If asked about middle-eastern dishes, most people would like their rice. The golden crust at the top sets Iranian rice apart from Asian ones, which they call tahdig. This crispy layer at the top is difficult to achieve but adds a different flavor to the food unique to the Persian culture.
However, with the best Persian rice cooker, making tahdig rice does not have to be complicated. These handy cookers take all the hassle out of cooking this type of rice and give you a completely hands-free experience. And thankfully, if you know where to look, you can find one at a pretty great price.
This article will guide you through some of the finest Persian rice cookers on the market and help you figure out the perfect one for your needs.
Editor’s Recommendation: Top 3 Best Persian Rice Cooker
Rice in Persia: A Brief History
Around the 4th century, rice was first mentioned in the area of today’s Iran. Rice at that time came from India. Although it wasn’t as popular as it is today, it used to be a staple back then. The first mentions of rice cultivation in Iran date back to the early Islamic period in the 8th century, when rice became more popular in the region. As the Safavid Empire rose to power in the 16th century, rice gained even more popularity.
Northern Iran is Iran’s main rice producing area, close to the Caspian Sea. Iranian rice is produced mainly in Gilan. This region is primarily a paddy field region. Half of all national rice production comes from Gilan. Crops are harvested between April and May. To grow the rice and provide a superior quality, the women of the region work tirelessly.
In order for Persian rice to taste the best, it needs to be stored for at least a year after harvesting. The high national demand for rice also drives a large quantity of rice imports from other countries.
What Is A Persian Rice Cooker?
Persian rice cookers are not to be confused with regular rice cookers. This tool lets you prepare rice in a particular way that matches the Persian culinary style. With this type of rice cooker, you will be able to crisp the bottom of the rice, resulting in a golden-brown texture called tahdig.
Typically, a Persian rice cooker comes with a cooking timer option to set the cooking period to your liking. Most of these cookers can go up to 1 hour. By cooking for an hour, you will get the tahdig texture. However, by setting the timer to 45 minutes, you will get regular basmati rice if that is what you want.
Things To Consider When Buying A Persian Rice Cooker
When you are buying a Persian rice cooker, some features are more important than others. You want to consider the cooking timer, the non-stick pot, heating performance, etc., among other things. These features will help you figure out the best possible product in your budget.
Here is a quick rundown of what you want to focus on to help you end up with the best Persian rice cooker.
Persian rice cookers need to feature a cooking timer since you need to cook the rice for a long time to get that crispy texture. Make sure your rice cooker comes with at least a 60 minutes timer and is easy to use.
Are you cooking for a small family of four? Or for a social gathering of 10 or 12 people? If it is the former, you can probably get by with a small rice cooker with a capacity of 3 to 6 cups of uncooked rice. However, for cooking large batches, going with a bigger cooker is often the better route.
The quality of the inner pot matters a bit more when you are going for a Persian rice cooker. It must come with a non-stick coating of some sort to make food release easy and efficient. Otherwise, the tahdig crust might break when you flip the cooker to get the rice out.
A Persian rice cooker must feature comfortable handles on the sides to lift it and flip it over a plate. The larger and grippier the grip, the more comfortable it is for you to get the rice out. So, make sure you check out the handles of your rice cooker before you make your purchase.
Finally, give some thought to the durability of your cooker. You want to look at the body of the cooker and also the heating element. Going with a stainless-steel body is always the better option as it will survive any abuse you throw at it.
Top 7 Best Persian Rice Cooker Reviews
Now that you have a basic idea of the features you want to consider, it is time to give you some options. Here are our top picks to help you pick out a suitable model.
1. Pars Automatic Persian Rice Cooker
If you are relatively new to Persian cuisine, you need a unit that makes it easy to cook Persian rice. Getting the recipe right without the right tool can be difficult. But with this Automatic Persian Rice Cooker by the brand Pars, you will be able to cook the perfect plate of tahdig without any hassle at all.
At its core, it is simple on and off-style rice cooker. As long as you have the correct ratio of rice and water inside the cooker, you will be able to get the perfect results out of it. What makes the unit even more impressive is its timer, keep-warm, and auto shut-off feature.
The large dial at the front lets you set up the cooking timer, and when it is done cooking, it will automatically switch to warm mode to ensure your food remains ready to serve. Its inner pot is stainless steel and has a non-stick coating to make food release as efficient and hassle-free as possible.
This unit is available in 6 different variants where one differs from the other in only the cooking capacity. If you have a small family, going with the 3-cup variant might be enough. However, for larger families or hosting big events, you can get the one with 15 cups of capacity for the best value.
- Perfect for making Persian cuisine
- Includes a timer function in addition to auto shut-off and keep-warm modes
- Available in different capacities
- It comes at an affordable price tag
- The included recipe book is not that helpful
The simple and easy-to-use design of the unit makes it an excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike. However, if you decide to buy it, we recommend not following the recipes that you get from the cookbook. That is the only thing that we found worth complaining about with this unit.
