Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 23, 2021
Wise Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
When it comes to dinnertime, easy is the motto. Whether you’ve got a bunch of screaming children, a dinner party, or even just a simple meal for two, simple can mean a lot less stress. Finding the best small rice cooker can help you prepare the perfect side dish in an easy, foolproof manner. Instead of worrying about if your rice will be too sticky or too dry, a rice cooker eliminates all your worries.
We’ve scoured the marketplace to find the top six best small rice cookers. Each model on our list has its own unique features, but the one that truly stands out from the rest is our Editor’s Choice, the Cuisinart CRC-400. This small rice cooker is perfect for two to six people. It can create 8 cups of cooked rice, and there is no need to worry about quality. This easy-to-use appliance will take all your worries out of cooking, allowing you to focus on more important things.
All six rice cookers that we have found come with in-depth product reviews. We will also include a buying guide that explains what features to look for in your shopping journey. And, if you still have questions, be sure to check out our FAQ section. When given the choice, making dinner the easy way will always come out on top. And we want to help you make things just a little bit easier by finding the best small rice cooker.
If you’re looking for a nice, simple, but reliable rice cooker, check out our Editor’s Choice. The Cuisinart CRC-400 can cook up to 8 cups of rice, all housed in its brushed stainless-steel finish. There aren’t any fancy programs available, but you can still cook a variety of food. It just might take a bit to figure out the cooking times.
The Cuisinart CRC-400 is a tightly packed appliance that stores nicely thanks to its square design. It doesn’t take up too much space on a countertop so you can enjoy a stress-free cooking experience.
What’s really remarkable about the Cuisinart CRC-400 is that it comes with a three-year warranty. While most other rice cookers only have a one-year warranty, the extra years on this guarantee are a really nice bonus. It shows that Cuisinart stands behind their appliances, and no issues should arise.
Sometimes when you cook rice, a mess can arise. Thankfully with the Cuisinart CRC-400 there shouldn’t be any. The inside is Teflon-coated, which means no sticky residue after cooking. Clean up is a breeze!
If you’re looking for a rice cooker that is user-friendly, you’ll especially like its automatic warming function. Once your food has finished cooking, the Cuisinart CRC-400 automatically turns to a warm mode. This means your food won’t overcook, dry out, or become cold. There’s no more frantic cooking, trying to tie all of the pieces of a meal together.
Technology is ever-changing, and the latest development is induction cooking. Instead of using inefficient heat, the Panasonic SR-DF101 uses induction technology. Inside the cooking pot, food is heated thanks to a magnetic and electrical current. The result is precise temperature control. You can also cook a lot of different foods, and diversity is always appreciated.
With the Panasonic SR-DF101, you can cook both white rice and brown rice. You can also make porridge, soup, and steamed vegetables. The technology inside this appliance makes precise adjustments in both cooking temperatures and cooking times. There’s no need to monitor the unit and worry about food being undercooked or worse, burnt.
Included in your purchase of the Panasonic SR-DF101 is a measuring cup, a non-scratch rice spoon, and a steaming basket. The steaming basket allows you to make vegetables and other foods, so dinner will never be a dull affair again.
Other features include a keep-warm function, so food doesn’t chill after it is done cooking. There is also an automatic shut-off function, so food doesn’t burn. Simple choose one of the meal programs and let the Panasonic SR-DF101 do the rest.
The Panasonic SR-DF101 is a really nice rice cooker, and most customers have been very satisfied with it. The only complaint is that there could be more features, especially given its revolutionary technology. There is no countdown timer or notification alarm. These are not major flaws, just extras that will hopefully show up on future models.
Not all rice is created equal. While some might prefer the versatility of white rice, others want the nutrition of brown rice. You might not be aware, but it can take almost twice the time to cook brown rice over white rice. It’s, therefore, important to find an appliance that knows how to cook all types of rice. Enter the Zojirushi NHS-06 0.
This best small rice cooker for brown rice is the perfect solution to all your dinner woes. No matter what type of side dish you are craving, you can create it with this rice cooker.
