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Induction rice cookers are popular because they produce fluffy, flavorful, and evenly cooked rice. They can be used if you need rice ready at a specific time or if you don’t want to cook rice on the stovetop.
Many food lovers prefer rice cooked using induction heating as it is fluffier, more flavorful, and more evenly cooked than rice prepared using a conventional rice cooker. This article discusses factors to consider when choosing an induction rice cooker to suit your needs.
Once you have decided to go the induction route, the number of rice cookers to choose from is reduced. However, there are quite a few choices as the features offered vary according to the model.
Induction Rice Cooker vs. Conventional Rice Cooker
You may be wondering what the difference is between an induction rice cooker and a traditional rice cooker. Induction heating (IH) rice cookers use induction technology to heat the inner pan’s sides and bottom. Conventional electrical rice cookers heat the rice from the bottom up.
IH rice cookers have a coil (usually copper) in the base of the cooker’s main body. When the unit is switched on, an alternating current runs through the coil creating a magnetic field. Eddy currents are produced in the metal pan, and the pan is uniformly heated (due to the internal resistance to the flow of these eddy currents).
A conventional electric rice cooker has an electric heating plate in the base of the main body. The contents of the inner pan are heated by transferring heat from the heating plate to the pan.
Induction cooking technology is precise when it comes to the temperature and will stay at the temperature consistently. It heats the pan right away, so you do not need to wait for a heating element to generate heat that travels to the pan.
Do I want a pressure cooking function?
The first decision to make is whether you want a pressure cooking function with your induction rice cooker. Rice cookers with this function are more expensive than those without them. Some consumers believe it is worth the extra money, especially if you cook brown rice.
A pressure cooker is a pot with a lid and a safety valve. A rubber gasket fits into the lid, forming a seal between the pressure cooker pot and the lid. Once the food and liquid (usually water or a water-based liquid) are cooking, steam develops and can’t escape. This steam increases the cooker’s atmospheric pressure to a point where the boiling point of water is increased from 212°F to 250°F. When the cooker has reached full pressure, the safety valve opens, and the steam is let out.
The principle is the same when an induction heating pressure rice cooker is used. The pressure builds while the rice cooks. The heat and moisture are inside the pressure cooker, and the boiling point of water is raised to 250°F. The grains absorb water better than non-pressure rice cookers due to the higher temperatures.
The cooker selects the appropriate pressure level and the rice’s cooking time based on the chosen menu. In some induction heating pressure cookers, the pressure cooking function can’t be used with all the menu settings. For example, sushi and sweet rice and porridge menu settings do not apply pressure in the Zojirushi NP-NVC10. The product’s user manual usually details which menu settings apply pressure.
What size do I need?
Another consideration in choosing a rice cooker is size. The amount of rice you eat daily and how much room you have for the rice cooker should be factored into your decision. It is best to use a rice cooker that is designed for the serving size.
Induction rice cookers come in various sizes, with the smallest capacity being a 3-cup rice cooker. Other common sizes are 5, 5.5, and 10 cups of raw rice. Although most manufacturers are referring to dry rice when they state the capacity, you’ll want to check and make sure that’s the case.
Most rice cookers include a cup to measure the rice you plan to cook. The measuring cup provided is not equal to one U.S. Standard Cup, but is 6.1 ounces.
If you only eat one or two cups of rice at a time, the 3-cup rice cooker is all you’ll need. A 5-cup rice cooker is appropriate if you need 3-5 cups of rice, while a 10-cup unit is for those who cook more than 5 cups of rice at a time.
How will I use the induction rice cooker?
How the rice cooker will be used goes hand in hand with the features. Will it primarily be used to making dishes with rice, or will you also make bread, steel-cut oatmeal, porridge, and slow cooker recipes?
What features should I look for?
Types of rice: Brown, GABA Brown, sushi, jasmine, and sweet
Texture settings: Sometimes, a rice cooker includes settings allowing you to choose your rice’s texture. This way, you can make sure that your rice is softer or firmer, depending on your preference.
Scorched: The rice is lightly toasted, resulting in a crispy texture.
Umami: White rice with a savory taste.
Steam-reduce: Reduces steam producing firmer and harder rice than if the setting were not used.
Rinse-Free: The cook does not have to rinse the rice before cooking. Products that have this setting usually include a measuring cup to be used with this setting.
Quick-cook function: Some rice cookers have a quick-cook function where you can put your rice and water in, turn it on, and let it do its job.
Simmer or slow cook functions: Some induction rice cookers can do more than cook rice. You can find one with a simmer and a slow cook function to prepare other types of food.
Heating technology: Many rice cookers have heating functions reheating, keep warm, and extended keep warm.
Timer with a delayed start option: This is convenient as the cooker can be programmed to start cooking at a specific time and be cooked when ready to eat your meal.
Non-stick inner pots: If you choose a rice cooker with non-stick inner pots, your rice cooker is easier to clean.
Related Article: How to Steam Vegetables in a Rice Cooker without a Basket
Induction heating rice cookers produce perfect rice and are easy to use. Even though they are more expensive than traditional cookers, rice lovers splurge on an induction rice cooker. Hopefully, the information and checklist give you the information you need in choosing an induction rice cooker.
If you enjoy fluffy and evenly cooked rice, use the rice cooker frequently and use its capabilities, then the investment is worth considering. You’ll order less takeout and fast food as you can easily make low-cost fresh meals in your cooker.
Most brands that make induction rice cookers also make conventional rice cookers. If you are familiar with a brand, you might consider looking into it. The brands we chose to review on this website are Zojirushi, Tiger, and Cuckoo.
Click here for a printable checklist for choosing an induction rice cooker.
Type of Rice Cooker
- Induction Heating
- Induction Heating Pressure Cooking
Size (raw rice)
- 3 cups
- 5.5 cups
- 10 cups
Type of rice
- GABA Brown
- Slow Cook
- Quick Cook
- Keep Warm
- Extended Keep Warm
- Delayed Timer