Best rice cookers 2021: how to make great rice every time, with rice cookers from Tefal, Sage, Russell Hobbs

If you’ve never considered buying a rice cooker, let us explain why this underrated kitchen appliance is set to be your new best pal.

The 8 best rice cookers 2021: this appliance is guaranteed to make perfect rice every time

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Rice is a much-loved staple food, but it’s all too easy to overcook. Fed up with sloppy rice? Us too. That’s where rice cookers come in, cooking your grains to fluffy perfection so that you can focus on the fun bits. 

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How do rice cookers work?

Rice cookers bring rice to the boil before lowering the heat at just the right time (thanks to sensors, not magic, sadly!) and keeping it warm until you’re ready to eat it. Basic models will do just that but pricier, more complex machines offer a range of programs for cooking different types of rice, from arborio to basmati. Many can also be used for steaming fish and veg, poaching fruit, making porridge and slow-cooking soup, chilli and stew. 

Which brand of rice cooker is the best?

With a wide range of rice cookers on the market, it can be hard to know which model to buy, so we asked Vivek Singh, executive chef and CEO of The Cinnamon Collection for his advice. “The quality is reflected in the price,” he said. “If you’re looking to cook large quantities of rice daily, like we do at all our restaurants, Buffalo machines are efficient and consistently produce lovely steamed rice. 

“For home cooking, the Russell Hobbs machine makes small portions of perfectly fluffy rice every time and it’s very reasonably priced.” 

Russell Hobbs Rice Cooker and Steamer

Russell Hobbs Rice Cooker and Steamer

This neat new rice cooker has a generous 1.8 litre capacity for serving up to 14 people. The glass lid lets you monitor your food without letting heat escape and the detachable non-stick bowl is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.

You’ll find a measuring cup and spatula in the box, along with a sturdy steaming basket for cooking veg and rice simultaneously.

It’s straightforward to use and will sit pretty on any kitchen worktop, without taking up too much space. Its auto switch-off feature offers reassurance and it comes with a two-year guarantee.

Buy now

Tefal 8-in-1 Multi-Cooker

Tefal 8-in-1 Multi-Cooker

If it’s a multi-tasking machine you’re after, this 8-in-1 stainless steel appliance should tick all your culinary boxes.

There are eight cooking options to choose from, including rice, porridge, steam, slow cooking and baking.

The electronic panel makes it clear what setting you’re using and how much longer your cooking will take, while the delayed start mode is a godsend for automatically prepping your breakfast each morning.

The removable non-stick bowl is easy to clean, the ‘keep warm’ function is automatic and you get a one-year guarantee, should anything go awry.

The obvious downside is that it’s a bulky piece of kit, but if you’ve got the worktop or storage space, consider it a solid investment.

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Sage The Risotto Plus

Sage The Risotto Plus

If you’re willing to splash more cash for a state-of-the-art Sage rice cooker, you’ll be pleased with what you get for your money.

This lightweight stainless steel model boasts a range of pre-programmed functions that help you cook everything from creamy risotto to tender beef casserole.

There’s a steam tray for fish and veg, a grill for searing meat and an automatic ‘keep warm’ mode that switches itself off after five hours.

The robust glass lid lets you monitor the cooking progress and the non-stick interior allows for fast cleaning. Given its versatility and price, a recipe book wouldn’t go amiss, but we’re being picky!

Buy now

Cookworks Rice Cooker

You don’t need to break the bank for a trusty rice cooker that does its job brilliantly. This simple appliance has a tough, see-through glass lid and a decent 1.5 litre capacity, allowing you to serve up to eight people.

It keeps things simple, with just one button, and consistently cooks rice evenly. It comes with the standard accessories - a measuring cup and spatula - and makes a smart choice for anyone with a small kitchen.

Our biggest qualm is that there’s no timer, but it flicks itself onto ‘warm’ once cooking is complete. It’s not dishwasher-safe, alas, but the removable non-stick bowl quickly wipes clean.

Buy now

Cookworks Rice Cooker

You don’t need to break the bank for a trusty rice cooker that does its job brilliantly. This simple appliance has a tough, see-through glass lid and a decent 1.5 litre capacity, allowing you to serve up to eight people.

It keeps things simple, with just one button, and consistently cooks rice evenly. It comes with the standard accessories - a measuring cup and spatula - and makes a smart choice for anyone with a small kitchen.

Our biggest qualm is that there’s no timer, but it flicks itself onto ‘warm’ once cooking is complete. It’s not dishwasher-safe, alas, but the removable non-stick bowl quickly wipes clean.

Buy now

Lakeland Digital Rice Cooker

Lakeland Digital Rice Cooker

You can make up to six portions in this digital rice cooker, which has separate white and wholegrain touch settings, as well as a porridge mode.

The LED display helps you keep on top of your timings and the included measuring cup helps you get the quantities just right.

Best of all, there’s a delay button, meaning you can program the appliance to start making your porridge at the same time every morning. If you have a habit of hitting snooze, don’t worry, as the cooker automatically switches to ‘keep warm’. There’s a generous three-year warranty, too. If you live alone or in a couple, note the two-portion version for £32.

Buy now

Sabichi Rice Cooker

Sabichi Rice Cooker

Minimalists will love the chic monochrome design of this affordable painted steel rice cooker.

Not all style and no substance, it flawlessly cooks up to eight portions of rice with just one flick of the switch. It moves from cooking to warming automatically, and can keep food hot for up to 12 hours.

There’s no built-in timer, annoyingly, but the usual measuring cup and spatula are included and its lift-off glass lid lets you keep an eye on your rice. It has cool-touch handles, too, to keep you safe.

It’s practical to clean, with no pesky crevices that trap food, but it’s hand wash only. 

Buy now

Judge Electricals Mini Rice Cooker

Judge Electricals Mini Rice Cooker

Minimise waste with this compact rice cooker that’s well-suited to couples and students. Its light pressure and high temperature cooks two portions of rice to the ideal texture - soft, with a welcome bit of bite.

With just one button, it couldn’t be easier to use, and its dishwasher-safe non-stick bowl makes cleaning a breeze. The included measuring cup and spatula are handy, as is the flip-top lid that prevents spitting.

It lacks the bells and whistles of our winner, but it comes at a reasonable price with a two-year warranty.

Buy now