Rice is an incredibly versatile staple in homes across the globe. These delightful little grains can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Cooking rice, while seemingly straightforward, can be somewhat daunting if you don’t have the tools to make the process simple and perfect every time.
It’s true, rice can be cooked on the stove in a pot or a saucepan, but this method is messy and can result in undercooked, overcooked, or burnt rice.
What is the best Korean rice cooker? The best Korean rice cookers are durable products that are compact, easy to use, and easy to clean. Micom (or microcomputer) models are oftentimes the best due to their functionality and quick heat-up time. It’s best to find a cooker that offers multiple capabilities beyond just cooking rice as well.
The easiest and best way to prepare rice perfectly every time is in a rice cooker. Rice cookers take all the guesswork and mess out of the equation. Korean rice cookers, specifically, have been taking the world by storm in recent years.
In this article, we explain what Korean rice cookers actually are and how they’re different from conventional cookers. We’ve also compiled a list of the very best Korean rice cookers on the market.
What is a Korean Rice Cooker
A Korean rice cooker is an electric appliance that makes cooking meals convenient and easy. The Korean models are often compact enough to take with you when you travel, but can still cook 10 or more cups of rice with ease.
Korean rice cookers usually work either by pressure cooking, steaming, or induction heating.
Korean rice cookers aren’t only practical, they’re fun to use and designed to be an attractive addition to your cooking space. You won’t want to hide these away in a cupboard!
These cookers have a handy display screen. These screens use smart “fuzzy logic” programs to ensure perfect, precise cooking and often even have a multi-language voice navigation feature.
Because Korean rice cookers are designed for convenience, they are almost always non-stick and easy to clean.
Korean Rice Cooker vs Japanese Rice Cooker
We would never argue that a rice cooker is a rice cooker but, in truth, there is not a lot to distinguish between Korean and Japanese rice cookers besides their country of origin.
Both cultures consume rice as an integral staple of nearly every meal, so cooking it to perfection is a high priority in nearly every household across both of these countries.
If you have national or ethnic ties to a particular country or culture, you may inherently prefer one style over the other.
However, if you’re an average North American consumer, you will find that the top models from either country deliver on smart rice cooking.
Korean Rice Cooker vs Instant Pot
Instant pots and Korean rice cookers appear to be very similar, compact, attractive countertop cooking appliances.
These two pressure cookers are somewhat similar but, more importantly, there are significant differences between the devices.
Korean rice cookers are designed and manufactured in Korea. They claim to be made with the utmost quality and durability in mind.
Instant pots were designed in Canada and made in China. Their selling feature focuses more on a competitive price point for an impressively versatile product, rather than longevity.
Korean rice cookers are usually seen as a single-purpose appliance, but they can cook a variety of foods from veggies and meat to even desserts.
Most rice cookers use steam to cook the food it’s tasked to prepare, using a fuzzy logic computer chip to properly cook each meal to perfection.
Instant pots are marketed as multi-cookers, with the ability to cook rice as just one minor feature.
Instant pots cook by using pressure, allowing the cooker to use higher heat and a shorter cooking time, according to what the user manually programmed the settings to.
How to Choose a Korean Rice Cooker
Choosing a Korean rice cooker is much like choosing any other kind of rice cooker. Ultimately, you want to be sure you end up with perfectly cooked rice every time, in the quantity you need it.
It doesn’t hurt if the machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and multi-functional as well. Keep all these features in mind while you shop:
A manufacturer is always going to try to present their product in the best light possible, and understanding quality materials and craftsmanship are important, but how the product functions in real-life situations can be even more important.
In light of this, it’s always important to look for a durable Korean rice cooker.
Be willing to look around a little bit longer for a cooker that has been proven to be robust through not only the company’s own statements but also reviews from others who’ve had the chance to test out the product.
One of the main draws of Korean rice cookers is that they are designed to be compact while still preparing enough rice to feed an entire 4 – 5 person family.
Most models will cook up to 10 cups of rice in a single batch. It is important to double-check, however, because there are exceptions to every rule.
Ease of Use
Another key feature of using a rice cooker is how easy they are to use. Basic models have just one button or switch to turn them on or off, though Korean models are typically a bit more complex.
You still want to be sure you look for clearly labeled, one-touch features that are intuitive.
Easy to Clean
Most Korean rice cookers have non-stick bowls which can be wiped out in seconds.
As a piece of relatively complex machinery, the entire unit is not going to be dishwasher safe, but some models will have dishwasher safe bowls.
It’s important to read the manufacturer’s recommendation on any device you choose in order to protect the lifespan as much as possible.
It’s true that the main goal is to find a machine to cook rice well.
However, having a single appliance that can also perfectly cook other types of grains, prepare vegetables, and cook meats can be a major benefit of Korean rice cookers.
Again, read the instructions from the maker of your machine to best understand the capabilities of each model.
Best Korean Rice Cookers of 2021
If you’ve decided that your household needs a Korean rice cooker, you may still be struggling to figure out which one is right for you.
We’ve carefully analyzed the features and qualities of all the Korean rice cookers we could find available within North America and share our thoughts with you on the top 7 models.
One thing that you should be aware of for any and every Korean rice cooker is that, by very definition, these machines are made in Korea.
That means English is often not the first language of the manufacturer. The translation for features on the cooker, packaging and instructions and manuals varies in quality but it will be a translation and is unlikely to be perfect.
Because this is true for all models, we’re not going to let this factor influence our reviews.
