Last updated November, 2018
Just to clear things up, when we say stainless steel rice cooker, we mean that it’s a rice cooker with a stainless steel insert – a stainless steel portion that the food is cooked in. Many online lists of the best stainless steel rice cookers list a bunch of nice looking cookers that have a stainless steel outside, but that’s not our concern – we are looking for a rice cooker with a stainless steel pot inside.
Stainless steel is one of the safest materials for food preparation – it’s easy to clean, long-lasting, and relatively inexpensive. It’s also been around for a long time, and there are still no health concerns or discoveries related to it. Some might say “just wait, they’ll discover a problem with cooking with stainless steel” and perhaps that’s right – but I still prefer to use stainless steel rather than something with known issues.
Note: If you are allergic to nickel, then stainless steel may cause issues for you. The materials added to steel to make it ‘stainless’ are nickel and chromium
Most rice cookers come with an internal pot built out of aluminum, with a non-stick coating on it. Aluminum is cheap, and non-stick is easy to clean. However, the health concerns aren’t just something that lives in the realm of internet fear-mongering; even Health Canada recognizes the affects of these things. They mention that while the amount taken in through food is low and no definite links to Alzheimer’s disease have been proven, they mention that aluminum is most dissolved from pitted and worn pots and pans, and food that is cooked or stored in aluminum for long periods of time.
Non-stick coatings can be very helpful at aiding in quick cleanup, but Health Canada stats that nonstick coatings that are heated to temperatures higher than 350 degrees C or 650 degrees F “can give off irritating or poisonous fumes”.
When possible, why wouldn’t you choose stainless steel? The problem in Canada is that stainless steel rice cookers are much harder to find – Amazon Canada only has one brand. There are also some fancier rice cookers (think one-pot style digital cookers) that also have stainless steel internal pots, so we also list a few of those as options as well.
FoodShark ranked the Aroma 14-cup Cooked Simply Stainless Rice Cooker as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Best Pick' in their product review. [November 2018]
Simple and stainless steel is all that was needed to win out! Strangely, the rest of their options just have a 'stainless look' to the exterior, so they aren't even real stainless steel rice cookers worth comparing.
Amazon.ca ranked the Aroma 14-cup Cooked Simply Stainless Rice Cooker as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Amazon's Choice' in their product review. [November 2018]
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If you don't need something quite so large, there's a 6-cup version of the best stainless steel rice cooker as well. If you are limited on counter space and living a tiny or minimized lifestyle, than this is the one you'll want. However, buying the larger one doesn't cost much more, and then you'll be prepared for hosting large holiday meals without worry :)
Aroma 6-cup cooked Stainless Steel Inner Pot Rice Cooker
Also available in Canada (on some sort of second-hand market basis because it’s never officially listed by the company), is the Japanese made Tayama Stainless Steel Rice Cooker. However, it’s also almost 3 times the cost of the Aroma rice cooker – if you don’t need a stainless steel outside, the Aroma is the best bet, and has more capacity at 14 cups instead of the 10 cup capacity of the Tayama rice cooker.
For about twice the price of the simply rice cooker, Aroma also offers a stainless steel digital rice cooker and food steamer for sale in Canada. It has more features than the rice cooker, and it comes with an additional stainless food steamer insert, but it’s getting up in price enough that it is close enough to the one-pot stainless steel pressure cookers that we recommend getting one of those instead.
You’re probably wondering why the title of this stainless steel rice cooker review says that there is only one option, and yet multiple products are listed here. Let me explain – there really was only one stainless rice cooker available online in Canada when this review was published.
Sure, there were other options, like ‘smart cooker’ single-pot type cookers that cook rice, and have a bunch of other features as well. But features means more expense! If you want a rice cooker with a stainless steel insert in Canada, than the Aroma is your only option.
For my family, we already have an Instant-Pot for cooking beans, chili, and rice etc, but most of the time we want pressure-cooked beans or chili (or some other strange and possibly exciting dish) so we wanted just a basic rice cooker. That’s where the search started, and the Aroma Stainless Rice Cooker is where the search ended.
Best of luck!