The Best Rice Cooker for Perfectly Fluffy RiceThe Best Rice Cooker for Perfectly Fluffy Rice

The Best Rice Cooker

Or how to get rice right every time, without slaving over the stove.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Jun 25, 2020
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Jun 25, 2020

Let’s face it, there are certain tasks in life that we rarely get right. Like pushing a door clearly labelled ‘pull’, trimming our own fringes and knowing which way round to hang the toilet paper. Another big thing to add to that list? Cooking rice on the stove top. 

If you find it’s either so overcooked it’s stuck to the pan or so undercooked it crunches, you should leave rice cooking to the pros: rice cookers. 

The best rice cooker is simple to use and easy to clean. It should produce perfectly fluffy rice, keep it warm until you’re ready and maybe tackle other cooking jobs, like steaming veggies. Here are the best rice cookers in Australia. We’ve chosen these from hours of research; they’re informed by expert opinions and real Aussie feedback.

Affiliate disclosure
Best for most

Breville The Rice Box

Make your rice cooker work a little harder with Breville The Rice Box. A combination rice cooker and steamer, it produces steamed and crispy rice, plus congee, sushi, porridge and soup as well as steamed veggies, poultry and seafood. 10-cup capacity, it’s programmable and has an auto keep warm function.

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Breville The Rice Box
Top
Pick
Best for easy use

Panasonic SR-DF181WS

The 10-cup capacity Panasonic SR-DF181WST is a compact, easy to use rice cooker with 4 cooking modes. It handles white, brown and sticky rice, with quick cook functionality. It’s the only 1 of our picks to mention fuzzy logic: it automatically adjusts the settings to cook your food most effectively.

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Panasonic SR-DF181WS
Best for budget

Target Rice Cooker

The Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker is just $18. This means it’s very no-frills but it does deliver everything you need in a rice cooker, like a removable glass lid, non-stick aluminum pot, auto keep warm function and a detachable cord. Just don’t expect it to last years.

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Target Rice Cooker

How we picked

Rice cookers are a bit of a niche nice-to-have. This made our job of picking Australia’s best rice cookers easier. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. This gave us a shortlist of rice cookers that had been put through their paces by CHOICE experts. 

We then consulted ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website. We cross-referenced rice cookers that had been reviewed by CHOICE with how popular they were on ProductReview.com.au. We were looking for around 4 out of 5 stars, with at least 50 reviews. These reviews gave us insights into how the rice cookers performed in real Aussie kitchens

We ended up with a list of rice cookers that performed well in the lab and the real world. We ensured the rice cookers covered a range of budgets and functionality, from simple rice cooking to multi-functional appliances. They also all needed to be easy to use and clean and come in around $100. With that criteria in mind, we decided Australia’s top rice cookers.

Best for most -> Breville The Rice Box

Breville The Rice Box

Make your rice cooker work a little harder with Breville The Rice Box. A combination rice cooker and steamer, it produces steamed and crispy rice, plus congee, sushi, porridge and soup as well as steamed veggies, poultry and seafood. 10-cup capacity, it’s programmable and has an auto keep warm function.

Buy now

You might be all about the rice life, but if you want a rice cooker that works a little harder, meet the Breville The Rice Box. It’s a combination rice cooker and steamer. It can handle both white and brown rice and it makes steamed and crispy rice, congee, sushi, porridge and soup. With the included stainless-steel steaming tray, you can steam veggies, poultry and seafood too. 

It has a 10-cup capacity, which produces up to 20 cups of cooked rice. So, it’s cook-for-a-large-family size. The minimum it’ll take is 2 cups of uncooked rice, which will feed around 4 people. 

Programmable, you can have rice ready when you want it – you can preset the finished cooking time up to 15 hours in advance. This smart rice cooker senses when your rice is cooked perfectly and switches itself automatically to ‘keep warm’. This prevents overcooked or burnt rice. 

As well as its 6 ingredient settings (steamed rice, congee, crispy rice, sushi, porridge and soup), it has fast cook and reheat settings too. The fast cook mode is suitable for 2-4 cups of uncooked rice. It can be used for white rice, but not brown, and will knock about 5 minutes off the cooking time. Two cups of uncooked white rice take about 25-30 minutes on fast mode for fluffy steamed rice. 

Like all rice cookers, it’s not exactly fast. Two cups of uncooked brown rice take around 55-60 minutes to cook, with no fast option available. It has a non-stick coated cooking bowl for easy cleaning and has an auto shut-off feature. This means it’ll stay in keep warm mode for 24 hours before shutting off. 

