Due to our busy lives and limited resources, we require electronic appliances that speed up our cooking time, allow us to prepare decent meals without the use of hob stoves or induction stoves, and with minimal supervision. The humble rice cookers are amazing and innovative inventions that has revolutionized cooking.
You just have to add dried rice and water into the pot, press a button or press down a level, and the cooker cooks the rice on its own. Cooking rice over the hob or induction stove can be challenging for people who live busy lives. If you forget to turn off the heat, the result will be burnt rice. But thanks to the invention of rice cookers, now, even after the rice has been prepared, the cooker automatically switches off the heat and goes on to its ‘keep warm’ mode to ensure that your rice is never over-cooked or burned.
For students and professionals who live alone or for couples who have a small appetite, mini rice cookers are ideal. Small rice cookers have a compact design, are lightweight, and support portability which makes it very convenient to place them in small kitchens or cabinets and carry them with us when we shift accommodations, travel, or need a container to keep our rice, pasta, porridge, stew, etc. warm for the trip or picnic.
Mini rice cookers are a safe, quick, easy, effective, convenient and mess-free solution for cooking rice, steaming vegetables, boiling vegetables, pasta and eggs. It is especially ideal for those students who are not allowed to cook in their dormitories but still want to limit the expense of eating food from restaurants, cafes and stalls.
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider When Buying a Small Rice Cooker
- Best Small Rice Cookers
Things to Consider When Buying a Small Rice Cooker
While choosing the best smallest rice cooker for preparing your meals, you must take the following features into consideration:
The size of your rice cooker is of utmost importance if you are looking for a mini rice cooker that is functional and compact. On average, a small-sized rice cooker has a diameter of around 8 inches and a height that is between 6 to 10 inches.
The small size of your rice cooker will help you determine its capacity and serving size. Typically a small rice cooker will be lightweight, and hence it can make a great traveling partner, especially for students and professionals who are required to stay abroad for a few years for the purpose of their studies or a job.
Weight and Portability
On average, a small rice cooker should not weigh more than 5 pounds or 2.26 Kgs. A lightweight mini rice cooker is more portable than a heavier one. It makes it easy for you to shift the rice cooker for cleaning to or bring it closer to a power socket, or even to carry it with you for trips and picnics.
Quite often, families prefer to unplug their rice cookers and carry them with them, along with cooked rice/ porridge/ pasta inside for a picnic as it keeps the food warm and saves them from investing in and arranging a large-sized food container to carry their meals.
While purchasing your mini rice cooker, you must also consider its design and appeal. A small rice cooker that has a sleek design and beautiful color is more attractive and pleasant to use than a one that looks old-fashioned and dull.
Luckily, there are plenty of small rice cookers with modern design and vibrant colors (red, silver, blue, purple, bronze, etc.) that are available in the market, and some even have floral or abstract patterns on them to appeal to your unique taste.
Another important design feature that you must consider while selecting your small rice cooker is that the lid should be see-through. This will help you see the progress of your meals, and you will know when the rice is done.
Generally, rice cookers are available in 3 capacities that are determined by the number of cups. A 3-cup rice cooker (smallest rice cooker available in the market) can cook 3 cups of dried rice. After cooking, you will be served around 6 cups of rice, which means that 2 people can easily eat the rice that has been prepared by a 3-cup mini rice cooker.
A 5-cup rice cooker can cook 5 cups of dried rice, and after the rice has been cooked, 4 to 5 people can eat the rice. The next available cup size for a rice cooker is 10 cups. Generally, a 10-cup rice cooker is used by large families as it can serve around 20 bowls of rice and feed 6 to 10 people.
Therefore, the capacity of your rice cooker should reflect the family size.
Ease of Use
All electric rice cookers have a set of basic functions and some advanced functions and settings, which vary and should be used as per a person’s needs. Some mini rice cookers can be very complicated to operate and after reading the manual, users are unable to understand the different functions and settings.