2. Programmable 1-2 Cup Automatic Persian Rice Cooker
For our next option, we will be going with a similar product to the first one. This simple rice cooker by the brand Lavo Home can be your perfect companion if you love that delicious golden crust from Persian rice. And the affordable price of this product makes it worth getting even if you are on a tight budget.
Since this one is an on and off-style cooker, using it is pretty straightforward. With the timer knob at the front, you will be able to set it up in a way that delivers the perfect bottom crust in your tahdig. Cooking up the perfect batch of Persian rice has never been easier, thanks to this fantastic model.
And since the unit features an auto shut-off and keep-warm function, you can get an authentic hands-free cooking experience with it. All you have to do is set it up, and it will do the cooking for your flawlessly. Keep in mind, though; it is only suitable for a maximum of 2.5 cups of uncooked rice.
The construction and build quality of the unit is superb. Its body is made using stainless steel, and you get a tempered glass lid and a non-stick inner pot to serve the rice. With your purchase, you also get a plastic rice paddle, a measuring cup, and a handy manual giving you even more value out of your purchase.
- Excellent build quality
- Easy for beginners to use
- Non-stick insert to cook and serve the rice
- Includes a handy set of accessories
- Small cooking capacity
The only real drawback of the unit is its small cooking capacity. Though it is advertised as suitable for one or two cups, we could actually fill up to 2.5 cups of uncooked rice in it.
So, if you need to prepare rice for a big occasion, this might not be the most efficient choice out there. However, for small families, it can serve you just fine.
3. BRENTWOOD Crunchy Persian Rice Cooker
Cooking a large batch of tahdig is never easy with a rice cooker since most of them come with a small capacity. However, that is not an issue with this massive unit by the brand Brentwood. It is the perfect kitchen appliance for a large family or someone who regularly hosts parties and entertains guests.
In terms of working mechanics, this is a pretty straightforward machine. It is an on-and-off style cooker with a 60-minute cooking timer dial at the front. This unit comes with automatic shut-off and automatic keep-warm features, both of which are excellent additions to its design.
However, the best part about this unit that we already hinted at is its capacity. It can handle up to 8 cups of uncooked rice which translates to 16 cups after cooking. So, you will be able to host dinner parties for all your friends anytime you feel like it without having to cook multiple batches.
The overall durability of the unit is also quite excellent, thanks to its stainless-steel body. It’s non-stick inner makes cleaning a hassle-free task. Since the pot is removable, you will be able to take it out and serve rice straight out of it if you want.
Its fantastic price tag, superior build quality, and cooking capacity make it an excellent addition to any kitchen.
- 8 cups of uncooked rice cooking capacity
- Nonstick and removable inner pot
- 60-minutes of cooking timer
- It comes with an auto shut-off and keep-warm function
- No apparent cons
This unit by Brentwood offers excellent performance for the price. In terms of value, it is unbeatable. We could find nothing worth complaining about with this model.
4. Royal Cook RC-77251 Persian Rice Cooker with Glass Lid
Automatic rice cookers are always a lifesaver to people who prefer a completely hands-free approach to cooking. With the RC-77251 by the brand Royal Cook, you will get fantastic tahdig with that infamous golden crust every time without having to fiddle around with timers or anything.
It is a true on and off style rice cooker, which means it does not come with a cooking timer dial. You start it by connecting the plug and flipping the simple lever switch at the front. Then just wait as the device takes care of the cooking for you, eliminating any of the challenges that come from cooking the perfect rice.
When it comes to functions, you get the browning and keep-warm functions, both of which are pretty handy to have in a simple rice cooker. The see-through tempered glass lid that comes with the unit lets you monitor the progress of your cooking as it works.
Thanks to the non-stick inner pot, you will be able to take out your food easily without any issues. It comes with a handy measuring cup to pour the perfect amount of rice for each cup. To protect the unit from burnout, it comes with a built-in thermal fuse.
- Simple and stylish design
- 5 cups of uncooked rice cooking capacity
- Crisp/browning and keep-warm feature
- Burnout protection thanks to the thermal fuse
- Long cooking time
If you are looking for a simple yet effective rice cooker, this can be a great choice. Its cooking capacity is good, and the built-in thermal fuse protects it from any damage from sudden power surges. The price of the unit is not too much, and it can be an excellent tool for you to enjoy your rice whenever you want.
5. Brentwood TS-1020S Crunchy Persian Rice Cooker
Coming up next is another fantastic option by Brentwood. The Brentwood TS-1020S is an older model than the one that we reviewed before. However, it is just as impressive as its newer counterpart when it comes to cooking performance, making it still a viable choice as a new addition to your kitchen.
The unit comes with a large timer dial at the front that lets you set the cooking time to up to 60 minutes. Once the timer reaches zero, the unit automatically switches to a keep-warm mode to ensure your food remains fresh until you open the lid and take it out.
The body of this machine is made using stainless steel, making it highly durable and sturdy. You get two plastic handles on either side to carry it easily. It features a see-through tempered glass lid which comes with a top handle of its own. As for the inner pot, the non-stick coating accounts for easy food release.
