You don’t have to pay big or opt for a twenty cup rice cooker to enjoy freshly, perfectly prepared rice anytime. In fact, many manufacturers produce small, compact models that are perfect for smaller families and allow you to make as little as one cup of cooked rice. The Zojirushi NHS06 is a three-cup rice cooker and a model that’s perfect for those who cook for one, or for small families. This smaller model is a great choice if you want to cut down on waste. Prepared rice doesn’t reheat well. It tends to come out of the microwave steaming hot and somewhat crunchy, which causes us to toss it out and start from scratch. This mini rice cooker cuts down on waste and allows you to prepare only the amount of rice you need for one meal. It’s also very beginner-friendly and features basic controls that allow you to set it and forget it, enjoying a totally hands-off rice cooking prep without the hassle.
Our Verdict: This is a very basic, mini rice cooker, however, if you’re on a tight budget and you’re looking for a model that can handle cooking for one to three people, then anything bigger may be overkill. This compact model is incredibly easy to use and maintain and comes with some nice extras that allow you to quickly prep, cook, and serve your favorite rice dish.
Overview and Features
If you’re looking for a very basic model, and one that allows you to cook perfect jasmine or sticky rice each time, in a matter of minutes, then you’ll love this powerful little cooker. This newest model by Zojirushi is more about functionality than flash. If you’re in the market for a basic rice cooker, one that’s efficient and can get the job done, then you’ll be impressed with this compact model that will allow you to try out some great rice cooker rice recipes, and provide the type of results you just can’t get from boiling rice on the stovetop. If you’re looking for a model that offers a much larger capacity, then click here to read my buyer’s guide, where you’ll also find more information regarding the leading products on the market.
This model has a three cup capacity, meaning it will prepare up to three cups of perfectly cooked rice per batch, or as little as one cup, making it a good buy for small families or those who only cook for one to two people. It features a couple of stay-cool handles, which is a great safety feature to have for those with small children in the home. It also makes it much easier for you to transport it from surface to surface in the kitchen, without the use of potholders or the fear of getting burned.
The included inner pot is made out of a durable ceramic material and features a nonstick coating that will prevent the rice from sticking to the surface, making it easier to serve rice and wash the pot after a meal.
This model is pretty basic in terms of controls. It comes with a basic single switch control that you’ll press once you’ve added the correct amount of water and rice. The cooker doesn’t come with any cooking programs or special settings, instead, this single setting will be used to cook oatmeal, quinoa, white rice, and brown. This can be a pro or a con depending on your cooking needs. With the smaller size of the cooker and the lower price tag, you’ll definitely miss out on special features such as the ability to slow cook a one-pot meal or choose precise settings based on food type. Instead, this single switch operation is what you get. So, if you’re cooking brown rice, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the cooking progress of the rice and adjust the cooking length appropriately, based on the texture of the rice.
Unlike competing models, this cooker comes with a thick glass lid that’s detachable, for easier cleanup and use. The transparent lid allows you to keep a close eye on the cooking process, without having the remove the lid and allow any steam to escape. The lid also comes with a stay-cool knob, so you won’t need to use a potholder to remove it. This is another great safety feature to have.
Like other rice cookers, this model comes with a measuring cup, which has a capacity of ¾ of a cup. One scoop of the measuring cup will prepare two to three cups of rice. When using the rice cooker, it’s important that you only use the included measuring cup. The capacity of ¾ of a cup is smaller than the size of a traditional measuring cup, which will measure out a full cup. Using your own measuring cup can throw off the rice to water ratio which can result in unevenly cooked or raw rice. The measuring cups that come with rice cookers are often not the same size as a traditional measuring cup, so only using the model that comes with your rice cooker will be very important in terms of achieving the ideal cooking results.
This model comes with a steaming tray that’s made out of stainless steel. You can use it to steam egg rolls or fresh veggies. Steaming veggies allows them to retain all their nutrients, unlike when you boil veggies. Boiling will cause the veggies to lose a large percentage of their nutritional value since the water leaches the nutrients. In a rice cooker, the steam has nowhere to go and will not drain your food of its nutritional content. Additionally, steaming results in a firmer texture, not like boiling which can cause your veggies to taste mushy and bland.
The stay warm feature allows you to keep your rice warm and ready to serve for up to five hours. This feature is perfect if you love cooking dinner early and having everything hot and ready for when the family gets home. It also allows you to keep your rice serving ready throughout the day, so you won’t have to reheat the rice on the stovetop or in the microwave, which can easily ruin its texture.
Aside from a measuring cup, this model comes with a stainless steel steaming tray and a nonstick rice spatula, which makes serving easy.
This isn’t a feature-packed cooker that you can use to bake cakes or whip up a pot of stew. Instead, it can only handle cooking grains and steaming veggies. When you cook different grains, such as quinoa, or even brown rice, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the cooking progress and time it yourself, based on the recommended cooking time for that specific grain. The single built-in cooking function is designed specifically for white rice, which can be a big drawback if you’re looking for a model that’s more versatile. However, if you normally only prepare one to three cups of rice per meal, then this model will help to cut down on waste, unlike competing cookers that have a minimum cooking capacity of three to four cups. In terms of maintenance, read how to clean the rice cooker based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Since the pot is smaller and features a nonstick coating, cleanup is a breeze.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Stay-cool handles and lid
- Stay-warm feature
- Low price
- Allows you to prepare a minimum of one cup
- Perfect for smaller families
- Nonstick inner pot
- Not recommended for larger families
- Doesn’t come with any rice-specific settings
- Does not include cooking programs
Zojirushi Versus Hamilton Beach Mini Rice Cooker & Food Steamer
The competing model by Hamilton Beach features an eight-cup capacity and includes a couple of basic controls, just like this model from Zojirushi, which can make it easier to achieve the desired results, especially if you want to be more adventurous and try out a variety of one-pot meals. In comparison, this model is more tech-heavy than the Zojirushi cooker and offers more versatility in terms of the types of foods you can cook. Of course, with the larger cooking capacity, you can also expect a higher price tag, but if you need a model that can handle cooking for a large family and one that you can use to cook more than just rice or steam veggies, then this model by Hamilton Beach is a better option.
Conclusion and Rating
The Zojirushi NHS-06 rice cooker isn’t a model that’s heavy on the bells and whistles. Instead, you’ll get a model that’s equipped with only the most basic features including a single cooking function and a stay-warm feature. The smaller capacity is perfect if you’re preparing rice for one to three people, but this isn’t a rice cooker that you’d want to use if you normally host dinner parties or if you prepare food for four or more people. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced model, one that will allow you to cook a smaller volume of rice, and an appliance that’s beginner-friendly and very simple to use, then this model by Zojirushi delivers. I gave this model a rating of four out of five stars.