You don’t have to use these paddles—a wooden spoon would work as well—but do not use metal utensils or anything that can scratch the nonstick coating inside the pot. The Aroma ARC-914SBD, which we tested in 2013, is a super-affordable rice cooker with a low price, a tiny footprint, and a 4-cup maximum capacity. Models that performed well in rice flavor, texture, and cooking speed we then also tested with brown and basmati rice, and again with sushi rice on their quick-cook setting. The Zavor Lux 6-quart costs more than our picks and has about the same functionality, minus some of the nicer features of the Duo Evo Plus. Our favorites were the nubbly paddles from Zojirushi and Tiger because rice didn’t stick to them as much as it did to others. The Ultra is worth considering if you live at high altitudes, or if you find it on deep discount. Will it explode in your kitchen? Photo: Michael HessionUnlike the Cuckoo or Hamilton Beach, the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy has a removable lid that makes cleaning any leftover gunky starch a breeze. By comparison, our upgrade pick, the Cuckoo CRP-G1015F, made overly moist long-grain white rice. The cookers that delivered great flavor and texture in a reasonable amount of time then moved on to testing with brown rice and basmati. The Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker makes good white rice very quickly—it’s a marvel considering its low cost. After all, some things you can’t rush. Talde grew up making rice for his parents, who worked alternating day-night shifts and expected a fresh pot of rice every day. Sushi rice consistently turned out moist and gluey, and the long-grain rice devolved into mush. According to a company representative, Cuckoo has plans to team up with other retailers for exclusive appliances, and we wanted to see how this machine stacked up against Cuckoo’s flagship offerings. The instruction manual that comes in the box isn’t nearly as detailed as the online PDF version. The quality of the rice itself was good, with firm and separated grains, but not as plump as rice that came from a Zojirushi. Photo: Michael Hession, The Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy NS-ZCC10 has settings for many different kinds of rice, as well as an option to make your rice softer or harder per your individual taste. There are also some real design upgrades that improve the usability of the Duo Evo Plus over any Instant Pot model that’s come before it. To wash a detachable lid, simply remove it and clean the entire thing by hand with a sponge. It also offers a sous vide setting and a pulse steam-release program that “stirs” food as it cooks. We’ve tested dozens over the past few years. The newer, almost-identical Cuckoo CRP-P1009SW is updated with that feature but costs around $50 extra at this writing. We recommend the Duo Plus only if you can find it for less than $100. The Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart also comes in a few colors besides the basic black: red, teal, and white. We spoke to representatives from major rice cooker brands Cuckoo and Zojirushi about their lineups and the range of features associated with their machines. In general, if you can find another model on sale for a better deal than whichever of our picks is nearest in price, we think most of them will serve you well. And the Neuro Fuzzy comes with a one-year warranty, the same amount of coverage as our other picks. The best multi cookers give you the freedom to cook a vast variety of meals all from the same pot. We ordered the well-reviewed Tatung 11-Cup Stainless Steel Multi-Functional Cooker TAC-11KN(UL), which appeared sturdy and capable. Short-grain rice is nubby and almost spherical, medium-grain rice is two to three times as long as it is wide, and long-grain rice is three to five times as long as it is wide. The new generation of electric pressure cookers are more accurately called “multi-cookers” because they can also slow-cook, steam, cook grains, and sometimes even make yogurt quickly and safely. Both machines use pressure, but one advantage of this newer model is that it has a removable inner lid for easier cleaning. A separate vent/seal control isn’t exclusive to the Duo Evo Plus, but the Duo Evo Plus’s clearly marked switch is a big improvement over the twist-and-push button on other models, which frequently left us wondering if the pot was sealed or not. We also like the vented valve cover on the Duo Evo Plus. We also tested the Cuckoo CR-1020FW, a Williams Sonoma exclusive. Despite its humble price (and lack of pressure cooking), the Hamilton