Zojirushi Rice Cooker Review

October 11, 2017   41 Comments

My Zojirushi rice cooker review is based on five years of experience with this wonderful appliance. I use it once or twice a week!

Zojirushi Rice Cooker Review

Five years ago, a bunch of readers shared their love of the Zojirushi rice cooker. Because I didn’t want to buy yet another kitchen appliance, I approached Zojirushi and requested what I thought was a $40 rice cooker.

My rice cooker at the time, a $15 model from Walgreens, had never made anything but soggy rice so I had decided that rice cookers didn’t work. I can tell you now that I was very wrong.

A couple of weeks later after my request, this lovely rice cooker showed up on my doorstep. It is ridiculously easy to use.

1. Measure and rinse your rice (measuring cup provided).
2. Pour in water to correct line. See below:

3. Choose the “Brown Rice” setting.
4. Wait for one hour and 40 minutes to have perfectly cooked brown rice.

Oh, I forgot, you need to plug in the machine.

The brown rice was easily the best that I have ever had and I found myself shoveling it in my mouth without even any salt on it. This is a find!

I have been asked many times about the arsenic levels in brown rice. Yes, brown rice has arsenic but it also has the "bran" of the rice kernel and therefore has more nutrients than white rice. What I try to do is eat it in moderation so I don't risk an overexposure. My grains include quinoa, polenta, and wheat. Consumer Reports found:

Brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan is the best choice; it has about a third less inorganic arsenic than other brown rices.

Brown basmati is my very favorite! You can also rinse your rice thoroughly to help cut the arsenic levels. Check out this article: How Much Arsenic is in Your Rice?.

After making wonderful rice, I checked to see what link I should post to this amazing product (see below) and found that Zojirushi had sent me a $130 rice cooker. OMG! No wonder it was such a gem.

This is a Japanese rice cooker, folks. This type of cooker is essential in most Asian kitchens and if you cook a lot of rice, you need to check it out.

The one they sent me is a 3 cup version which is perfect for 2-4 people. You can program it to finish cooking at any time. I set mine up at 8 AM and programmed it to be done at 6 PM so when I walked in the door, my rice was done.

You can also “cook” in your rice cooker (not unlike a crock pot). Check out this recipe page – Zogirushi Rice Cooker Recipes. It makes wild rice, and steel-cut oats, quinoa, sushi rice, and white rice. There is a recipe for Baked “Mac and Cheese” Style Brown Rice that may help me get my son to eat brown rice (he only likes white rice).

I make my Crockpot Oatmeal with Old Fashioned oats but I could also make my oats in this cooker if I wanted to give it a whirl. I have stuck to white and brown rice but it is such a great machine, I may someday want to branch out.

Anyway, I would never have spent $130 on a rice cooker because I am too cheap. Now that I have one, I realize that it is going to save me time, the rice is amazing, and I like using it. Go figure.

Do any of you have a top end rice cooker? Please share.

This product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.

Other posts you might like:

Crockpot Oatmeal with Old Fashioned Oats **VIDEO**

I am a big fan of Crockpot oatmeal with old fashioned oats AND steel cut oats. I like to grab whatever I have available when the weather is cold.....

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 41 )

I can't imagine spending that much $ on a rice cooker, but I'm sure it's amazing. I still and will always cook brown rice the way you taught me too :) Perfect every time!

I bought a $30 10-cup rice cooker from Costco a couple years ago and use it every few days to make quinoa, black rice, brown rice, and beans/lentils of all sorts. (I put the results in Mason jars, refrigerate them, and my wife and I work our way through them during the week. And if you've never tried Buffalo Tabasco sauce on navy beans, you do not know what you are missing!)

I usually throw in some frozen veggies and/or leafy greens (e.g., kale pieces or mixed greens that are too old for a salad) to bump up the nutrition value.

A complaint I have about the one we own is that the printing on the side is almost invisible (I drooled when I looked at that nice, contrasty print on your Zoji!). But I suppose that's neither here nor there because I usually just use 1.5:1 water:quinoa (or rice) and for beans, I just fill the pot with water to within an inch or two of the top and slow-cook them for 4-5 hours, draining the results if needed.

