Sushi is one of the most popular dishes in the world, not only because it’s a typical Japanese dish but also it’s healthy and convenient. The term sushi refers to the vinegared rice, so if the vinegared rice is not involved, it cannot be considered sushi. In other words, sushi rice is the most important component of sushi. If you want to make good sushi at home, you need to prepare perfect sushi rice first.
You can use a simple saucepan to make sushi rice, but the most convenient and time-saving way is to cook sushi rice using an electric rice cooker. Cooking rice on the stove is iffy and it requires a constant eye since it can easily overcook. Generally, there are 4 stages to cook sushi rice – wash the rice, soak it, boil it, and steam it until it’s completely cooked. If you use a good rice cooker, you can even skip the soaking and steaming process. It will cook the rice in just the right amount of time and automatically turn it off when it is finished.
There are many different brands on the market for the rice cooker but one interesting thing you might notice is that the best rice cookers would be made in countries where rice is the main staple food. And Japanese rice cookers are one of the most well-known models on the market. The brands from Japan have a strong focus on rice and tend to make high-quality rice cookers. Personally, my trusted rice cooker brand is Zojirushi when it comes to making sushi rice at home. In fact, I have two Zojirushi rice cookers in my home kitchen. Since I cook sushi rice frequently, these rice cookers have “sushi” option which makes it easy for me to get perfectly cooked sushi rice every single time.
In this article, I will share with you some of the best rice cookers from Zojirushi that specifically designed to cook Japanese style sushi rice and then we’ll talk about how to pick the best rice cooker for sushi. You don’t want to buy a unit that doesn’t even correctly cook short grain white rice (sushi rice). This is a special style of rice that compacts easily and bunches together, making it ideal for creating sushi rolls and eating with chopsticks. Since the sushi rice is more absorbent and cooked different than most of the other rice styles, a good rice cooker need to be specially made to handle these rice grains in order to create the perfect sushi rice consistently.
Well, before we go any further, you may want to know a bit about Zojirushi manufacturer.
About Zojirushi corporation – The manufacturer
Zojirushi Corporation is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. It has a branch in South Korea and subsidiary companies in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and the United States. This is one of leading manufacturers of kitchen appliances in Japan. The company was founded on the 10th of May in 1918 in Osaka as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company. In the year 1948, the company was established as Kyowa Manufacturing Co., Ltd. In 1961, its name was changed again to the Zojirushi Corporation and its corporate logo was adopted. Zojirushi is from Zou (elephant) and Shirushi (mark), so the company’s name means “elephant mark”, denoting intelligence, strength, and familiarity. They started off with glass production, and the company first made a vacuum bottle. In 1970, the company started the manufacture of what will become their most popular product – Rice cooker.
Back in the day, their rice cookers were no more than the conventional rice cooker, but today Zojirushi is a great option when you start to look for the high-quality rice cookers and there is quite a range to choose from. The company seems to be extremely good at creating models that perform above expectations. In most cases, Zojirushi rice cookers are great for every type of rice, including sushi rice.
So without further ado, let’s look at the top three sushi rice cooker from Zojirushi below.
Reviews of the Best sushi rice cookers
Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker
This model Zojirushi is considered as one of the most affordable Zojirushi rice cookers in the market but at the same time, it still offers an extensive range of functions. If you are looking for a small rice cooker to make perfect sushi rice at home, you simply cannot find a better one out there. It comes equipped with almost everything that an expert rice cook could ask for. The artificial intelligence will do the rest of the heavy job for you. The latest fuzzy logic equipped to bring out the perfect rice each time. It will even keep the rice warm after the rice has finished cooking.
Read the detailed review below to determine if the Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-cup rice cooker for you.
Adjusts to the type of rice you are cooking…
This rice cooker is built in with special functions to cook each type of rice since all rice is not cooked the same and each rice type has different cooking times. For example, the sushi rice setting has the same cook time as “White Rice/Mixed Rice” at 40 to 50 minutes, but the way it’s cooked will be different. The Quick Cooking setting can get white rice done at 20 to 30 minutes, but the rice may be a bit harder if it isn’t cooked long enough.
Brown rice has a hard bran (Bran is the hard outer layer that covers unprocessed rice) and requires preheating time so that the water is absorbed better. The brown rice setting cooks longer (with a cooking time of 1 hour 20 minutes) at a lower temperature to prevent mushiness.
Saves your kitchen space
This unit is very compact with a weight of 7 pounds. It takes up a small amount of counter space and its stainless steel body will match just any kitchen decor.
Not enough for serving a large family
Given its size, it can only cook 3 cups of uncooked rice and you will get six cups of superb rice each time. So it works perfectly if you are single or feeding a small family of 3-4.
