Rice cooker 電飯煲: Zojirushi NS-TSC18

Growing up in a traditional Chinese household in Hong Kong, rice, 飯 (faan6), was a staple food. We say 食飯啦 (sik6 faan6 laa1), “eat rice!”, when it’s time to eat. It’s also common to greet people by saying 食咗飯未呀? (sik6 zo2 faan6 mei6 aa1), “ate rice yet?”, instead of “how are you?”.

We had rice at least once a day, and having it twice a day was not at all uncommon in Hong Kong. When you eat that much rice, owning a rice cooker makes life much easier. I don’t recall ever cooking rice without a rice cooker. Also, it’s a huge time saver when you are simultaneously preparing multiple dishes to go with the rice – you don’t have to worry about the rice getting burnt when you get too busy in the kitchen. So as you can imagine, a rice cooker was the first expensive kitchen appliance I bought in the United States.

The rice cooker has evolved a lot overtime, from a simple one-button appliance which only made rice, to an automatic multi-functional appliance with a digital screen.  This time I am going to talk about my current rice cooker: Zojirushi NS-TSC18

Zojirushi NS-TSC18 Rice Cooker

  • Handle
    • Unless you leave the rice cooker in the same spot all the time, the handle comes in handy (pun intended) to carry it to and from its storage location.
  • Control panel LCD display screen
    • When the rice cooker is plugged in but not in use, the screen shows the time.
    • When cooking is in progress, it shows the selected menu and the remaining cook time.
  • Outer lid
    • Open button
      • Press this button to open the outer lid to access the inner pan.
    • Steam vent cap
      • Steam rising from the vent is very hot during cooking, so make sure you don’t put the rice cooker right under your cabinet, or put your hands over the cap.
  • Inner lid knob
    • This knob is used to separate the inner lid set for cleaning.
  • Retractable power cord
    • This is a super cool feature for any appliance. No more messy cord on the counter top or in the cabinet! 👍
  • Inner cooking pan
    • Since it’s nonstick, you want to protect it as much as you can. Although you can buy a replacement bowl if it gets scratched, it’s not cheap ($54.50 on the official Zojirushi website: https://www.zojirushi.com/app/spare_parts/item/8-NST-P174 )
    • To prevent scratching the bowl, the 1st step is to buy a colander for rinsing the raw rice. Raw rice is much harder than cooked rice, and can have sharper tips or a harder outer layer on some types of rice.
  • Measuring cup
    • This cup is used to measure raw rice.
    • Its size is not a standard U.S. 8 oz. cup; it is approximately 6 oz.
    • Remember to use the measuring cup that comes with the machine, otherwise you can’t use the water lines provided on the inside of the cooking pan.
  • Spatula
    • It is a good idea to use this plastic spatula to scoop the rice out of the inner pan in order to prevent scratching the pan. You can also use other spatulas that are suitable for nonstick surfaces.
  • Spatula holder
    • It can be hung on the outside of main body to hold a spatula. Very convenient!
  • Steaming basket
    • It is used when steaming food in the rice cooker.

Pros & Cons


  • Time saving
    • No need to keep an eye on the pot on the stove.
    • No need to set a timer and stir.
  • Consistent and reliable
    • Lesser chance of the rice being too wet or too dry, or even burned.
      • Lower failure rate.
  • Versatile
    • Cook all kinds of rice and grains: White rice, sushi rice, sweet rice, brown rice, germinated brown rice, semi-brown rice (mixed of brown and white rice), mixed white rice with barley, and white rice with germ (haiga-mai rice).
    • Cook porridge 粥 (zuk1): a rice dish with a higher water ratio content.
      • My comfort food!
    • Cook mixed rice: Any combinations of rice, meat and veggies.
      • Great one-pot meal!
  • Steam foods
  • Make cakes!
    • The instruction booklet comes with a recipe for sponge cake and one for cheese cake.
    • The cakes the rice cooker can make are steamed cakes, not cakes that need to be baked in the oven.
  • Timer
    • You can get the rice ready and set it to automatically finish cooking by a specific time. This is extremely helpful when you will not be home early enough to start cooking the rice for it to be done on time.
    • This model of rice cooker can preset from 1 hour 10 minutes to 13 hours ahead of time. Just keep in mind that the rice texture may change if you let the rice soak in water for too long.
  • Keep warm functions
    • Regular keep warm mode will be turned on automatically right after the rice is cooked.
    • Extended keep warm mode can be chosen if you need to keep rice warm for a longer period of time.
  • Quick cooking
    • Use this mode when you need to cook the rice in a hurry.
      • It takes about 30 minutes to cook the rice, instead of the regular 40-60 minutes.
    • The rice texture can be different compared to using the regular mode.
      • The instructional manual said the rice texture may be slightly harder; but personally I think it’s a bit mushier than normal, so I tend to use a little less water for this mode.
  • Easy to clean
    • The inner cooking pan is nonstick, so it is fairly easy to clean.
    • The steam vent cap and the inner lid can be detached and easily washed.
    • The rest of the rice cooker can also be easily wiped clean.


  • Bulky
    • Compared to other counter-top kitchen appliances, this rice cooker is fairly bulky.
    • Approximate dimensions of this machine: 11″ (width) x 15″ (depth) x 10″ (height).
    • However, it is only about 10 lbs, not at all heavy compared to other big appliances such as a stand mixer.
  • Fairly expensive (About $170 on Amazon)

33 thoughts on “Rice cooker 電飯煲: Zojirushi NS-TSC18

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