Getting your head around cooking rice, its many varieties and the water ratios can be tricky. This is why a rice cooker is a valuable piece of kitchen equipment. Rice cookers are designed to consistently produce fluffy rice with very little intervention, except a good rinse of the rice before you start.

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Rice cookers come in all shapes and sizes, from the most straightforward, affordable microwave models to all-singing, dancing multi-cookers. We tested an extensive range and the results were surprising.

For a simple recipe to use in your rice cooker, try our Japanese rice/gohan recipe. In certain rice cookers, this sausage & fennel risotto can be made after the sausages and fennel are fried. There's also a vegetarian mushroom risotto that would work well. If you want to meal prep, use your rice cooker to make healthy rice bases for salad boxes – discover the recipes here.

So, which is the best rice cooker for you? Read on to discover our top buys. For more unbiased expert buyer’s guides, visit our reviews section to find 200+ round-ups of everything from the best food processors and best slow cookers, to the best coffee machines.

Black Friday rice cooker deals

Looking for a great saving on one of the rice cookers in this list? With Black Friday sales now live, we've seen the following deals on the tried-and-tested products.  Keep up to date on all the best Black Friday kitchen appliance deals during and after the event right here, and let us do the hard work for you. For more great savings, discover the full roster of the biggest Black Friday deals including Black Friday air fryer deals and Black Friday slow cooker deals.

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Best rice cookers at a glance

  • Best all-rounder and our star buy: Bamboo IH ceramic rice cooker YUM-IH15, £199.90
  • Best rice cooker for top-end multi-cookers: Sage the Fast Slow Go, £169.95
  • Best single-function rice cooker: Cuckoo automatic rice cooker CR-0331, £113.81
  • Best multi-cooker rice cooker: Tefal all-in-one CY505 pressure cooker 6 litre, £99.99
  • Best small rice cooker: Lakeland mini multi-cooker, £59.99 and Judge JEA63 small electric rice cooker, £31.77
  • Best rice cooker for intelligent cooking: Lakeland two-portion mini electric rice cooker, £39.99
  • Best microwavable rice cooker: Lékué microwaveable rice cooker, £17.99
  • Best rice cooker for large numbers: Russell Hobbs 27040 large rice cooker, £36.99
  • Best rice cooker for simplicity and price: Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine microwave rice cooker, £22

The best rice cookers 2022

Bamboo IH ceramic rice cooker YUM-IH15

Best all-rounder and our star buy

Wattage: 1110W

The Bamboo matches its price tag in the quality of its build, attractive design and the fluffy, flavourful rice it produces. Settings include a 'GABA' option that’s designed to germinate brown rice, and 'Yumami' function for white rice that uses phased temperatures to release sugars for a sweeter flavour. Non-rice programmes include slow cooking, porridge making, steaming and cake baking. Read our full Bamboo IH ceramic rice cooker review.

Sage the Fast Slow Go rice cooker

Best rice cooker for top-end multi-cookers

silver rice cooker surrounded by vegetables and plants alongside

Wattage: 1100W

The Sage the Fast Slow Go multi-cooker is a super-stylish, with a brushed stainless steel outer so good looking, you'll want to keep it on your worktop. Apart from making tender, fluffy rice, it has many valuable functions, including making excellent risottos. The instructions are well-written, so you can have the Sage up and running in no time. It's one of the most expensive cookers on our test, but is an investment in its quality and versatility – it will replace several machines in the kitchen, making cooking and time far more efficient. Read our full Sage the Fast Slow Go review.

Cuckoo automatic rice cooker CR-0331

Best single-function rice cooker

Wattage: 360W

This specialist machine scores highly for its simple functionality. We tested the three-cup cooker, but the Cuckoo is also available in a larger six-cup model. Both versions are compact and have small footprints. Though there is only one programme for cooking rice, we had good results with white, brown and short-grain. Read our full Cuckoo automatic rice cooker review.

Tefal all-in-one CY505 pressure cooker 6 litre

Best multi-cooker rice cooker

Wattage: 1600W

Multi-cookers offer just that: a variety of cooking options in one appliance. Tefal has various all-in-one machines in its range, but for rice cooking, this pressure cooker hybrid scores highly. In addition to plain rice, the pressure cooker can be used to make risotto, paella and other rice-based dishes, so it's ideal for busy family mealtimes. Read our full Tefal all-in-one pressure cooker review.

Lakeland mini multi-cooker

Joint best small rice cooker

Wattage: 400W

Rice cookers can be bulky, but this diminutive version from Lakeland is ideal for smaller kitchens. The rice-cooking programmes work well and produce good, fluffy results. The cooker’s other functions include slow cooking, cake baking and yogurt making, and it can also be used for proving bread dough. Read our full Lakeland mini multi-cooker review.

Judge mini rice cooker

Joint best small rice cooker

Judge JEA63 Small Electric Rice Cooker

Wattage: 200W

The Judge mini rice cooker is precisely that, at just 16cm across and (with the fully detachable lid) just 19cm tall. This compact machine is perfect for one or two people, or to make a couple of small portions of rice occasionally. The cooker is fully automatic, with a one-touch button that makes it extra-simple to use, with the bonus of the inner pot and detachable inner lid being dishwasher-safe. There’s a rice paddle and measuring cup included, but the latter sadly split the first we used it. Nonetheless, this is a great little cooker. Read our full review of the Judge mini rice cooker.

Lakeland two-portion mini electric rice cooker

Best rice cooker for intelligent cooking

Lakeland 2 portion mini electric rice cooker

Wattage: 250W

The Lakeland two-portion rice cooker is small, sturdy and uses intelligent cooking, which requires little intervention to produce great rice. Plus, using the delay timer, it will also make two bowls of porridge while you sleep. The cooker has a small footprint, so it's great when space is tight. We especially love the look and feel of this sturdily built little cooker, and the included three-year guarantee. Cooking white and brown rice takes slightly longer than similar models, but it's worth waiting. Read our full review of the Lakeland two-portion mini electric rice cooker.