(FWIW, if you find that your rice or quinoa is scorching a little, try adding *less* water, not more. Rice cookers are a brilliant invention that stop cooking when the liquid water has all turned to steam, so the less water there is (allowing enough to actually cook it, of course), the shorter the cooking time. (Or, put another way, if you add a gallon of water to a cup of quinoa, it'll cook for a looooong time to get rid of all that water and might overcook things.)

Heck, our rice cooker is so foolproof that I just bought one for my in-college-and-doesn't-know-how-to-cook nephew since he got so excited about it when I told him how easy it was to use.

My wife was traveling a year or so ago and bought the $15 one Lisa mentioned and we still have it for hotel use when we're on the road for an extended period. In some ways, that one is better than our $30 one. The next rice cooker on my wish list will have a stainless-steel pot, not this non-stick stuff that does who-knows-what to my insides. :)

Thanks for this walk down memory lane, Lisa! :)

I just put mine in my $40 crock pot and use chicken or vegatable stock along with the water. I'm a total gadget person and find myself wanting the 132$ model but - I must resist!

I do not- but now I want one! LOL I have a rice cooker/steamer but not as streamlines as this one!!

Wow! That is quite the upgrade from my $80 10cup Zojirushi bought about 10 years ago. Mine is plain white with one gray flip switch for cook or keep warm. Note: nobody needs a 10 cup. I wish I would have just gotten the 4 or 6. I've read you can do oatmeal in it too, but have not tried. Thanks for the link for recipes! I may need an upgrade to a new smaller model ;)

I just realized the exterior and controls look an awful lot like my Zojirushi bread maker....which I also LOVE!

Check out the Instant Pot 6 in 1 cooker. Electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, etc. It's a bit cheaper and does so much more. This appliance changed my life! I can have delicious brown rice in < 30 min!

I have a Zojirushi Fuzzy Logic model and it has changed my life for the better! I especially love the timer function- I can have great brown rice ready and waiting when it is time for dinner. It is SO nice to catch the aroma of rice cooking and know that dinner is half done! I use organic brown rice and toss in a spoonful or so of coconut oil- it makes the pan easier to wash and tastes so good!

Love this appliance- well worth the money!

@Andy - Tell me more about using a rice cooker with beans, Lentils, quinoa, and veggies! I would love to prep most of the food on Sunday for the week. I think that would help with the bad choices. The issue is dry beans take a while and by the time they are done and ready to be added to other dishes, I am tired and resting in my recliner :) Don't think I would pay that much for a rice cooker.

Lisa, this was a very helpful posting. I did not ever think of putting vegetables, etc. with the rice in the cooker. Our cooker is not so fancy, but very reliable. I always find something interesting and delicious in your posts! Keep on cooking and writing please!

I have the NP-HBC10 5 1/2 cup Zojirushi . I never thought that a machine could make cooking this easy. I have used it to make steel cut oats , wild rice soup , pasta soup , and all kinds of rice dishes with fresh or dried ingredients and brown rice to perfection . I use it 3 to 4 times a week and I love it. It fits my life style to a T. It makes real food cooking a breeze.

I have a Tiger brand rice cooker. Same price range Snack Girl....the rice is not comparable to rice cook in a pot at all. The rice out of Japanese rice cooker is fantastic! Even all my Chinese friends use the Tiger brand ( I am sure the one above is just as good)!

@Leandra- I make this stuff when I have time, stash it, and then work my way through it.

I think people who [heart] the smaller rice cookers are engaging in just-in-time cooking and I would rather always have a bunch of stuff from which to choose in the fridge than to have to prepare one meal at a time and wait 30-60 minutes for it.

For each of these items, I usually make two cups dry so I can store a few days' worth in the fridge. I figure if I'm going to the trouble of making and cleaning, I might as well be efficient.

- lentils: Rinse, drain, no need to soak. Cover lentils (and I add frozen veggies (e.g., peas, carrots, chopped onions) and/or green pieces/leaves) with at least 3" of water, slow-cook 4-5 hours. If liquid remains, either continue slow-cooking with lid open or use slotted spoon or the like. (If you add salt, wait until later in the cooking process as salt prevents water from reaching the inside of the bean.)