It comes with a steaming tray, rice measuring cup and plastic serving spoon. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE, has good consumer reviews and a RRP of $109.95. 

Why buy the Breville BRC460 The Rice Box

Functionality

It’ll steam your rice beautifully, but will also produce crispy rice, congee, sushi, porridge and soup. 

Steaming

As well as rice, you can steam veggies, poultry and seafood in it too.

Cooking modes

It offers fast cook, reheat and auto keep warm options. 

Fixed lid

This prevents what’s inside from bubbling up and spilling over. See below for why a fixed lid can also be not-so-good.

Easy clean

The non-stick aluminium cooking bowl is easy to clean.

Programmable

Going out for the day, but still want rice for dinner? Use the digital timer to preset the finishing time up to 15 hours in advance.

Size

With a 10-cup capacity (and minimum 2 cups), it’s capable of producing a large amount of rice, making it suitable for big families or crowds.

The not-so-good bits

1-year warranty

Which is standard across all the rice cookers we reviewed but would still be nice to be a little more extensive. 

Fixed lid

The fixed non-see through lid means you’ve got no idea what’s going on inside. You’ll need to trust the cooker and invest time in learning the optimum time settings. Because it’s not removable, it’s also more difficult to clean. 

In summary 

If you’re going to invest over $100 in a rice cooker, it’s a good idea to have a multi-functional appliance that’ll make your life easier. We think the Breville The Rice Box will do that. Not only does it cook white and brown rice, it makes crispy rice, congee, sushi, porridge and soup and can steam veggies and more. The fast mode speeds cooking up a little and its programmable nature means you can set and forget until it’s time to eat. Great for cooking for families, it’s easy to clean and automatically keeps your food warm once it’s done.

Best for easy use -> Panasonic SR-DF181WS

Panasonic SR-DF181WS

The 10-cup capacity Panasonic SR-DF181WST is a compact, easy to use rice cooker with 4 cooking modes. It handles white, brown and sticky rice, with quick cook functionality. It’s the only 1 of our picks to mention fuzzy logic: it automatically adjusts the settings to cook your food most effectively.

Buy now

The Panasonic SR-DF181WST offers a little less than our Breville winner, for a little more money – it has a RRP of $129, $20 more than our winner. What you’re getting is a compact, easy to use rice cooker. It has the same capacity: 10 cups uncooked rice. 

It has 4 cooking modes: quick cook / steam, white rice, brown rice and porridge / soup. These are accessed by large 1-touch buttons, making it simple and user friendly. It can also cook cake and offers multiple rice cooking options: white rice, quick cook, brown rice and sticky rice.

The included steam basket also means you can steam small things, like dumplings. Driven by fuzzy logic, it automatically adjusts the power and time to cook your food most effectively. Once cooking is complete, it automatically switches to keep warm mode, which lasts up to 5 hours.

The removable pan is non-stick for easy cleaning. It comes with a measuring cup and scoop and a 1-year warranty. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and has good, although limited, consumer reviews. 

Why the Panasonic SR-DF181WST is worth considering

Easy use

With just 6 intuitive, large, 1-touch buttons this is a simple to use rice cooker.

Cooking modes

You can cook white and brown rice, as well as porridge, soup and cake. It’ll handle sticky rice too.

Fuzzy logic

This is the only rice cooker that specifically mentions ‘fuzzy logic’. Panasonic claims that this rice cooker will adjust the temperature and cooking time depending on the ingredients you put in, i.e. too much or too little water.

Auto keep warm

Once cooking is complete, it’ll automatically switch to keep warm mode which lasts up to 5 hours. 

Easy clean

The non-stick removable pan is easy to wash.

Steamer

With a steam basket included, you can also steam dumplings, veggies and more. 

Sealed lid

Which stops your food splattering and bubbling over. 

Quick cook

Whip up some beautifully fluffy white rice in about 30 minutes.

The not-so-good bits

Looks

The colourful child-like button icons aren’t to everyone’s taste. 

Not programmable

Which means you can’t set this up and leave it for multiple hours.

No end sound

Once your food is cooked, this rice cooker won’t beep to let you know. Instead, the indicator lights up. Ensure you set a timer somewhere else if you’re likely to overlook the indicator light.

No LED display

There’s no way of seeing how much cooking time is left.

Time taken

Brown rice takes around 2 hours to cook. 

1-year warranty

Again, this is standard across all the rice cookers we reviewed. A more extensive warranty would be nice though.  