Beach is speedy. Of all the machines we tested, this model produced the best basmati, cooking it up light and fluffy. The lid on the Duo, like on all Instant Pots, detaches for easy cleaning. In our tests, the Neuro Fuzzy was one of the few machines that made sushi rice, brown rice, and long-grain rice all taste great. After spending a full day pressure-cooking, air-frying, baking, and broiling, we think the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is too expensive for what it can do, and too large for most kitchens. This process may kill your one-pot-dinner fantasies, but sometimes life is a compromise. Although it may not look like it at first glance, the Duo’s control panel is intuitive, and you’ll be cooking very soon after this pot is out of the box (but always read the manual). Tammie Teclemariam is a freelance food and drinks writer who contributes to Wine Enthusiast, Eater, Taste, and other publications. The Instant Pot also has two pressure settings—low and high—whereas some other models we tested have only one. But it still cooked our modest vacuum-sealed filet of salmon in 45 minutes. Another perk of the Duo Evo Plus is an extra sealing ring for the lid. Dale Talde, chef and author of Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn, phone interview, March 30, 2018, Tejal Rao, food reporter and columnist for The New York Times, phone interview, March 14, 2018, Tejal Rao, How to Make Rice, The New York Times, Matt Slem, food technician, Lundberg Family Farms, phone interview, January 14, 2020, Kevin L. Cho, sales and marketing associate, Cuckoo Electronics, phone interview, December 4, 2019, Marilyn Matsuba, marketing manager, Zojirushi, phone interview, December 4, 2019, Naomi Duguid, food writer and author, interview, Fuchsia Dunlop, chef and food writer, interview, Harris Salat, restaurateur and author of Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond, interview. And the Neuro Fuzzy was the slowest for brown rice by a landslide, taking 1 hour 38 minutes, almost twice as long as the Hamilton Beach and the Cuckoo. Making breakfast is about to get so much easier. Instant Pot has released many new models of electric pressure cookers since we first started testing them, and it can be tricky to figure out exactly what you’re giving up or getting from one to the next. It’s convenient for cooking and then browning dishes, but we recommend it only if making such one-pot meals is your top priority—a convection toaster oven works better just air frying because it fits more food. Multi-cookers have become a kitchen must-have. If you prefer your short-grain rice al dente and almost mochi-like, you might seriously consider our upgrade pick, the Cuckoo CRP-G1015F. We’ve also created a handy table that lists more models (and their specs) side by side. The keep-warm function on the Duo Plus goes up to 24 hours, as opposed to the Duo’s 10 hours. We spent 109 hours researching and testing 14 slow cookers, and found that the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget is the best you can get. The best multi cooker of 2020 is the Ninja Foodi Electric model, that employs a brand new upgraded Tender Crisp technology that cooks and crisps food to brown excellence. But we were not impressed with its brown rice, long-grain results, or quick rice. Photo: Michael Hession1 of 3, We love these handles, which make transporting the Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy’s hot inner pot from cooker to table easier. We consulted Matt Slem, food technician at rice producer Lundberg Family Farms, on the proper cooking method for various grain types. Most rice cookers have a steam catcher that you need to empty after every batch of rice. Tejal Rao, a food reporter and columnist for The New York Times, frequently makes brown, jasmine, and basmati rice on the stovetop. We also looked for cookers with detachable lids that you can submerge in soapy water for easy cleaning. This Panasonic model also lacks a finishing jingle, which made it difficult for us to tell when the rice was done cooking. She is perfectly happy to leave all that behind to be a full-time kitchen-gear nerd. And unlike other $50 cookers, this machine has advanced functions such as settings for brown rice and quick-cooked rice. The Breville Fast Slow Pro has an intuitive interface, sleek design, and altitude-adjust function. It’s crucial to clean a pressure cooker’s lid after every use because the valves and rim can trap gunk that not only breeds bacteria but also prevents the pot from sealing properly.

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