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Rice Cooker Recommendation with Extended Keep Warm

I was hoping to get a recommendation for a new rice cooker.

When we first got married, my Thai husband brought a National rice cooker with him. We still, to this day, call it the "magic rice pot". It made perfect rice every single time. You could put too much water in, not enough, perfect every time. And you could leave it on extended warm for days. YES. Days.
It was a National, which I guess was bought by Panasonic.

What I soon learned is that every Thai home we visited always had a big rice cooker sitting on the counter, with rice cooked, and ready at all times.

Well, in a moment of foolishness, I persuaded DH to give up the magic rice pot. We purchased a $190 Zojirushi NSDAC10. It had only good ratings, and mostly because it looked so cool sitting on our new beautifully renovated kitchen counters.
And I foolishly sold the magic pot for $20 on Craigslist. What I wouldn't give to get that magic pot back!

The NSDAC10 lid opening button does not work well. Never did. You have to press the button...and pry the lid open with the other hand. Lame. His Thai friends all come to visit us, and make fun of this. :-(

The extended warm also does not work as well as the National. Rice only keeps for 2 days tops, whereas the magic pot kept for a whole week.

And now....rice doesn't keep past a few hours without getting a rancid, spoiled-egg smell, and the rice gets hard and turns yellow the next day. Uh oh.

I assume the extended warm feature is not keeping the rice warm enough, so it is spoiling. Or the gasket on the lid has bacteria in it. Or the steam vent is a problem (I haven't seen steam come out the machine is over a year, and it used to). I have also noticed the rice is damp, so perhaps extra moisture is occuring.

In addition, the pot is scratched up. I know, I know, naughty...I used a fork to fluff the rice every time, and I guess scratched the surface. So perhaps that is causing the issue?

A new removable lid gasket and pot is $50. I almost think it would be worth it to buy a new rice cooker, then pan out $50, and that may not solve the problem.

So.....

Does anyone have any advice for saving our 6 year old Zojirushi?

And more importantly, can someone recommend a rice cooker that will keep rice for days?

It should be 4+ cups, have a timer, extended warm, and any budget will do.

I kindly ask folks from restraining from responding with comments about cooking the rice and storing it in the fridge or freezer. My husband did not grow up doing this, and he claims it changes the taste and texture. He refuses to eat refrigerated rice, so please refrain from those suggestions.

Thank you!!!!!!!

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  1. <And more importantly, can someone recommend a rice cooker that will keep rice for days? >

    No. I think you will need a rice cooker which has to keep at a fairly high temperature, and yet able to seal the moisture in. I don't know any rice cookers. Good luck.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      As indicated, our last rice cooker kept rice nicely for days.

      1. re: chowsue

        I know. I meat to say that I personally do not know any rice cookers that can kept rice for days, and therefore I personally do not have recommendation. I don't mean that I don't trust your previous assertion.

        1. re: chowsue

          Have you tried looking on Ebay? You said you'd love to buy the "magic pot" back from that garage sale you sold it at. So would you be willing to buy one used if you saw the exact rice cooker you used to have?

          Its entirely possible there's one available. There was at least one used National brand one listed just now. Plus older Tiger models as well.

          1. re: Ariadanz

            good idea, will keep an eye out for that when this rice cooker I just bought bites the dust in about 5 years.

      2. We have the Zo NS-ZCC18 and love it--but we never try to keep rice for days as that just doesn't sound good to us. It does have an extended keep warm that works fine for many hours--more than we've ever needed.

        Why can't you just make less rice more often? It's not like it takes all that long.

        Oh and yes, don't EVER use metal in the pan!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Thanks4Food

          Sorry, I am specifically asking for folks who have a rice cooker that they KNOW keeps the rice nicely for days.

          Thanks anyways!

          "It's not like it takes all that long."
          QUICK cook is half hour. "Ain't nobody got time for that!" LOL.

          But I hear you..
          I guess we could make a fresh batch every morning and set the timer. We have never had to do this before, so that would be a life time of habit to change.

          Maybe I will just go visit some of his friends and peak in their kitchens and write down what brand and models they use. They all keep their rice fresh for a few days.

          1. re: chowsue

            My husband's Japanese and loves his rice so that's why we got the Zo. But the ones I see at the Asian restaurants that would probably keep the rice going for days are the Tiger brand ones. Those are for the serious rice-eaters that dip into it throughout the day--as I'm sure my husband would do if I kept it out like that.

            We see those for sale at Asian markets.

            Here's an example of what we usually see at Japanese/Chinese restaurants: http://www.veryasia.com/jnp-1800fg.html

            1. re: Thanks4Food

              YES! Tiger! That is the brand I have seen on a few kitchen counters, now that you mention the name!

              And yes, I know they all bought theirs in Asian markets, definitely not on Amazon. Maybe that matters.

              oh, and I asked a friend of mine...she said "oh, they don't make them like they used to! They only stay warm a day or two nowadays now with ones you can buy now."

