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I'm looking at getting one of Zojirushi's induction rice cookers and the 5.5 cup model is currently a little cheaper than the 3 cup model. I'm a single guy and will only be making a cup or two of rice unless I'm entertaining.

Is there any reason not to go with the larger version so I can use it when entertaining as well?

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It just another gadget you don't really need! For a cup of rice just use a saucepan on the stove. Rice cookers are only worth having when regularly making bulk rice. A slow cooker (crockpot) can do rice fine if you want hand off rice cooking, and is a much more useful investment. In general a larger appliance will be less power efficient than the correct sized appliance –  TFD Apr 29 '11 at 0:09
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@TFD You are correct in that a basic rice cooker is basically a glorified crockpot. In my experience, however, the usefulness of a rice cooker depends on the type of rice one is trying to make. For very temperamental applications like sushi, I have found that the fancy, "fuzzy logic" rice cookers are much more consistent than my amateur saucepan-on-the-stove skills. –  ESultanik Apr 29 '11 at 12:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

As I note in my answer here, I use the exact model you are considering. It is one of the best gadgets I've purchased. It has no problem making any batch down to 1 cup in size. Being able to cook the full 5.5 cups when entertaining is invaluable as well.

I will sometimes cook more than I need for lunch the next day, as well as making fried rice for the following night's dinner.

Bottom line: you won't regret the purchase.

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I bought the 5.5 cup model and now, a year and a half later, I can confirm that I don't regret my purchase one bit. It's an extremely convenient appliance and I use it almost every day for brown/other rice and steel cut oatmeal. It actually managed to kick my toaster off the counter and into a cabinet to make room. –  Bryan Anderson Oct 19 '12 at 14:56

Well, coming from a Chinese family and as our family cook rice everyday...

The short answer is yes - you will be able to cook 1 cup with the 5.5 cup model. the problem is, though you will be able to cook much smaller volume in a large cooker -- you will have rice covering the pan, a thin layer above bare metal[1]. Scooping up rice from it is a OK, but you will tend to 'fold' the rice in order to put it in a bowl which kind of affect the texture of the rice - if you use a smaller one you will get rice in a nice, cylinder shaped from which you can get a nicer scoop which is naturally formed by expansion of rice and steam.

[1] This has become much better with all these rice cooker armed with circuits (as in your case) which slowly, but accurately cook every grain of rice you put in -- albeit at a much longer time. the cooking time with old, traditional kind of rice cooker is ~ 30 min for 2 cup of rice whereas the newer, logic-equipped device will need ~1 hour for cooking - but of course the quality is much better

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Not really any reason not to go for the bigger one, you should definetly be able to make 2 cups in it. If there are bad results when you do only 1 cup then you may have to always do 2 and have leftovers but I can't imagine that being a problem.

It probably does use more power, if that is a concern.

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