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As someone who grew up in an Asian household, I think of rice as a staple. My family eats it at least twice a week. I know I'm not alone here. Rice is an essential element in the cuisines of many locales – think rice and beans, gumbo, rice pilaf and more.
I'm a huge fan, so I take my rice-cooking seriously. It doesn't require more work; it just requires the right tools — certain kitchen essentials that guarantee perfect rice every time, with very little input from the cook (seriously, like, just pressing a button).
Here are my favorite tools for effortlessly perfect rice — some are even on sale. I promise, once you step up your rice game, you'll never look back.
Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker
For me, having a dedicated rice cooker is absolutely worthwhile. It makes perfect rice every single time, eliminating guesswork. My favorite rice cooker is the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker. Yes, it’s pricey, but if you and your family have rice often, it will quickly pay for itself in deliciousness. And if you get frustrated with rice that's too dry, too soft, burnt on the bottom, know that this device is completely foolproof.
You just measure the rice and water according to the instructions, dump them in, and press a button. Voila, you’re done! It's great not just for white rice but for brown rice too.
And the Zojirushi is not just for rice. I love making steel-cut oatmeal in it – pour in one cup of steel-cut oats along with three cups of water, set the cooker to the "porridge" setting, and press start. One great aspect of the Zojirushi is that you can pre-set it: Imagine waking up to freshly cooked oatmeal, with no effort at all.
The Zojirushi is an investment, for sure. But you can do really well with a less-expensive mode too. If you're looking in a lower price range, this Hamilton Beach Digital Programmable Rice Cooker is a great alternative. It comes with a steam basket (in which you can cook anything from fresh broccoli to frozen dumplings) and, like the Zojirushi, is programmable. That basket means you could potentially cook rice and steam veggies at the same time! And the price can't be beat!
If you simply don’t have space in your kitchen for a dedicated rice cooker, then this Instant Pot is also a smart option, because of its amazing versatility and its many talents. It can braise, roast, bake, sauté, pressure cook, make yogurt and more. And while it's not quite as easy as a dedicated rice cooker, it gets the job done. Save $21 on this model today!
These next two items are a little more niche, but if you’re a rice fanatic like I am, they’re worth it. Those who cook rice regularly know that you should rinse the grains before cooking, in order to get rid of excess starch. If you're using a regular bowl and strainer, this can be awkward and messy.
That’s where this inexpensive Inomata Japanese Rice Washing Bowl comes in. The holes on the bottom are a lot smaller than those on normal colanders, so the rice won’t get caught, and the water doesn’t just rush out (you want the water level to be high enough to soak the rice a little as you wash it). There’s also a handy side drain to get rid of excess water as you go. The task is quick and easy with this bowl: Just pour in your rice, swish it around in the water with clean hands, then let the water drain out. Repeat till the water isn’t cloudy. Then the rice is ready to cook!
Last but not least, a large storage container is essential for keeping rice protected if you buy in bulk. A 25-pound bag of rice is not going to fit in a regular bin! I absolutely love this rice container from Sol Place. It’s sleek and stylish and it comes in four colors (dark blue, pink, light blue and white). The hinged lid has a tight silicone seal that makes it airtight, and it comes with a scoop as well. Of course, if you don’t want to use it to store rice, that’s okay too – it also works well as a pet food container!