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Equipment

The Rice Cooker That Changed My Mind About Rice Cookers

Compact yet versatile and reliable, this intelligent rice cooker has transformed my weeknight cooking.
By

Published Feb. 23, 2023.

My husband and I eat rice or other grains as part of lunch or dinner at least three times a week. Cooking rice is often a finicky process, which mostly comes down to nailing the right texture. Will it turn out underdone and crunchy, or overcooked and soggy? And does rinsing the rice make a difference?

I’ve always been a stovetop rice kind of guy; once I found the right ratios to use and mastered the (inexact) one-knuckle method, I made rice that was perfectly acceptable. 

But then I read my colleague Carolyn Grillo’s rice cooker review, which crowned the Zojirushi 5.5-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer as the overall winner.

Winner

Zojirushi 5.5-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker & Warmer

The Fuzzy produced excellent rice. Like all of the computerized versions, a menu option (rather than an on/off lever) allows you to fine-tune the machine for a variety of rice types and textures.

I was impressed with its performance in Carolyn's tests, and I decided to purchase it. I've had my rice cooker for over a year now, and it has completely transformed my weeknight cooking. Here's how it won me over.

1. Hands-Off Prep

A rice cooker is the perfect embodiment of the phrase “set it and forget it.” Truly, I don’t have to do anything besides rinse the rice then add it to the cooker with some water and salt.

The included cup measure and guiding measurement lines on the nonstick bowl ensure the ratios are perfect. I simply turn it on, listen to the cute little song it plays, and completely forget about it. It’s delightfully mindless.

2. Fuzzy Logic

I never have to worry that I’ve cooked the rice too little or too much; the rice cooker is essentially smarter than I am. It employs an operating strategy known as “fuzzy logic,” which allows it to adjust cooking time and temperature throughout the cooking process, making for a better pot of rice.

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3. Extended Temperature Hold

Zojirushi products (including our favorite travel mug!) are famous for their ability to keep contents warm or cold for several hours, and this rice cooker is no different. Once the rice is done, the machine automatically switches to a temperature hold setting. You can also choose an “extended” temperature hold setting, which Carolyn found keeps rice at a food-safe temperature for up to 12 hours (!).

That way you can have rice throughout the day, or different members of your household can scoop up portions of hot rice whenever they need. The same can't be said for stovetop rice, which should be tossed sooner than you might think.

4. Easy to Clean

This one’s simple: the nonstick interior pot and removable lid liner are a cinch to clean—you’ll be ready for the next round of cooking in no time.

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5. Versatility

Simply put, this rice cooker cooks more than rice. It can tackle most grains through its various settings; I’ve personally used it for pearled barley and more with great success. This is great for packing grain bows (including quinoa and farro bowls) for lunches and switching up your rice routine. 

All these features have convinced me to keep my rice cooker on my countertop, ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s made prepping meals so much easier, and I think it’s worth every penny. 

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