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3-cup rice cooker.

My dear wife has asked for a 3-cup rice cooker for Xmas. Yes, I know it's late. Model recommendations? Links would be appreciated (I'm asking for it on a silver platter, I know).

Final question, can all rice cookers cook white *and* brown rice? (sorry, I've never used a rice cooker).

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  1. I don't have this but have heard great things about the brand (and would get this brand were I to need to replace my Cuisinart): http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-NS-LA....

    I know she asked for 3 cups, but you might also want to consider going a tad larger - much more versatile if you have the space.

    1. I just bought a 5.5 cup Zoji NS-ZCC10 and made my first batch of (brown) rice in it tonight. Highly recommend it! My older rice cooker (not a zoji) stopped working and I read so many good reviews about the zoji that I bought one and am glad I did.
      It is very easy to clean, much better designed than my older one.

      And, love the timer feature. I set it up this morning and programmed the rice to be done at 7 pm tonight and it was perfect, AND the best tasting brown rice I've ever had.

      I also recommend the 5.5 cup because you can still make 1 cup if you wish but can make more if desired. It has white, brown and other rice type settings. Also a porridge setting for things like oatmeal.
      The "Ultimate Rice Cooker" by Beth Hensperger is an excellent cookbook that tells you how to make all kinds of great things in the cooker too, like polenta, risotto, beans with rice, desserts, etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: poptart

        You can't go wrong with a Zojirushi - I'm in the UK so don't want to give specific models as they might not be the same in the US. I second those saying get the 5.5cup version - there are only 2 of us and I dithered over getting the 3 or 5.5 cup one - I'm glad we got the 5.5 cup one, especially when we have people over. The reheat setting on my Zojirushi means it's not a problem to make leftovers tasty again.

        Go for a fuzzy logic one (at the very least), and then an induction heating one if you can afford it. Follow the instructions that come with it and your Zo will keep you in perfect rice for years.

      2. The small 3-cup Zojirushi rice cooker is a bomb-proof, old school model that's utterly reliable for white or brown rice. The "Micom" 3-cup model is electronic, and more complex with added functions. The basic 3-cup model might be the place to start. Meanwhile, have a look here:

        http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kagemusha

          Good link. This is the 3 cup model we have and I love it. It cooks brown rice as well as white:

          http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/...

          There might be fancier ones with more function but this suits our purposes fine.

          This page might be helpful:

          http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/...

        2. Like others have mentioned, Zojirshi is pretty much the gold standard for rice cookers if money is no object. Anything with the fuzzy technology would be good.

          If you want something slightly cheaper but with a lot of advanced options, I quite like my Sanyo 3.5 cup that doubles as a slow cooker. There's a timer for the slow cooker and a separate pot. Also comes with a steamer function and tray, and a tofu making option (with tray). Not gonna make my own tofu...probably ever, but it's a cute option. Had it for over 3 years and use it at least once a week. Still going strong and love it, and was around $110 on Amazon.

          Tiger brand is also good. I would go for either Zojirushi, Tiger or Sanyo. Those were the three main brands I was looking at while choosing mine. And again, anything with "fuzzy" technology and electronic doodads (heh) will be a lifesaver for those who eat rice a lot (white or brown, any kind) but aren't great at making it on the stovetop or not used to rice cookers. Most of the fancy cookers have nonstick, thick, durable pots too so along with the great temperature controls, burning and sticking is basically a worry of the past. Makes a HUGE difference!

          1. I know the Zijirushi is considered the ne plus ultra of rice cookers, but I want to tell you about my 5.5 cup Tiger brand rice cooker.

            It belonged to my Chinese ex-sister-in-law for about 12 years and she used it at least five times a week. Then it sat in a damp cellar for 7 or 8 years before I rescued it about a year ago. It has no bells and whistles. All it does is cook rice and keep it warm. You may read online that in order to cook brown rice you have to soak it first. Not true. I cook brown rice in it all the time. It requires more water and takes longer, but brown rice, white rice, short grain, long grain--I've never cooked rice that didn't come out perfectly. And it's less than half the price of most of the Zojirushi's.

