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Let’s face it, there are certain tasks in life that we rarely get right, including pushing a door clearly labelled ‘pull’. Let's add cooking rice on the stove top to that list. 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.
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.
The best rice cooker for most
Choose this if
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.
What we love
It’ll steam your rice beautifully, but will also produce crispy rice, congee, sushi, porridge and soup.
As well as rice, you can steam veggies, poultry and seafood in it too.
It offers fast cook, reheat and auto keep warm options.
This prevents what’s inside from bubbling up and spilling over. See below for why a fixed lid can also be not-so-good.
The non-stick aluminium cooking bowl is easy to clean.
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.
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
Which is standard across all the rice cookers we reviewed but would still be nice to be a little more extensive.
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.
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 you should be able to find it for around $130.
The best for ease of use
Choose this if
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 also 1 of 2 picks that mention fuzzy logic: it automatically adjusts the settings to cook your food most effectively.
What we love
With just 6 intuitive, large, 1-touch buttons this is a simple to use rice cooker.
You can cook white and brown rice, as well as porridge, soup and cake. It’ll handle sticky rice too.
This is 1 of only 2 rice cookers 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.
The non-stick removable pan is easy to wash.
With a steam basket included, you can also steam dumplings, veggies and more.
Which stops your food splattering and bubbling over.
Whip up some beautifully fluffy white rice in about 30 minutes.
The not so good bits
The colourful child-like button icons aren’t to everyone’s taste.
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.
Brown rice takes around 2 hours to cook.
Again, this is standard across all the rice cookers we reviewed. A more extensive warranty would be nice though.
The Panasonic SR-DF181WST offers a little less than our Breville top pick but you're getting 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.
The best value rice cooker
Choose this if
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.
What we love
It’s just $18.
It’s easy to use. Throw your rice and water in and let it go.
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
From the reviews we’ve read, this usually means starchy water bubbles over the side and onto your benchtop.
When’s it ready? Unsure, because it won’t beep to tell you (although the lights will switch from cook to warm).
For $18, you shouldn’t expect this to last very long - we found plenty of consumer reviews agreeing with this.
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.
Others worth considering
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 top pick and that’s reflected in its low RRP: around $80.
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.
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 around $40.
It has an 5-cup capacity and easy 1-touch operation. It has 2 functions: cook or warm. It also has a steam trivet so you can steam veggies or fish. A removable glass lid allows for easy cleaning, as does the non-stick cooking bowl. Plus, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your rice as it cooks.
It includes a rice measuring cup, serving spoon, steaming rivet 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 a good number of reviews on ProductReview.com.au where it gets around 3 stars.
Like the Panasonic SR-DF181WST, the Philips Grain Master HD4514/72 features fuzzy logic - technology that automatically senses the water level and adjusts the time accordingly. It also features Philip’s ‘FragrantTaste Technology’ which Philips reckons ensures ‘every grain of rice is well cooked to shiny fluffy fragrant taste’. Phew.
Marketing claims aside, it’s got a 4L capacity, which is around 8 cups. It has 8 preset programmes, including brown rice, multi-grain, lentils, quinoa and porridge. It also has a quick cook function. The 24-hour preset timer lets you set the morning (or night) before and forget. Once it’s finished cooking, it’ll automatically switch to keep warm mode and stay there for up to 12 hours. As well as well-labelled buttons, an easy to read display and visible water level indicator, the inner lid comes off for easy cleaning.
It comes with a recipe booklet, 2-year warranty, almost 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au and an around $160 price tag.
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 top pick, it’s more compact. It’s also 1 of only 2 rice cookers 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.
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.
What makes a good rice cooker
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.
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.
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.
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 and Philips Grain Master HD4514/72 claim to have it.
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.
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.
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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