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What size rice cooker to buy? Zojirushi NP-HBC10 or 18?

Hi - We're a couple - two people - with kids "out of the house." We both LOVE to cook and enjoy leftovers. I don't want to go overkill buying a cooker that is too large; however, I want to be able to use if for recipies, etc. Sometimes kids are over for dinner and entertaining. Will the 5.5 cup be sufficient? Both sizes are the same price. Thanks for any advice!

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  1. Also, will I be disappointed if I cook a small quality of rice in the larger-size cooker?

    1 Reply
    1. Several people here have 10-cup Zojirushi rice cookers ("-18", or 1.8 liter), and successfully make small quantities of rice without any quality issues.

      It's always nice to have the extra capacity when the need arises...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Joe Blowe

        I'm with Joe Blowe. I have the larger size. I normally use it to make a very small quantity and have had no quality issues doing that. I have brought the rice cooker to parties a couple of times and have filled it to capacity. It's nice to have that option. I would recommend getting the larger size.

        1. re: woodleyparkhound

          I have a 10 cup Zojirushi induction model and find two cups is okay but, three cups is really what's needed for the best quality. Two cups isn't bad, it just that three cups or more is where I get the best results. 3 to 10 cups is same in terms of quality with my Zojirushi, my rice, at my house. ;-)

      2. If you have the space or don't mind leaving it out on the counter go for the larger size. Especially if you entertain, which it sounds like you do.


        1. i had the 5.5 now i have the 10. quality is the same, and i can make bigger pots of rice soup!

          1. I have the 10 cup model. I have actually never made more than 4 cups in it, and usually I make 3 cups (and still have leftovers). While I don't really need the 10 cup model, if they are the same price, then it's nice to have.

            1. I use a 3 cup cooker. 90% of the time its just me and the wife. Even then we are using 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rice which is plenty. We have a 10 cup cooker that we seldom use. cooking smaller amounts of rice in large cookers will work but it is not the best. IMO rice cooked to the maximum capacity taste and looks better. I suggest that you get a good 3 cup and a basic 10 cup cooker like a NHS -18. which runs about $55.00

              PS a 5.5 cup cooker will feed about 4 people. You will need a bigger one for entertaining.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bgazindad

                "Cooking smaller amounts of rice in large cookers will work *but it is not the best*."

                I beg to differ. And I'm guessing that the posters in this thread, as well as the manufacturers, would beg to differ also.

                Induction and fuzzy logic models are noted for their ability to cook *any* amount of rice perfectly -- not just the maximum amounts for a given size of rice cooker.

                1. re: Joe Blowe

                  Why do you think they make rice cookers in varying sizes? I am not talking about just OK rice. I have owned rice cookers for over 40 years. I eat rice almost every day. I have fuzzy logic and everything before for the last 40 years. I am 60 year old. My mother made rice from the stove and eventually we got a rice cookers. Back then my mom bought rice in 100 pounds sacks. I wont argue with you about what the sales brochure say about their rice cookers. I can only tell you from my experience about the texture and taste of hundreds of meals of short grain rice cooked in rice cookers from various size pots and technologies.

                  1. re: bgazindad

                    You're exactly right.

                    From Zojirushi:

                    Capacity is measured in cups of raw rice in the measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker (about 6 oz.). They yield about double that amount of cooked rice. A 5 cup rice cooker would be enough for a meal for a family of 4. It is ideal to cook rice to the rice cooker’s capacity for better tasting rice.

                    Read all about it here: http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/...

                    1. re: bgazindad

                      "Why do you think they make rice cookers in varying sizes?"

                      Honestly, I think it's mainly due to marketing and a desire to maximize profit.

                      How many rice cookers do you own? If more than one, then a company like Zojirushi has done their job correctly:  They've sold multiple appliances to *one* consumer.

                      I know you feel differently, and you have all that experience of cooking thousands of pounds of rice over decades, something that no one else here has ever achieved. But I'm going to respectfully disagree, and remain blissfully ignorant that I am making "OK" rice in my 10-cup model...

                      1. re: Joe Blowe

                        I'm with you, Joe. I usually use my 10 cup Zojirushi to make 1 measuring cup of rice. I think the quality of the finished product is perfect. It's nice having that size cooker though for the couple of times I've brought it to parties and filled it to capacity.

                2. I agree with an earlier poster who suggested that you consider getting two rice cookers - a 3-cup for regular meals and a 10-cup for entertaining. To me, having rice cookers of different sizes is like having saucepans of different sizes. Sure, you could cook everything in a 20-quart stockpot, but it's nice to have a 3-quart saucepan for daily use.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tanuki soup

                    Hmmm....if you have an extra $125 just lying around for duplicate "hostess rice cookers, " mind throwing it my way? ;-) I can think of a lot of things I need more urgently...

