5 Stars By Aidan Kim on 2015-08-17
Sing to me, Zoji-sama!
Don't bother looking any further because this rice cooker is all you need.
I had a minimal rice cooker all through college as a gift from my parents and a promise for the future. It had one setting and the silly tab you push down that pops up when the rice is done. I loved that rice cooker. That clicking sound of the tab popping up helped get me through many final seasons. That rice cooker survived several moves across the city and even one across the country. It was enough for a sad, sad Korean girl crying over her books in the cold winter, but after one year out of college and a move to the big city, my rice cooker died, like a soldier tired from battle.
I took this as a sign that I needed to finally invest in the real deal - my first grown-up rice cooker. I found it in Zoji-sama. Is there such a thing as the opposite of buyer's remorse? That's what I have.
Do you want rice? Fluffy, sweet, delicate, perfectly steamed rice here.
Do you want cake? Grease me up, and this'll pop a fluffy yellow sponge cake out for you with barely a tap on the bottom of the bowl.
Porridge at dawn? Throw in some rice and water and set the timer. You'll wake to the dulcet tones of your Zoji singing to you like a songbird.
This thing is not only pretty and sleek (it appeals to my designer aesthetics), but it has every setting you never knew you wanted: white rice, quick rice (if you don't want to wait), brown rice, porridge, cake, etc. In the manual is a collection of recipes, all of which you can make in this wondrous piece of technology. The other day I made a heaping pile of rice for several hungry Asian friends, and we silently sat around my apartment and wept with happiness over the beautiful glistening white kernels of goodness that had been bequeathed to us by Zoji-sama. We then discovered the yellow sponge cake recipe and proceeded to squeal with delight while making that. An hour later, we pulled the bowl out of the Zoji, tapped the bottom of it, and this immaculate yellow cake slid out without a crumb out of place like the most perfect poop you've never had. We ate it with whipped cream and peaches (not cooked in the Zoji). Glorious.
Also, the cord is retractable, and the parts come out for easy cleaning. Heck yeah.
So thank you, Zojirushi, for this gift to all mankind, and to fan-key Prime for delivering it within 2 days of ordering it. My paycheck did not go to waste.
5 Stars By Kringle on 2013-01-09
Bento dad highly recommends.
Me: A foodie Dad in the USA who knows how to hand-cook long-grain, sushi, basmati, jasmine, and brown rice so they're just right. I rise early every morning to hand-make lunches for my four children and my wife because I'm socially awkward and emotionally closed off, and this is one way that I show my family that I love them. I'm a middle-class working guy, without tons of money, so I don't buy $100+ kitchen appliances on a whim. I mean, I bought my wife a Kitchen-Aid mixer eight years ago because she wanted it, but I winced at the price. I've owned this product for five months, and used it 4+ times a week during that period.
You: Somebody that identifies with me and cooks rice or other steamed grains on a daily basis.
My Review: If you're pressed for time and you cook a lot of rice or other boiled/steamed grains, BUY THIS RICE COOKER. I would give it more than 5 stars if I could. It's a triumph of convenience engineering, and obviously a multi-year investment. I've owned a couple $20 rice cookers, which I used when I didn't have enough time to spare to pay attention to heat-on, heat-off cycles when I was making a meal. Now, I just select the type of grain from a super-intuitive menu, select the time I want it ready, and push a button. The rice is always perfect when the beeper goes off, and is still perfect the next day.
Geek details: The AC power cord is flexible and retractable. The clock doesn't need to be reset if the cooker is unplugged for 2 days at a time... handy because the cooker doubles as an insulated container (like a crock pot) from which to serve hot rice several hours later. The dual mode rice warmer + the superb design of the cooking chamber means that every time you cook rice, you re-sterilize the sealed cooking chamber and keep it sterile so that rice can easily be held (hot and safe!) for a second day. The swing-up handle makes this a cinch to carry, and it's well-balanced. The non-stick bowl is super-heavy-duty aluminum and I expect it to last for years, especially since I baby it... I love this appliance like a Wall Street CEO loves his sports car. Cleanup is easy (never more than 2 minutes, usually less than 1 with hot tap water and a splash of dish soap). The detachable pot lid is easier to remove and clean than I expected.. I include detaching, washing, and replacing it in 1-2 minute cleanup time.
Disclaimer: This is for the 5.5 cup cooker, although I assume that the 3 cup cooker is similar. I've never bought a more expensive model to compare... my prior experience is with pot-cooking rice or using a $20-$30 model when I didn't have time to baby the rice.
Extras: Works great for wild rice and quinoa. Medium and short-grain rice are perfectly cooked so long as you rinse them properly before putting them in the cooker... if I fill and set the timer at bedtime, I can season and cool the rice, cut nori, crab, and avocado, and make California rolls within 12 minutes from stepping into the kitchen.
