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Living in Japan, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to buying new rice cookers (and I’m always on the look out). In the U.S. however, if you want the best 3 cup rice cooker then it’s an easy choice to make. The reason is simple, the Zojirushi NP-GBC05 is the only 3 cup model with Micom and Induction Heating technology. In my opinion, the quality of rice that IH machines prepare is markedly better than plain Micom rice cookers.
I’ve got the Japanese version of this machine, the Zojirushi NP-GD05. It’s practically identical except mine has Japanese buttons, instead of the sushi rice setting, I’ve got a mixed grain option and the power cord is different – mine is retractable while the U.S. model has a detachable cord.
The cost for the NP-GBC05 is about $100 more expensive than a similar style rice cooker that comes without the IH system, e.g. the Zojirushi NS-LAC05. For the money though, the NP-GBC05 is going to make better tasting rice every time you use it. In addition, it’s the only 3 cup rice cooker with a GABA brown rice setting. This setting takes over 3 hours to cook brown rice, much longer than the regular brown rice option. However, for your patience, you get a softer, more enjoyable brown rice which Zojirushi suggest is even better for your health. The levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) are 150% higher and this is said to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. I do prefer this type of brown rice. The only issue is remembering to start it cooking in time…plenty of time!
Zojirushi NP-GBC05 Diagram
- Detachable power cord
- Removable steam vent, inner lid and cooking bowl (standard on most Micom rice cookers) for easy cleaning
- Non-stick inner cooking bowl
- Two rice measuring cups (standard and rinse free)
- Rice spatula and spatula holder (holder connects on to the side of the rice cooker)
- Programable timer
- 12 hour keep warm function
- White/Mixed Rice
- Rinse-free Rice
- Quick Cooking
- Sushi Rice
- Rice Porridge
- Brown Rice
- GABA Brown (the only 3 cup rice cooker with this option)
Zojirushi NP-GBC05 Control Panel
Images from: Zojirushi NP-GBC05 Operating Instructions Manual
Is the Zojirushi NP-GBC05 Right for You?
This sized rice cooker is ideal for people like me who live alone. Used as a straight up rice cooker, it’s potentially big enough for up to five people. Then again, that would totally limit you to the sorts of recipes you could make if you were wanting to make all-in-one style meals. Basically, you wouldn’t be able to make any. Sometimes I literally fill it to the top if I’m making a soup or a stew…and that’s just for me!
This was the first rice cooker I got that had a detachable lid which was a total revelation for me. These days though, practically all Zojirushi’s come with removable lids, so this in itself isn’t reason enough to pick the NP-GBC05. The steam vent, inner lid and cooking bowl all come out really easily so it’s a sinch to clean up. My full how to clean a rice cooker article has some other hints and tips about cleaning.
I’d say this is the best 3 cup rice cooker without a doubt. If you live on your own. It’s well worth considering. But if you’re living with your partner, you might want to think about something bigger. And for those of you who’ve got families…this is not the rice cooker you’re looking for.
- Visit Amazon.com to read more genuine customer reviews.
- The Zojirushi NP-GBC05 manual is provided for free by Zojirushi on their official website (http://www.zojirushi.com/servicesupport/manuals/manual_pdf/npgbc_05.pdf)