There are several nice features with the Zojirushi NHS-06 0. It has a see-through glass lid which allows you to keep a close eye on your rice. No matter the guidelines, there will always be individual preferences when it comes to rice. Being able to see what stage the rice is without opening the lid and letting out hot air will allow you to cook your rice to your own perfection standards.
In addition to the see-through lid, the Zojirushi NHS-06 0 also has stay-cool handles on the side of the pot as well as a stay-cool knob on the lid. There’s no need to search frantically for oven mitts, so you don’t burn your hands.
Furthermore, the Zojirushi NHS-06 0 is very easy to use as there is just one simple switch control. And, after your cooking is finished, the bowl will stay warm so you can keep cooking your main meal.
Amazon’s Choice for best Tiger rice cooker is the Tiger JBV-A10U-W. It is also our pick for best double rice cooker. Because why have one device that cooks just one food when you can have a device that cooks two different foods at the same time?
That’s right, the Tiger JBV-A10U-W has a synchronized cooking function that allows you to cook the main dish side by side with your rice. All at the same time. This is definitely the best rice cooker for a small family because who wouldn’t want to eliminate stress while making dinner?
There are four cooking programs with the Tiger JBV-A10U-W. You can set it to white rice, brown rice, slow cook, or synchro cooking. These programs work well, and again, eliminate dinner stress.
Included in your purchase are a few extra items. You will also receive a non-stick spatula, a measuring cup, a cooking plate, and a cookbook. So, if you’re still struggling to decide what’s for dinner, this handy cookbook will give you plenty of ideas so you can synchronize your cooking all in one appliance.
While the Tiger JBV-A10U-W has a lot of great features, it is a bit basic. For example, there are no alerts to tell you when your meal is ready. While there are guidelines, most users have found they need to experiment to figure out what the best times and water to rice ratios are.
It’s also a bit bulkier than other rice cookers, which is no surprise given its synchronized cooking function. So, if you’re short on counter space, this might not be the best option for you.
If rice is one of the cheapest foods available, it stands to reason that you would also want an affordable rice cooker. Our Budget Pick is the BLACK+DECKER RC506. While it is affordable, it also has some nice features which makes it worthy of consideration.
With an eight-cup capacity for rice, this handy rice cooker is perfect for family gatherings. It’s a nice, in-between size, so even if you just want to make enough rice for two people, you can still use this appliance.
The BLACK+DECKER RC506 comes with a two-year warranty, which allows for good peace of mind. It’s double the standard warranty for rice cookers, and the customer service attached to this appliance is nice and helpful.
Despite its affordable price, the BLACK+DECKER RC506 comes with some handy features. Once your food has been cooked accordingly, there is an automatic warming feature. This will turn on to keep your food warm, so you don’t have to hastily empty it from the cooker. However, don’t let the rice stay in the warm mode for too long as it can quite easily become overcooked this way.
The bowl inside the rice cooker has a non-stick coating, which allows for easier cleanup. The whole point of having a rice cooker us, so you don’t have to scrape burnt rice off the bottom of a pan, and luckily, with the BLACK+DECKER RC506, this is no longer a worry.
Alright, cute might not be high on your list of most wanted features for a small rice cooker, but you have to admit that it is a nice bonus. The Dash DRCM200GBRD04 is by far the cutest product on our list and as a bonus, works really well, too!
The Dash DRCM200GBRD04 comes in five color choices, including aqua, black, pink, red, and white. It has a small, two-cup rice capacity. This is definitely the smallest capacity on our list but makes it one of the best rice cookers for small amounts. Sometimes you just need a bit of rice, or if you plan on only cooking for one or two people, then why bother paying extra for a much larger product?
The Dash DRCM200GBRD04 is also a great idea if you want a small portion of rice to add to larger dishes. Its small size makes it portable and perfect for the office. Its cute design and small capacity make it the best small electric rice cooker for lunch.