Delivers the perfect quality of rice each time around
The problem most people have with cooking rice is that they don’t measure the rice and water properly and they don’t know how long to cook their rice. This Zojirushi model solves these problems with two features: the inner pot with measuring lines in it, and the MICOM (microcomputer) technology.
The inner pot is spherically shaped to distribute heat evenly, it also has measuring lines that help you to be more precise when putting in ingredients.
The microcomputer technology will do all of the heavy lifting for you, just put your rice in, set the timer and it will do the rest. You don’t have to worry about overcooking or undercooking since the MICOM distributes heat evenly throughout the cooker that enables you to cook perfect rice every time. This is done through “fuzzy logic” which adjusts the heat according to the ratio of rice to water. Thus, you won’t find a single uncooked patch of rice after the rice cooker stops working. Even if you miscalculate the ratio of rice to water a bit, the quality would not differ.
Automatically keeps cooked rice warm
After the rice has been cooked, the keep warm is used to keep just cooked rice warm for quite some time in case you are not eating right away. But the keep warm setting is not supposed to be used reheat cold rice. Once the cooking cycle is complete, an interchangeable beep signal will alert you.
It is designed with the convenience in mind
The control panel has an LCD panel that is extremely precise. There are many functions and settings that make it more convenient. The buttons are big and obvious. The button labeled “timer” is for setting the time you want your rice to be done. The “cooking” button is used to start the rice cooking cycle. The “menu” button is for selecting a rice cooking mode – quick cooking, white rice/mixed, sushi, porridge and brown.
The rice cooker comes equipped with the cold retractable so it can be stored easily. It also has a non-stick inner pan which makes it easy to clean. The inner lid of the cooker can be removed, you can get it cleaned without having to waste too much time. Note: Use a non-abrasive rag or sponge to clean the inner the pan. The stainless steel exterior also helps quite a bit.
Accessories included with the unit are:
- A measuring cup
- A spatula holder – to avoid making a mess on your countertop
- A rice spatula – to avoid damaging the non-stick coated inner pan
Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System Rice Cooker
Another great sushi rice cooker from Zojirushi, Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Heating System rice cooker is made with the sole purpose of producing excellent rice with minimum effort. What is interesting about this rice cooker is the fact that the rice tastes like it was just made after one-two days. This induction based pressure rice cooker model is not the most expensive rice cooker, but it isn’t a cheaply priced one either. So If you plan on using your rice cooker often, this unit deserves a serious consideration.
Want to know more about this rice cooker model? Keep on reading.
Multi-menu functions and healthy cooking options bring variety to your table
There are not many rice cookers out there that can provide a one-size-fits-all method for cooking many different types of rice. But this model offers a wide range of menu cooking functions and healthy cooking options (brown rice, germinated brown rice, and GABA brown rice) so that you can prepare whatever you want. Moreover, this model comes with many advanced features to make sure that every rice type can be cooked to perfection. For instance, there are specialized cycles for sushi rice, sweet rice, porridge, mixed rice, brown rice, GABA brown rice, and germinated brown rice.
There are 3 separate settings for white rice – regular, softer, and harder – to suit your preference. The most impressive rice type is the GABA rice setting. GABA brown rice is not a new variety of brown rice, but a newly discovered way of cooking brown rice to “activate” it and increase natural GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) – an amino acid that lowers blood pressure and relieves stress. The GABA properties are activated by soaking brown rice at 40°C (104°F) for 2 hours prior to cooking.
But what is germinated brown rice?
Germinated brown rice, sometimes called sprouted brown rice, looks similar to regular brown rice. Once cooked, however, the germinated brown rice yields a slightly sweeter flavor and a less chewy texture. Germinated brown rice also contains increased values of GABA and can be used in many of the same recipes in which you already use regular brown rice.
If you enjoy making sushi at home, you will know that sushi rice requires a consistency that can be hard to achieve. The sushi rice setting in the Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH takes a headache out of your preparation and gets it perfect for you every time.
Induction heating technology
This rice cooker model is equipped with the latest advanced technology – induction heating cooking (IH) that efficiently provides high heat and cooks flawless rice every time. IH system combined with the triple heater that penetrates the pot from the bottom, sides, and lid, making sure that everything inside is well cooked. With IH technology, each rice grains cooked at the same time. Therefore, it conserves energy and the result more reliable.
Thanks to IH technology, the rice cooker is able to make precise adjustments to the way it cooks rice, both in temperature and air circulation. And it does all that with the help of a magnetic field created by coils in the base of the rice cooker. When the inner pot is placed into the external vessel, the magnetic field is activated and starts the cooking cycle.