To buy the best small rice cooker for your meal preparations, you must opt for the one that is easy to use. You should be able to navigate through the functions and settings easily and get the output that you want.
The great part about using a rice cooker is that it just doesn’t cook rice; it can cook a lot more than that. While purchasing your mini rice cooker, you must search for the one that is multifunctional.
For example, you should be able to steam your rice, boil your rice, warm your cooked rice, as well as boil eggs, pasta, potatoes, cook porridge, stew, instant noodles, or steam vegetables on the top while the rice is being cooked in the pot at the bottom.
The multifunctionality of your small rice cooker will offer you great value for money, minimize your cooking time and help you to cook multiple dishes in just this one electric pot.
The best small rice cooker is the one that delivers the best performance and produces the best-tasting cooked rice. Some rice cookers make the rice too soft and sticky, while some are known to burn the rice.
However, manufacturers argue that the taste and texture of your rice depend on the rice to water ratio. If you add more water to the rice than required, your rice will turn out to be soft and sticky. Whereas less water will burn your rice.
But it’s still advisable to look for a mini rice cooker that is popular for its quality and performance.
Some rice cookers have a longer cooking time as compared to others. The best small rice cooker is that one that can cook rice within 20 to 25 minutes. Low-performing rice cookers generally have a longer cooking time and can take around 40 to 45 minutes to prepare 3 to 4 bowls of rice.
You must understand that the whole purpose of using a rice cooker is to make meal preparation a fast, easy and convenient process. Small rice cookers with longer cooking times will defeat this purpose, make you hungrier, crankier and increase your electricity bills.
On average, rice cookers consume around 620 to 700 Watts of electricity while cooking the rice. But when the rice cooker is on the “warm” setting, which means that the rice has already been cooked but now is just being kept warm, the rice cooker will draw 30 to 45 Watts of power.
Therefore, the best mini rice cooker is the one that consumes less power and quickly cooks the rice.
Your mini rice cooker should be bought from a world-renowned, reliable and trusted manufacturer. Reputed manufacturers offer an international warranty on electrical appliances and only produce goods that have passed through several quality assurance tests and deliver high performance and durability.
Some of the most trusted rice cooker manufacturers are: Black & Decker, Aroma Houseware, Philips, Zojirushi and Panasonic.
Definitely the price of your small rice cooker should be your main consideration. Your mini rice cooker should be budget-friendly and deliver good value for money.
Depending on the brand, features, and quality of your rice cooker, your small rice cooker can be as cheap as $20 and as expensive as $120.
You must always go for the small rice cooker that comes with either an international warranty or a manufacturer’s warranty period. Generally, mini rice cookers from world-renowned brands come with a 2-year international warranty.
Rice cookers that have been manufactured by local or less popular brands would have a manufacturer’s warranty of 1 to 3 years. Meaning, that during this time, if your mini rice cooker malfunctions, your manufacturer will repair or replace it without charge.
Best Small Rice Cookers
1) Zojirushi NHS-06 Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi small rice cooker is an amazing option for quickly preparing the rice. It saves you from the hassle of scooping out and cleaning burnt rice from the pots when you prepare rice on a hot stove.
- Easy-to-use single switch control
- See-through glass lid with stay cool knob
- Stay cool handles for easy transport
- Durable nonstick inner cooking pan
- Every Zojirushi rice cooker comes with a plastic measuring...
It has a one-switch operation that makes it very easy to use for people who are not that tech-savvy. Just press down on the button to start cooking your rice. The red light will indicate that your rice is being cooked. Once the light switches off, it means that your rice is ready.
The see-through glass lid on the top allows you to see the progress of your rice. Apart from cooking rice, you can use this mini rice cooker to boil vegetables, pasta, eggs and to heat water in case of an emergency.
It comes with a separate stainless steel steam basket for steaming vegetables and cooking rice at the same time.