While the Dash DRCM200GBRD04 is more compact than other small rice cookers, it’s actually not as small as you would think. Its dimensions are just slightly less than other models that hold up to double the amount of rice. So, if you think you may need to cook more than just two cups of rice in the near future, it might be better to just get a slightly larger item.
Why is it special?
Comes in five different colors
Cute, compact, and portable
Easy to use
What are the flaws?
Not quite as small in comparison
Things to Consider
Your kitchen can become inundated with small appliances, which makes it hard to justify a new purchase. If, however, you regularly cook rice and are looking for a way to make dinner preparation easier, then a small rice cooker is well worth the price. Before you commit to anything, make sure you know all there is to know about rice cookers. This buying guide will explain important features to consider and answer any questions you might still have.
Features to consider while choosing a small rice cooker
To help you find a product that perfectly matches your needs, think about the features you want. This way you can buy one rice cooker and not have to worry about buyer’s remorse at a later date.
The capacity of a rice cooker is perhaps the most important feature to consider. While this article is focused on small rice cookers, there is still a bit of variety when it comes to capacity. For instance, the cute but tiny Dash DRCM200GBRD04 only has a capacity of two cups of cooked rice. On the other end of the spectrum, the Tiger JBV-A10U-W has a much larger capacity of eleven cups of cooked rice.
The biggest thing to remember about capacity is that it will include both cooked and uncooked portions. Rice usually doubles in size, so the cooked capacity will be double the uncooked capacity.
If you are set on a specific rice cooker but feel that it is either too small or too big for your needs, take a quick look at what else the manufacturer has to offer. There are a lot of units that come in multiple sizes. The Zojirushi NHS-06, for example, comes in a three-cup, six-cup, and 10-cup capacity. More choice is always a good thing and sometimes the answer to your dilemma is right next door.
Rice cookers are appliances that are built to make your life easier. As well as making it easy to cook rice, you can also cook a lot of different foods in a rice cooker. Because easy is the keyword here, many rice cookers include pre-programmed settings. So, if you want to cook oatmeal, simply look for the oatmeal program and select it. The rice cooker will adjust its temperature and time for this food.
Each rice cooker on our list is very different when it comes to programs. For example, some have no programs. Others, like the Panasonic SR-DF101, has programs for white rice, brown rice, porridge, and steam.
A really beneficial program is one that allows for steamed food. Some units, such as the Panasonic SR-DF101, will have a steamer insert to place vegetables or even fish. In fact, this induction model is definitely one of the best small rice cooker steamers.
If you know that you want to use your rice cooker for other cooking options, be sure to look for a product that has programs available. While you can still use any rice cooker for different foods, having built-in programs will make everything so much easier.
If you’re looking for a small rice cooker you either need to just feed a few people, have limited counter space, or both. Chance are if there are just two people in your house, you have a smaller place such as a townhouse or condo. As a result, both counter space and kitchen storage space will be limited.
Understand the dimensions of each small rice cooker before you purchase one to avoid any space dilemmas in the future.
Each rice cooker on our list has very different shapes and dimensions. Some are wider, some are taller. The average dimensions are 13 x 10 x 7 inches, but again, all vary. The most important thing you can do is decide both where you will store your rice cooker when not in use, and where you will place it when in use. Then, use these measurements to narrow down your search. It might take a bit of effort, but you’ll be so glad that you took this extra step.
Some people are technically inclined. Others aren’t. No matter if you like to tinker, having a warranty is essential with any electrical appliance. Most rice cookers come with a one-year warranty. This isn’t amazing, but it will get you through the first year as you navigate any potential kinks. The first year is when any manufacturer defects will crop up, so having the warranty is needed.
However, if you are worried about your new purchase, you might want to look into the Cuisinart CRC-400. This product comes with an impressive three-year warranty. Cuisinart is a well-known brand for a reason. It has solid manufacturing, so it’s no wonder the company stands behind its product with such a long warranty.
