If you don’t own a rice cooker yet then you are missing out on seriously good rice dishes. Stop boiling your rice in the pan, not only does it taste awful, it’s always a challenge to cook it to perfection. Today we’re going to show you the best rice cookers Australia has to offer.
Being married to a Thai, I was introduced to rice cookers many years ago. I always wondered how my local Chinese egg fried rice tasted so amazing. Now I know. A high quality rice cooker.
Below I've shared my top 5 picks on rice cookers that I've tried and tested over the years. You might be surprised, you definitely don't need to spend a fortune to get the best one.
Table of Contents
The Ricer Cooker Explained
The earliest reports of the rice cooker go back to 1937 when Japan created a wooden box with two electrodes attached to opposite ends. They added water and washed rice and a current was applied. The rice boiled and escaping electrocution was ready to eat shortly after.
Since then the rice cooker has come a long way and was first developed into a house hold staple in 1956 when a solution was invented by Yoshitada Minami who was associated with Toshiba Corporation.
Why Buy A Rice Cooker?
If you’re still boiling water on a stove and cooking rice the old fashioned way or using those microwavable rice pots you can buy from Woolworths either, they cost a fortune and taste woeful! Buy yourself a rice cooker and experience authentic perfect rice every time for yourself.
Once you buy a rice cooker your life will become much easier, I guarantee it. Simply add your rice and turn it on. Job done.
Most modern rice cookers will effortlessly cook your rice and then keep it warm until you’re ready to use it. Have you ever been to a Thai restaurant and wondered why the rice is so tasty and your dish comes out so fast? The rice was made earlier that day and is being kept warm in a rice cooker.
A non stick inner layer ensures your rice doesn’t stick to the bottom and more expensive rice cookers offer functionality to cook a wide variety of types of rice although I’ll be honest, even a cheap rice cooker can cook most rice including Jasmin, Basmati, Red and Brown rice.
Best Rice Cookers In Australia
Below is the rice cookers that will be featured in this review. I've personally tested and used all of these models, to help in your buying decision.
- Philips Grain Master
- Sunbeam Perfect 7 Deluxe
- Kambrook Rice Express
- Breville BRC550SIL
- Tefal Multi Smart Cooker
1. Philips Grain Master
Capacity: 4L | Warm mode: 24 hours | Weight: 4kg | Warranty: 2 Years
This rice cooker is probably the biggest baddest cooker you can buy for under $100 and offers everything a large household could need.
It features 8 multi-function options allowing you to perfectly cook brown rice, white rice, multi-grain rice, lentils, porridge and quinoa. It also offers a reheat option, quick cook and standard cook option.
My favourite option is the quick cook for fast meals at home.
The Philips Grain cooker offers a trademarked ‘FragrantTaste’ feature that enhanced optimal moisture absorption ensuring every cook is as tasty as the last.
You won’t find that in any other rice cookers. After cooking you can keep it going in warm mode for up to 12 hours or reheat it too.
This cooker is a brute and weighs over 4kg so you’ll want to ensure it will fit in your kitchen but allows you to cook up to 4L of food at once.
Backed by a 2 year manufacturer warranty and included measuring cup, scoop, manuals quick start guide and free recipe booklet it’s a great rice cooker.
2. Sunbeam Perfect 7 Deluxe
Capacity: 14 cup | Warm mode: 12 hours | Weight: 3kg | Warranty: 1 Year
As I mentioned earlier you don’t need to spend a lot if you only want to cook rice and this is a perfect example of that. With a non stick cooking pan you can cook up to 14 cups of rice in one go. If rice isn’t your thing you can use it for steaming fish, poultry and vegetables too.
The Sunbeam rice cooker features a sealed locking lid and is a mini version of a larger model popular among the Asian commercial community.
The product does what it’s intended too do and cooks rice fast and then changes to warm mode ready to use. At 3kg it’s lighter than the Philips and is designed for families up to 12 people at once.
3. Kambrook Rice Express Cooker
Capacity: 8 cup | Warm mode: 12 hours | Weight: 2kg | Warranty: 1 Year
Another cheaper rice cooker that is retailed for under RRP$40, the Kambrook features an 8 cup capacity and will make up to 18 servings of rice. Similar to the previous rice cooker it only comes with a cook and warm option so you can’t customise your cook for different types.
As above this rice cooker can be used to steam vegetables, fish and poultry and also includes a non stick aluminium removable cooking bowl too.
This is a model we actually use in our own house currently. It’s so light and easy to use, it’s portable too and could easily fit in a caravan or the back of your car if you’re doing a roadie.