              Thanks for the help.

              1. re: chowsue

                Keep in mind that I don't think ALL Tiger rice cookers do that. You will have to look into specific models.

                1. re: chowsue

                  I found this article in Japan Times which said that as of 2009, Tiger was the most popular rice cooker in Japan (according to the survey).

                  http://whatjapanthinks.com/2009/03/24...

                  I have a Zojirushi but the rice does get pretty bad after about 10 hours. Nowadays I think it's better to just refrigerate and microwave a portion when I need it.

              2. re: chowsue

                All I do is cook 5 cups at a time and freeze it in individual portions, then when I need it takes 2 minutes to microwave it. I have very good results with this, I would not want to eat rice that had been sitting in a rice cooker for days, especially if constantly on warm.

            2. Why would you want to keep rice warm for "days"?

              I find that rather unsafe/unhygienic sounding. Surely if it's kept at a high enough temp to ward off bacterial growth it would burn.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bacardi1

                Why?
                Well, I answered that question in the original post.
                I know it was long winded, but the reason I made it long-winded was to explain the details.

                As indicated, in case you did not know, it is very common in Asian households to keep rice in a rice cooker, often overnight, and up to a day, maybe two, depending on the brand of rice cooker...so there is always rice ready, without the wait. My husband lived his entire life on this earth doing this, and hasn't died of bacterial growth yet. Neither have any of his multitude of friends and family, who all do the same thing.

                It is not unsafe because the rice cooker is made to support this. That is what "extended warm" function on a rice cooker is for. Some are good for 12 hours, and some more. If you check the Zojirushi website (a leading brand of rice cookers), it clearly says the Warm function keeps rice warm for 12 hours and Extended Warm for 20 hours.
                I am saying our National safely kept rice warm and fresh for days on end, as does other models I have seen in other people's homes.

                Hope this helps explain and answers your questions!

                1. re: chowsue

                  Sorry, but that sounds terrible. One point of a rice cooker is that it is so easy to have fresh rice quickly and mindlessly. You are risking food poisoning by Bacillus cereus. That you haven't had it yet is luck, or you have misinterpreted milder symptoms.

                  1. re: law_doc89

                    Or it keeps the rice above 50C / 122F, which is what someone else said a while back. Now I'm intrigued to find out what the temperature is of the keep warm setting on various models of rice cookers.

                    1. re: Charles Robinson

                      To keep the toxin at bey, you would need 60C or higher.

                      I don't get it, this is so dumb. Make a batch of fresh rice when you want some, and throw out the excess.

                    2. re: law_doc89

                      There are literally tens of millions of people, mostly in Asia, who do the same thing that chowsue does. It's fine to introduce science to the discussion, but talking about the risk of Bacillus cereus is really unnecessary.

                      Either that or there are many thousands of people are getting sick and dying from this without anybody ever catching on to the problem.

                      1. re: calumin

                        thanks calumin. Someone who GETS IT.

                2. You may want to look into some of the rice pressure cookers. Pricey, but they can be very good.

                  1. I have a year-old Zojirushi NS-LAC05:
                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                    I accidentally kept it on the warm function for 2 days once, but haven't tried it past that because I didn't think that was something you were supposed to do. Rice seemed fine. I do regularly keep it on warm until the next day and eat it and the rice seems to be exactly the same as it was the day before.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: emily

                      this looks good. I like that it has the retractable cord.

                      Does it have extended warm and warm function?

                      2 days is fine. That is what my current Zo does, before it funkified.

                      I could not see the pix was very small...

                      and does it have Quick cooking feature?

                      DH gets testy if his rice isn't ready in 30 minutes. :-)

                      1. re: chowsue

                        It will automatically stay in the "keep warm" setting until you turn it off (I think) ~ at least that's been my experience. It also has a "keep warm" button. Looks like it also has a "quick cooking" feature, but I haven't used it.

                        For a 5 cup, this one looks similar but has an added "extended warm" function, which mine doesn't have (not sure how it differs):
                        http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-NS-TS...

                        1. re: emily

                          Ours (cited above) has the Extended Keep Warm, but as I said, we don't do more than say 6 hours. It keeps the rice warm but not hot. If you decide you want more, you can press "reheat" and it takes a few minutes to bring it back up to a hotter temp.

                          But I would suggest you contact Pleasant Hills Grains which is where we got our Zojirushi--they can answer all your questions. www.pleasanthillgrain.com/

                          And yes, as Breadcrumbs has noted, you'd probably get more feedback at the Cookware board. I'm actually surprised the moderators haven't moved this thread.

                      2. re: emily

                        I think I may want a 4 cup or higher though. Ours is 5 cup now. We use 2-3 cups regularly, and 5 for dinner parties and parties.