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Japanese Rice Cooker Reviews

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Zojirushi 3 cup IH rice cookerZojirushi 5.5 cup IH rice cookerZojirushi 10 cup IH rice cooker

3 Cup Zojirushi NP-GBC05    ·    5.5 Cup Zojirushi NP-HBC10    ·    10 Cup Zojirushi NP-HBC18

 

If you’re trying to choose a new rice cooker and are looking for advice from someone who actually owns the products being discussed, let me be your guide into the world of premium Japanese rice cookers. The ones I know most about are made by Zojirushi. It’s fair to say that these appliances aren’t cheap. So if you’re on a budget, these models may not be the right choice. One of the best ways to save money is just to cook rice in a saucepan on the stove.

I currently own four Zojirushi rice cookers and one Sanyo. All feature Micom and Induction Heating (IH) technology. Two of them also have pressure cooking as well. As I spend time in both Scotland and Japan, it’s not as if I have five rice cookers all in the same kitchen! In Japan, I’ve only got three. LOL! Just to be clear though, it’s not a case of owning rice cookers for the sake of it. I do actually use them all, each in slightly different ways. This page gives an outline of each machine. You can click the links below for more detailed rice cooker reviews.

Unboxing a Zojirushi Rice Cooker

Below are details of the rice cookers I currently own. They were all bought with my own money and all opinions regarding the various models are my own.

3 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker

3 Cup Induction Heating Rice Cooker image

3 Cup Induction Heating Zojirushi rice cooker with spatula holder attached to the side. Also includes instructions and two measuring cups (regular and rinse free).

In Japan, I’ve got a 3 cup Zojirushi NP-GD05. This is almost identical to the Zojirushi NP-GBC05 sold in the U.S. This is my go to rice cooker that I use most often, and the one that I’ve been using the longest. I bought this one in 2009 to replace an aging fixed lid model that I made a mess of when I tried cooking some rolled oats (not a good idea – steel cut oats are fine though). Removable lid rice cookers, like all the models on this page, are great. Even if you have a liquid explosion, it’s not too painful to clean up.

Full Zojirushi NP-GBC05  review.

5.5 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating Rice Cooker (Japan only model)

parts included with a Zojirushi rice cooker

Parts included with a Zojirushi Rice Cooker: instructions; two measuring cups (rinse free rice and regular rice); spatula; spatula holder; and the rice cooker itself.

My 5.5 cup NP-VC10, which has all the functionality of the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 in the U.S, and then some, cost me less than $140. That’s more or less half price! It looks different, particularly the layout of its buttons. It’s also got some cool settings including Eco mode, as well as cake and bread baking settings, on top of all the functionality of the NP-HBC10. This is a new rice cooker, released in 2011. I bought this one for when I want to cook up bigger batches of food than than my regular machine allows, like if I want to make a batch of soup. This is the rice cooker I’m unboxing in the video above.

5.5 Cup Zojirushi Induction Heating + Pressure Rice Cooker

Zojirushi NP-NV10 Japanese rice cooker

One of Zojirushi’s “best” rice cookers – featuring Induction Heating and Pressure Cooking.

My third rice cooker in Japan is my 5.5 cup Zojirushi NP-NV10. This badboy is the equivalent of the Zojirushi NP-NVC10 sold in the States. Find out exactly what it costs here. At that price, there’s no way I would have bought it. However, mine came in at just under $210. That’s less than 1/3 of the price!!! I know a bargain when I see one. Micom, IH and pressure cooking for that price is a steal. This machine only gets used for making rice. No herbs, no spices, no stock, no nothing. 100% rice. So when I go to vegan potluck parties, I’m in charge of the brown rice!

I’ll write a full review of this machine once I’ve been using it for a bit longer.

5.5 Cup Sanyo Induction Heating + Pressure Rice Cooker

The first pressure cooking rice cooker I bought was an international 5.5 cup Sanyo ECJ-JG10W to use back home in Scotland. It was round about the same price as the international version of the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 and I wanted to find out what all the pressure fuss was about. It’s a decent rice cooker and because of the pressure functionality, it works faster than the standard IH models. I’m just not sure that it actually makes better tasting rice though. That said, I suppose the speed is a bonus. If I was to choose between a Sanyo rice cooker and a Zojirushi, I’d pick the Zojirushi every time. In my opinion they’re better. Although I suppose it’s like choosing between a Lexus and a Mercedes Benz…they’re both top quality automobiles, it just comes down to personal preference.

