Kitchn Love Letters

This Chef-Recommended Kitchen Gadget is My Go-To for Making Fluffy, Flavorful Rice

published Jan 28, 2022
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Credit: Guy Ambrosino

I’ll be the first to admit: I love rice. Since I eat this grain so often, I also know my way around a few different preparation methods for making it. In fact, I’ve covered a few of my favorite ways to make rice before, like cooking it the centuries-old way in my donabe, or making a crispy, golden tahdig in my beloved Caraway sauce pan. The rice-cooking method I have yet to share thus far? A rice cooker. 

This rice cooker from Zojirushi is not just any old steam machine. Believe me, I have been through countless cheap rice-cooking finds in my life. At a slightly higher price point than others, at first I was hesitant to purchase this gadget. However, after checking in with a couple of chef friends who attested to its greatness, I was left assured of its value. If this machine was the one that they used at home, it was bound to be one of my best investments yet. And it was. Bonus: right now, you can find it on sale at Amazon for even less than what I paid for it! 

The Zojirushi did not disappoint. It is now where I turn when I want rice, cooked to perfection, without any work at all; my trusted source for fluffy white rice, sticky gooey sushi rice, and simple healthy-feeling brown rice. The Zojirushi holds up to 5.5 cups, enough for a crowd (or just one if you’re me) and comes with a steamer insert, so making more than just rice is easy. With nine settings, all on a very user-friendly LCD screen, you can experiment with quite literally any grain. Try your hand at lentils, use it for slow cooking, or making beans — there’s even a steamed cake setting (my next adventure). Plus, the inner cooking pan is nonstick, so any creation slides right out.  

While the Zojirushi takes slightly longer to cook than your average appliance, it’s well worth the wait in my opinion. It takes a restaurant-quality rice-cooker like this to realize that not all rice is created equal. And if the quality of the cooked rice wasn’t enough (which, I assure you, it really is), the cleanup makes this rice cooker well worth it. All three internal components (the internal lid, the cooking pan, and the steamer) can pop right in the dishwasher so cleaning is just as easy as cooking. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this gadget also has a retractable cord for easy storage.

My only remaining question is: Could this versatile appliance be any more of a win-win?

Buy: Zojirushi 5.5 Cup Rice Cooker, $151.99 (normally $192)