Cuckoo Korean Rice Cooker
Cuckoo Electronics covers more than 70% of the Korean rice cooker market worldwide, shipping out over 25 million devices annually, which is why we thought we’d give you a little background on the company before we begin.
The vast majority of these sales are, of course, within Korea itself, but the manufacturer does have dedicated distributors in both the USA and Canada, ensuring easy availability and reliable return and/or warranty processes.
All replacement parts are guaranteed to be genuine from South Korea, specially designed for these machines.
There are many models to choose from within this manufacturer alone. You can choose from the following cooker types:
- Twin Pressure: the best option if you want to cook a variety of types of meals, as you can adjust the pressure up and down
- Induction Heat (IH)+ Ultrahigh Pressure: The best results for cooking any type of rice, including brown or mixed rice varieties
- IH + Pressure: heats the entire bowl, cooking rice perfectly and quickly
- Pressure: heats solely from the bottom of the cooker, which takes longer but is ideal for sticky rice
- Micom: basic rice cookers without pressure that are sufficient for those who don’t cook rice often
Now, let’s take a look more closely at some of the highest-rated models from Cuckoo as well as few from some other brands.
|1.||Cuckoo 6-Cup Micom||Best overall Korean rice cooker|
|2.||Cuckoo Electric Pressure Cooker||12 built-in intelligent cooking programs|
|3.||Cuckoo Electric Induction Cooker||Voice navigation in 3 languages|
|4.||Cuckoo Twin Pressure Cooker||Twin pressure model|
|5.||Dimchae Cook||Nano Alpha induction heating|
|6.||Cuchen Smart Dial||LED display|
|7.||Lihom Rice Cooker||Diamond coating non-stick interior surface|
1. Cuckoo 6-Cup Micom
- Micom model – perfect for basic cooking or warming needs for rice or porridge
- Features 9 built-in smart, fuzzy logic cooking programs
- Does NOT automatically shut off, offering the ability to keep rice warm for days without compromising quality
Biggest Drawback: Many consumers assume all Korean rice cookers are automatically induction heated and/or pressure cookers.
This is not the case and this model is a perfect example. It has the quality, design, and smart features of most Korean rice cookers, but it is a basic, non-pressurized bottom heating rice cooker.
2. Cuckoo Electric Pressure Cooker
- Pressure cooker – has a high level for sticky rice and low level for conventional grains
- Features 12 built-in intelligent cooking programs designed for a variety of food types
- Easy self-cleaning steam mode for simple maintenance
Biggest Drawback: The lid opens by the touch of a button and it does so vigorously.
You have to be careful to guide the lid so that it doesn’t slam backwards into a wall or knock your machine off balance. It’s a unique drawback that’s easy to accommodate, but definitely worth mentioning.
3. Cuckoo Electric Induction Cooker
- Induction Heat + Ultrahigh Pressure – detects the type of grain and adjusts settings accordingly
- Extremely intelligent features such as voice navigation in 3 languages and Android OS control capabilities
- High-quality design made entirely from stainless steel and complete with a 19-selection LED-powered touch screen
Biggest Drawback: This is one of the premium models and is ideal for those who cook rice a lot and are willing to take some time to initially set the machine up according to their preferences.
It starts talking as soon as it is powered up, and it’s likely to start talking in Korean. This can be adjusted, but you will need a little start-up patience.
4. Cuckoo Twin Pressure Cooker
- Twin Pressure model – includes a pressure detection sensor to ensure optimal cooking for a variety of food and rice types and offers the ability to choose low or high pressure
- Features 14 pre-programmed fuzzy logic settings with LED display, one-touch buttons, and voice navigation
- Multiple safety features in place, such as automatic steam and pressure emission, lid locking, auto temperature control and an alarm that sounds if the machine is overheating
Biggest Drawback: As with most models from Cuckoo, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
This might be sufficient for a budget-friendly purchase, but we would prefer to see a more robust warranty guarantee for premium-priced products like this one.
5. Dimchae Cook
Dimchae is best known for their kimchi refrigerators, but they do have a respectable lineup of rice cookers as well.
They have only a fraction of the market size of Cuckoo but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
It does mean, however, that there are fewer real-life reviews and you will have to trust your gut on some of the manufacturer’s claims.
- Nano Alpha Induction Heating + Pressure Cooking – quick, even heating and control over cooking
- Features smart touch screen programs illuminated by white LED tech
- Available in 3 colors with 6 cup capacity
Biggest Drawback: It is well constructed and clearly very durable, but there is only a 1-year warranty.
Without long-term proof from previous customers, it’s difficult to gauge how reliable it will remain over time and continued use, or how easy it is to make claims on the warranty.
6. Cuchen Smart Dial
Cuchen has a much smaller presence in North America.
This makes it a bit more difficult to share our thoughts on a product that has so little representation.
With the minimal details provided and reviews we’ve read, you may choose to take a leap of faith on the underdog.
- Induction Heating + Pressure Cooking
- Slick design featuring an LED display
- Comes with 220V plug type
Biggest Drawback: There are NO reviews to offer peace of mind.
7. Lihom Rice Cooker
Similar to Cuchin, there is very little evidence of any Lihom rice cookers being used in North America.
They are available with some interesting features, but this model is a bit of a wild card.
We recommend this one for those looking to test out a new product and kitchen appliance adventurers.
- Induction Heating + Pressure Cooking
- Features smart tech programming and voice navigations
- Sleek design with diamond coating non-stick interior surface
Biggest Drawback: Reviews and ratings are minimal.
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