I’m not sure about you, but rice is a staple in my diet. It’s ridiculously versatile, can be dressed up or down to complement or become a meal, and is relatively low calorie as far as starches are concerned. The problem is that cooking rice–real rice, not the “nuke-in-the-bag-pseudo-rice”–can take a bit of time. And let’s be honest, time can be a luxury; especially when you’re a parent with kids in school, or a student yourself. When I think back to my university days, I have vivid memories of being so busy that the very prospect of cooking dinner made me sweat with anxiety.
Perhaps it was that anxiety that prompted a friend of mine to give me a rice cooker for my birthday in my senior year. An odd gift? Perhaps; but she knew how I struggled to cook for myself when I was bartending five nights a week while maintaining a full course load, rent, and a social life. Now, 15 years later, I still struggle to cook for myself due to my busy schedule, so continue to use that cooker every Sunday to prepare enough rice for a week’s worth of meals. Sadly though, my cooker is on its last legs and I’m due for a new one. But with so many options out there where do I start? Like many of you, I start with customer reviews. So if you too are looking to make meal prep as easy as possible this school year, I’ve done the leg work for you and have identified the top 5 rice cookers based on our Best Buy customer reviews:
Not only does this Panasonic rice cooker put my 15 year old beast to shame with its sleek stainless steel finish, but with it’s 5-cup capacity it can produce 10 cups of cooked rice, which is (a) 5 cups more than a single person needs a week, (b) ideal for a family of two, and (c) at least two or three meals for a family of more than two.
Perhaps the best part though is that this rice cooker has qualities one would attribute to a slow cooker, including the fact that it will automatically switch over to “keep warm” mode once the rice has cooked, a setting that maintains an ideal serving temperature for up to 12 hours. Add to that the fact that its Fuzzy Logic technology automatically adjusts power and cooking time for precise and consistent rice every time, and you really can’t go wrong.
Here’s what Julia from Saskatchewan had to say about the Panasonic 5-cup rice cooker:
This is a great product with so many functions.
I really like this product! It seems to be costly however it has so many functions! It can cook rice, bake cakes, slow cook and steam, so it is better to buy one cooker instead of buying 3-4 specific ones. Recently I baked a cake in this machine and it turned out fantastic! I definitely recommend it to everyone who wants to save time cooking and also save kitchen space!
If you have a larger family and the thought of 10 cups of cooked rice makes you laugh out loud, the Panasonic 23-cup rice cooker might be for you.
As a single person, 46 cups of cooked rice is something I simply can’t fathom, but when I look at my brother and sister-in-law with their four school-aged kids who eat a ridiculous amount of food, I can see 46 cups being just enough to last them for the week, week and a half tops, but the fact that my SIL (sister-in-law) can cook all that rice at once and not have to stress about it on a daily basis? That means she has multiple hours per week where she can focus on other important items besides dinner side dishes, like getting everyone to their various after school activities on time. Go SIL!
Hong Hoa from Montreal loves the Panasonic 23-cup rice cooker:
This rice cooker very good, cooking fast!
Does it look like an alien pod? A little bit, yes it does. Is it a micro-computerized rice cooker with seven cooking settings that allow you to steam a variety of rice types? Yes it is.
From sweet rice to porridge, from brown to multi-grain rice, this rice cooker has your back with its seven computerized cooking menu settings, 12-hour preset timer, and easy-to-use LCD panel. It also features a removable steam vent that makes cleaning easy, and let’s be honest–when you’re busy, you don’t want to spend an hour taking an appliance apart to clean all its bits.
Tiger is always good!
This is the third cooker we have, we like it very much!
Rae from Richmond, BC likes the Tiger:
If you’re anything like me and you like an appliance that serves multiple purposes, the Breville Risotto Plus is your new friend. Said to be an “all-in-one” device, this bad boy lets you slow cook, steam rice, make risotto, and steam veggies.
As far as capacity is concerned, it cooks up to 10 cups of rice, which equates to 20 cups of cooked rice. So, with one small appliance, you can prep a huge amount of rice for the week ahead, and create multiple non-rice dishes, one of which is risotto, which is a rice/pasta hybrid that is perhaps the most delicious thing on the planet.
Teresa from Richmond, BC loves the Breville Risotta Plus:
Excellent. We have used it at least two times a week and everything we have made in it has been good. We have yet to use it as a risotto or a rice cooker, we have just been using it as a slow cooker. My son has the same machine and he has made risotto with it and it turned out great. We like this product as it allows you to have several uses for it and you don’t have to have a lot of different appliances.
Similar to the Breville Risotto Plus, the Oster Programmable Rice Cooker can cook more than just rice. With it, you can prep up to 20 cups of cooked rice for the week, and then, once your rice is portioned into containers, use it to make a fabulous vegetable soup and then steam a bunch of chicken breasts for the week ahead.
JC from Winnipeg says the Oster Rice Cooker is ‘Perfect!’
Best did a price match. Got a great deal for what it has to offer. Works very well for this filipino family
Rice is almost like lettuce in the sense that it can provide a base for some amazing meals and side dishes. However, unlike lettuce, it takes time to prepare, which is why a rice cooker is a welcome addition to any busy person’s kitchen. You can spend a little time once a week and prep all the rice you need for seven days worth of meals. You can find a great selection of rice cookers at Best Buy.