Unlike white rice, brown rice can be a pain in the behind to cook perfectly.
Protected by its bran and germ, there’s a lot more things that can go wrong.
In this post I’ll show you the very best rice cookers for brown rice that take all the guess work out of making perfectly fluffy, nutritious brown rice each and every time. Just add water!
Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker – Best Overall
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: 2 measuring cups, rice scooper, scoop holder
- Noteworthy Features: 8 preset functions, retractable cord, keep warm and extended keep warm, fuzzy logic technology, programmable audio indicator, reheat cycle, delay timer, detachable inner lid
- Materials: Stainless steel housing, nonstick aluminum inner pot
First up is the NS-ZCC18 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker from Zojirushi, a Japanese brand that’s been trusted since 1918. This no-fuss rice cooker is great for beginners looking for delicious results.
It uses a foolproof Fuzzy Logic technology (funny name, I know) to make pot after pot of fluffy rice. To put it simply, it has a microcomputer that automatically adjusts the cooking temperature and time to give the rice the perfect cooking condition. Let’s say you’re cooking rice on a hot summer day. The NS-ZCC18 will detect that the rice is heating up too quickly and automatically lower the heat.
One user tested this by adding a little less water, exactly the recommended amount of water, and slightly more water in three batches of rice. To his delight, each batch came out the same thanks to this beginner-friendly technology. Since brown rice is difficult to cook as it is, having this Fuzzy Logic technology is a must-have feature for brown rice lovers.
The only disadvantage I can think about the NS-ZCC18 is that it’s on the expensive side. But, if you think about having scrumptious brown rice for 10 years and more, then isn’t that a very good investment? And yes, Zojirushi rice cookers are really that sturdy.
You know those shops that only sell one dish but they do it so well thanks to years of perfected technique? That’s the type of rice cooker the NS-ZCC18 is. It doesn’t claim to be able to do anything other than cook different types of rice but what it claims to do, it does extremely well.
Aroma Housewares ARC-5000SB Digital Rice Cooker – Highest Capacity
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: Rice measuring cup, steam tray, soup ladle, and plastic rice spatula
- Noteworthy Features: 10 preset function, 15-hour delay timer, keep warm, digital panel, slow cook and STS functions
- Materials: PFOA-free nonstick inner pot, BPA-free components
For large families and crowds, the Aroma Housewares ARC-5000SB Digital Rice Cooker is my pick for you. With a high capacity and, more importantly, the ability to cook brown rice evenly, it’s a dream come true for moms and dads with lots of hungry mouths to feed.
A soggy bottom, a well-cooked mid, and an undercooked top layer. Sounds familiar? If it does then you surely know the pains of cooking a huge batch of rice. And since we’re talking about brown rice here, that’s double the pain. With the ARC-5000SB, you can easily make 20 cups of cooked brown rice in one go.
One happy buyer mentioned that she used to have to stir the brown rice to make it cook evenly. But this activated the starch in the rice so she ended up with gloppy results. Now, she doesn’t even need to get up early just to cook the brown rice. She can prepare it the night before, set the delay timer, and the ARC-5000SB will do its magic while they’re sleeping.
There’s still room for improvement, however. Condensation collects on the interior lid. So, when you open it, it drips down into the rice, making some of the parts mushy. This isn’t an issue if your family will finish all of the rice right away. You can also wipe it before closing the lid to lessen the condensation.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that the ARC-5000SB is the best deal out there when it comes to having a high capacity. For around $70, every morning you and your family can wake up to a steaming pot of brown rice.
Watch this video to get an idea of the things you can cook with the ARC-500SB aside from brown rice:
TLOG Mini Rice Cooker – Best for Single Servings
- Capacity: 2 cups
- Accessories: Rice measuring cup, plastic rice spatula
- Noteworthy Features: 4 preset functions, 12-hour delay timer, detachable lid, keep warm
- Materials: Nonstick inner pot
If there’s a rice cooker for large families, of course there’s something for small families and people who live alone too. Enter the TLOG, a cute mini rice cooker that’s tough on brown rice.
