Zojirushi rice cookers stand out in the long line of brands including Tobisha, Tiger, Panasonic, and Hitachi. The company consistently produces appliances that give home chefs an array of features and settings that continually set the bar higher, and their rice cookers use the latest in cooking innovations to put fresh meals on the table.
Making rice takes practice with the traditional methods; Japanese chefs have used traditional methods where the grains are soaked and cooked in iron pots until fluffy, full of flavor, and sticky without being mushy. Zojirushi has pioneered technology that takes this practice into the present, giving rice connoisseurs a variety of options that make cooking rice easier. I’ve drawn up a list of machines from Zojirushi that do more than make traditional rice; showcasing your talent in the kitchen without a culinary degree.
The Zojirushi NP-HBC10
Sitting in the top spot for the best Zojirushi rice maker is the NP-HBC10. The sleek model hits its marks; using induction heating to evenly cook tender rice, a sophisticated computer system to monitor and adjust time and temperature, and giving users a variety of innovative settings to choose from.
Cutting Edge Technology
At its core, the NP-HBC10 is an advanced accessory that uses induction heating to bring your meals to life. Instead of using a bottom heating element, the entire cooking pan is heated to avoid overcooking or dry rice. Building on this feature, Zojirushi adds a delay timer, a keep warm function, and cooking settings especially designed for nutrition.
Out of the box the rice cooker looks different. Its egg shaped, stainless steel body evokes images of the future, and its LED display gives you an idea that this isn’t your mother’s rice cooker. Menu settings start with basic settings for white rice; and quickly turn to advanced options for texture, brown rice, and sushi rice.
The GABA setting cooks brown rice at low temperatures for two hours before kicking into high gear. The process brings out gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid that can help lower blood pressure and relieve stress. While the process takes time, many who use it won’t use any other functions because of the taste of the final result.
When cooking sushi rice, the temperature is adjusted using the NP-HBC10’s Micom technology; a computer system that adjusts for everything from temperature to waiting time before serving. For those in a hurry, there is a quick setting that cuts the waiting time down. The result is shiny, flavorful, fluffy rice that’s stiff, sticky and ready to serve. The rice cooker also has settings for sweet rice, porridge, traditional brown rice, mixed rice, and oats.
Complaints about the induction heating rice maker from Zojirushi are basic. Many think that the price is steep, and others aren’t fond of the cord; which isn’t retractable.
The Last Word
For a top end rice maker that uses the best cooking methods available to make rice that’s fluffy, sticky, firm, and full of nutrients, the NP-HBC10 is your best bet. The induction heat system takes the worry out of burning rice, and the different features help to tackle the nuances of cooking perfect rice. Check Amazon for the best deals on the Zojirushi NP-HBC10.
First Runner Up- Zojirushi Umami Micom Rice Cooker
Another innovative rice machine from Zojirushi, the Umami rice cooker brings an added element to the table with its “Umami,” setting. In Japanese, the word is used to describe a fifth taste beyond the scope of sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. The concept is on the cutting edge of Japanese cooking, and refers to the deep, rich, flavors found in meat, fish, and tomato dishes.
The Zojirushi’s Umami setting uses the basics of the cooking style to bring out the subtle flavors of rice, and like the GAMA setting, is a favorite of those who use the machine. One drawback of the cooking method is that rice comes out drier than normal.
Second Runner up- Zojirushi NVC-10
A hybrid of rice cookers that uses induction heating and artificial intelligence; the NVC-10 has eight settings including umami, GABA brown, mixed rice, sushi rice, and scorch. The slick machine uses pressure to speed up cooking; and the process yields tender, fluffy rice as well as perfectly cooked grains including farro, einkorn, spelt and freekeh.
The AI setting is a great feature that adjusts the temperature and time based on the settings you program and the amount of liquid and rice in the bowl. The bowl has measurements on the inside, also helping to make sure your rice turns out cooked to the right texture and not mushy.
Third Runner Up- Zojirushi NS-ZCC10
Taking the last spot and standing out as a simpler model from Zojirushi, the NS-ZCC10 is a solid option for those who want a steaming bowl of restaurant quality rice without having to set complicated functions. The model has the same features as the other versions from the company as far as the types of rice and grains it cooks, but is designed for set and go cooks.
It also does a good job of keeping rice warm without losing its flavor or texture. Complaints include the fact that the measuring cup is gauged to Japanese standards, and getting the measurements right for specialty grains is a trick as a result.
The Brass Tacks
Any Zojirushi rice maker you choose uses the most up-to-date technology to give you an edge in the kitchen. The NP-HBC10 takes the best of all the brand’s features and streamlines them into a great all around machine for making rice. The rice maker’s cooking system and GABA setting bumps it up to the top of the pack, barely coming up the winner amongst a pack of quality appliances. The NVC-10’s versatility and the Umami’s innovation kept the race close, and the simplicity of the NS-ZCC10 take the worry out of Zojirushi’s trademark custom features.