When you’re a mom of tiny tots and time is of the essence like never before, your favorite kitchen gadgets are ones that make preparing food quick and easy — without having to sacrifice flavor or nutrition. Luckily there are countless ways to cut corners in the kitchen, from electric mixers and crock pots to instant pots and fancy blenders. Still, out of all the multi-functional devices to choose from, one such cookware device is often overlooked and we think it’s high time the rice cooker received the recognition it’s due.
Rice cookers are typically considered one of those “extra” items people add to their wedding registry if they have the room to spare in their cabinets next to panini presses and gravy boats. However, rice cookers don’t just cook rice — they can cook pretty much anything you need heated, steamed, simmered and/or sautéed. Some rice cookers are advanced enough to make entire meals at once, while others can even be used for baking (fluffy cheesecake, anyone?). The culinary possibilities are limitless and all it takes is one of these best-selling rice cookers from Amazon, plus a bit of creativity on your end. The best part? You cook, you eat, you have minimal clean up afterwards. If it sounds like a smart investment, that’s because it is.
This article was originally published on October 24, 2019.
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1. Instant Zest 8 Cup Rice Cooker
There are four different programs to choose from on this rice cooker. There’s one for white rice, one for brown rice, one for quinoa and one for oatmeal. You can also use it as a steamer or as a warmer. It has a non-stick ceramic coated pot, so you won’t have to worry about your rice sticking to the inside. The rice cooker makes a total of 8 cups. There’s also a 20-cup option available.
2. Aroma Housewares Digital Rice Cooker
This rice cooker from Aroma Housewares is a mom’s dream kitchen helper. The digital device is multi-use and multi-functional, meaning it cooks more at once so your job is less hands-on. It features a built-in steamer function so you can steam meat, fish and veggies at the same time rice, couscous or soup cooks below.
There’s also a saute-then-simmer option and the ability to program the device to slow cook your meals while you tend to your child, spruce up the house or enjoy some downtime. Your one-time purchase also includes a non-stick inner pot that can hold up to 20 cups of cooked grains, a rice measuring cup and a serving spatula.
3. Oster Rice Cooker
If your counter and/or cabinet space is limited, opt for the Oster Rice Cooker. The device is significantly more compact than others on the market, but it still yields up to six cups of cooked rice at a time. It’s also a great option for anyone who prefers manual over digital programming. The device also features an automatic light fixture that turns on when the device is plugged in so you know when it’s in use.
You never have to worry about overcooking your food, either: The Oster Rice Cooker has an automatic keep warm function that extends heat time but paired with an automatic shut-off feature, your food — from noodles and rice to soups and fondue — won’t burn or crisp.
4. BLACK+DECKER 16-Cup Cooked/8-Cup Uncooked Rice Cooker
Get ready to make a whole lot of rice with this cooker. It can make up to 16 cups of rice. After it’s done, this cooker won’t automatically turn off. It’ll switch to a warmer mode, so your rice will remain hot until you’re ready to eat it. This set comes with a nonstick bowl and a steaming basket, so you can prepare vegetables and meat in your rice cooker.
5. Dash Mini Rice Cooker
If you’re short on space and want a rice cooker, this is the one for you. It’s compact and won’t take up much room. You simply put in your water and rice and set your timer up to 20 minutes, then you let the cooker do the work. It’ll switch to warmer mode immediately after it’s done cooking. It comes in aqua, black, pink, red and white and with a rice paddle, measuring cup, removable non-stick pot and recipe book.