In ancient tradition Japanese sushi chefs aren’t even allowed to cut seafood until they learn to make the perfect rice. Nowadays you can skip the months of hard work just by getting the best Japanese rice cooker. With this buyers guide I’ll go over the top models of rice cookers specifically designed to make Japanese style sushi rice. Designed in Japan and manufactured in Japan. You definitely don’t want to make the mistake of buying a rice cooker that doesn’t even correctly cook Japanese rice.
Sushi rice is a special style of rice that’s very sticky and sweet to the taste. It compacts easily and bunches together, allowing it to be eaten with chopsticks and used to create sushi rolls. Rice makers need to be specially designed to handle these rice grains because they’re more absorbent and cook different than regular westernised rice. An electric rice cooker is completely necessary to create the perfect sushi rice consistently.
Finding The Best Japanese Rice Cooker
After doing research the Japanese Zojirushi brand is the only brand of rice cooker that really is explicitly designed for Japanese sushi rice. I’ve included a few of options the company offers below. The company is so consistent in their design and quality, that they rarely receive poor reviews. I have found one other alternative brand rice cooker that’s designed for sushi rice that’s a cheaper choice and have included it after the Zojirushi.
Zojirushi is a long standing Japanese corporation that specialises in making high quality kitchenware. With a strong focus on building reliable consumer electronics they’re a common household brand in Japan and recently are moving into international markets. Naturally their rice cookers are not only top tier, but as authentic as you can get for creating the perfect Japanese rice. They are slightly more expensive because they use proprietary technology to create the perfect rice every time and can make pretty much any kind of rice you can think of. You can buy any micom model and be able to cook sushi rice with this brand. Smart rice cookers have a very noticeable jump in taste quality, making fluffier tastier rice. Japanese restaurants tend to use this company’s rice cookers to make their sushi rice.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker Reviews
The Zojirushi NS-TSC10 is the Japanese manufacturers flagship rice cooker. It has enough space to make a meal for the family and comes with even more features you wouldn’t expect. Due to the high quality computer control systems it doesn’t just cook rice, it also can steam veggies, make porridge and bake cakes. Doing so by using multi cook functions and feedback sensors. You can even set it the night before and have perfect rice for you waiting in the morning! Be sure to choose the perfect size for your needs as it comes in a 5.5 cup and 10 cup sizing.
The Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is a slightly more expensive mid range option, this rice cooker comes in two sizes for various needs, the 5.5 and the 10 cup versions. The biggest selling feature for the NSZCC10 is that it comes with Neuro Fuzzy. This is the proprietary technology that Zojirushi uses in their premium rice cookers. The Neuro Fuzzy technology runs while the rice cooker is doing a batch.
The technology measures the temperature, pressure and moisture of the pot to make fine adjustments to manage the cook. Either through cook time or temperature. This leads to extremely consistent, fluffy, savoury rice. In all the ways that regular rice cookers would destroy a batch of sushi rice, this rice cooker does everything the right way. When compared to the lower cost Zojirushi’s technology it’s still extremely powerful and an even larger jump up in cook quality. The Neuro Fuzzy will cook any type of rice automatically and adjusts based on what’s in the machine. So you can make custom batches as well.
Other Zojirushi Models
While Zojirushi tends to create multiple rice cookers in the $100-$200 range, they have some that are cheaper. These alternatives are usually not “smart” cookers though. They are designed with generic white rice in mind, which means you’ll have difficulty making Japanese rice with them (or even brown rice). In much the same way that you can attempt to make some with regular rice cookers from any brand but will likely fail in texture, stickiness or dampness. Micom and Neuro Fuzzy models are specifically designed for sushi rice.
While Zojirushi has some cheaper models, they also have some top of the line premium models. These models are for people who make or want to make rice a serious part of their diet. There are some models such as the ZOJI Zojirushi NP-HCC18XH Induction which use induction heating systems in addition to the Neuro Fuzzy to instantaneously adjust heat levels down to the decimal places and adjust cook time by milliseconds to hit perfection. It even sings songs and has tons of rice functions. It’s purely to cook rice though, and specialisation breeds quality.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option I finally found a rice cooker that’s designed to cook sushi rice. The Aroma ARC-914SBD 8-Cup. Aroma makes more affordable appliance solutions. I wanted to find a more cost effective option for sushi rice because Zojirushi are a bit of an investment. After scouring amazon for rice cookers that are cheap, high rated, and specifically able to cook sushi rice I came across this gem. On the surface the literature says that it only does white and brown rice, but after researching the manual I’ve found it makes sushi rice as well.
Extremely affordable, high quality and packed with features. It makes a pretty good bowl of rice. It’s not a “smart” rice cooker though, and it will misfire occasionally with it’s set cooking limitations. This rice cooker comes with a vegetable steam tray, rice spatula and measuring cup. The controls are very simplistic, but with the right recipe it will easily and consistently meet your needs. The major weakness of this rice cooker is that it’s a lower wattage and takes longer to cook rice than other more expensive units.
Buyers guide for rice cookers that specialise in sushi rice.
Sushi Rice Cooker Buying Guide
The largest difficulty you’ll find is many rice cookers don’t actually have the necessary features to allow you to change up the recipe without ruining your rice. They have water capacity issues, or tend to have set heating timers intended to make westernised white rice. They tend to make Japanese sushi rice very mushy.
There are two ways to make Japanese style rice. The first is to use actual sushi rice which a special style of rice grain that is naturally sticky and sweet. This is the authentic method and will give you the results you’re looking for. But only with a capable rice cooker. The second method is to create a fake batch of sticky rice using regular rice with a different recipe. This is a pale comparison and doesn’t have the texture, it just makes it mushier and not much stickier. So it won’t work if you want to use the rice to make traditional rice balls or sushi.
Since you’re going to want to use sushi rice in your rice cooker, that’s the first thing you need to verify. Figure out if the machine has the settings needed to cook sushi rice without issue. What you’re looking for is cooking functions that include sushi rice. There’s a portion of rice cookers that may only work with one or two styles of rice so you have to verify it. I’ve done some reviews of generic rice cookers as well. The best rice cookers come with instructions and recipe books that allow you to easily use the alternative rice functions to create perfect rice dishes regardless of what you require.