How Do I Choose the Best 5-Cup Rice Cooker?

Alex Tree

Choosing the best rice cooker involves considering its features and avoiding known problems. Note that a 5-cup rice cooker might actually hold just 30 ounces (850 grams) of rice because the measurements are not standard. Know what recipes you will be cooking in the 5-cup rice cooker in order to get the features you need. Avoid rice cookers with separate lids and bottoms that are not non-stick for convenience's sake.

Red rice.
Red rice.

A 5-cup rice holder often does not actually hold 5 cups (1,000 grams) of dry rice. This is because the measuring cups that usually come with the machines do not have standard measurements. Many of them consider 6 ounces (170 grams) to be a complete cup, while the standard cup is 8 ounces (226) grams. Your own experience may vary depending on the model, but you may need to purchase a larger machine if feeding a big family.

Rice made in a rice cooker.
Rice made in a rice cooker.

Keep your recipes in mind when choosing a 5-cup rice cooker. Some cookers do not have the ability toast or warm rice, much less bake a cake. Baking cakes is not an advertised use of rice cookers, but some people have had luck in making a quick cake or two. Think about your favorite recipes or recipes you wish to try when looking at the features of a rice cooker.

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Measuring cups are useful for measuring rice to be cooked.
Measuring cups are useful for measuring rice to be cooked.

Avoid rice cookers with separate lids because they might not fit the cooker snugly enough. Without a tight seal, the rice may not be done when the cooker thinks it is. In addition, a glass lid can spew water from around the seal or its hole. Cookers with separate lids are also reportedly more difficult to clean than a one-piece rice cooker. As yet another drawback, the lid can break when dropped or misused, forcing you to buy a new 5-cup rice cooker or order a replacement from the manufacturer.

Different types of rice.
Different types of rice.

In addition to avoiding separate glass lids, you may want to avoid rice cookers that are not non-stick. Cooking rice can be messy and the last thing most people want to do is scrub burnt rice off their cookers. A non-stick surface can save you the hassle with one downside: The surface can be peeled or scratched off. With a non-stick 5-cup rice cooker, you must be careful not to scratch the interior of the pot. Even if you manage to keep the non-stick surface pristine, it might still peel with age and wear.

Uncooked rice.
Uncooked rice.
A 5-cup rice cooker.
A 5-cup rice cooker.

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