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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.


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).


                  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

                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:

                    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):

                        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.

                      3. I won't eat rice that has been kept like that, but to each there own. My wife has the following:


                        It says it will keep warm for 12 hours, but I know that she has had that thing on warm for multiple days before. Not sure if she resets it, or if the ghost that pulls it out to the edge of the counter and then forgets to push it back does it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. I am pretty intrigued by the ones that steam veggies too...and make bread.

                          I am trying to figure out if the $380 Zo is really worth the price! That is expensive and not a whole lot of ratings.

                          1. I wonder if you might get more feedback on the Cookware board.

                            1. I have a Toshiba RC-10VXE 5.5-cup "vacuum pressure" induction rice cooker (Japanese model). The instructions say it will keep rice warm for up to 40 hours. Given the intense competition between Japanese electronics companies, I assume that the latest top-of-the-line rice cookers from the major manufacturers can all do the same. (Even though you said "any budget will do", I should mention that the Toshiba was pretty damn pricey -- around $500).

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: tanuki soup

                                I don't think it is a matter of competition in this arena. It is a matter of temperature setting. The dangerous zone of temperature where the bacteria growth is . between 40 °F and 140 °F (or 4 °C and 60 °C).


                                I actually believe more to be between 15 °C to 60.

                                So if a rice cooker has its warm setting at temperature much higher than 60 °C, then it can keep the rice longer. I actually believe more of the older rice cookers have that settings (unintentional). The newer rice cooker actually keep at a lower temperature. The reason is that the new rice cooker are kept at a lower temperature to: (A) stop continuous cooking and (B) rice is ready to serve the moment it is scooped out. I would think the competition between Japanese electronics companies would only dive the development the other way around. How many Japanese families you know would serve you rice from a rice cooker which has been keeping the rice in their for a week? Forget about the health issue, most Japanese would just consider it is plain rude. Most Asian families I know would only serve rice which is cooked in the same day, so I don't see the demand for the market.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Hi CK,

                                  I agree about the temperature "danger zone" for bacterial growth, but I suspect that the main challenge is to keep the rice acceptable to fussy Japanese consumers.

                                  I think there are probably several of reasons that the new rice cookers can keep rice tasty for a longer period. Induction heating allows very precise temperature control, avoiding the "crunchy rice on the bottom" effect. Also, the "vacuum pressure" function may keep the rice from becoming a soggy mass.

                                  BTW, I ran across an interesting article about high-end Japanese rice cookers published a couple of years ago in the WSJ, of all places. If you're interested, here's the link:



                                  1. re: tanuki soup

                                    <I think there are probably several of reasons that the new rice cookers can keep rice tasty for a longer period. Induction heating allows very precise temperature control>

                                    Precision is not the main issue I see here. You can be as accurate or precise as you can, but if you keep the rice around 30-50 °C, it just won't last a week long.

                                    I honestly don't see any new rice cookers will be designed to keep the rice for days long. I don't see the demand there, and I don't see the manufacturers want to invest in something with market support. This is what I mean by " I would think the competition between Japanese electronics companies would only dive the development the other way around."

                              2. Chowsue: I have an Aroma Rice Cooker that we got at Costco. I love it. I have not tried the keep warm for an extended time, but it does have that feature, as well as many others you are looking for. You can see it here: http://www.aroma-housewares.com/kitch...

                                I also use the steamer basket a lot. If the veggies (i.e. peas/corn/etc.) are too small and will fall through the holes of the steamer, I flatten out a coffee filter then put the veggies on top. And it wasn't that expensive either. Around $50. And it comes with a rice paddle and a ladle.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: boyzoma

                                  Yup - I have the exact same model & LOVE it. Use it a couple of times a week. Makes terrific rice of all types (including "wild"), steams food, & can even be used as a slow cooker. It also will remain on the "warm" function until you manually switch it off (although I've never left it on for days). Fabulous machine for the price.

                                  (Oh, & if you don't want to use coffee filters, I normally use large lettuce or cabbage leaves to line the steamer basket.)

                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                    Oh, love the "leaves" tip! Never even thought of that. Thank you. I know for most people it is really large, but since it is so versatile, I don't mind it.

                                  2. re: boyzoma

                                    This one intrigues me! I can steam and cook veggies all at the same time and it is dirt cheap! I may get 8 cup one, as the 20 cup one you have is way too much for us.