In summary 

We reckon rice cookers don’t come any easier to use than the Panasonic SR-DF181WST. Four large 1-touch buttons help you easily make perfectly fluffy rice, each time. With a quick cook mode, plus the ability to handle both white and brown rice, porridge, soup, cake and even steam dumplings, it offers great functionality. It’s also the only rice cooker to directly mention that it’s driven by fuzzy logic. Compact, it has the same capacity as our Breville winner with the ability to make up to 20 cups of cooked rice at once.

Best for budget -> Target Rice Cooker

Target Rice Cooker

The Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker is just $18. This means it’s very no-frills but it does deliver everything you need in a rice cooker, like a removable glass lid, non-stick aluminum pot, auto keep warm function and a detachable cord. Just don’t expect it to last years.

Buy now

If you like rice, but don’t like the price of rice cookers, meet the Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker. It comes in at just $18. As you’d expect for the price, it’s basic. It has a removable glass lid, non-stick aluminium pot and an auto keep warm function. 

It comes with a measuring cup and rice spoon and the handles are cool touch. The cord is detachable which means you can bring it to the table and serve from there. Its 2L capacity isn’t huge. But it should make enough rice for 4 adults.

It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and gets over 4 stars from a very limited number of consumer reviews. 

Why buy the Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker

Price

It’s just $18.

Simplicity

It’s easy to use. Throw your rice and water in and let it go.

Removable cord

So you can serve from the table.

Auto keep warm

Once it’s done cooking, it’ll automatically switch to keep warm for no overcooked rice (hopefully).

Reviewed by CHOICE

It’s been put through its paces by the pros.

The not-so-good bits

Removable lid

From the reviews we’ve read, this usually means starchy water bubbles over the side and onto your benchtop.

No beep

When’s it ready? Unsure, because it won’t beep to tell you (although the lights will switch from cook to warm).

Durability

For $18, you shouldn’t expect this to last very long - we found plenty of consumer reviews agreeing with this.

In summary

Affordability your biggest concern? Consider the Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker. It’s just $18 which means it’s very no-frills. A small capacity (although it should make enough rice to feed 4 adults), it has a removable glass lid and non-stick aluminum pot. It does have an auto keep warm function though and a detachable cord, so you can take it to the table. This is helped by the cool touch handles. It includes a measuring cup and rice spoon. So, it’s everything you need in a rice cooker. Just don’t expect it to last years.

The competition

Being a niche nice-to-have, the Australian market isn’t exactly flooded with rice cookers. Here are the other ones we recommend.

Breville Set & Serve 7 Cup BRC310

If 10 cups of rice is excessive for you, consider the Breville Set & Serve 7 Cup. As the name states, it handles 7 cups – which is still around 17 cups of cooked rice. It’s much simpler than our Breville winner and that’s reflected in its low RRP: $69.95.

As you’d expect for a lower price, it has less functionality. It cooks rice, and it has an auto keep warm mode which will keep food warm for up to 5 hours. It has a stainless-steel steam tray for steaming veg, poultry and seafood. 

Rather than an integrated lid, it has a removable glass lid. This allows you to keep an eye on your food as it cooks, but also increases the chances of mess bubbling over the side. The non-stick cooking bowl does help with easy cleaning though.

You can serve at the table thanks to the removable cord. As well as the steaming tray, it comes with a measuring cup, serving spoon and 1-year warranty. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and has good consumer reviews. 

Choose this if...

You’d like an affordable, simple rice cooker with basic functionality and a removable glass lid.

Kambrook Rice Express KRC5 / KRC8

Looking like the Breville Set & Serve 7 Cup (not surprising as Kambrook is the more affordable arm of Breville), the Kambrook Rice Express is the second cheapest rice cooker we reviewed. It has a RRP of just $39.95.

It has an 8-cup capacity and easy 1-touch operation. It has 2 functions: cook or warm. The included steaming tray means you can also steam fish or veggies. A removable glass lid allows for easy cleaning, as does the non-stick aluminium cooking bowl. Plus, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your rice as it cooks. 

It includes a steaming tray, serving spoon, rice measuring scoop and the standard 1-year warranty. The downside? It hasn’t been reviewed by CHOICE, or its Kiwi equivalent Consumer, so we’re not sure how it performs in the lab. It has lots of consumer reviews, although they are mixed. 

Choose this if...

You’d like to spend the minimum on a rice cooker which you intend to mainly use  for cooking rice.