                  2. I too am trying to decide between a 10 and 18. I had just about settled on the ZCC-10 when I read on another forum (Gardenweb): "I discovered that the 5.5 capacity seems to only be for white rice. Brown rice is more like 3 cups dry."

                    Can anyone tell me if that is true? While we feel strongly that 5.5 cups is plenty for us, we'd like that to be brown rice.

                    Thanks for your help,


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Birmingham

                      You are probably reading a thread from someone who is using an old rice cooker without fuzzy logic that requires a lot of water to cook brown rice.

                      A fuzzy logic Zojirushi 5.5 cup model will cook brown rice just fine. I've cooked brown rice in a small pot on a stove top too. The problem is the amount of water needed for brown rice. On the stove top, I kept adding small amounts of hot water until the rice was done.

                      If you are not going to make large batches of stews and soup, cook for larger groups, etc. get the Zojirushi 5.5 cup fuzzy logic model and enjoy great rice. Be sure to get some fresh Japanese style rice to break it in. I'm particularly fond of Takamaki Gold from California.

                    2. I have a ten cup Zojirushi and never regretted getting that, even though there are only three of us here, now. It cooks smaller amounts just fine (and with the "keep warm" function, you can leave it a while if you have a rice nibbler in the house, like my daughter...) and with the larger pot, you don't have to worry about "boil overs" should you decide to cook steel cut oats or the like in there, as well. Go for it!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Beckyleach

                        I've only had "boil overs" with steel cut oats when I forgot to put the cooker on porridge mode.

                        Yes, it has happened more than once.

                      2. I have a 3.5 cup Sanyo, and 99% of the time, it's more than enough for 2 people + leftovers to freeze. I would think the 5.5 would be more than adequate. While I do know some people who have used the 10 cup Zojis successfully for small amounts of rice, I have heard of people having problems with small amounts of rice in some small rice cookers. Also, unless you're making brown rice, you can always make two batches in a row, should you need to make more than ~ 5 cups of rice (unlikely).

                        BTW, unless you're making fried rice, store your leftover rice in the freezer. We put them in little saran wrap balls called "hamsters".

                        1. For two peopler, 5.5 cup is ennough. Rice cookers normally include a small measuring cup, and a plastic paddle for serving the cooked rice. The rice cup measure is normally 180 ml, approximately 25% smaller than the American measuring cup of 8 (US) fluid ounces / 240 ml. You can check their types here: http://www.ecvv.com/product_directory...

                          1. Hi, I think 5.5 cup would be the best size for your family. As I know, 1 cup of raw rice can make 2 bowls of rice.

                            1. If they're the same price, go for the big one if you have the space. You can cook 4 cups of rice in the 10 cup, but you can't cook 8 cups of rice in the 5.5 cup. I got the exact model you're looking at in the 10 cup and absolutely LOVE it. I make steel-cut oatmeal in there all the time. It does an incredible job with polenta, too (two times through the Porridge cycle, stirring whenever you think about it during the second cycle). And yes, I do rice in there too.

                              1. Personally I would choose the 5.5 cup. In my case, I just downsized from a Zojirushi 5.5 cup to a Zojirushi NP-GD05 (Japanese model of NP-GBC05). Admittedly it is a higher end product but cooking just one cup of rice does not feel "too little" as it used to in my 5.5 machine. If you are only going to be cooking a few cups then in my experience, less is more. The 5.5 can still cook enough rice for up to 10 people.

                                To those of you who make 1 cup of "perfect rice" in your 10 cup cooker. Have you tried making one cup in a 3 cup machine? It's perfecter!

                                1. A timely post--I was coming to ask a similar question. We're 2 adults, 2 small children. I like to make more than just rice in the rice cooker (add meat, vegetables, etc). If I do that, am I better off going for the bigger model? My concern is that a 5.5 cup model will be just enough now, but in a couple of years time (with bigger children, bigger appetites, and maybe another baby too) it will be too small. OTOH, I am notorious for overestimating how much of something we're going to eat, so I'm not sure I want to trust my judgment.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AlexisT

                                    @ AlexisT

                                    I have a 3 cup rice cooker (Zojirushi NP-GD05) and currently make a lot of mixed rice dishes e.g. http://www.zojirushi.com/user/scripts... (I just make half this amount). If I eat some bread or steam some vegetables to go with it, this is enough for my evening meal and lunch the next day. I could probably cook double this amount in my rice cooker if I wanted to.

                                    If you are going to cook 3 cups of rice or more, every time you use your cooker then getting the larger 10 cup machine would be fine. Of course the 5.5 would be good too. But if there are times when you might be cooking only 1 or 2 cups of rice then the 5.5 is possibly the better choice.

                                    The rule I live by is to cook at least 1/3 of the rice cooker's capacity or rice.