Lékué microwaveable rice cooker

Best microwavable rice cooker

Wattage: N/A

If space in your kitchen is limited, a microwavable rice cooker is a good alternative to an electric version. This model is large enough to cook four servings of rice and can also be used to make couscous, quinoa and other grains. After a few attempts, the finished results were very good. The stylishly designed cooking bowl can be taken straight to the table to serve and has a double-layered wall to keep the rice warm on the table. Read our Lékué rice cooker review.

Russell Hobbs large rice cooker

Best rice cooker for large numbers

Silver and black Russell Hobbs rice cooker

Wattage: 500W

The Russell Hobbs 27040 large rice cooker is a rice cooker for larger groups and families, promising it can cook up to 14 portions. The cooker is straightforward to use, with just one switch that automatically switches off the cooking function once done and flips it onto the 'keep warm' function. The transparent glass lid makes keeping an eye on the rice cooking easy and, when removed, hangs neatly from the handles, keeping the worktop clean and uncluttered. This is an excellent cooker for this price, though better instructions of quantities of rice and expected cooking time would have been welcome. Read our full review of the Russell Hobbs 27040 large rice cooker.

Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine microwave rice cooker

Best rice cooker for simplicity and price

Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine microwave rice cooker

Wattage: N/A

The Joseph Joseph microwave rice cooker is a neat, stylish and efficient cooker that makes from one to six portions of fluffy rice. It's perfect for anyone who wants an easy to use rice cooker. Plus, it makes porridge. The two-litre cooker is made of durable plastic, with a bright orange rice paddle that neatly doubles up as a handle and lock, plus an inner pot that doubles as a colander for washing the rice. Additionally, with all the parts of this cooker being dishwasher-safe, cleaning it is a doddle. Read our full review of the Joseph Joseph 45002 M-Cuisine microwave rice cooker.

How to choose the best rice cooker

There are several factors to consider when purchasing a rice cooker:

Size

Before looking at what's available, know what size you need to help steer your choice. Rice cookers can be bulky, so consider the available space in your kitchen before buying.

A 500ml cooker will produce up to two portions, while the largest on test (6 litres) will make eight portions.

Glass or sealed lid?

A glass lid is usually found on simpler, cheaper models. This means you can watch the rice cooking, which is missing on sealed models. However, as rice cooking is quite vigorous, the lids tend to spit out water and steam at the edges, which can be dangerous.

Sealed lids are often only on more expensive rice and multi-cookers and usually have a vent, making them safer and far less messy.

Single-purpose

These machines are dedicated to cooking rice only, with a few offering vegetable steaming and porridge functions. Single-purpose rice cookers should come with instructions for cooking different rice types and usually include a measuring cup for the rice and water as well as a rice paddle. If you cook rice often and have room to store a machine, this option could be for you.

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Multi-purpose

A multi-cooker can be a tremendous space-saving machine as it rolls several functions – steaming, slow or pressure cooking and more – into one machine. Multi-cookers are more expensive, but offer greater flexibility than just cooking rice.

With many functions in one machine, it may at first seem complicated, but this tends to get easier with use. However, when the multi-cooker is used consistently to cook strong-flavoured foods like curries and stews, or for air- or deep-frying, it will eventually taint the flavour of rice. Therefore, rice purists may prefer a single-purpose cooker.

What is ‘fuzzy logic’ on a rice cooker?

Basic rice cookers use a thermal sensor to determine when the rice is done. When the contents of the pan go above a fixed temperature, the machine either turns off or switches to a 'keep warm' mode.

Top-of-the-range cookers use 'fuzzy logic' processors, which are programmed to make precise adjustments to cooking time and temperature in response to sensors in the cooker. For example, the ambient temperature in a kitchen can affect how fast a rice cooker works. In the same way that a chef would lower the heat under a vigorously boiling pan, a fuzzy processor will lower the temperature of the rice cooker's heating element if the rice is cooking too quickly on a hot day.

Fuzzy logic cookers often have different programmes for different types of rice. Each program will have a unique heating/soaking cycle and temperature range for optimum cooking. Basic rice cookers are cheaper and produce good results, particularly if you tend to cook the same type of rice. Fuzzy logic cookers are better at cooking different rices, but they have a higher price tag.

How we tested rice cookers

Quality of cooked rice: each cooker was tested with white and brown rice. We looked for precise cooking that resulted in fluffy, clump-free white rice and al dente brown. Where available, we used the 'keep-warm' function to assess whether this was detrimental to the finished rice in any way.

Safety: we looked at how hot the cooker got while cooking, the amount of steam or spluttering from the lid and the cooker's stability on the worktop, including non-slip feet.

Multi-cookers: rice cooking and the finished quality was our primary concern, including any specific functions for rice cooking, such as risotto. The cooker had to be easy to understand and use. We also tested the quality and ease of cleaning the inner pot, assembly of the cooker and the ease of packing it away. Weight of carrying the multi-cooker was also important to us.

Extras: useful added extras, such as measuring cups, spoons, spatulas and colanders for rinsing, were considered. We looked at the usefulness of extra functions, including 'delayed start' and 'keep warm' functions.

Size: footprint and height relative to the capacity was considered. The convenience of hinged lids was weighed against the height they took up when open.

Ease of use: we looked for cookers with intuitive interfaces, easy to press buttons and responsive touchscreens. We looked for clear instruction manuals with accurate advice on water-to-rice ratios.

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