Breville the Multi Grain BRC550SIL

If you want to use your rice cooker for more than just cooking rice, consider the Breville the Multi Grain. Its name refers to its ability to make rice as well as stir-free risotto, fluffy quinoa, creamy oat and quinoa porridge and lentils. If that’s not enough, it also has a sauté / sear setting, which almost tips this rice cooker into slow cooker territory. It has a 10-cup capacity. 

As you’d expect by now, it too has a steaming tray for steaming veg, poultry and seafood. It’s the only rice cooker we reviewed that also has a sauté function, which allows you to brown and caramelise things like mushrooms, onions and meats to deepen the flavour. The removable glass lid and non-stick cooking bowl make it easy clean. The lid is also dishwasher safe. 

It has an auto keep warm mode for up to 5 hours. It also has auto shut-off: after 5 hours for rice, and 30 minutes for risotto. As well as the steaming tray, it comes with a measuring cup (but no serving spoon), a 1-year warranty and a RRP of $99.95. It’s been reviewed by CHOICE and the limited consumer reviews are middling. 

Choose this if...

You’re gluten-free and want to be able to perfectly cook a range of grains, or are after additional functionality, like creating risottos or sautéing ingredients.

How we picked

Rice cookers are a bit of a niche nice-to-have. This made our job of picking Australia’s best rice cookers easier. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. This gave us a shortlist of rice cookers that had been put through their paces by CHOICE experts. 

We then consulted ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website. We cross-referenced rice cookers that had been reviewed by CHOICE with how popular they were on ProductReview.com.au. We were looking for around 4 out of 5 stars, with at least 50 reviews. These reviews gave us insights into how the rice cookers performed in real Aussie kitchens

We ended up with a list of rice cookers that performed well in the lab and the real world. We ensured the rice cookers covered a range of budgets and functionality, from simple rice cooking to multi-functional appliances. They also all needed to be easy to use and clean and come in around $100. With that criteria in mind, we decided Australia’s top rice cookers.

Important features to consider

With microwavable rice pouches, rice cookers may seem a little obsolete. But let’s be honest, rice that’s been nuked in the microwave is rarely fluffy and flavourful. Enter rice cookers, which can improve the flavour and texture of rice. They range from handling basic rice cooking to tackling a range of cooking jobs, like steaming meat and veggies. Here are the features that most rice cookers should be packing.

Capacity

The rice cookers we reviewed have 7-10-cup capacity, which can produce up to 20 cups of cooked rice at a time. Smaller rice cookers only have about a 5-cup capacity. Consider the size of the family or crowd you’d like to feed. Regardless of the capacity you choose, you’ll probably need to cook a minimum of 2 cups each time. 

It’s also good to understand that rice cups are smaller than standard cups. One rice cup is around 150g of uncooked rice. Use the measuring cup provided with your rice cooker to ensure you get all the measurements, and associated cooking times, spot on. 

Lid type

Rice cookers offer 2 lid options: removable and non-removable. Removable are usually glass, which means you can see what’s going on. They’re also easy to clean. However, food can rattle, bubble up  and splatter on your benchtop.

Non-removable lids tend to not be transparent, so you won’t be able to peek inside. They’re fiddlier to clean too. However, they won’t rattle, and ingredients won’t spill out from under them.

Easy clean

Regardless of the lid type, your rice cooker should be easy to clean. This is normally achieved through a removable, non-stick cooking bowl that doesn’t need scrubbing to remove stuck-on rice.

Auto keep warm

If your food is ready but you’re not, an auto keep warm feature is handy. Once your food is cooked, the auto keep warm will kick in. This prevents overcooking but ensures your food is kept warm. All our rice cookers have this feature, although the length of time varies. Most last up to 5 hours, with 1 lasting up to 24.

Accessories

Ensure your rice cooker comes with a rice cup. As we’ve discussed, this isn’t standard measuring cup size. A plastic serving ladle that won’t scratch the non-stick coating is also helpful.

Fuzzy logic

Fuzzy logic means the rice cooker can work out if you’ve added too much, or too little, water and adjust the cooking time accordingly. We found that not all rice cookers specifically mention the phrase ‘fuzzy logic’ – in fact only the Panasonic SR-DF181WST claims to have it.

Cooking modes

Think about what you want to cook in your rice cooker. Just white rice? What about brown rice, or other grains? Do you want to steam meat or dumplings at the same time?

How you’ll use your rice cooker should influence the cooking modes it offers. If you’re after basic rice cooking, then you probably don’t need to upgrade to a more expensive model with multiple cooking options.

