Rice cooker recommendations, please
I'm thinking of buying a rice cooker for making steamed rice. I don't want it for oatmeal, steamed veggies or other grains -- just for making plain rice (or maybe brown rice). Which one should I buy? Thanks!
In my experience I've observed more of my Chinese friends using a Zojirushi of one sort or another. My sister-in-law is thrilled with her Zoji cooker with "fuzzy logic." We're old fashioned and have a mechanical-style cooker which we find just fine -- for just cooking rice.
In the restaurant I have a Zojirushi that's 25 years old and going strong, and two Zoji rice warmers that're about 18 or so years old and doing fine. Now, I'm pitching durability because I'm accustomed to using rice cookers very, very frequently. If you're going to use a cooker infrequently, perhaps the lower-priced Sanyo models are what fit your needs. Steer clear of Tiger and the ilk -- they're just not dependable. All of the brands I've mentioned, however, manufacture *safe* machines. It's a given that a cooker sold in the U.S. will have the UL (Underwriters' Laboratories) safety inspection seal (it doesn't hurt to check for it, though).
"Fuzzy-logic rice cookers have computer chips that direct their ability to make proper adjustments to cooking time and temperature. Unlike basic rice cookers, which complete tasks in a single-minded, mechanical manner ..."
For the long version, see "How Rice Cookers Work" at
As for the second part of your question, it's what you start out with. I believe what you end up with is double that. For example, my 5.5 cup rice cooker makes about 11 cups of cooked rice. To put it another way, I only ever put in one cup and it makes enough rice for two of us. I can't imagine ever using the full capacity of my medium sized cooker, at least for rice. I even considered the smallest, a 3-cup, but got the 5.5 cup in case I want to use it as a steamer or slow cooker.
BTW, if you're short on counter space, get one with a retractable cord. That minor feature is a life saver for me.
I have a Zojirushi 10 cup neuro fuzzy and I only use it for rice, just rice. We did not eat a lot of rice before, because I made terrible rice, now we look forward to eating it because it comes out so perfectly every time.
The only thing I would consider is that the 10 cup makes a lot of rice. As a family of 4, the most I have ever made at 1 time is 4 cups, and that was so there would be leftovers. I don't really make rice for guests, so if I were buying one again, I might get the same one, but a smaller capacity.
I recommend looking at the buyer comments on Amazon.
Even though I'm not a rice connoisseur (yet), I decided early on that I didn't want the cheapest kind. I wanted one that uses what was described in one ad as "fuzzy logic" to determine when the rice is done. I narrowed my choices down to Zojirushi or Sanyo, and after reading the Amazon comments I went with the Sanyo ECJ-HC55S. I didn't buy it from Amazon, though: I got it for about $100 somewhere else. I'm happy with my purchase. So far I've only made rice and hard boiled eggs with it and they come out perfect every time.
Differences between manufacturers are minimal (i.e. they all pretty much copy each other ;-), so the features and performance are generally the same between a Zojirushi, a Sanyo, a Tiger, etc.
Buy according to how much you want to spend, and you'll be fine.