Update: March of 2018:
No change in my high recommendation. I have used this rice-cooker weekly for more than five years and it is still an A+ purchase. No problems, no malfunctions... even with heavy use.
Also I fixed my original misspelling of avocado. Sorry about that.
5 Stars By Bri on 2016-07-18
I love it, the rice comes out super fluffy and ...
I love it, the rice comes out super fluffy and perfect. I love that you are able to take it apart easily to clean it.
Its very sturdy and feels very well made.
5 Stars By Sidehop on 1969-12-31
The real deal! One caution...
Before you get started, clean this unit inside out. We noticed a strong burning plastic smell likely from the unit outgassing from the first use. No smell was in the rice but if possible I would throw the cooking bowl into the dishwasher along with the removal plate. That should minimize the smell a bit but don't be surprised if you smell something funky when cooking your first batch of rice.
Zojirushi (Elephant Seal) is a top notch brand in Japan when it comes to kitchen appliances. I grew up with them and when it comes to Japanese quality it will last you a long time. Our old National brand rice cooker believe it or not finally started to act up after 25 years and we decided to get a new one. We have Zojirushi bread maker which does a fantastic job in making delicious bread so this was no brainer.
Some say not to wash the rice in the cooking bowl but that's how I've done it for many years since growing up in Japan. The plastic washing bowl you can buy on fan-key is probably good to lessen the wear & tear but it's purely optional. The beauty of it of course is having fresh rice. The timer option is nice if you want fresh rice first thing in the morning or to take it for lunch. If you really want to keep them fresh for a long time, freeze the freshly made rice right away. Saran wrap is the cheapest way to store it; but just make sure you unwrap and not microwave the rice with the Saran Wrap on...
This one is on the basic side of rice cooker but has good features for most people. I know there are many expensive models but it's nice to have that brown rice option (which I didn't have with the last one) as well as steaming. Most rice cookers without the brown rice option tend to get mushy and often times boil over from the top especially any more than 3 cups in a 5.5 cup rice cooker.
*It sings* Yes...every time you press start and when the rice is done there's a melody. I guess it's better than the annoying alarm noise you get with microwave and ovens.
So far so good! I can't remember having any issue with Zojirushi brand. Other than the bread maker we already use, I've had hot water pot and other small kitchen items made by them and always worked reliably. Yes there are cheap $50 basic white rice cooker without timers and other fancy features (1.8 liter is great for big families and when you need A LOT of rice cooked at once). The timer & brown rice option is always nice to have. You do what you get pay for and may seem like $100+ rice cooker is overkill but if you want the best quality and reliability as well as having consistently cooked rice then you cannot go wrong with Japanese rice cooker!
5 Stars By Ahmed on 2016-03-13
Excellent basmati rice cooker
Excellent rice cooker. I use it to cook long grain basmati rice. The rice turns out perfect every time the cooker is used. I usually add some veggies with the rice to add some flavor. Just make sure to add 1.2X more water when using long grain basmati rice.
5 Stars By 1empyre on 2015-10-18
What's a Zojirushi? It's the key to the rice you've always dreamed of making.
I bought this "used" in like-new condition and the box was the only thing that even hinted that this wasn't brand spanking new. This saved me a considerable amount of money over brand new. I've since put many miles on it as it gets used several times a week and it's still like new. It cooks perfect rice every single time. This is a con of sorts because many places we go to eat serve inferior rice and that takes away from the dining experience. It's so simple to use, a child could do it. All the settings work fantastic. Brown and wild rice cook amazingly using the brown rice setting. Even the quick setting for white rice is really good, although it rarely gets used in our home. Porridge is a food I'd never had until this device, but it's a great money saver and babies love it. The Porridge setting can be used to make steel cut oatmeal which is amazing. The steamer function is really handy for small meals but the basket has very limited capacity. I've even baked a cake using that setting. It came out really good but the bottom had just the faintest hint of burnt for some reason. It looked perfect though. This seems more suited to those without an actual oven or cake pans, although it probably saves a bunch of electricity. The recipe size was weird and required me to make some adjustments in quantity when preparing the boxed cake mix so maybe I messed up somewhere and burnt taste was a result. I could go on about other recipes but just know that this device makes it difficult to mess up. Cleanup is easy with a nonstick pot and spatula. The lid cleans easily too. I love the retractable cord. The timer function is great to get breakfast ready the night before or have hot rice ready when you get home from work. This appliance will keep rice warm for ridiculous amounts of time. Just add a bit of water every 8 or 10 hours as needed. The design of the unit is smart and elegant. The little songs it plays are cute, but you can turn them off if you're not into that sort of thing. If you don't already know, Zojirushi is the standard by which all other rice cookers are measured, and this is a mid-high range model in their lineup. The price is justified in my opinion, and if I somehow lost mine today, I would go buy another tomorrow, although I'd go a size up from the 5.5 cup due to increased rice consumption as well as a growing family.
