The $17 Kitchen Appliance You’ll Use All the Time

updated May 30, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Amazon; Design: Kitchn

If you’ve ever burned your rice or undercooked your rice or somehow managed to make rice porridge, you know that cooking rice is one of those things that should be easy, but is actually remarkably easy to mess up.

So maybe after you ended up with soupy rice to go with your sheet pan chicken, you thought about getting a rice cooker? Because this handy appliance delivers the promise of perfect rice every single time — no undercooked rice that you creatively call “al dente!” No crunchy bits stuck to the bottom of your pot!

Perfect. Fluffy. Rice. Every. Single. Time.

But then you may have thought, A rice cooker takes up precious space! And it can only do one thing! Do I really need it?

The answer, in our opinion, is yes — if the one in question is this cute-and-compact rice cooker from Dash (which, by the way, is 50 percent off on Amazon right now).

For starters, it’s seriously adorable. Most rice cookers are, let’s be honest, kind of an eyesore. But we (really!) wouldn’t mind having this little red cooker sitting on our counters. (If red isn’t your thing, it comes in other colors, including pink, mint green, white, and black. The pink is also on sale.)

It’s also, as the name implies, mini. The small footprint means that, whether you choose to give it space on your counter or store it in your cabinet, it’s not taking up serious real estate.

But it’s not so small that you’ll have to make multiple batches: It can make 2 cups of rice (about 6 cups cooked), which is enough to feed a family.

Then there’s the issue of functionality. You might think this rice cooker is a unitasker (I certainly did), and yes it will make perfect rice and keep it warm until you’re ready to eat it. But you can use it for a ton of other things besides rice. Obviously, it works for other grains, like quinoa, farro, and wheat berries. And because this cooker is also a steamer, it’s aces at a handful of other essential cooking tasks, like making hard-boiled eggs. (Seriously, you should be steaming your hard-boiled eggs.) Soups, beans, oatmeal — these can all be made in this trusty little cooker-that-could.