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Rice Cookers - Opinions, prices, brown rice cooking and usefullness?

I've been considering a fuzzy logic rice cooker for brown and white rice with a hold function and would like to hear owners' opinions. I woild like to use it for white long grain and brown rice primarly, but other items would be considered. how much should I expect to spend to get a reasonable unit with a reasonable life span (I've seen units over $200 and might spend that much if it is really better than a $50-100 cooker). Help Please!

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  1. Try searching in cookware, there has quite a bit of discussion on rice cookers.

    I used to have a steamer that doubled as a rice cooker, but eventually replaced with a Zojirushi fuzzy logic and we love it. We have had ours for at least 4-5 years without issue.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rasputina

      Thanks for the info Rasputina; I'll check out the cookware section this weekend.

    2. We bought a Zojirushi induction rice cooker about 3 or 4 years ago and have had no problems. Bought it from a on line store called Very Asia. The lady I talked to told me the induction was somewhat better than the fuzzy logic. And we bought it. I would not know exactly what the difference would be other than the magnetic induction method of cooking. Works well.

      We also have and continue to use (rarely) a couple of old National/Panasonic rice cookers and they are great. They just don't have a keep warm function. Anyway, try Very Asia. Good Luck.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dcrb

        Thanks for the info DCRB... Did the salesperson say why the induction was better?

        1. re: bearfromobx

          bearfromobx,

          If I remember correctly, it had to do with the accuracy of induction which I am not buying into completely since both it and the fuzzy logic models are microprocessor controlled. But, it was made in Japan rather that China, if that makes a difference. Cup for cup, the induction is more expensive.

      2. Depending on the quality and size you want, and origin of country (manufacturer). I have a small Zojirushi. It was interesting that a small Zojirushi made in Japan costed slightly more than a larger Zojirushi made in China. Both Zojirushi, both belong to the same series.

        I spent slightly above $100. I think $110-120 for a 3 cups rice cooker. I have had it for 4-5 years.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Chem,

          All of our rice cookers are Japanese and I did notice a couple of years ago that Japanese branded items cost more than their Chinese counterparts, even within the same company. Perceived difference in quality?

          1. re: dcrb

            <I did notice a couple of years ago that Japanese branded items cost more than their Chinese counterparts, even within the same company. >

            Yeah, I noticed that too. To be honest, I don't think there should be any difference as long as the QA tests are done correctly, but I just do not know for sure. Outsourcing is a particular problem during the first few years -- it is just part of the learning pain. We have gone through this in my company as well when we moved part of our research efforts to India. Talk about different standards. Now, the India counterpart is doing better. Ironically, the company is thinking about moving some of the research works back to US..... What the F?

            As for Zojirushi, I think that was the time when Zojirushi just started to outsource to China, so it is a bit questionable at the time.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I've nothing against quality Chinese made products. Chinese products are going through what Japanese products did in the late 50's and early 60's. An overall perception of inferiority with a few items of good or better quality. But that has changed considerably over the years. If one sticks with the major brands, the actual country of origin should matter very little.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Is that three cups finished or raw, Chem? I usually cook for 1-2 people and store any extra prepared rice in the fridge for busy nights, so I can throw together a chow on rice or make a quick fried rice.
            I've looked at the Zojirushi models and don't mind the price if they do the job relably and last. I haven't found a local source (there was one, but they stopped carrying the line) so WWW looks like the route to go.

            1. re: bearfromobx

              Japanese rice cookers measure by raw cups. The rice cooker should come with a plastic measuring cup which measures one cup when filled to the top. Then you would add the rice to the cooking bowl and measure the water up to the line for however many cups of rice you put in. My husband and I get by with a 3 cup rice cooker from Sanyo which works just fine. Any leftover rice gets put into some single serving sized storage containers or we wrap single serving sizes in plastic wrap and freeze it. We thaw it in the microwave. Cooked rice tends to get hard if left in the fridge. Everyone freezes cooked rice in Japan.
              As for made in Japan and made in China, I'm not sure about the quality but the general impression is that made in Japan is better, Even Chinese tourists by the made in Japan models when they come on their shopping trips here. Maybe the made in China ones target international sales.

              1. re: tokyotogo

                Note, a "rice cooker cup" holds 3/4 of a cup of raw rice.

                1. re: Jeri L

                  Yes, I should have stated that rice "cups" and regular "cups" are different. I've never measured rice in anything other than the cup that comes with the rice cooker. It would be a sad day in my house if we ever lost that special cup.

                  1. re: tokyotogo

                    Thats why my rice cup stays in the bag of rice! and the rice paddles in the drawer beside the rice cooker.

          3. I received a Krups 10 cup rice cooker as a gift from my MIL several years ago. At the time the list price was about $80. I've been using it at least once a week and frequently more often since then. I love it! It came with a steamer basket but that is probably buried in the back depths of my cabinets. Never used it and haven't seen it in years.