This compact model can make 4 cups of cooked rice, just enough for 1 to 2 people. I’ve seen a lot of buyers asking whether a 5- or 10-cup capacity rice cooker can cook just a cup of rice. In general, even companies do not recommend this since bigger models are calibrated to cook bigger batches. Otherwise, you might end up with watery brown rice.
The TLOG has a small kitchen footprint and is quite light at 3.34 pounds. The plastic handle makes it portable so you can take it with you on your travels. It has a 12-hour delay timer too. One buyer said that she programs it so she can come home to freshly cooked brown rice for one every work day.
My only gripe is that it’s a bit pricey. It costs as much as some of the cheaper 5-cup capacity rice cookers.
Overall, if portability, space, and the ability to cook single servings are important to you, the TLOG is the way to go.
Instant Zest Plus Rice Cooker – Best for Cooking Different Grains
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: Steamer tray, rice measuring cup and rice spoon
- Noteworthy Features: 13 preset functions, delay timer, keep warm,
- Materials: Ceramic nonstick coating, stainless steel interior
The Instant Zest Plus is a popular choice for families that love switching between different types of grains. It’s affordable, it’s multi-functional, and all-around super easy.
This handy kitchen device has preset functions not just for brown rice but also white rice, mixed grains, quinoa, barley, couscous, bulgur, and oatmeal. I find it especially useful for hearty grains like spelt and wheat berries which have a long cooking time.
Plus, it’s so convenient that the Instant Zest Plus automatically adjusts the cooking time to the amount of ingredients you add so there is no room for error. A buyer couldn’t help but gush when she found out that just about every type of grain she tried cooking with it came out perfect.
It’s a little annoying that the display doesn’t show the cooking time left right from the beginning. Only at the 10-minute mark does it show that the cooking cycle is almost done.
Despite this small drawback, the Instant Zest Plus is still a great deal for avid grain eaters. Plus, once you get used to this device, you’ll be able to learn how long it takes to cook certain amounts of grains and plan around it accordingly.
Here’s a video showing what the Instant Zest Plus is capable of. Video
Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Rice Cooker – Best Budget Option
- Capacity: 4 cups
- Accessories: Serving spatula, rice measuring cup, steam tray
- Noteworthy Features: 4 preset functions, keep warm, 15-hour delay timer
- Materials: bonded granite aluminum inner pot, BPA-free plastic steam tray
Shoppers on a serious budget won’t be disappointed with the highly popular and highly rated ARC-914SBD by Aroma Housewares. Though surprisingly cheap, it has all the important functions you need to make fluffy brown rice anytime you want.
For a fraction of the price of other popular models, the ARC-914SBD can make up to 8 cups of perfectly cooked white rice or brown rice. It even has a steam function for when you want to cook your veggies along with your favorite grain. The fact that the plastic steam tray is BPA-free is just sweet.
Another surprising thing about the ARC-914SBD is its sturdiness. Cheap products often equate to a short lifespan, but not this bad boy. I’ve seen reviews saying that it’s still going strong even after 7 years of daily use.
Unless you love scorched rice, you just have to be careful when your rice is on auto keep warm mode. The ARC-914SBD doesn’t have Fuzzy Logic so your brown rice might dry out. If you don’t like dry or scorched rice but want steaming brown rice when you come home, you can use the delay timer instead.
All things considered, the ARC-914SBD is a great low-cost rice cooker with all the standard features including a brown rice function.
COMFEE’ Asian Style Multi Cooker – Most Versatile
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: Measuring cup, steamer, rice paddle, soup ladle
- Noteworthy Features: 17 preset functions, keep warm, 24-hour delay timer, removable air vent and inner lid
- Materials: Stainless steel housing, BPA-free plastic accessories, food-grade nonstick coating for inner pot
If you prefer something that can cook a wide range of dishes, the reasonably-priced COMFEE’ Multi Cooker is my recommendation for you. 17 preset functions are complemented by a high capacity, an easy to clean design, and a user-friendly interface.
