Rice can be finicky to cook on the stovetop. There are so many different kinds of rice, and it can seem like a just-annoying-enough task to watch a pot as it comes to a boil and then set it to simmer at just the right heat for just the right amount of time. Take the guesswork out of it with a rice cooker!

Top Pick

This model offers several presets for different varieties of grains and comes with accessories to help with cooking and serving. Zojirushi

Rice cookers are automatic electric devices: you put rice and water into them, and they’ll bring your rice to a boil and simmer until done, measuring the temperature to ensure properly cooked rice. This isn’t a cheater’s way out: rice cookers are found in many households in countries where rice forms the backbone of the cuisine.

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This product also enables you to use the steam from its main function to cook vegetables or fish, in a removable tray. Aroma Housewares

Picking the right rice cooker may depend on what kind of rice you like to cook. Different varieties of rice have different cooking needs; the most basic rice cooker, with a simple on/off button and little else, will do a fine job for a medium-grain white rice, but brown rice needs a much longer cooking time. If you like to experiment with glutinous, basmati, forbidden black or other types of rice, look for a cooker that has settings for those varieties.

This truly wild item uses artificial intelligence to gauge and correct how to cook each pot. Zojirushi

Another key to using a rice cooker properly is to know exactly what your rice cooker can do. Some very advanced units will allow you to cook rice without soaking; otherwise, you’ll usually want to soak. Take out the removable pot in your cooker, pour in your rice, and rinse it a few times until the water is fairly clear. Then let it sit in another batch of water for about half an hour before draining and cooking. That’ll ensure perfect rice, every time.