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Despite its versatility to pair with meat, fish, and vegetables - hot or cold - rice can be a surprisingly fussy ingredient to cook.
Depending on what type of rice you're cooking with plays a part too, whether it's jasmine, long-grain, basmati, or risotto, with each needing varying times to cook properly.
When overcooked or undercooked, rice can turn into a gloopy, sticky, or sometimes burnt mess, which is why a rice cooker is a must-have.
Think of them as mini microwaves that sit on your countertop and only require you to add the rice and necessary amount of water before being heated up while you whip up the rest of your meal.
We've rounded up the very best, from Russell Hobbs, Lakeland, Breville, and more in a varied bunch that ranges from mini designs for one-person portions, to larger appliances that can feed families of six. Most are made with preset functions and timers also, to do all the hard work for you.
The 12 best rice cookers for 2021, for small kitchens to large families
Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine Microwave Rice Cooker | £22 from John Lewis
Known and loved for their colourful kitchen appliances and utensils, Joseph Joseph's rice cooker is another winner from the brand. It comes with a two-litre cooking pot, a colander, measuring cup and rice paddle that also locks the lid and it couldn't be easier to use. The instruction booklet tells you how much rice and water you need to use and how much time it needs in the microwave. When the timer goes off, leave to rest for a minute, then fluffy rice will be yours every time. It's dishwasher safe too.
Russell Hobbs 27030 Medium Rice Cooker | £27.99 from Amazon
Costing not much more is this Russell Hobbs rice cooker that can cook up to six portions of rice. When it's finished cooking, make use of the 'keep warm' function, which will allow everyone to enjoy freshly-made rice that isn't varying in temperature depending on what time different family members or flatmates eat. It has a removable, dishwasher-safe, non-stick bowl, and a glass lid to allow you to check on progress.
Cookworks 1.5L Rice Cooker | £21.99 from Argos
Avoid the laborious task of cooking your rice on a hob. Instead, guarantee you have fluffy, delicious rice every time with this Cookworks design. It has a cool body too so you won't burn your hands when serving it up and if it's finished cooking before the rest of your meal, simply press the keep warm function.
Judge JEA63 Small Electric Rice Cooker | £26.01 (was £30) from Amazon
Perfect for couples or when cooking for one, this rice cooker is ideal for smaller kitchens and countertops. Taking just 15 minutes to cook, it comes with a measuring cup and ladle, needing just the touch of a button to get to work. The inner bowl is non-stick and removable too, with a keep-warm function that lasts for up to six hours.
Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker | £54.99 from Lakeland
You can't go wrong with this portable rice cooker that's perfect for speedy, convenient meals. There are eight preset programs and a non-stick pot for easy cleaning, whether you want to make quinoa, brown rice or oatmeal.
Rice Cooker | £16 from Asda
If you're looking for something cheap and cheerful, that's hassle-free, Asda is the place to find a rice cooker for less than £20. Pick this rice cooker up on your next weekly shop. There are just two settings to navigate – cook or warm – with a sleek black and grey design and a removable inner pot that's dishwasher safe.
Lakeland 2 Portion Mini Electric Rice Cooker | £35.99 from Amazon
While this mini appliance is sold out on Lakeland, we've spotted stock on Amazon that's proven popular with shoppers, named best for small rice cookers by the retailer. Customers praise it for being very simple to operate and that you can set a three-hour delay so the rice will be ready just when you need it.
Breville ITP181 1.8L Rice Cooker and Steamer | £22.49 (was £24.99) from Argos
This Breville rice cooker is a no-brainer. Making fluffy rice every time, it also has a steamer tray for fish and vegetables, and a non-stick bowl that can be used to serve food directly onto plates then popped in the dishwasher. It also comes with a measuring cup, spoon and recipes to keep you inspired.
good2heat Microwave Rice Cooker with Lid | £11.50 from John Lewis
If you're shopping on a tight budget, why not pick up this rice cooker from John Lewis? The microwavable tub fits a generous 2.8L of rice, but it also can be used as a container to freeze food, cook or reheat, thanks to the lid that will prevent spillages and keep items sealed in.
Geepas Rice Cooker & Steamer | £17.99 (was £19.99) from Amazon
Whether you fancy arborio, jasmine, white, basmati or long-grain, this compact appliance can do it all. Ideal for two-person meals thanks to a 0.6L capacity, it also switches automatically into keep-warm mode as soon as the rice has cooked.
Crockpot 2.2L Saute Rice Cooker | £39.99 from Argos
For larger families, this Crockpot is perfect as it can feed up to seven people. There's also a saute function to be enjoyed, which will allow you to cook risottos and paella too. The keep-warm function has a 60-minute run time too.
Tefal RK1568UK Cool Touch Rice Cooker | £32.58 (was £34.99) from Amazon
For delicious and speedy rice every time you cook it, this Tefal machine works a treat. It's very user-friendly, with just three settings, including a keep-warm function, as well as a cool wall body and nonslip feet, so it'll remain extremely safe when cooking around children or pets.
Watch: When should you replace your baking trays?