Design and attention to the practical details
Most of the Zojirushi models carry the same design as this one. The outer casing of the rice cooker is stainless steel and the color comes in dark gray. The clear coated exterior gives the cooker sleek and shiny look, making it a welcome addition to any home kitchen. There is a smart led on the front panel which helps it to look better.
Zojirushi doesn’t only offer an innovative way to cook the rice, they also make their cookers as user-friendly as possible. The cooking pot is made of black metal that speeds up the heating process. The inside pot and inner lid are both dishwasher friendly and can be removed for easier cleaning. The clear coating also helps in easy cleaning as nothing sticks to it, it only requires a quick wipe to stay looking as good as the day you bought it.
This rice cooker also comes with handy tools such as measuring and non-stick spatula to make life even easier.
Lets you choose your convenient time
Like other advanced rice cookers, with this model, you will enjoy automatic cooking options that allow you to decide the time to eat. Automatic keep warm function helps to keep rice at the perfect serving temperature. It features an extended keep warm function that allows you to keep the rice warm for over 8 hours. It also comes with a delay timer which pre-soaks the rice before cooking, thus speeding it up.
You can choose two sizes: 1 liter and 1.8 liters. The capacity range varies from a personal need to large family need. The most commonly used capacity is 1 liter since it is perfect for normal use. But if you have a large family, then you go with 1.8 liters (about 7.5 cups).
If you want to use your rice cooker to prepare more than just plain white rice, this model may be a great buy. With this machine, you can make delicious sushi, healthy brown rice varieties, and even creamy porridge for breakfast! Overall, this is a high-end rice cooker for serious rice lovers.
Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker
Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker is one of the most expensive rice cookers on the market, however, the money spent on this unit is worth it, and in time it will simply paying for itself. So If you are able to afford it then this is definitely the best rice cooker that money can buy. The Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker will bring the best Japanese rice cooking technology to your dining table. It combines advanced microcomputer fuzzy logic, induction heating, and pressure cooking into one appliance in order to produce the highest quality of rice possible. It offers a wide range of settings that make the machine more versable and it is a perfect option if you plan to cook sushi rice in the appliance.
Read the details below to determine if this Zojirushi model for you.
AI Fuzzy Logic technology
The Zojirushi NP-NVC10 Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker is programmed to adjust the cooking cycle according to your cooking habits. Which means the rice cooker can actually learn from its previous rice-making experiences and reapply the same information to your next cooking to yield a consistent result. The fuzzy logic enables the rice cooker to think like a human for “if…then” scenarios. For example, if you cook sushi rice, a set of variables of cooking time and temperature would be called upon which is different if cooking white rice.
The advanced fuzzy logic will remember key metrics such as the typical capacity of the rice you make in order to automatically set the proper temperature and time. It can adjust its settings to get you perfect rice texture and consistency regardless of environmental factors like humidity and heat. The rice cooker even will make adjustments for the final “wait” period that happens during the steaming process. In other words, this machine thinks things through on your behalf so you can concentrate on putting together the rest of your meal.
What is the reason for adding a pressure cooking function?
Unlike other rice cookers that use a bottom heating element, with this model, the pressure induction heating technology use heat that is electromagnetically generated and the entire pot become the heating element.
The heat is generated through the entire pot surface rather than by an external source of heat. This means your rice will be cooked faster than usual. The pressure cooking function increases the normal boiling point of water so that the cooked rice softer and stays softer for longer.
The rice cooker is equipped with pressurized heating in 3 different settings of temperature and pressure. To cook white rice, the setting is at 104°C/219°F at 2.1 psi, sushi rice (firmer than regular white rice) at 100°C/212°F with 2.1 psi, brown rice at 105°C/221°F at 2.8 psi.
Pressurized cooking is a key feature in this model, applying pressure while cooking converts the rigid beta starch in rice into alpha starch which make the rice softer and easier to digest.
Makes every type of rice you can image
The menu settings are by far the most comprehensive on to date, you can check all of the different types of rice you can make with the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 here.
I love making sushi rice but it’s pretty tricky. This model takes the guesswork out of making sushi rice. You just need to set it and wait for the “Ready” beep sounds.
The umami, steam-reduce, and scorched settings are brand new settings.
To the Japanese, “Umami” is thought of as the 5th flavor, which means “good tasting” or “deliciousness”. The umami setting allows you to capture the “5th flavor” by pre-soaking the rice longer than it does on the white rice setting. This added soak time allows for the rice’s natural sugars to release from and reabsorbed to the rice grains, giving it that subtle “deliciousness”.