From rice, pasta, soup, stew, cake, oatmeal, yogurt, and steamed veggies, the COMFEE’ can dish out a complete meal. It even has a saute function for when you want to brown your ingredients first before simmering. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner – you can use it to help you prepare every meal as one happy reviewer said she does.
Even better, clean up is a breeze with the removable steam valve and nonstick inner pot. There’s a 24-hour delay timer, up to 12 hours of auto keep warm, and an easy to use control panel to streamline your meal planning.
It’s one design flaw is something that is common with rice cookers. Like the ARC-5000SB, condensation collects on the interior lids and drips on to the rice. You’ll end up with about a teaspoon of mushy rice unless you remember to wipe the lid.
Soggy bit of rice aside, this solid all-around rice cooker is a steal at its price point.
Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Induction Rice Cooker – Best for GABA Activation and Induction Heating
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: washable inner lid, rice paddle, measuring cup, spatula holder
- Noteworthy Features: 9 preset functions, induction heating technology, triple heater, keep warm and extended keep warm, delay timer, interchangeable melody and beep signals, GABA brown function
- Materials: Clear-coated stainless steel exterior, stainless steel inner lid, BPA-free nonstick inner pot
Japan-made NP-HCC10XH stands out for its state-of-the-art induction heating technology. Induction heating is completed with MICOM and a GABA brown rice function for evenly cooked, healthier, and tastier brown rice.
The second Zojirushi product on this lineup has an induction heating system for even heat distribution. Together with the micro-computerized technology which smartly adjusts the cooking time, you’re all set for easy peasy fluffy brown rice.
Now, what if this high-tech rice cooker can cook healthier and tastier brown rice? That’s exactly what it can do with its GABA brown rice function. It activates the gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brown rice by keeping it in a 40°C lukewarm bath for 2 hours before starting the cooking cycle. But don’t worry about the long cooking time, that’s what the delay timer is for.
There’s this one guy who said that his wife was against him splurging on the NP-HCC10XH when even way cheaper rice cookers can cook rice just fine. Because that’s the problem with this Zojirushi product, it costs over $400 without a discount. Well, he went ahead and bought it. Once his wife experienced the new world of perfect rice that this expensive monster can bring, good-bye complaints.
The moral of the story? The NP-HCC10XH is an investment you won’t regret, especially if you prefer GABA brown rice.
Watch this for Zojirushi’s introduction of the NP-HCC10XH. Video
Cuckoo CRP-JHVR1009F Rice Cooker – Best Smart Rice Cooker
- Capacity: 10 cups
- Accessories: Rice scooper, measuring cup, steaming plate
- Noteworthy Features: 14 preset functions, induction heating, abnormal pressure detection, auto steam clean, fuzzy logic, delay timer, voice navigation, mechanical on/off, detachable lid cover, dew dish, 13 safety features, abnormal pressure detection sensor
- Materials: Stainless steel construction, nonstick stainless steel inner bowl
Last, but certainly not the least, is the smartest and most high-tech of the bunch – the CRP-JHVR1009F. This beast has all the latest bells and whistles you can think of for a rice cooker.
A trusted and respected brand, Cuckoo commands 74% of the market share for pressure rice cookers in South Korea for 17 years now. So, you know you’re in good hands.
Their CRP-JHVR1009F comes equipped with all the functions that come with the previous Zojirushi I’ve listed. It takes it up a notch (or maybe several notches) with 5 more preset cooking functions, a voice navigation system, an abnormal pressure detection sensor, and an automatic power saver feature.
The induction heating system and intelligent cooking algorithm will make sure that your GABA brown rice comes out quickly and evenly each time. Adding to the already impressive list are, drumroll please, 13 safety features. From a pressure regulator to a malfunction regulator, you’re protected from the dangers that sometimes come with cheap pressure rice cookers.
All these goodies come at a very steep price though. Prepare to get sticker shock because this Cuckoo model costs more than $600.