- small beans: Same as lentils. Soak if you want, but I don't.

- large beans (e.g., black beans, lima beans): Same as small beans, but soak for 6+ hours, drain the soaking liquid, rinse well, and then follow small-bean directions.

- quinoa: If not pre-rinsed (e.g., red quinoa), rinse it or it will have a bitter taste. 2 cups quinoa to 3 cups of water. I almost always add frozen veggies, sometimes rosemary. Hit the white-rice button and give it a stir when done. Personally, I'm okay with the light scorching that occurs, so I just mix that layer in to the rest. If you're not, then just gently scoop the results into your storage containers and toss the scorched part.

- brown rice/black rice: Rinse, drain, and use same ratio as quinoa. Use brown-rice button (which, if I understand correctly, simply adds time for soaking).

- I've never cooked veggies by themselves, but I suspect you could saute them using the white-rice setting.

I don't know that I would make all of the above in one fell swoop (seems like that would make for a loooong Sunday!); personally, I check the fridge and if I see that we're low on Mason jars of quinoa + veggies, I'll whip some up while I'm making my lunch and store it when done. (We use pint and quart Mason jars with plastic lids and they're easy to store, heat, and take on the go (with an oven mitt!).)

One Mason jar of quinoa + veggies, black beans (or whatever beans you have prepared), healthy salsa or healthy pasta sauce, stir, heat, and eat! Fast and yummy!

> Don't think I would pay that much for a rice cooker.

Knowing what I know now about them, I would definitely pay that much for one with a stainless-steel pot, but I can see where others may hesitate.

Oh, if you do want to make beans, you *must* buy one with a slow-cooker function (or use a slow-cooker instead). The "rice" function will boil the beans and while some of them will be edible, most will be bean-shaped rocks. :)

Hope this helps!

I have a stainless steel rice cooker. I didn't pay for mine either, but I believe it retails for around $70. It too, makes the best rice ever, and without the nasty teflon like non-stick rice cookers have. It also cooks and steams, although I don't use those functions.

I love my Zojirushi rice maker and have been using it for two years. Never again will we make rice on the stove with it boiling over and sometimes not cooked all the way or too soft. Mine is silver and looks nice on the counter top as well and cleaning it takes about 1 minute. I would highly recommend getting one.

my very fond recommendation is to learn to cook rice of whatever kind, in your microwave. 16 minutes and it is done and wonderful and ready to eat:

rinse thoroughly your rice. put in a rounded deep pyrex or similar such bowl, add two table spoons of your favorite oil (olive, etc) and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. take out, mix well and add boiling water for about two fingers above rice surface. add salt and such, add frozen corn or cubed carrots or both. cover in nylon and puncture fine whole with your knife. put back in your microwave and cook for 16-17 minutes for two or three cups of rice. take out, leave for 5 minutes, mix and taste. if you feel that it is not done yet for some reason, add a few table spoons of water and cook for another few minutes. i have been cooking my rice for many years that way and the results are always perfect.

@Cristina @ An Organic Wife- do you mean that yours has a stainless-steel pot? If so, what's the capacity (cups)? And can you mention the model # and/or provide a link? Definitely interested in a $70 model with a stainless-steel pot! :)


I treated myself to the 5.5 cup model (not stainless, that's extra $$$) mainly because I could not make brown rice no matter how I tried. This machine is the best thing EVER! All rice comes out perfect but especially brown. I'm totally in love with Lundberg short-grain brown rice.

BTW, you don't have to rinse your rice. The Japanese directions are a bit confusing so unless you're doing a specialty rice where rinsing is absolutely necessary, you can skip this step. I also do the 1:2 ratio of rice to water.

The Z is well worth the money. A friend recommended it to me and she's had her Z for many many years. The quality is top-notch.

SG: Have you heard anything about brown rice and higher arsenic levels?

re not rinsing. i will not touch rice that has not been rinsed at least three times until clear, it has an odor otherwise. i watch Korean movies and they thoroughly rinse their rice. so i would not recommend not rinsing.

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