            I agree with those who say not to get a 3 cup cooker. I cook mostly for myself and often make just 1 cup of brown rice. But I'm really glad I have the larger capacity for when I do have company.

            1. Yet another enthusiastic vote for the Zoji. It's worth every penny and more. I bought a second bowl so that I have a clean one immediately ready to hand at all times (since it is used every day, 365 days a year, to have hot oatmeal ready every morning via the programmable feature).

              It is the most-used appliance in my kitchen.

              The Zoji has settings for white rice, brown rice, sushi rice, and "porridge" (oatmeal).

              Mine is the 3-cup (NS-LAC05) and IMHO it holds more than enough for at least 4 people/servings. FYI, the standard Zoji-cup of rice provides enough for 2 people, so the 3-cup model should serve 6 at max capacity. If you plan to normally make one cup (for two people) I think the 5 cup model might be overkill. Do you think you will want to be making more than 6 servings at a time? If so, then go with the 5-cup. Otherwise she will love the 3-cup.

              As an added cuteness factor, it plays "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" when you push the start ("Cooking") button. ;-)

              11 Replies
              1. re: dessert_diva

                Thanks to everyone above for your great advice. I'm hoping someone spots my post here and can answer a question for me.

                I was reading through Amazon reviews for Zoji rice cookers and some said you need to pre-soak brown rice. Has this been your experience?

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Don't know about the Zoji cooker, but I don't soak brown rice when using my no-bells-and-whistles, 20-year-old Tiger rice cooker. As I said above, I use a bit more water and it takes a bit longer to cook, but I get perfect brown rice without soaking.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Ditto. More water, no soaking, perfect every time.

                    The Zoji is great because it adjusts the time automatically.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Thanks Joan, actually it was your post that prompted me to ask about the Zoji, much appreciated.

                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                      I've got a Sanyo 3.5 C. Also great.
                      With brown rice, look for a timer feature. I don't think you *need* to soak it, but given the long cooking time, it's often more convenient to put the rice in ahead of time and set the timer for the time you want the rice to be done.

                      Doing GABA brown rice specifically needs to soak at a high temperature for a long period of time (to get the rice to start to germinate). Only certain rice cooker models have this feature, though.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Breadcrumbs,

                        I have a Zojirushi rice cooker and I usually don't soak my brown rice. I have only done the soaking (germination) approach once. The soaking has less to do with the rice cooker brand, and more to do with germinating the brown rice and making it more nutritional -- at least that is the theory. Here: "A team of Japanese scientists has found that inducing brown rice to germinate - by soaking it for several hours before it is cooked - enhances its already high nutritional value.". Read the rest at:

                        http://scienceblog.com/community/olde...

                        Supposedly, some of the Zojirushi rice cookers has a function which can speed this up (I don't have those). Again, I want to point out this "soaking" thing is an additional function and feature, you don't have to do it. It is not taking anything from you. It is giving you an additional option.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          The GABA brown rice results from soaking at a specific temperature. I don't think that simply soaking the brown rice at room temperature will cause it to germinate. As you say, some rice cookers have a special mode that should keep the rice at the right temperature for long enough. The research you cite says they kept it at 90F for 22 hours.

                          1. re: will47

                            I don't know. My understanding is that the brown rice will germinate even at room temperature, but takes much much longer like days with frequent water change. I just found another site, but it did not mention the time for room temperature germination, but here:

                            "When you soak your brown rice, be sure to give it at least 20 hours in very warm water, longer if you can, especially at room temperature. This will reduce the binding properties of phytic acid and make the rice more digestible and more nutritious."

                            http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/201...

                            The Zojirushi mode supposed to work in a few hours, or so they claim. I believe the research is citing the optimal time which is 22 hours, but I don't think most people who prepare the germinated brown rice goes anywhere close to that time.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Chemicalkinetics, thanks for such a thoughtful, helpful response. I'm confident I can make an informed choice now. Sincerely appreciate your help, as always!