                                    I may just try it out! (I may get a disapproving glance for getting a non-Japanese one). :-)
                                    The silver one does look cool though.

                                    I love steaming, but hate steam baskets, for some reason. (it's just me, shrug). This looks simple.

                                    1. re: chowsue

                                      It is very simple. My dog has a special diet and included in that is rice and chicken broth, so I am not only using it for our purpose, but making him extra as well, so I use it often. Easy clean up, too. I think the larger one is a good buy as it can double as a slow-cooker.

                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                        " Easy clean up, too."

                                        You have the dog lick it out?

                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          Never thought of that! Thanks for the tip :) LOL

                                  3. Hi Chowsue,

                                    I fix rice cookers for a living and feel that Zojirushi rice cookers are very well made. Have you tried contacting the company directly? If not, I would take the time to contact the company and explain the problem you are having. I think that they will be very understanding and rectify your problem. They are located in California and easy to find on the internet.

                                    1. I do not have a recommendation for you since my Zo rice cooker is over twenty years old; I have no experience with newer Zo rice cookers!

                                      I am also a bit mystified as to why you need to keep rice for "multiple days". Either your previous rice cooker is huge and holds a prodigious amount of cooked rice, or your family does not eat that much rice and therefore one rice cooker-worth of cooked rice would last multiple days. Can you cook a lesser amount? Also, I think a smaller amount of rice (and therefore lesser amount of water) will cook faster.

                                      My wife and I eat about 4-5 Cs of cooked rice per meal, when we have rice. One meal's worth of rice cooks in about 20 minutes. When we do have left-over, it will keep on the cooker's "Keep Warm" setting for a full day or more before becoming too dried out, but will never spoil.

                                      BTW, the Zo NSDAC10's user manual says:

                                      "Do not use the Keep Warm mode for the following:
                                      Keeping rice warm for more than 12 hours."

                                      1. Oh, and BTW, I fluff rice with a SINGLE chopstick, doing a "stirring" circular motion in the rice. The single chopstick has enough "presence" to move the rice around and "aerate" it, but not so much "presence" that it'd crush/smear the cooked rice. Also, the bamboo reduces scratching of the non-stick finish.

                                        1. Zojirushi has 3 models that have the extended keep warm feature: NP-NVC10/18; NP-HTC10/18; NP-HBC10/18.

                                          Zojirushi Customer Service:
                                          Phone: (800) 733-6270 / (310) 769-1900 / Fax: (310) 323-5522
                                          M – F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: asianteasets

                                            I think there are more Zojirushi models that have extended keep warm.

                                            In fact, I have had my fuzzy logic Zojirushi for five years and didn't know it had an extended keep warm feature until I saw your post and checked for myself. Thanks!

                                            It looks like you have to switch the rice cooker over from regular keep warm to extended keep warm, which keeps the rice warm for over 24 hours. The higher end models have a feature to refresh the rice before serving.

                                            I will try this. The regular keep warm on my rice cooker is only good for a few hours - after that it starts to turn yellow.

                                          2. ChowSue--

                                            Try to find The Magic Pot first.

                                            Please, ignore all of those rice cookers that do more More MORE -- they aren't rice cookers, they are modified slow cookers with alternative marketing.

                                            When we arrived in DC from China with no rice cooker [since I had previously tried to run a Korean RC with a USA power converter and it never succeeded], I went straight to the Asian markets-- all had the fancy plastic machines with fish/ stew/ grill/ vegetable/ rice buttons.
                                            I moped around and browsed online stores for a while, then I found MY Magic Pot at a thrift store-- one button down, 20 minute rice, stays hot until I unplug it.
                                            Two or three times I've gotten reallllllllly stinky rice on the 4th day, but I attribute that to taking multiple bites with the same spoon.
                                            Mine is a Panasonic Rice-O-Mat, all silver exterior, glass lid with central knob.
                                            Here's the pic of one from a completed eBay auction:

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                              Spot on!

                                              Cheap rice cookers do the basic job. Fancy are a waste of money. (I have a great brand one someone gave me when an old Panasonic finally broke, being dropped. The great brand sucks)

                                              You can use a small pot on the stove and cook perfect rice, and adjust time and water according to variety. It's not that hard.

                                              Don't spend over $20 if you buy a cooker. Kris is spot on.