            1. I have an Aroma brand rice cooker that I got at Costco for about $35. It has a plastic steamer insert and a nonstick pot. It has worked very well for me for a couple years now. Can't beat the price. I use the slow cook function to make stock or the occasional "crock pot" recipe. It makes great plain rice, white or brown. I use it to make polenta and I even cheated and made risotto in it.

              http://www.aroma-housewares.com/kitch...

              1. I love my rice cooker. I survived on a $12 one in Canada and it was ok, but it was only suitable for short grain rice. Now I have a very good Japanaese one, thought I still have yet to get my Zojirushi. My fiancee's parents gave me their old 5 cup National one when they replced it with a Mitsubishi. Zojirushi and Tiger definitely get the most nods of any rice cooker, but when you are talking about any $200 rice cooker made in Japan you can't go wrong. My national creates beautiful rice, and while I have only used short grain rice it is capable of other types of rice. Even though there are only two of us, I love the 5cup size, I cook 5 cups every time and freeze all the extra in individual servings for quick reheating when needed, as is normal practice in Japan.

                One day I will have an IH Zojirushi, but for now I am more then happy with my free National one :P

                Any $200 Japanese rice cooker will last a very long time. This one we got from her family is at least 5 years old and is in flawless shape and gets used every 3 days. Her grandmothers is much older then that and works great.

                The $100 ones are probably just as reliable, they just are different sizes and cooking methods but probably fine.

                1. place me in the no category. my zojir sits in the cupboard covered with dust. was never happy with the gummy brown rice it produced. cook my rice like this now:

                  1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
                  2 1/2 cups water
                  1 tablespoon unsalted butter
                  1 teaspoon kosher salt
                  Directions
                  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

                  Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

                  Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

                  After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

                  always correct. never a problem.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: hyde

                    butter? really? wow. unimaginable.

                      1. re: hyde

                        Living in Hawaii there is a strong association between rice and asian food. Butter is not something that would ever be used in the preparation of rice, it is rare, very rare even to salt the water... butter, never.

                        My local born asian friends can't believe that I like to eat rice with butter on it for breakfast, it gives them a queasy stomach thinking about it.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          in temperate zones with little history in refrigeration i can belive that the addition of a dairy product is horrifying.

                          that said your friends in hawaii could be ironically eating rice grown in texas or arkansas ( the largest rice producing state in the u.s.) as we export over a billion dollars worth a year, second largest exporter with more than 15% of the total market. and butter is the least of your worries in cajun country, cheese, cream, butter and garlic are major food groups.

                          from pudding in new england to risottos in northern italy a lot of rice gets eaten with dairy, so im not alone.

                          1. re: hyde

                            Most of the rice sold here is grown in California.

                            And yes, I'm familiar with risoto and rice pudding, but the thought of using butter while cooking plain steamed rice still seems odd. Now if you are gonna make pilaf and want to brown the rice first.... LOL

                  2. Early this year I bought a Sanyo ECJ-HC55S rice cooker, and it has become one of my favorite kitchen items.
                    I've been very pleased with every rice I've cooked, including brown, wild, and different types of white.
                    The slow cooking function is excellent for 2 people.
                    It steams eggs to perfection.
                    I use the porridge setting to make awesome steel-cut oats--ready for breakfast at 6:00, or whatever time I choose.

                    It's a 5.5 cup cooker, which means it will do as little as one cup (rice-cooker cup) or as much as 5.5. It's a perfect size for 2 people, but will serve well when company comes too.

                    Sanyos are made in China, and aren't as pricey as Zojirushi, but performs very well, and has features I like that the Zoji doesn't have.

                    A word of caution: Some of the Sanyos don't have a replaceable battery, which means that in about 4 years, the battery will die, along with the timer features. The model I bought has a replaceable battery, which was a major consideration for me.

                    All-in-all, I'm very happy with my rice cooker, and would choose the same model again without hesitation.

                    1. Thanks for all the help and the feedback gang, I tried the Alton Brown Baked Brown Rice one person recommended today and made about 3 cups of cooked rice in the oven, which turned out well and I think I'm going to put off the rice cooker purchase for a bit.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bearfromobx

                        We (at work) oven cook our rice all the time. Usually 3-6 qts dry at a time. Pilaf, Spanish, plain white all get cooked in the oven. 350 in a Convection oven for 45-60 mins, no preboil necesssary, just cold ingredients into the oven.

                        Butter (margarine) gets added to the Pilaf. We use Converted (Parboiled) rice..

                      2. I have a Zojirushi and I love it. I've had it over 12 years. It is a fuzzy model and it makes perfect rice every time. If something happened to it, I would buy another one in a heartbeat...the very same day!!! I think it is around $160 but it is worth every penny.

                        1. I have a Zojirushi rice cooker, too. My gas stove and the altitude where I live didn't allow me to go to a low enough temperature to cook rice. This rice cooker does an excellent job - and I like that during hot months, I can put it outside and NOT heat up the inside.