Speed

A rice cooker probably won’t be quicker than cooking stove top rice. But it’s a lot easier. You don’t have to stand there monitoring and stirring. Simply chuck in your rice and water and let it do its thing. Pay attention to cooking time. Rice cookers normally take about 30 minutes to cook white rice. Brown rice can be up to 2 hours.

An alert

Not all rice cookers will let you know when your food is cooked. If you’re not ok setting an alarm for yourself, be sure to look for this feature. 

Warranty

All the rice cookers we reviewed came with a 1-year warranty, even the most expensive RRP $129 Panasonic. This seems to be standard. We’d expect a rice cooker to last much longer than 1 year. If you’re concerned, see if you can extend the warranty through the retailer for an extra cost.

What you get if you spend more

Pay more and you’ll get more convenience, but no difference to the cooking result. 

Quick cook mode

Only 2 of the rice cookers we reviewed offered this feature, and they’re both over $100. So, it’s a high-end feature. It doesn’t massively save you time, around 5 minutes, but at the end of day dinner dash, that 5 minutes can be invaluable.  

Digital timer

As well as being easy to read, a digital timer lets you programme when your food will be ready. This means you can set the cooker when you leave for work, and it’ll delay the start and be ready when you come home. Only our Breville winner offers this feature.

The bottom line

A great rice cooker replaces hours spent slaving over a stove in search of perfectly fluffy rice. Although it may not quickly cook rice, you can throw rice and water in, turn it on and let it do the hard work for you. It should be easy to clean with a non-stick bowl to ensure you get beautiful rice that doesn’t get stuck to the bottom. It should also be simple to use, with user-friendly buttons. Ideally, it’ll cost you around $100.

We reckon Breville BRC460 The Rice Box is Australia’s top rice cooker. That’s because it’s a multi-functional appliance that’ll make your life easier. It can cook rice, crispy rice, congee, sushi, porridge and soup as well as steam veggies and more. The fast mode speeds cooking up a little while we like that it’s programmable: set and forget until it’s eating time. Because of the auto keep warm mode, it’ll sense when your food is ready and automatically keep it warm, avoiding overcooked, gluggy rice. 

For something a little more basic, consider the Panasonic SR-DF181WST. Its 4 large 1-touch buttons make it super simple to use. It too has a quick cook mode and will handle porridge, soup and cake as well as white and brown rice. Although it has the same capacity of our Breville winner, it’s more compact. It’s also the only rice cooker we reviewed that specifically mentions having fuzzy logic.

The Target 2 Litre Rice Cooker is the most basic rice cooker of them all. Which explains its rock-bottom price of just $18. For that, you’re getting everything you need. This is a 2L capacity (enough to feed 4 adults), removable glass lid, and non-stick aluminum pot. It also has an auto keep warm function, detachable cord and cool touch handles. It comes with a measuring cup and rice spoon and some questions around its durability.

Frequently asked questions

How does a rice cooker work?

Simply use the included measuring cup* to measure out your rice and water (or stock) and pop it into the bowl. Turn it on and the rice cooker heats the rice to just boiling. Once the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed, it should automatically switch to a keep warm mode. This keeps your rice warm for hours, so it’s ready when dinner is. 

*It’s important to use this cup because rice cups are smaller than standard cups. By using this measuring cup you’ll get all the measurements, and associated cooking times, spot on. 

What size rice cooker do I need?

You’ll notice rice cookers’ capacity is normally in cups. This is how many cups of uncooked rice you can cook at once. A large rice cooker can handle up to 10 cups. A smaller one about 5 cups. Which sounds like a lot but remember a ‘rice cup’ is smaller than a normal cup: it’s around 160ml. 

On average, 1 cup of uncooked rice will make about 2 cups of cooked rice.

Cooking for a couple? A 5-cup capacity will suit.

Cooking for the whole fam? Go for a 10-cup. 

Do I really need a rice cooker?

It depends - how much do you love rice and how often do you eat it? If the answer’s not that much and not that often, stick with microwave pouches or boiling it on the stove.

But if you eat it every day, a rice cooker can be a real time and effort saver. For starters, it frees up stovetop space. It’s also easy to use - measure out your rice and water, put them in, switch it on and it’ll do everything else. It’s easier to clean than getting starchy water bubbling over your stovetop. It might also cook rice a lot better than you do.

How long does a rice cooker take to cook rice?

It usually takes about 30 minutes to cook white rice. Brown rice can be up to 2 hours.

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