Kitchn Love Letters

This Zojirushi Rice Cooker Makes Rice Just Like How My Parents Made It

published Oct 28, 2022
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greeens, onion, avocado, and rice on a blue plate
Credit: Abigail Demarest

If I could only choose one appliance to have in my kitchen forever, it would be a rice cooker. While I’d definitely miss having a microwave, blender, hand mixer, and even my sous vide machine, a rice cooker is an absolute must in our household. 

I’m Filipino and grew up eating rice pretty much every day, sometimes even twice a day. And when I moved out of my parents’ place to live with my husband and tried to make rice without a rice cooker, it was a disaster. I tried cooking it over the stove and in my Instant Pot, but the results were always lackluster and required much more effort than a rice cooker would need. I eventually bought a cheap rice cooker for $15 and was relieved to have that problem solved. Except it wasn’t.

While our cheap rice cooker produced better rice than my homemade methods, it would often sputter boiling hot, starchy water all over our counter, and if I didn’t take the rice off the heating element quickly enough after it finished cooking, the grains on the bottom would be burned and crispy.

Finally, for Christmas last year, my husband bought me a Zojirushi Micom Rice cooker (I was nerding out over it after writing a story about rice cookers), and I’ve been using it almost every day since.

The Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker has a microcomputer (hence the Micom) that adjusts the cooking temperature and time to achieve perfectly fluffy rice without a burnt bottom. It even sings the first few notes of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at the start and end of the cooking process. It has a built-in retractable power cord for easy storage and a removable inner lid that detaches for easy cleaning, which are great features but much less exciting compared to the joyful, jaunty tunes.

Credit: Abigail Demarest

Bells and whistles aside, this rice cooker makes rice just like how my parents made it when I was growing up. The smell of rice cooking is a super-nostalgic scent for me, and it always takes me back.

While I’ve only used my Zojirushi rice cooker to make white and brown rice (my main go-tos), there are also settings for porridge, sweet rice, cake, and steaming (it comes with a steaming basket, so it can be a multitasker if you want it to be. The substantial manual, which is thick enough to be an actual book, includes recipes for sponge cake and cheesecake.

The rice cooker also has Keep Warm, Extended Keep Warm (if you want to keep your rice in the cooker for more than 12 hours), and Reheat functions. I’ve found the Keep Warm setting to be particularly helpful when I want to make a pot of rice before heading out to the gym so it’s ready when we get home.

Credit: Abigail Demarest

Aside from the fact that it’s a bit too large to sit out on my countertop all the time, the only other downside is that the Zojirushi takes longer than an average rice cooker because it lets the rice soak in the water before cooking. A pot of white rice, for example, might take just 20 minutes in a typical rice cooker, but in the Zojirushi, it’s 45 minutes. That’s about how long I’m at the gym anyway, so it’s not too big of an issue.

My fancy Zojirushi rice cooker is easily my favorite appliance. If you don’t eat rice that often or you’re comfortable making it on the stove, well, you might not need this rice cooker. But if rice is one of your staple foods and you enjoy the convenience of a rice cooker, this one is definitely worth the investment.

Buy: Zojirushi 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer, $164.56 (originally $189.49)