5.5 Cup Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Induction Heating Rice Cooker

Zojirushi NP-HLA10 international rice cooker

Unboxed, the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 comes with instructions; rice measuring cup; spatula; and spatula holder.

Last of all is my most recent purchase, my 5.5 cup Zojirushi NP-HLH10. This is the exact same rice cooker as the NP-HBC10 in the U.S, except mine works in Europe. I picked this one up because I actually prefer the non-pressure models when I’m making recipes rather than just plain rice. Makes it much easier if I want to give things a stir or just see what’s going on while the rice is cooking.

My full Zojirushi NP-HBC10 review.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best rice cooker, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a Zojirushi. While I think pressure cooking is pretty neat, I find the non-pressure cooking IH models more useful. Mainly because I like to have the freedom to open and close the lid of my rice cooker as and when I choose. There’s the added bonus of being cheaper too! If I lived in the U.S, my top pick would be the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 or the NP-HBC18 if I had a big family. These rice cookers are under $300 on Amazon.

10 Comments
  1. I just purchased the NP-NVC10 and would like to cook steel cut oats in it. Is that possible, and if so, do you have a recipe that will work with this model?

    Many thanks,
    John Holder

    • Hi John,

      Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been neglecting my blog a little bit recently…You splashed out on the NP-NVC10!? Nice :)

      Seeing as it’s the most expensive rice cooker I have, I use it for rice only. That said, I use other rice cookers for making steel cut oats and they work well. Make sure to use the ‘porridge’ setting on the rice cooker. I sometimes forget to change it and only realize it’s on the wrong setting when porridge starts oozing from the machine! It can get a bit messy.

      The ratio of steel cut oats to water that I use is 1 part oats to 3.5 parts water. I like it nice and plain. Your post has made me realize that I really should post up some of the porridge recipes I eat.

      I sometimes use a bit of nut milk, so something like 1 part oats, 1 part nut milk and 2.5 parts water. For one person, I find that 1/2 a rice cooker cup of oats is about right.

      Hope that helps. I’ll try and get a steel cut oats video up over the next couple of days. Thanks for reminding me :)

  2. How do you use your Japanese cookers in north america? Do you use a transformer?

    • Hi Kevin, I’m in Japan 😉

      If I was in the U.S. I’d get a Zojirushi specifically built for the U.S. power supply.

  3. Unfortunatly I choose a Sanyo insteed of a Zojirushi. I got the Sanyo ECJ-JG10W with pressure fonction so I would like to know if it’s possible to cook oats or another cereale even if they said no in the manual…
    I bought some red, black and pink rice but I don’t know exactly how to cook them in the rice cooker?
    Thank you for your help

    • Hi David,

      I also have a Sanyo ECJ-JG10W. I have cooked steel cut oats successfully in it. I used 1 cup of oats and 3 cups of water. Chose the porridge setting and let it cook. If you like your oats nice and soft, this is a good method.

      Not too sure what kind of rice you bought. I sometimes get black rice and you only need to add a little bit to a cup of white rice. The black rice colours the rest of the rice during cooking and it comes out a deep red. At least that’s the kind I have. Hope that helps.

  4. Hi Andy,

    Did you ever write a review of the NP-NVC10? I’m thinking of buying one through the Heavy Rotation website. I find it difficult to find good reviews comparing IH and IH + Pressure. Curious to know what you think? Thanks for your answer.

    Best regards,

    Bart, Amsterdam

    • Hi Bart, never got round to writing that review…I actually gave that rice cooker to one of my Japanese friends. Not because it isn’t any good but because I have returned to Scotland. I actually started to really like it. The price I paid in Japan was the most I have ever paid for a rice cooker but it was still reasonable. It’s difficult to say how much better it is compared to regular IH models. I only made plain rice in my pressure cooking machine. I wanted to keep it in perfect condition without any spice smells.

      If you already have a Zojirushi IH rice cooker, you might notice a difference between that one and the pressure cooking machine. But if you’ve never had a Zojirushi before, I would think you will be really happy with a normal IH machine. Of course, if you have loads of spare cash, you could get both!

  5. Hey Andy,

    Would the NP-HLH10 work in australia? Been looking up rice cookers all night.

    Too bad they don’t stock in australia…..

    Any other recommendations?

  6. What is Eco mode? I can’t find any info on that setting.nn1

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