                                              1. re: law_doc89

                                                Everytime I cook rice on the stove it comes out horrible. It sticks to the pot, making cleanup a pain, it is usually mushy. Maybe I am a spazz.
                                                The rice cookers make perfect rice every single time. NO cleanup.

                                                And I disagree. Cheap rice cookers do not work just as well. I have had rice at a neighbor's house in a cheap rice cooker, and it is not as good as the rice I make in a more expensive cooker.

                                                Everyone has to do what works for them. Maybe someone reading this thread will find that works for them, so thanks for the suggestion. My mother makes rice on the stove. But she doesn't work outside the home and has the time to do so. I work 40-90 hour weeks, and manage the household completely on my own, along with other responsibilities. And we eat all made from scratch, homecooked meals everyday. A rice cooker makes that possible for me. Sometimes I have to work the second shift....and my husband doesn't cook. So with the rice cooker, he can come home after work and reheat a meal I left for him....and fresh rice is ready for him, and he doesn't have to cook a fresh pot on the stove. He refuses to eat refrigerated rice, as he does not like the texture. My husband cook rice twice a day every day on the stove? LOL. Right. You so funny. :-)
                                                I gotta do what works for my family, and this WORKS.

                                                Hey, millions of people throughout Asia and the world can't ALL be wrong about rice cookers. Different strokes for different folks.

                                                1. re: chowsue

                                                  It is not recommend to keep the rice warm in the cooker for a long time. Using the "Keep-Warm" function on the cooker for a long time will make the rice stick to the pot. There are nice electronic rice cookers with timers on it. I prefer a fresh pot on the stove also..only because I cook a half cup of rice. :)

                                                  1. re: tatungusa

                                                    Who doesn't recommend that? I regularly use mine and it doesn't stick at all. I cook a small amount nearly every day in my Zojirushi and works like a charm every time.

                                              2. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                No, I was replying to Law who recommended a cheap rice cooker or using a pot on the stove.

                                              3. I wound up buying the Zojirushi NS-TSC10. It was on sale at Hmart for $99, normally $200. WOOT!

                                                My biggest complaint is that the lid doesn't open naturally all the way enough to remove the inner pot. After popping the button to open the lid, I have to push the lid back with my finger a bit, to make a big enough clearance for the pot. I have never before seen a rice cooker not open enough when the lid is popped.

                                                So far, so good. The rice stays fresh for about 2 days. Good enough. Not as great as our original Magic one, the National, but everyone I talk to about this says the same thing

                                                "They don't make them like they used to"

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: chowsue

                                                  Well I, for one, am glad you got one you like. When you use it a lot, it is really important. Congratulations. I'm also happy you updated us (so many people don't). Here's to having many happy rice days! Cheers.

                                                  1. re: chowsue

                                                    +1 on the update-- thanks.

                                                    I do want to offer a tiiiiny clarification -- I wan't advocating "cheap" as much as I was suggesting "old" and "previously loved," thus "less expensive."

                                                    I'm glad you found a great deal. HMart almost always makes me happy.

                                                  2. sorry I can't give you solution for your problem.
                                                    But just curious why don't you cook rice for 2-3 days. You can cook a new batch immediately after you emptied the pan. Maybe 2 pan will help if you don't want to wash it directly.

                                                    I would not use metal fork for my teflon coated pan.

                                                    I cook my rice for 1 day portion and unplug my rice cooker after my rice fully cooked to save electricity bill & earth.

                                                    1. I sell their products at times, and all I can say is the Zojirushi is a very customer oriented company, and I am sure that if you contact them they do their utmost to address your concern in a timely manner. Also, I don't think that they use Teflon coatings with their products.

                                                      1. In case anyone still consults this thread: I have a Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 and it keeps rice warm and delicious basically indefinitely. Like, over 3 days. I recommend this machine HIGHLY. Occasionally if you just have a little rice or quinoa left in the bowl, and you leave it for ages and ages, it will get a bit toasted/crusty. But overall the longevity of the rice in this machine is pretty miraculous.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Pensqua

                                                          I am looking for a rice cooker that can hold/warm for up to 12 hours at a precise temperature range of between 135-140 degrees F. Any recommendations?

                                                          1. re: Seitan

                                                            Hi Seitan, I do not recommend using the keep warm function for that long. From personal experience, I think the rice tastes different when you use the "keep-warm" function on a rice cooker. The texture is a bit different and there is more moisture. I recommend using a rice cooker that has a timer on it so you can have a fresh pot.