Instant Rice Cooker review
Image: Alice Clarke.

Instant Rice Cooker review: not instant, but makes excellent rice

8.2

Fun fact: I have been on a quest for the perfect rice cooker and the perfect slow cooker for some time. The quests are separate, and yet somehow became combined when I discovered this extremely nice Instant Brands Rice Cooker.

It’s both a slow cooker and a rice cooker, and while it is perhaps not perfect in the classic sense, it’s so good at both things that it’s perfect for me. And maybe also you.

Instant Rice Cooker review

Sale
Instant 5 Cup Rice and Grain Cooker
  • 6-in-1 functionality: white rice, brown rice, slow cook, sauté, steam and CarbReduce
  • CarbReduce technology reduces carbs and sugar in rice up to 40% without sacrificing taste and texture
  • Six smart cooking pre-sets make cooking simple
  • Level marks in CarbReduce steam basket to easily measure water
  • Keep warm up to 10 hours for rice that is ready when you are

First impressions

The setup process for this rice cooker was really easy. The instructions were clear, and the menu is almost idiot-proof (I say almost, because there are some very persistent idiots). There’s a little cup, a little paddle, a steamer basket and a non-stick rice pot.

I’m not such a huge fan of non-stick stuff, given what we’ve learned about the chemicals recently, but sometimes the ease of use is worth a few chemicals (I hope this sentence does not come back to bite me later). Truly, though, the rice does not stick, and it’s easy to clean.

Instant Rice Cooker tools
Image: Alice Clarke.

Instant Rice Cooker specifications

ModesWhite rice, brown rice, slow cook, sauté, steam and CarbReduce
Included accessoriesStainless steel steam basket, measuring cup, rice spoon, non-stick cooking pot, inner lid cover
Warranty12 months limited warranty
Dimensions2.7 kg, cm: 28 L x 27 W x 27 H  
Volume5 Cups/ 2.8 Litres
Price (RRP)$149
Warranty12 months
Official websiteInstant Brands Australia

The instruction booklet that comes with the rice cooker will make tantalising promises of five minutes to make white rice and 10 minutes to make brown rice. These times are lies. You need to look at the extra piece of paper that comes with the cooker to learn the real times. Those shorter times are for after the water is heated, which is not as useful as knowing how long it is between putting in rice and liquid and getting out cooked rice. There is a secret to speeding up this time, though, which I’ll mention later.

Other than that, the range of settings (white rice, brown rice, slow cook, sauté, steam and CarbReduce) means that there’s just enough for you to definitely be able to find what you need, without there being so many that you get overwhelmed with unnecessary choice.

Design

I really like the simple spaceship design of this rice cooker. It’s not too big, it takes up an entirely reasonable amount of bench space and not a centimetre more than necessary.

The use of capacitive touch for the buttons is frustrating, as I have mentioned in countless other appliance reviews. Any kitchen product with buttons that cannot easily be pressed with wet, cold or gooey hands is an inconvenience. But they work well enough, and you don’t need to use them at all after you’ve selected your cooking setting and pressed start.

Instant Rice Cooker closed
Image: Alice Clarke.

The button to open the cooker is well-placed and obvious. So, when you’re stressed and just want rice, it is easy to access said rice.

Cooking process

In the instruction booklet, Instant Brands makes some big promises about how long the rice takes to cook. Claims like five minutes for white rice and 10 minutes for brown rice. Unfortunately, that’s only after the basket has heated sufficiently. If you pour in cold water, you have to consult the extra sheet that was placed in the box (and is easily missed) which updates those times to 32 minutes for one cup of white rice and 51 minutes for one cup of brown rice.

The way around this is to just add boiling water (or nearly boiling water) instead of cold, which cuts out around 20-30 minutes of waiting.

Aside from that, the process of making rice is extremely straightforward, follow the instructions for the ratio of rice to water (1:1 for white rice), select which variety of rice you’re making and then press go.

You can also use it as a slow cooker and steamer, both of which yield truly excellent results. Popping some salmon fillets and veggies in the steam basket and then putting it above some rice is the laziest way to make dinner, and I fully encourage it. Delicious results, and a good time all around.

But does the rice taste good?

This Instant Rice Cooker makes the best rice I’ve ever made at home. It’s just what you imagine when you think of rice, which is a weird thing to say, but it makes sense when you try the rice. I prefer it to evaporation method rice, and I don’t want to go back to a pre-rice cooker time. I have had better rice in restaurants, but I also assume they have fancier tools/skills to make rice than this $149 home rice cooker.

Who is the Instant Rice Cooker for?

People who want to make really delicious rice easily and relatively quickly. This rice cooker is great, it’s neither too big nor too small so it fits nicely in an apartment or smaller kitchen. It serves multiple purposes so you can make the most of the space it takes up and your investment. It’s just plain good. It won’t change the world, but it will make good rice.

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Instant Rice Cooker
This Instant Rice Cooker might not be instant, but it is very good.
Features
8
Value for money
8
Performance
8
Ease of use
9
Design
8
Positives
Makes delicious rice
Can also slow cook and steam food
Doesn't take up too much bench space
Negatives
Rice doesn't cook as 'instantly' as advertised
Capacitive buttons
8.2