The steam-reduce setting allows you to lower the steam to 50% of the regular setting. This process probably helps to shorten the cooking time, less energy is consumed, and allows you to enjoy rice that is firmer than average.
You can even make “scorched” rice. This setting enables you brown/toast the rice to a golden brown, giving it a “nutty” flavor note.
Platinum infused inner pot
Another brand-new feature is that the inner pot has a nonstick fluorine coating infused with platinum particles. These platinum particles alkalize the water via contact. Alkaline water breaks down the proteins on the rice surface to release the natural sweetness of the rice. This helps to give a sweet flavor to the cooked rice.
Even the lid on this unit is smart. Amazingly, this cooker’s lid sensor keeps track of how many times the rice cooker has been opened and for how long. It then uses these metrics to tell you the ideal temperature and time needed to keep the rice serve ready. The lid is even detachable and washable for easy cleaning.
This rice cooker has two variants
One is a 5.5 cup model (Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-NVC10) that is suitable for moderate family.
And the other is a 10 cup model (Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer NP-NVC18) that is suitable for a larger family.
How to pick the best rice cooker?
Do I want a smart rice cooker or just a simple, get-it-done model?
Most high-end models come with a lot of advanced features and technology such as features to decide when the rice cooker will begin cooking, to keep the rice warm, to speed up the cooking time, or to reheat rice. These advanced features help make the cooking process quicker, more convenient and give you the best price possible.
Some smart models are very intelligent and do all the thinking and cooking for you. They also offer a wide range of menu cooking functions – white rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, porridge rice, and even offers healthy cooking options – brown rice, germinated brown rice, and GABA brown rice.
Basically, with these smart rice cookers, all you need to do is:
- Choose your favorite type of rice.
- Decide how much rice you want to make.
- Fill the cooking pot with water up to the water line for the type of rice you are cooking.
- Press the menu button to select the cooking setting and turn it on.
- It will do the rest.
The thing I like about these rice cookers is that you don’t have to soak the rice before cooking, and you don’t have to steam the rice at the end of the cooking process…they are smart enough to do it all for you.
Keep in mind that all those extra features will come with a few extra dollars tacked onto the price.
Do you have limited counter space?
If you have a limited counter space, you will want to consider a multi-purpose rice cooker that also serves as a steamer and slow cooker. Pressurized rice cookers don’t release steam, so they can be used in almost any room of the house – this might help a lot if you have a small kitchen.
What size do I need?
When selecting a rice cooker, consider how much rice you want to prepare. Consider this suggestion.
- A 3 cup rice cooker will make enough rice just for single or couple.
- 5.5 or 6 cups will feed 3-6 people comfortably
- 10 cup is enough for 7-9 people.
How to use a rice cooker?
1. You can start the rice cooking process by measuring the rice with the included rice cup and put it into your cooking pot. One cup of uncooked rice will make anywhere from 1 ½ cups to three cups of cooked rice, depending on variety. You want to leave enough space for this expansion to keep the rice cooker from spilling over.
2. You want to wash the rice a few times in order to remove any pieces of bran or some of the starch on the outside of the rice grains. If you’re working with sushi rice, then there is a lot to wash off it since it has a lot of starch on its surface. Drain water through a sieve. Here, if you use a pot or a simple rice cooker, you will want to let the rice sit in a sieve and drain for 30 minutes. But with a smart rice cooker, you can skip this step and still get the perfect results.
3. Put the rinsed rice into the inner cooking pot. How much water you add depends on your rice type and how moist you prefer it. There are measuring lines on the inside of the cooking pot which indicates how much water should be added. For example, add 1 cup of white rice to the inner cooking pot and add water to number 1 on the white rice scale mark. Note: Use bottled water to cook your rice if your water is hard and alkaline since this might cause your rice to turn yellow or become gluey and sticky.
4. If you are using a standard rice cooker, you will want to soak your rice to get a shinier rice with a better texture. If you are using a smart rice cooker you don’t have to worry about soaking the rice, it does it all for you.
5. If you are using a simple rice cooker, just press the “turn on” button. If using a smart model, press the menu key to select the cooking setting you want and then press the cooking button to start the cooking process. The cooking light turns on and a melody will play. (You can also change the sounds from a melody to a beep, just follow the instruction).
6. Next, if you are using a smart rice cooker which steams the rice after the cooking time is finished, you do not need to let your rice steam. Otherwise, let the rice steam for 15 minutes.
7. When the cooking time is over, if using a smart model, another melody will play. The rice cooker now switches to keep the rice warm. You can open the lid and turn the rice lightly over a few times using a non-stick rice paddle. This helps to release extra moisture and to make the rice fluffy.
8. Taking the rice out and enjoy!