At this price point, it’s reasonable to expect that everything will go smoothly. However, the manual doesn’t explain how to change the voice navigation to English. Fortunately, one helpful reviewer uploaded a video on Amazon on how to change it from the default Korean to English.
The CRP-JHVR1009F is the ultimate luxury rice cooker. It’s must-buy if you’re a rice connoisseur with the budget for it.
You can watch it for more info in the video below:
What’s the Difference Between Brown and White Rice?
You’re probably wondering what’s so different between brown and white rice. I mean, they’re both just rice, right?
Well, brown rice is rich in nutrients and fiber but has a shorter lifespan. White rice has a longer shelf life but is significantly less nutritious.
All white rice starts out as brown rice. Brown rice is a whole grain. It still has the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ and the carb-rich endosperm.
The milling process removes the bran and germ, turning brown rice into white. This is done to extend its shelf life.
Because of the oil in the bran layer of brown rice, it’s only able to maintain its quality for 6 months. Refrigerating uncooked brown rice will extend its shelf life by 6 more months.
On the other hand, properly sealed and stored white rice can last up to 30 years.
The removal of the bran and germ, however, means that most of the nutrients are gone. This is why some white rice are artificially fortified with nutrients.
What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Brown Rice?
So, brown rice is healthier than white rice. How much more nutritious is it?
|Nutrients||Brown Rice (1 cup, cooked, long-grain)||White Rice (1 cup, cooked, long-grain)|
|Protein||5 g||4.2 g|
|Carbs||44.8 g||44.5 g|
|Fat||1.8 g||0.4 g|
|Omega-3||27.3 mg||20.5 mg|
|Omega-6||603 mg||98 mg|
|Fiber||3.5 g||0.6 g|
|Folate||2% DV||1% DV|
|Manganese||88% DV||37% DV|
|Thiamin||12% DV||2% DV|
|Selenium||27% DV||17% DV|
|Niacin||15% DV||3% DV|
|Iron||5% DV||2% DV|
|Vitamin B₆||14% DV||7% DV|
|Phosphorus||16% DV||7% DV|
|Copper||10% DV||5% DV|
|Magnesium||21% DV||5% DV|
|Zinc||8% DV||5% DV|
Eating brown rice regularly instead of white rice has the following benefits.
- Lowers blood sugar levels and helps prevent diabetes
- Decreases heart disease risk
- Powerful antioxidants prevents cancer
- Aids with weight management
- Helps with bowel movement and keeping gut bacteria healthy
How Do You Cook Brown Rice in a Rice Cooker?
The problem with brown rice is that it’s a little tricky to cook. It’s less processed compared to white rice so the tough outer layers are still present.
The key to cooking perfectly fluffy brown rice lies in the rice to water ratio. The brown rice cooking function on your chosen rice cooker will do the rest.
Check out the table below for the recommended water to rice ratio of the most popular types of grain when using a rice cooker.
|Type of Grain||Water to Rice Ratio|
|Short grain white rice||1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Long grain white rice||1 3/4 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Parboiled rice||2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Basmati rice||1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Jasmine rice||1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Glutinous rice||1 1/4 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Brown rice||2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Wild rice||2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice|
|Quinoa||2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa|
|Oatmeal||2 cups water to 1 cup oatmeal|
|Pearled barley||2 cups water to 1 cup pearled barley|
|Couscous||1 cup water to 1 cup couscous|
|Millet||2 cups water to 1 cup millet|
The cooking time depends on how much and what type of grain you’re cooking and the model of the rice cooker you’re using.
For some types of grain, including brown rice, the preset rice cooker function will soak it in water for some time before beginning the cooking process.
How Do You Cook Brown Rice in a Pot?
Only have a pot laying around? You can still cook brown rice the old fashioned way using a pot and over the stove. The key is to make sure you time it right:
What’s GABA Brown Rice?
GABA brown rice is germinated brown rice. This leveled up version of a regular brown rice is not just tastier, it’s healthier too.
Regular brown rice can sometimes be slightly bitter, chewy, and may cause bloating. Sprouted brown rice is tummy-friendly, soft, and sweet.
