The Idiotproof Rice Cooker That Even Has an “Umami” Setting

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It’s pricey, yes, but your rice will taste a lot better.

Victoria Blamey, the chef at the newly reopened Chumley’s, on her favorite kitchen tool.

The Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Cooker and Rice Warmer was first recommended to me by the chefs at Sushi Nakazawa, where I used to work, and I remember how it would churn out this perfect, uniform rice every time.

At first, I was afraid it would be too high tech, with all the different buttons. But I quickly found out it was idiotproof: You put in your grains and liquids, press the button for the preparation you want (porridge, sushi rice, etc.), and it’s done. There are even measures inside of the cooker that show you exactly how much rice and water to add.

Yes, it’s not cheap, but the reason this is better than other less expensive rice cookers is that this machine pressure cooks the rice — that means it comes out more consistent, the cooking time is literally cut in half, the nutrients aren’t stripped away, and the taste is more natural (there’s none of that plasticky flavor, which I often get with the cheaper rice cookers). And the Zojirushi is better than a regular pressure cooker because there’s a specific setting for every type of grain, even brown rice — which most standard rice cookers don’t have — and there’s also something called an “umami” setting, which soaks the rice for longer, giving it this super-robust flavor. You can eat that rice by itself, straight out of the cooker. And because it’s so light and portable, I’ve started toting it between my home and the restaurant. I rarely buy appliances that I use at home, but this one was worth it.

As told to Priya Krishna.

Other Rice Cookers the Strategist Likes

If brown rice is your favorite, this pink-accented cooker with six different settings is for you.

A slightly more affordable Zojirushi option that has settings for four different types of rice.

Muji makes a very popular rice cooker. (The buttons are in Japanese, but you can find translations online.)

A reasonably priced option that has 4.2 stars on Amazon, after over 8,000 reviews.

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The Idiotproof Rice Cooker That Even Has an “Umami” Setting