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What Size Rice Cooker Do You Need?

Not sure what size rice cooker to get? Check out our guide to find out how to choose the right size for your needs.

Rice cookers come in many shapes and have all kinds of features. But they all have one thing in common: They’re sized by capacity.

If you’re new to rice cookers, you might be wondering what capacity to get. Hey, you probably googled it to find out. It’s great that you stopped by, because this is exactly what we wrote this guide for.

How Rice Cookers Are Sized

The capacity of a rice cooker is measured in cups. The most common sizes for an appliance of this type are 2, 4, 6, and 8 cups. Although bigger appliances, like ones that hold up to 16 or even 32 cups, are also available.

Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly, though. If you buy a 2-cup rice cooker, this doesn’t mean you can cook 2 cups of rice in it. Because to cook the rice, you need to fill the pot with at least as much water. Some of the water gets soaked up by the grains during cooking. The rest turns to steam and escapes from the pot

To figure out how much rice a rice cooker can hold, divide its total capacity by two.

For example, a 2-cup rice cooker can hold 1 cup rice and 1 cup water. A 4-cup rice cooker can hold 2 cups rice and 2 cups water; a 6-cup rice cooker can hold 3 cups rice and 3 cups water, and so on, and so on.

If you’re not good with numbers, don’t worry. We did the math for you in the table below.

Total CapacityRice CapacityWater Capacity
2 cups1 cup rice1 cup water
3 cups1½ cup rice1½ cup water
4 cups2 cups rice2 cups water
5 cups2½ cups rice2½ cups water
6 cups3 cups rice3 cups water
7 cups3½ cups rice3½ cups water
8 cups4 cups rice4 cups water
9 cups4½ cups rice4½ cups water
10 cups5 cups rice5 cups water
12 cups6 cups rice6 cups water
16 cups8 cups rice8 cups water
18 cups9 cups rice9 cups water
20 cups10 cups rice10 cups water
24 cups12 cups rice12 cups water
28 cups14 cups rice14 cups water
30 cups15 cups rice15 cups water
Rice cooker sizes

How Big a Rice Cooker Do You Need?

Consider how often you cook rice each day. This will help you determine how big a rice cooker you really need.

If you don’t know or you’re not quite sure, think about the number of people that live in your household. As a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of uncooked rice makes 2–3 servings of cooked rice.

This gives us the following guidelines:

  • For a household of 1, get a 2-cup rice cooker.
  • For a household of 2 to 3 people, get a 3 to 5-cup rice cooker.
  • For a household of 4 people or more, get an 8-cup rice cooker or bigger.

And, finally, if you cook for a lot of people often, think about getting two rice cookers: a smaller one for daily use and a bigger one for large batches.

In Summary

The capacity of a rice cooker is measured in cups. But keep in mind that a rice cooker with a capacity of 2 cups holds roughly 1 cup rice and 1 cup water.

To decide how big of a rice cooker you really need, consider how many people live in your household and know that 1 cup of rice yields 2 to 3 servings.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.