The magical sprouting process doubles the gamma-aminobutyric acid in brown rice. The magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B1, B6, and E are also increased.
How is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) good for my health?
- Brings stress relief and mood balance
- Prevents hypertension
- Prevents insomnia and helps regulate the sleeping cycle
- Boosts the immune system
- Stimulates growth hormone
- Helps fight against kidney failure, diabetes, tumor proliferation and Alzheimer’s disease
What does the GABA brown rice function in my rice cooker do?
The GABA brown rice setting will soak the brown rice for at least two hours in 40°C water to encourage germination before starting the cooking cycle.
This means that your brown rice will take longer to cook but come out tastier and healthier. Take advantage of your rice cooker’s delay timer to save time.
Why Is the Rice Cooker’s Measuring Cup Not a Full Cup?
You’ve probably noticed it already. The measuring cup that comes with most rice cookers is smaller than the standard cup.
Most rice cooker companies follow the standard Japanese rice serving measure which is called gou. One gou is about 3/4 of the US cup.
When following the cooking the instructions that come with your rice cooker, it’s important to use the measuring cup that comes with it.
If you use a standard US cup to measure your uncooked rice together with the water lines in the pot, your rice will come out undone.
Is There a Minimum Cooking Amount for Rice Cookers?
Most rice cooker companies recommend cooking at least using 2 cups of uncooked rice. Otherwise, your rice won’t come out perfectly.
This is why it’s important to buy the right rice cooker size.
If you live alone, I recommend models with a 2-cup capacity like the TLOG. For small families, a 4-cup rice cooker is often enough. Large families can take advantage of 10-cup models to make cooking more convenient.
Do I Need to Rinse Rice Before Cooking?
Rinsing is an important step that some people skip. But trust me, it can mean the world between fluffy rice and clumped rice.
Rinsing not only removes dirt and debris, it also gets rid of the starch that causes the cooked rice to clump together.
You don’t need to keep at it until the water runs clear. What’s important is to make sure that the rice is clean. Personally, if the rice I’m using is free from any debris, I just wash it twice.
I usually just rinse the rice directly from the pot and slowly tip it to one side to pour the water. This takes some practice otherwise the rice will be spilling along with the water. If you find this trick hard to do, using a strainer is another option:
What Common Rice Cooking Fails Should I Avoid?
Cooking brown rice isn’t rocket science but it’s still easy to mess up if you don’t do the right steps.
The most common cause of undercooked rice is incorrect water to rice ratio. The rice might also be too dry or old due to improper storage
An easy fix is to add a bit of water, about 1/4 cup. Turn the rice cooker back on and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
Adding too much water leads to soft, gluey rice. Depending on how much water is left and how soggy your rice is, you can sometimes salvage it by adding a slice of bread and waiting for it to absorb the excess water.
But, if your rice has already absorbed all the excess water and it’s too mushy to eat, the best option is to turn it into rice pudding. Just add some milk, vanilla, and sugar.
If you’re often getting scorched rice with your rice cooker, then it’s time to replace it. Cheap rice cookers are often the culprit for burned rice because of its thinner pot.
That is, unless you’re like me and you like the crunchy bits. Some high-end rice cookers like the Cuckoo actually have a nurungji or scorched rice function.
Lifting the Lid
Opening the lid when the rice still isn’t done is a big no-no. You’ll let the steam escape and cause a drop in temperature.
The top would be undercooked when the bottom is already cooked. So, you’ll end up cooking it longer which will overcook the bottom layer.
This can also lead to drier than desired rice.
Stirring the Rice
To stir the rice, you need to lift the lid which is already a mistake right there. What’s more doing this activates the starch and prevents steam pockets from forming.
The result? Mushy rice.
There you have it. I hope I’ve covered everything you need to know when cooking brown rice in a rice cooker.
While it’s possible to cook rice on a stovetop, the set it and forget it convenience of rice cookers is a must for anyone that eat brown rice regularly.