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8 best rice cookers for flawless, fluffy results every time

Make space in your kitchen one of these gadgets and you’ll soon see the benefits

Sarah Finley
Friday 06 January 2023 09:39 GMT
Meal for one or family feast? Choose the size to suit your needs
Meal for one or family feast? Choose the size to suit your needs (iStock/ The Independent)
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Rice is a staple in most households, as it’s a great addition to everything from stir fries to curries and even salads. But for such a small grain it can be surprisingly hard to cook.

Those without the knowledge and practice of how the rice and water ratio works will no doubt find that their rice comes out gloopy, burnt or chewy, instead of the fluffy accompaniment they were hoping for.

Different rice varieties, such as those ideal for risotto, long grain, jasmine and basmati, mean that the chore of cooking your rice becomes even harder. So, the invention of rice cookers could be just what your kitchen has been craving.

The cookers, which normally sit on your kitchen surface or are designed to go in the microwave, mean you can add the desired amount of rice and water and get on with cooking the rest of your meal. But are they worth the investment?

Rice cookers come in all shapes and sizes – so it’s worth thinking about your rice needs per meal – an eight-portion cooker may look great but it will take up unnecessary space if you’re only a single household.

Some rice cookers will have pre-set functions or timers, while others work on the weight of the rice and water to tell you when your rice is ready. Some of the bigger models also have other functions, including frying and baking.

How we tested

We reviewed a number of different rice cookers – from compact models, which work in the background to bigger rice cookers, which have multiple uses – and tested them on how easy they were to use, how long they took, how fluffy our rice came out and if they’re good value for money.

The best rice cookers for 2023 are:

  • Best overall – Judge mini rice cooker: £33,
  • Best for families – Russell Hobbs medium rice cooker and steamer: £29,
  • Best multi-cooker with rice function – Ninja foodi 9-in-1 multi-cooker 6l: £229.99,
  • Best for ease of use – Lakeland mini electric rice cooker: £44.99,
  • Best budget rice cooker – ProCook microwave rice cooker: £9,
  • Best value rice cooker – VonShef 1.8l rice cooker/steamer: £34.99,
  • Best for larger portions – Breville 1.8l rice cooker and steamer: £28,
  • Best for fast cooking time – Tefal all-in-one electric pressure cooker: £119,

Judge mini rice cooker

Judge Electrical Mini Rice Cooker
  • Best: Overall
  • Cooking time: 15-30 mins
  • Capacity: 500ml
  • Portions: Two

This compact white rice cooker was a delight to use and the rice always came out perfectly fluffy. It creates two perfect portions, which barely take any time to cook.

It features an easy-to-use fully automatic one-touch button: you just fill it up with your desired amount of rice, plus water, and press start. It also comes with a measuring cup to measure out the correct amount of rice and water. We used it multiple times to cook long grain white rice and brown rice – leaving it to cook in the background while we prepared the rest of our dinner.

For the best results, we found cooking it for 15 minutes and then leaving it on the “warm” setting for another 15, while it consumed the left-over water, was the best method. Small enough to fit in a cupboard and attractive enough to have on your worktop, it won’t break the bank, but it will make preparing dinner a whole lot easier.

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Russell Hobbs medium rice cooker and steamer

Russell Hobbs Medium Rice Cooker and Steamer
  • Best: For families
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
  • Capacity: 1.8l
  • Portions: Six

We loved the size of this, as it fit on our worktop nicely, but the results were a bit hit and miss. The oval shaped cooker doesn’t work on a timer, but on the weight of the rice and water – so once the water has evaporated, it turns off. However, we had mixed results – risotto rice cooked well in the pot, but brown and basmati rice just came out as a gloopy mess.

When we did get it right it cooked up to six portions of rice, so great for batch cooking or for a larger family. Plus, we loved the removable, non-stick bowl, which we could clean easily or stick in the dishwasher. We also cooked vegetables and they turned out well. If you’re particular about your rice then this isn’t the cooker for you, but if you want an affordable accessory then it’s worth investing in it.

  1. £29 from
Prices may vary
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Ninja foodi 9-in-1 multi-cooker 6l

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker 6l
  • Best: Multi-cooker with rice cooker function
  • Cooking time: 2-15 minutes
  • Capacity: 6L
  • Portions: Eight

This huge cooker is one of the more expensive gadgets we tested but it also has eight other functions – including baking and frying.

The cooker comes with two lids, one for steaming and another for pressure cooking, and it also has a removable cooking pot you can use for rice and veg, as well as a crisp basket for cooking potatoes and meat. Attaching the pressure cooker lid and adding in the required water to the cooking pot, we cooked both white long grain rice and brown rice. We loved the speedy results – the white rice cooked in just two minutes on high and brown in 15.

The pre-set buttons were easy to use and we loved the recipe booklet that came with it. We cooked chicken, broccoli and rice, with all the ingredients placed in the cooker at the same time. In total the meal took just over 30 minutes to cook, with the chicken and broccoli tasting tender and the rice fluffy and full of flavour. We love that you can cook rice in the model separately or cook a whole meal in one go, while its other functions mean you have so much choice.

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Lakeland mini electric rice cooker

Lakeland Mini Electric Rice Cooker
  • Best: For ease of use
  • Cooking time: 40 mins
  • Capacity: 500ml
  • Portions: One-two

We loved this mini rice cooker, which was easy to move around in the kitchen and really user friendly. The black cylinder-shaped cooker also has a lid that clips off easily and a handle to transport.

