirushi #NH-VBC18 (10 cup model).

      Do you use your cooker for anything other than rice? I have read about so many other uses: grains, seafood, veggies, porridge, desserts, etc., but I am wondering if this cooker is really the best for anything other than rice.

      1. re: liu

        I had a conversation with a Zojirushi CSR a few months ago (http://zojirushi.com/contactus/custom... ), and the man I spoke with said that the induction model does its best work with plain rice. But if you plan on cooking anything else in your rice cooker (grains, seafood, veggies, porridge, desserts, etc.), he said the fuzzy logic models outperform the induction models.

        He also said that the differences in plain rice cooked in a fuzzy vs. induction model are so minimal *most* people won't detect any difference at all.

        Go for the 10 cup Neuro Fuzzy (like I have) -- you won't regret the extra capacity...

        P.S. Here's my steel cut oat recipe. Enjoy!

        1 cup steel cut oats
        3 cups water
        Up to 1/2 cup of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.) if desired

        The night before serving, add all ingredients to your Fuzzy Logic ;-) rice cooker. Set timer, and enjoy in the morning. Now, how hard was that?!

        1. re: Joe Blowe

          Thanks, Joe Blowe!
          Your information is exactly what I need; I am between the induction model and the Neuro Fuzzy model...each somewhere in the $200+ range.

          I do want the option for cooking things other than just white rice, so your input about the induction model as perhaps not the best choice is very valuable.

          Also, thanks for the steel cut recipe. We do exactly this in the microwave, but the rice cooker will certainly cut our morning prep time.

          1. re: Joe Blowe

            Joe Blowe - When cooking on stovetop, I use 4 cups of water to 1 cup of steel cut oats, per package directions. Are you sure you should cut the water for the rice cooker?

            Also, I have the small Zojirushi Fuzzy Logic, which only holds four cups of liquids, so I would obviously need to cut your oatmeal recipe in half.

            1. re: omotosando

              I've had very good success with that ratio. I suppose it's the overnight soak along with that fuzzy logic technology that makes it just right! But, I also add a bit of milk to my oatmeal when it's in the bowl, so that thins it out a bit.

              Google _steel cut oats rice cooker_ and you'll see that others are using the 1:3 ratio...

            2. re: Joe Blowe

              The Induction models are also "minicom" (mini-computer) models that use fuzzy logic to determine cooking times. They have internal sensors and measure multiple variables (weight, temperature, humidity) to make judgments throughout the cooking process, just like those the marketing department chose to call "fuzzy logic" models. This is well document inside the manual itself. My review of the model suggests they've actually improved the configuration of the sensors used by the fuzzy logic algorithms. The procedure for heating the internal pan is much more sophisticated, using induction technology which you pay a premium for, as it enhances the quality not only of rice but mixed dishes and alternative grains..

              The fuzzy logic branded models are still in production with abundant inventories, so the company still wants to sell them. I'm afraid you spoke with an uninformed Zojirushi staff person, or one of mixed intensions..

            3. re: liu

              The GABA brown rice feature alone is super cool - basically, lets you pre-heat and germinate the brown rice for an improved nutritional profile. But the important question is how much rice you usually cook - I've heard that cooking a cup or two of rice in a 10 cup model results in not-so-great rice. I ended up getting a smaller, less full featured Panasonic (3.5 C), which has been great for me. I have mostly just used it for rice and rice porridge, though you can definitely use it for a lot of other stuff too.

              1. re: will47

                Thanks, will47, for your vote for the GABA brown rice feature. We are just learning about this nutritious rice, but I wonder how often we might cook it. Alton Brown does not like single-task appliances or gizmos; might this qualify? I hope that I would use this cooker for all grain preparation, including GABA brown rice. Am I realistic?

                I also appreciate your information about purchasing the right size. I will have to give this more thought. I would like the porridge option (large quantity), but I also want to be able to cook just a few cups of rice. Hmmmmm...

                Thanks, again, will!

                1. re: liu

                  GABA isn't a type of rice; it's a process for preparing regular brown rice... basically (as I understand it), you soak the rice for 12-24 hours in warm (body temp) water, and it germinates. Then you cook it. The Zojirushi cooker has a way to do this (more or less) automagically for you.

                  1. re: will47

                    Liu, the GABA mode is only available on the induction models. Like I mentioned above, you *may* not want induction if you plan on cooking other items in the rice cooker.

                    And, IMO, the nutritional claims of GBR/GABA rice are a bit overstated. The amino acid GABA is a good thing, but the amount that is available in a typical serving of that rice is nowhere near the amount you would get in an average amino acid supplement.

                    When it comes to most Japanese health claims, I take them with a rather large grain of salt.

                    1. re: Joe Blowe

                      will47 and Joe Blowe...as I said, we are just learning about GABA, and as is pretty obvious, we haven't learned very much!!! Thanks for all your info. and suggestions about which rice cooker to purchase.

                      So, once again, I am very impressed by all your 'Hound knowledge, and by how quickly you have responded -- exactly to my post. Thanks for being so patient and so helpful.

                      1. re: liu

                        Now the big question is: Where ya gonna buy it?!

                        My vote: Wing Hop Fung (http://winghopfung.com/contactus.html ). Check out their VIP Card before purchase. Might also be a sale going on, too!

                        1. re: Joe Blowe

                          We did check out Wing Hop Fung (the satellite store next to Capital Seafood, SGV, where we frequently enjoy Saturday morning dim sum). You are exactly correct: their prices are very good. I love to wander the aisles here! I also love the activity at their downtown store!