It has a capacity of 3 cups of dried rice. So, after cooking, you can expect 6 cups of cooked rice which can serve up to 4 people.
The rice pot has a long-lasting, non-stick coating that prevents the rice from burning and sticking at the bottom. The rice pot is completely removable and makes it easy to wash.
The Zojirushi mini rice cooker only consumes 300 Watts of electricity and is ideal for quick cooking.
Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.1 x 7.5 inches
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
2) Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker
Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker is a multifunctional rice cooker with a see-through lid to help you see the progress of your meal. It has a 2-cup dried rice capacity and allows you to prepare oatmeal, stew, soup, pasta and quinoa, too.
- MORE THAN RICE: Oatmeal, stew, soup, quinoa, rice, and...
- QUICK plus EASY: Set it and forget it. Prep time is minutes...
- KEEP WARM FUNCTION: Updated with a keep warm function and...
- PORTABLE plus COMPACT: The Dash Rice Cooker is your...
- INCLUDES: The 200-Watt Dash Mini Rice Cooker is backed by a...
It consumes only 200 watts of electricity and can prepare amazingly delicious, soft and well-cooked rice in less than 20 minutes. Its ‘keep warm’ function allows ensures that your rice is never overcooked. After the rice is done, the Dash mini rice cooker will automatically switch to WARM and keep your rice warm instead of cooking it.
You can even steam your vegetables in this mini rice cooker to prepare a healthy meal. It comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty, so even if it’s just the non-stick coating of the rice pot that has worn off due to regular use and washing, the manufacturer will replace it within the warranty period.
It is designed and manufactured in New York City to deliver the best quality and performance. All-in-all, Dash DRCM200BK Mini Rice Cooker makes cooking rice quick and easy.
Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.5 x 16 inches
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
3) Hamilton Beach Mini Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
This sleek design mini rice cooker by Hamilton Beach is cute, compact and makes around 2 to 8 cups of cooked rice. The rice pot is covered with a protective layer of non-stick coating and is completely detachable so that you can easily wash it after use.
- 2-in-1 Rice Rinser/Steam Basket:Rice Cooker and Food Steamer...
- Feed a Crowd: Rice Cooker Holds 2–8 Cups of Cooked Rice or...
- Simple, One-Touch Operation: 8-Cup Rice Cooker Automatically...
- Easy Cleanup: Removable Nonstick Cooking Pot and Rice...
- Accessories Included: Rice Cooker Includes Measuring Cup and...
It comes with a separate steam basket made out of plastic so that you can steam vegetables and cook rice at the same time. You will also be given a measuring cup and rice paddle to balance the rice to water ratio and scoop out the rice without scratching the non-stick surface of the rice pot.
It has a simple one-touch operation. Just press down the button, and the rice will cook on its own. Its automatic keep-warm feature ensures that after your rice has been cooked, it is kept warm in the cooker. The red and yellow lights will help you to map the progress of your rice. The red light is for cooking, and the yellow-green light is for warm.
In just 20 to 25 minutes, it can make tasty and well-cooked rice and steam your vegetables.
Dimensions: 8.07 x 9.61 x 8.07 inches
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
Mini rice cookers come in very handy when we want to prepare rice with minimal supervision in less than 30 minutes. It is ideal for one single person use or for a couple with small appetites because typically, the capacity of a small rice cooker is not more than 4 cups of dried rice.
The best and smallest rice cooker is the one that does not measure more than 8 inches in diameter and is less than 10 inches in height. It should not weigh more than 5 pounds. And should ideally consume less than 400 Watts of electricity.
Moreover, the small rice cooker should be easy to use, easy to wash and should be made with safe and durable materials. An ideal mini rice cooker should be multipurpose and allow you to cook rice and steam vegetables at the same time so that in just less than 20 minutes, you can prepare a complete meal in one single electric cooker.
We hope that with the 3 best small rice cookers that we have mentioned above, you will be able to experience quick, safe and convenient rice cooking.