Oster Rice Cooker Review

oster rice cookerIn one of our very first reviews on this site, we are going to be checking out one of the larger capacity rice cookers – the Oster 20-Cup Rice Cooker. Oster are a well know brand in the realm of kitchen and cooking products, so how does this rice cooker perform compared to some of the bigger and more established brands? Keep reading to find out more.

Product Features:
Oster has a range of rice cookers on the market right now, ranging from cheaper 3 cup cookers all the way up to this 20 cup cooker. The name is a little misleading however, as this is a 20 cup cooked machine, meaning it has the capacity to hold 10 cups of uncooked rice. Nonetheless, this is still quite a large capacity for a rice cooker, so we have no complaints regarding that. The retail price of this model is $59.99, which is quite competitively priced for a rice cooker of this capacity.
Like most newer rice cookers, this model is mainly made out of stainless steel which provides an elegant and stylish look. The settings the unit has are rather simple compared to other units we have seen, and it isn’t really a fully multi function unit like some of the competitors. This doesn’t mean it is limited to cooking rice however, as there is a sauteing function included, which allows you to brown vegetables or meat before cooking which is quite handy. Aside from that, the controls are very simple, and all you need to do is fill it with your desired amount of rice and the correct amount of water. It is worth noting that there are no water measuring levels in the cooking pot which is a bit of a letdown, but with a bit of practice you should be able to figure out what amount you need to put in easily enough. Once that is done, you plug in the unit and make sure it is set to the “cook” setting. After the rice is done cooking, it switches to the warm function which will keep the rice warm until you are ready to eat it. This temperature ranges between 140-17f, which makes sure the rice doesn’t dry out or become overcooked.

Going back to the design of the unit, it has a tempered glass top which makes it easy to keep an eye on the cooking rice. It has stay cool handles on the side and on the lid, so no need to worry about any burnt fingers when working with your food. The LEDS on the front are very simple to understand, and the red light means it is sauteing, the amber light means it is cooking the rice, and the green means it is keeping the food warm. The internal cooking pot has a nonstick coating, which means getting your cooked food out is very simple. It claims to be dishwasher friendly, but as with most nonstick coated items, we would advise that you stick to washing it by hand as the dishwasher can be a bit rough at times. The performance of the nonstick coating seemed to work fairly well, and the small bit of rice that didn’t become unlodged by tipping the pot simply came unstuck with a brush of the included plastic ladle. Also included is a measuring cup, allowing you to make the exact quantity desired each time. This machine also has the ability to reheat rice, which is quite handy for those folks that don’t have a microwave. The instruction manual walks you through how much water to add (depending on how much rice there is), which makes reheating any leftover rice a fairly easy task.
As expected, this model is a little bit larger than your average rice cooker, mainly due to the larger than normal capacity. It measures roughly 9″, x 11″ x 12″, so it will still fit quite comfortably on most counter tops.

Now lets move onto the performance of the Oster rice cooker. If you intend to saute any ingredients first, then you should consider adding roughly 10 minutes to the cooking time. In our experiments, it took roughly 15 minutes from turning the machine on, until it switched into “warming” mode. In line with our testing of other models, this is a fairly average cooking time. We tested the machine on four different occasions, and in all four times we were left with lovely soft rice. White, brown and even black rice all came out very nicely. There was no sign of any burning, and in our last test we left the machine on warm mode for over an hour to see how the rice would turn out. Even after an hour, the rice was still in great shape. There was no hint of dryness, nor was there any sign of the rice being overcooked. So far so good. However there is one downside to this machine, and it is quite an annoying design flaw that could have easily been rectified – there is no off switch. This means that whenever you want to use the unit, you will need to plug it in, and then unplug it once you have taken out the cooked rice. To omit such a simple feature makes us scratch our heads, as we can’t see any real reason why it isn’t included.
Overall the performance of the machine was very good, and it passed all our cooking test with flying colors.  It may not be as fancy as some of the fancier rice cookers out there, but it definitely cooks rice very well.

Pros:

  • Large cooking capacity
  • Modern and elegant design
  • Creates nice fluffy rice
  • Saute function included for spicing up rice meals
  • Keep warm function keeps the rice warm without drying it out

Cons:

  • No water measuring levels
  • No Off switch

Summary:  We were fairly pleased with the performance of the Oster Rice cooker. If you are looking for a no frills easy to operate larger capacity rice cooker, then this may be just what you need. The lack of an off switch may be a bit of a let down, but we don’t think it is worth downgrading our score too much since it does what it says on the box. As usual, Amazon seem to have the best deal on this unit at the time of writing.

Our Rating: 3.5-stars


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