                          Amazon is also an excellent place to shop for this item, as they carry all of the Zojirushi models we are considering.

                          Again, Joe, thanks for your suggestion about the Wing Hop Fung VIP card and about the possibility of catching a sale on this appliance.

          2. If you think that you're going to be cooking small quantities regularly, I can certainly recommend the 3-cup NS-KCC05. It's the only model we have. I've found that three cups is enough rice for about 7 at dinner. And it makes really nice steel-cut oats on the Porridge setting. We've had ours for about 5 years.
            - Richard

            1. Thanks to all for your very valuable input. Pretty much on a whim, we purchased the 10cup induction model #NH-VBC18 at the 3rd floor appliance store in the Korean Mall in Los Angeles. It is still a new toy, so we are trying various "recipes." So far, we have had very good steel-cut oats with dates, white rice and brown rice. We are looking forward to trying more grains.

              11 Replies
              1. re: liu

                hey liu. i have the same cooker - the 5.5 cup model. i've only had it a week or so and am pretty thoroughly in love (though i find it necessary to use quite a bit less water than they recommend). i'm hoping you can tell me about your experiments with other grains! i'd love to cook more than gaba brown rice (wonderful as it is). thanks!

                1. re: traductora

                  Hi, traductora!
                  I am still pretty new to this appliance. It seems to be a workhorse and it seems to have lots of abilities that we have yet to explore.

                  White rice does very well; don't be afraid to cook it a bit ahead and let the machine work its magic while keeping it at perfect consistency and warm at the same time until you are ready for it.

                  I am still making quinoa and lentils on the stovetop in a pan because they are so quick and easy to cook to done-ness. However, we did use the rice cooker to make terrific oatmeal. We used steel cut oats, added water and all kinds of dried fruits (cherries, raisins, apricots, etc.) and some spice (cinnamon, cardamom, whatever you like)...This came out very well. The instruction booklet says that you can prepare this the night ahead, but I am yet a little reluctant to do this. I guess there is nothing in there that would spoil ???

                  I did try short-grain sweet rice; it came out a little wet and paste-y, but at the end I added in some packaged veggies that I had purchased in a Korean market, and the resultant mix was very tasty.

                  So, I am still the rookie here...and I can't wait to hear YOUR experiments and experiences. Please post the details!

                  Try googling "rice cooker recipes" and you will find some specific recipes with proportions. This has been helpful to me, since I had no idea how to determine the ratios. Of course, I have modified them to my tastes. I would send you a link, but I am not sure what you like. I think you will find a lot on the internet.

                  One final tip: I have been soaking the bowl in water when done, and then clean with only a soapy sponge -- nothing scratchy. Perhaps I am being too careful, but I want the clean-up to remain easy or I won't use this appliance. I have heard that when the bowl gets scratched, food sticks and clean-up becomes more difficult.
                  Also, extra paddles are plentiful in the Asian markets...I like the paddle!

                  1. re: liu

                    thanks so much for the reply! i'll definitely add updates if i have any. thusfar i'm just reveling in every variety of brown rice i can find - and always using a bit less water than they recommend. much better that way. and i'm not finding much need to wash the cooker between *every* batch - particularly when there's a couple drops of oil in the water, everything just scoops out nicely!

                    1. re: traductora

                      Nice to hear from you, traductora, and thanks much for your very helpful hint of adding a couple drops of oil to the water for even easier clean-up! I can't wait to try that!

                2. re: liu

                  Problem with a 10 cup rice cooker is that the minimum amount of rice you can cook is four cups. That's what the directions says anyway. That's one of the reasons why I stick with a 5 cup cooker instead because I only cook for two people most of the time. Good luck with your new rice cooker.

                  1. re: Clinton

                    "Problem with a 10 cup rice cooker is that the minimum amount of rice you can cook is four cups. That's what the directions says anyway."

                    Where does it say that?

                    http://zojirushi.com/ourproducts/rice...
                    http://zojirushi.com/servicesupport/m...
                    .
                    .

                    1. re: Joe Blowe

                      It says that on several 10 cup rice cookers I've noticed. One is the Aroma brand which says that on the box. Don't know about the Zojurishi brand though. It has a minimum for rice cooking which discourged me from buying a 10 cup vs a 5 cup.

                      1. re: Clinton

                        You're right about other brands, but you're wrong about Zojirushi having a minimum cooking quantity. And Liu has a Zojirushi...

                        1. re: Joe Blowe

                          Good to know. Have to look into Zojirushi. I guess you get what you pay for?

                          1. re: Clinton

                            Damn skippy, you do get what you pay for when buying a Zo!

                          2. re: Joe Blowe

                            Hi, Clinton and Joe Blowe!
                            I have successfully made 3 cups of rice in our Zojirushi rice cooker, and I would not hesitate to try two. Yes, the bowl seems a bit "macho" for just two or three cups, but it does the job without any complaints.

                            My only reservation with the larger size that we have is that I am not using it to full capacity. I feel like I purchased this really capable appliance and that I have not yet begun to tap into its full powers. However, we are still "playing" with it; talk with me in many months.

                  2. My advice is to buy the biggest rice cooker your kitchen will accommodate and freeze rice in plastic sandwich bags for individual portions, quickly zapped as needed. After much freezing of rice I have learned that the best rice for freezing cooked is parboiled rice aka golden rice, sold in Hispanic and Middle Eastern stores. The grains stay nicely separated.

                    1. I got a good deal on my fuzzy logic model a few years ago in Oakland Chinatown. I use the semi-brown setting all the time to cook brown rice.