4. Breville BRC550SIL Rice Grain Cooker
Capacity: 10 cup | Warm mode: 12 hours | Weight: 3kg | Warranty: 1 Year
This silver rice cooker from Breville looks sexy and offers multiple cooking options including rice, risotto, lentils, porridge, quinoa and saute. It’s not just a rice cooker and given the price it might be suitable for those looking for a multi purpose cooker.
Featuring a 10 cup capacity it can easily make up to 20 cups of cooked rice per time. At 3kg it’s a lightweight cooker that can be easily relocated.
The rice cooker features a ‘cook n look lid’ and is super easy to clean out of all the models mentioned in this review.
5. Tefal Multicook Smart Rice Cooker
Capacity: 4L | Warm mode: 24 hours | Weight: 4.7kg| Warranty: 1 Year
Are you looking for a powerhouse rice cooker that doubles up as a multi cooker then you should consider this Tefal RK900.
This rather pricey cooker offers 4 grain cooking options inlcuding Nutri+, Quick, Normal and Soft for a wide variety of rice, lentils, beans, chick peas and porridge.
In total there are over 82 different cooking programs including 22 nutrition and 60+ multi-cook programs. Slightly excessive for most households but foodies will love the different options. For those short on time there is an express soaking function as well as an automatic keep warm feature and delayed start up to 24 hours.
In the box you’ll find a durable ceramic bowl that provided efficient 3D heating for tasty rice and grains.
Negatives include a fiddly user interface including power on/off buttons and the display is attached to the lid meaning when you open it you can’t see the clock anymore.
What to Consider When Buying a Rice Cooker
So now you know about the top models, you're probably unsure which one is right for you. Below I've created a buyers guide based on my own experience.
Types of Rice
Cooking rice might seem easy, but different cookers offer the ability to cook different rice. Most are capable of cooking white rice, brown rice or multi-grain, however some models offer a function that extends the normal time for some vs others. This is especially helpful when you want fluffy brown rice, that you can't get using a cheap cooker.
Most cookers use a cup capacity to display the volume of rice you can cook per cycle. The most common is definitely 8 cups or 10 cups. You can get larger units that support up to 20 cups however for a normal 1-2 person household usually 2 cups is sufficient so you shouldn't overthink the 10 cup capacity as you probably won't use it!
If you're buying a low end rice cooker it's unlikely you'll be able to change the timer. Most of these models are only equipped for one time which is usually set for white jasmine rice. If you can afford to spend more, you can change the time or use function keys for various types of rice on the larger models, however..
Sizing & Dimensions
Larger capacity rice cookers are of course larger and much more bulky. If you're living in a small apartment, you probably won't be able to store or accommodate such a large cooker. That's why smaller cookers are better however you'll likely have to forgo the cooking time features.
Some of the more modern and expensive cookers come with additional pre-sets such as the ability to use the cooker in the same way as a pressure cooker, combining two appliances in one. Additionally you have pre-sets such as the ability to use steaming via the steam basket which might be included.
You'll nearly always have 6 - 10 additional cooking options such as the ability to get crispy rice, rice porridge, sushi rice, soup, cake and vegetable steaming.
Most rice cookers at the low end only come with an LED light for "Cook" and "Warm," which are usually controlled by a rocker switch. More expensive cookers usually come with an LED display and a large number of buttons for controlling the other features and pre-sets
This is the technology that automatically adjusts the cooking temperatures throughout the various stages of cooking your rice, ensuring that optimum results are achieved every time.
You'll likely only find this on the top end models such as the Breville Smart Box. It's a handy feature to have especially if you're cooking anything other than Jasmine rice.
Automatic Keep Warm
Once your rice has been cooked, rather than switching the device off, rice cookers keep your rice warm until you're ready to serve up.
Some models only offer a 6 hour keep warm timer while others offer up to 24 hours. If you're looking for something commercial for your restaurant then 24 hours makes sense as you can prepare the night before. Home cookers might not care and 6 hours should be sufficient.
Power Cord Length
Some models come with longer power cords than others. You'll need to plug your cooker in so make sure you've got one that comes with a long power cord so you don't need an extension cord running across your kitchen worktop. Most common is 0.8-1m cords.
It's not uncommon for rice cookers to need replacing due to their design so ensure you purchase a model that comes with a good warranty period such as 1-2 years.
If you buy a cheap model it might not matter too much if you have to buy another as they only cost $30-$50, but more expensive models can be annoying to replace if problems arise.
How to Cook Perfect Rice
Most people unfortunately don't know how to use a rice cooker correctly and this causes the cooker to bubble up and boil over.