Inside you’ll find a lift-out non-stick 500ml pan, while it also comes with a measuring cup to measure out your desired rice amount and water. The buttons and LED panel are quite basic and straightforward: you just press on “rice” for it to start the process. Depending on how much rice you add in the timings will differ, but we found it never went over 40 minutes. The only slight niggle was that the countdown only started when it was near the end of the cooking process.

Once the rice cooker is finished it gives you a beep and, if you’re not ready to eat, the stay warm function can be pressed. We cooked brown rice in the pan and it came out well cooked – fluffy and not chewy. Porridge can also be made in this cooker, while the delay function means you can wake up to porridge just in time for breakfast.

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ProCook microwave rice cooker

ProCook Rice Cooker
  • Best: Budget rice cooker
  • Cooking time: 12 mins
  • Capacity: 2.2l
  • Portions: Six

This medium green plastic rice cooker is perfect if you don’t have room for an electric one and want to store it away after use. Designed to be put in the microwave, it comes with a measuring cup to measure out the exact ratio of rice to water. Once you’ve added your rice, you place the drainer on top and attach the vented lid by locking the clips into place.

We made both basmati and brown rice in the device and found that the brown rice took a little longer to cook, while it failed to drain away all the water – but that’s where the drainer came in handy. The basmati wasn’t quite as fluffy as we’d hoped, and was slightly over cooked, but the brown rice, after a few more minutes, was perfect.

We love the design, including the handles, which stopped us from burning ourselves. However, we did find that condensation gathered in our microwave while using it. Nonetheless, it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget and don’t trust yourself cooking rice on the stove.

  1. £9 from
Prices may vary
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VonShef 1.8l rice cooker/steamer

VonShef 1.8L Rice Cooker _ Steamer Pot
  • Best: Value rice cooker
  • Cooking time: 30 mins
  • Capacity: 1.8l
  • Portions: Eight

One of the bigger rice-only cookers that we tested, this has capacity to cook up to eight cups of rice in one go – so definitely one for a big family, rather than a single household.

The silver, bowl-like design comes with a spring in the bottom, which activates the timer when you add your rice and water to the bowl, while the glass lid, with a vent, allows you to see your rice cooking. The controls were very basic: a simple one-touch control panel with cook function and keep warm indicator light. We would have liked to have seen different controls for different rice options.

The pot is non-stick, which meant we couldn’t burn the rice, even if we tried, while we also loved the measurement guidelines on the side of the pot. Our jasmine rice came out fluffy and well cooked. It’s not a huge investment but with its size, you’d need a medium-sized kitchen or somewhere to store it. Owing to demand, this is currently out of stock, so sign up to receive an email when it’s back.

  1. £34 from
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Breville 1.8l rice cooker and steamer

Breville 1.8L Rice Cooker and Steamer
  • Best: For larger portions
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
  • Capacity: 1.8l
  • Portions: Eight

Similar-looking to the VonShef rice cooker, Breville’s model is around a third cheaper, but has all the same functions.

Its non-stick bowl, which is placed in the round steel base, was perfect for cooking fluffy rice every time, while its extra steaming tray meant we could cook fish and vegetables too.

We only cooked two portions, using the cup to measure out our rice and water – but it would be great for a family or anyone who desires larger portions. The keep warm setting was also handy when the rest of our dinner wasn’t quite ready.

  1. £28 from
Prices may vary
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Tefal all-in-one electric pressure cooker

Tefal All-in-One Electrical Pressure Cooker
  • Best: For fast cooking time
  • Cooking time: 9-13 mins
  • Capacity: 6l
  • Portions: Eight

This large round cooker makes rice but also stews, risottos and meats. If you’re looking for a small cooker, then this isn’t it – with its hefty lid and 6l capacity it will take up a considerate amount of space on your worktop. However, the cooker exceeded all our expectations when we cooked rice and a risotto. We used the provided measuring cup for two portions of jasmine rice and added in the required amount of water. We used the pre-set rice button to start up the machine and, after just nine minutes, we had well-cooked, tasty rice.

We also tried the mushroom risotto recipe from the book provided – which gave step-by-step instructions on what pre-sets to use, adding in different ingredients throughout. The result after just 13 minutes was one of the best, and fastest, risottos we’ve ever made.

The clear and easy to use pre-sets – 25 in total –  are laid out well on the model, while temperature can also be adjusted. Other pre-sets include baby food, porridge and even a bake function. The “DIY chef” mode lets you adjust the cooking time and temperature manually to create your own recipe, or you can follow one of the 30 recipes that comes with it.

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Rice cooker FAQs

How energy efficient are rice cookers compared to cooking rice on the hob?

Just like an air fryer, rice cookers tend to be compact with a high wattage meaning rice can be cooked within minutes, thereby saving time and energy. Compared to cooking on the hob, a dedicated cooker also doesn’t waste any heat while ensuring your rice is evenly cooked.

The verdict: Rice cookers

We loved the size and ease of the Judge mini rice cooker – it cooked beautiful fluffy rice every time and we barely knew it was there, plus it doesn’t break the bank. If you want a machine that cooks rice and the rest of your meal Tefal’s all-in-one electrical pressure cooker is a well-thought-out model, big enough for a family or batch cooking. You definitely won’t get bored of using it and, considering its multi-function uses, the price isn’t extortionate.

Get dinner to table in a flash with one of the best pressure cookers

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