Don’t throw away your cooker’s cup. The plastic measuring cup that comes with your cooker isn’t a standard 1-cup measure. It holds about 180 ml versus 240 ml for a standard U.S. cup. To ensure that your rice cooks properly, measure the rice with the cooker’s plastic cup and then pour in water until it reaches the appropriate etched line inside the cooking bowl.
I’ve always followed standard stovetop procedure with rice: simmer gently, never peek, never stir. And the results have been perfectly fine. But when I made rice in some of the top fuzzy-logic rice cookers on the market, I realized that my stovetop method was no match.
And what is a fuzzy-logic rice cooker? Basically, it’s an intelligent version of a no-frills rice cooker. Instead of just an on/off button, a fuzzy-logic rice cooker has a micro-computer that lets the machine regulate time and temperature according to the type of rice being cooked (brown rice, for example, cooks at a lower temperature than white rice). It can cook more kinds of rice than you’ve ever heard of—including sweet and germinated brown—and some models can even cook oatmeal or polenta, steam vegetables, and make stew. But what really sold us on the cookers was how well they handle the white and brown rice we use every day.
Such sophistication comes at a price, though. Even our Best Buy costs more than $100. And these cookers will also cost you time: Expect to wait 45 to 50 minutes for white rice to cook, more for brown.
All but one of the cookers we tried made excellent white rice. But in tasks beyond cooking white rice, the models showed their true colors. Our favorites (shown here) had special settings and guidelines for cooking finicky brown rice and did a better job than cookers without those special settings.