- Wipe the cooker with soft cloth
- Clean the inner pot and inner lid
- Insert your rice. Add cold tap water. Stir with a spoon for 1 minute
- The starch will start to turn the water murky
- Tilt the pot on an angle, empty as much water as possible
- Repeat step 3-5, at least 4-5 times
- By now the water will be clear, rice at the bottom
- Empty water again. Take measuring cup and add relevant water
- Wipe down the side of the pot if it's now wet
- Turn on the rice cooker, wait for it to finish
- Place the rice in the fridge for 2 hours
- Heat rice in the pan and serve.
The key to cooking fluffy rice is to wash the rice completely. Unlike cooking pasta, rice needs to have all the starch removed. If you don't remove this, the rice will bubble in the pot and the lid will start rattling around.
Adding the rice to the fridge cools it down, then when it's been reheated it tastes even better, especially when fried. That's how the Chinese make amazing egg fried rice. Of course this is optional and personal preference.
Where To Buy Rice Cookers?
You can purchase one from many different online and high street retailers.
Kmart Rice Cooker
You'll find a few cheap 7 cup, 10 cup and 12 cup rice cookers in store at Kmart. These can be as low as $25 but they are poorly made. We actually have one trip our power supply at home.
However if you're a student on a budget, such a low price can be very tempting.
Big W Rice Cooker
You can buy cookers from Big W and again they offer cheap brands that are very affordable but likely won't last too long. Contempo and Brilliant basics are some of their popular brands that have mixed reviews online. Either people love it or hate it.
You can find even cheaper deals during their black friday and Click frenzy sales.
Target Rice Cooker
Target is very similar to Big W and they offer similar cheap models that you may think are very affordable but likely won't last too long. They don't stock any premium brands.
You can buy brand names from stores such as Appliances Online, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Kitchen Warehouse, Myer, David Jones and Bing Lee. You can also pick up cheap deals from sites such as Catch.com.au.
Do you really need a rice cooker?
If you read the introduction then you’ll know that I think every household should have a rice cooker to save money and savour the taste of perfectly cooked rice every time.
Some people claim rice cookers take up space in the kitchen so I’d suggest buying something that suits your life.
For example a one bedroom apartment in Melbourne probably should buy a cheap rice cooker. A family of 7 growing adults should probably buy a fully fledged 20 cup cooker. If you’re still not convinced, maybe stick to a pan and hot water.
Does rice taste better in a rice cooker?
It’s entirely up to the individual but there is a reason why you’ll see a rice cooker at nearly any Asian food outlet and that’s because it tastes much better and is easier to serve customers. If you eat lots of rice then you’ll be your own judge but I’ve always believed it tastes much better.
You can learn how to use one here.
How long does a rice cooker take?
Generally a rice cooker will take 10 minutes for perfectly cooked white rice and 20 minutes for brown or multi grain rice.
The problem with buying a cheap rice cooker is you can’t alter the cooking time so you might need to do it twice rather than once for brown rice. Buying a multi purpose cooker with functions for each type of rice can help.
How long can you keep rice in a rice cooker?
Cooked rice can be kept warm for up to 24 hours however we recommend refrigerating your rice after 2 hours. Then use within 3 days and only reheat it once. Personally I always use my rice instantly from the cooker as it’s so easy to use.
There you have it, five rice cookers you should checkout right now. What’s your experience using a rice cooker or any of those featured in our article. Drop a comment below and we’ll share it with other readers.
There you have, 5 of the best rice cookers you can buy in Australia right now. Whether you’re a big household planning on cooking lots of rice or a broke student trying to save money, there is a suitable rice cooker out there for everyone, some cheaper than others.
For those on a budget I’d opt for the Kambrook Express Rice Cooker. If you're looking for a large household or something that can serve multiple purposes such as steaming or cooking other dishes then the Philips Grain Master or Tefal Multicook should be seriously considered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much do rice cookers cost?
A: You can expect to pay between $25 for a super cheap model up to $300 for the most expensive ones. You generally get what you pay for, however mid range models of around $80-$135 can be equally as good as top end models.
Q: Can I cook brown rice in a rice cooker?
A: Yes you can. Some cheaper models only offer one function but you can still cook brown rice. Multi-function models allow you to choose a brown rice option.
Q: Do rice cookers make better rice?
A: I personally believe you can taste the difference when using a cooker and it tastes better. It's so easy to do and encourages you to eat a lot more as it's set and forget.
Q: What is a fuzzy logic rice cooker?
A: These are cookers that have built-in computer chips that track cooking time and temperature and make adjustments as and when required to ensure every cycle delivers the best quality rice.