May 30, 2023
I use it at least three times a week.
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer, editor, and fact-checker in the food, culture, and entertainment spaces. She has been working professionally at national magazines since 2015.
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Food & Wine / Amazon
I grew up eating rice with every meal. My dad, who is Indonesian-Dutch, always cooked it on the stove; he never owned a rice cooker. When I started cooking for myself, I wanted to keep eating rice frequently, but I did not want to put in the same amount of effort that my dad did — standing over the pot stirring and watching the rice like a hawk to make sure it never overcooked. For almost zero-effort rice preparation, I use the Aroma Housewares one-touch rice cooker.
To buy: Aroma Housewares 6-Cup One-Touch Rice Cooker $20 at amazon.com
I’ve been using this particular rice cooker for about three years now, and it has yet to fail me. It’s lightweight and measures 8.13- by 8.9- by 8-inches, so I can easily store it in a cabinet underneath the oven when I’m not using it. When I am, it takes up very little counter space. But the best part of this rice cooker is that it’s mistake-proof.
There are just two settings on the Aroma rice cooker, cook and warm, both of which are clearly labeled on the front with lights that turn on to indicate which mode you’re using. To use it, just fill the inner bucket with rice and add water. The general rule is to double the amount of water to rice (so if I make two cups of white rice, I add four cups of water).
I flip the switch towards the ceiling, and the cook light turns on. I can go about the rest of my to-do list, whether that’s prepping the rest of dinner or sweeping the kitchen floors, while the rice cooks, and there’s no need to monitor its progress.
In about ten minutes, I have a fully cooked pot of rice. As soon as the warm light switches on, I unplug it and serve. There’s no way even the most novice cook could mess up a pot of rice in this thing. And though I've never tried it, this Aroma model can also prepare stew, chili, and oatmeal, according to the brand.
Cleanup is about as easy as cooking the rice. The inner pot is nonstick, so I typically only have to wipe it clean with a dishcloth. If I get busy, and happen to leave the rice to sit longer than I mean to, all it takes is a quick scrub with a sponge and hot water to remove any stuck-on bits of leftover rice.
There are lots of incredible rice cookers out there that have settings for different types of rice and steaming vegetables — in fact, our pick for the best overall rice cooker is another Aroma model, the Digital Cool Touch Rice Cooker — but most of them are $80 or more. They feature an array of buttons on the front, and fancy digital screens which display the cook time.
But all I need is a simple scoop or two of rice to go with my dinner, so I’m sticking with my $20 Aroma rice cooker. It’s probably the easiest-to-use rice cooker out there, and at such an affordable price, it’s an appliance you’ll never regret buying.
At the time of publishing the price was $20. To buy