When it comes to rice cookers, there are a number of extra features to be found. Most now come with non-stick pots. Nobody likes to scrape dried rice out of a pot, so this feature is a real time-saver. Glass lids that are see-through let you keep an eye on your rice without letting any of the precious heat out. The more you can see your food, the better you can cook it to the right consistency.
Some rice cookers will have accessories included in your purchase. The Tiger JBV-A10U-W and the Dash DRCM200GBRD04, for example, both come with spatulas. Another handy accessory is a cookbook. Because most rice cookers can actually be used to prepare multiple types of food, a cookbook will give you plenty of inspiration.
How to use a rice cooker
So, you’ve purchased your favorite rice cooker. It’s arrived, and you can’t wait to use it. But just what exactly is the best way to go about? To start, be sure to read your user instructions. Each rice cooker is different, so even if you’ve previously used a rice cooker, your new one may be a bit different.
Understanding rice to water ratios is of the utmost importance. The general rule is two cups of water for one cup of rice. However, not everyone likes the same kind of rice. If you prefer stickier rice, you might want to decrease the amount of water. Alternately, you can cook your rice for a longer amount of time than is prescribed.
Time is also important. Brown rice can take almost twice as long as white rice. If you soak rice beforehand, that can also impact the cooking time. Pay attention to the guidelines for your rice cooker. Some might have programs available, so you can simply select a setting. This is helpful, but again, you will want to monitor your food the first time you use a pre-programmed setting.
If this is seeming all too confusing, don’t panic. Food will always be subjective, no matter what tool you are using to cook it. It will only take one or two rounds to figure out what works best for you. After that, it’s all smooth sailing and yummy food.
Once you’ve cooked the food in your rice cooker be aware of any extra features your appliance has. Most rice cookers will switch to a warming function once the food has been cooked. This allows you to finish the rest of your meal preparation and not have to worry about instantly removing the rice from the cooker. Just don’t let the rice sit too long on the warming mode and it can slowly start to dry out.
Once you’ve finished with cooking, it’s time for cleanup. Most rice cookers have non-stick coating. Simple scrape out any leftover rice with a spatula. Then, place the bowl insert in the sink and wash it with dish soap.
Rice cookers handle food so they need to be cleaned, but as they are appliances, they can be quite cumbersome. First, remove the inner pot, where the rice was cooked. Give it a good soak in warm water with dish soap. Depending on if anything is stuck on, you might have to soak overnight. Use a cloth and give a good scrub until cleaned. Let everything air dry. For the outside of the rice cooker, use soapy water to wipe clean.
Yes! The beauty of a rice cooker is that you can actually cook a lot of things in it. Some ideas include oatmeal, stews, steamed vegetables, and risotto. Depending on which model you purchase, you might have a recipe book included in the user guide. If not, there are a lot of simple websites that showcase the potential of a rice cooker.
It usually takes about 20 minutes to cook white rice in a rice cooker. Brown rice can take longer, and is usually ready in 40 minutes. Each rice cooker will be a bit different so be sure to consult your user guide. As well, expect to have a bit of trial and error the first few times you use your rice cooker. Everyone likes their rice cooked differently, so you may need to adjust your cooking time to personal preference.
With rice being such a food staple, having the best rice cooker means better food and easier preparation. Our Editor’s Choice for best small rice cooker is the Cuisinart CRC-400. This appliance has solid construction, as attested by its three-year warranty. It has a square design, which makes it easy to store. Oh, and it is easy to use.
If you like the latest technology, you’ll want to consider our choice for Best Brown Rice Cooker. The Panasonic SR-DF101 uses precision cooking methods. Whether you’re cooking white or brown rice, porridge, or steaming vegetables the easy-to-use controls will provide delicious food, every time.
Finally, if you like to mix things up a bit, the Zojirushi NHS-06 is a quality consideration. Our pick for the Best Value works with a variety of rice, and there’s no risk of dried, unappetizing food. There are a lot of items on our list for the best small rice cooker. We hope you better understand the features available and can find an appliance that will help make dinner preparation a bit easier.