5 Stars By W Bee on 2017-02-16
I don't always eat rice, but when I do…
My wife wanted this for a long time, so I finally bought it about 6 months ago. I had long doubted this rice cooker could make rice taste any better than the cheap $20 rice cooker we've been using for years. However, I've been completely blown away by the quality of the rice that comes out of this machine. I'm not a big rice eater, but I am now a believer in this machine. I won't ever be going back to $20 rice cookers again.
5 Stars By mk on 2018-01-03
My Sanyo rice cooker finally retired as the coating on the pan started peeling off (15 years old). Bought this and I am happy with it. It does what it is supposed to do well.
One tip - upon arrival, clean all internals with a dish detergent and water (rinse) and then run it only with water for "hot cleaning". There is an instruction for it in the manual. This will reduce, if not eliminate, the initial plasticky smell from the cooked rice when you use it first time.
4 Stars By fan-key Customer on 2016-06-10
I like very much that the pan is dishwasher safe
We are a family of 6, 2 adults 4 kids. We are used to the old 10L old school rice cooker handed down from the parents but the inner pan was not dish washer safe and was ruined. So I had to buy another pot. I picked this unit but feared it would not be large enough to accommodate us., plus the cook time is so long compared to the old models.
I like very much that the pan is dishwasher safe, dark stainless steel color to match my kitchen, and rectangle to fit well on my counter top. The instruction says I can rinse the rice inside the pan and so far so good. And I scoop 4 cups of rice using their cup and it makes plenty of rice for our family. Sometimes I have extra for the next morning. It does Cook very evenly. I made 4 cups and put it in the "Quick" setting, it made rice in 30mins. It makes rice drier in this mode, but add more water the normal and after a toss, the rice is soft.
If you make a big pot, I use the normal setting ahead of dinner because it takes about 45-60 min. The timer adjusts and can be quicker than it says.
What I don't like is it stays warm for hours but the rice can spoil. There's no way for the lid to just plop on top the the cooker for some air. The old cooker you can open it and lay it slightly open and the cooker off. Rice can last. This cooker has two open positions, all the way or halfway or close complete.
Also I am starting to notice a metal smell when cooking. Sort of reminds me of burning metal plate. It's subtle but I notice it and the rice can sometimes smell like it too.
My rice cooker always stays plugged in for military time but if I unplug, I would like the retractable cable.
Good cooker for good price. I compared to Asian store prices and fan-key has the best price.
5 Stars By sweet ferns on 2016-06-03
I'm eating better thanks to this rice cooker
I thought I was going to buy an inexpensive rice cooker, so I started looking at reviews and discovered they didn't do a good job with brown rice. I cook brown rice almost exclusively. I might make white rice a few times a year if I'm having a guest who wants it, but that's it. My impediment to making (brown) rice weekly was that I burn the bottom and have water on the top even cooking it exactly for the time on the particular brand's packing, using the exact amount of water, and good cookware. I am a decent cook otherwise so this was baffling to me, and it seemed like it was time for this investment. I researched best brown rice cookers on external websites, and the reviews here seemed like this particular one was a good choice. It makes perfect brown rice! I'm making brown rice at least twice a week, which leads to eating more vegetables and less processed food too. I've used it for white rice just once, and that came out perfectly too. I have not used it to bake a cake, and doubt that I will. I'm also good with continuing to make my oatmeal on the stovetop as my minute quick oats are faster than they would be in the rice cooker, but I like that I could do so many things. There are two drawbacks to this rice cooker, but they are not enough to take away a star: 1) The measuring cup is not a cup, so I have to use their plastic one, and if I were to lose it I would not be sure exactly how much rice to use. I'm not sure if it's a metric measure, since the markings for a cup of rice inside the rice cooker are in imperial units as far as I can tell, even though the box and instructions came in multiple languages. 2) The tray for steaming vegetables is plastic, and is not even marked as BPA-free plastic. I won't cook in plastic. I'm not stressed about a tiny cup to measure out my rice before washing it and putting it in the cooker (though I intentionally chose one with a stainless steel bowl) as the being in a cold cup for a few seconds won't do anything, but I don't want food cooking in hot plastic. I can't seem to buy a stainless steel steamer basket either, as is possible for some brands. So I steam my vegetables in a silicone steamer basket in a regular pot. This is pretty minor, though. (The plastic scoop tool meant not to scratch the bowl is also plastic, but this is absolutely no big deal, as I imagine anyone who eats a lot of rice has a wooden rice spoon anyway and anyone who cooks probably has some other bamboo or silicone kitchen tools.) Anyway, this is probably my best purchase ever on fan-key, and well worth the cost.