Furthermore, the unit comes with a large cooking capacity of 10 cups of uncooked rice. So, it will be able to cater to the needs of a large family pretty effortlessly. The bottom of the unit comes with four legs to protect your kitchen countertop against any excess heat that comes out of it.
- Excellent build quality
- 60-minute cooking timer and automatic keep-warm function
- Tempered glass lid with handle lets you easily monitor progress
- Easy to use
- A bit pricy compared to the features
It is a fantastic option; there is no doubt about it. However, the performance and features it delivers for the price might seem lacking when considering the many options that we already showcased in this review.
6. Alpine Cuisine Persian Rice Cooker
The next unit we are looking at is by a brand called Alpine Cuisine, and we will not blame you if you have never heard of them before. When trying out this unit for the first time, we were a bit skeptical at first, and it had its fair share of issues. But once we got over the few hiccups, we realized how great it is at what it does.
This unit features only a 30-minute timer at the front, which was the first red flag. Cooking tahdig takes at least an hour with any cooker. But once we put in the rice and turned it on, the timer did not actually start after 30 minutes. So, in essence, the cooker does work for an hour despite not showing it clearly.
The cooking capacity of the unit is also quite good, giving you the option to cook 10 cups at once. So, it will not only be a good choice for a small family but can also cater to a large gathering just fine. The non-stick inner pot is also removable and made quite well.
In addition, the unit features a thermal fuse to protect it in case of burnout. The keep-warm function works flawlessly and will ensure your meal remains hot and steamy while you serve. It is priced well and will not put a dent in your wallet, making it an excellent choice for just about anyone on a tight budget.
- It comes with a thermal fuse for safety
- Includes handy set of accessories
- Maximum capacity of 10 cups of uncooked rice
- The instruction and design are a bit vague
If you have never used a rice cooker before, the weird design of the unit might confuse you. The instruction manual also feels a bit confusing and does not explain the functions very well. However, if you are willing to tinker around a bit, then you would be able to use it just fine after a couple of tries.
7. Programmable 16 Cup Automatic Persian Rice Cooker
We will be wrapping up our list with a fantastic option by the brand Unique Imports. Whether you are looking for automotive parts, health products, or even kitchen appliances, the name of this brand comes up often. This is a highly versatile band that does not limit itself to a single category.
The timer in the unit is designed a bit differently. It goes the whole hour, but instead of giving you minute markers, it splits it up into four sections. By going through the instruction manual, you can easily learn more about this function. And as expected, it goes into an automatic keep-warm mode after it is done cooking.
Its cooking capacity of 16 cups is impressive as it allows you to prepare a meal for a group of guests without any issues. And once you are done with your meal, you can toss it into the dishwasher for easy cleaning. The power plug in the unit is detachable for easier storage.
This unit is built like a tank thanks to its stainless-steel construction. The inner pot features a non-stick coating, which is essential to ensure your tahdig remains unbroken when you take it out. You also get a handy plastic spatula and a measuring cup free with your purchase.
- Excellent build quality
- Large cooking capacity
- Easy to use
- Nonstick inner pot
- No apparent cons
As far as rice cookers go, this is a great one. It offers excellent freedom in cooking, giving you the option to make Persian rice and prepare stews or steam veggies. Overall, it will make a great addition to any kitchen.
Persian Rice Cooker vs Regular Rice Cooker
If you are wondering whether you can use your regular rice cooker at home to cook tahdig, then we have bad news for you. Though it might work to some extent, and some models do allow you to cook Persian rice perfectly, there are some pretty significant differences between a Persian rice cooker and a regular one.
Burning the Bottom
If you use a regular rice cooker for rice, then you know how great the texture is all the time. The rice you get with it is fluffy and soft, and never burnt. While this might be great for a regular bowl of rice, this is not optimal for tahdig. Tahdig rice is extra crispy which requires overheating.
In order to make Persian rice, the rice cooker keeps heating the rice for about 45 to 60 minutes, burning the bottom and getting it nicely brown and crispy. By including vegetable oil in the rice inside the cooker, the color of the crust turns golden. With a regular rice cooker, the unit will shut down before burning your rice.
Persian rice cookers generally feature a timer. Apart from that one distinction, it is exactly the same as a regular on and off-style rice cooker. However, that one slight difference gives you different results with the two units. This is an essential element of a Persian rice cooker that you will not find on a regular one.
With this timer, you will be able to set the cooking timer longer and allow the rice to form that golden crust to get the perfect tahdig. Since standard rice cookers do not have a timer and the process is automated, it shuts down just as soon as the rice is cooked evenly.
Though most regular rice cookers in the market these days feature non-stick coating, some models come with a plain stainless steel inner pot. Sure, getting the food out can be a bit troubling with these units, but they are still a good choice when you are getting a rice cooker.
However, if you are buying a Persian rice cooker, a non-stick interior is absolutely critical. Without a non-stick inner pot or insert to cook the rice, you will not be able to take the tahdig out of it without breaking it. You will find no Persian rice cooker without this small yet critical element.
How To Use Persian Rice Cooker?
There are thousands of Iranian recipes out there that can be made easy with a rice cooker. However, when it comes to popularity, none can come close to the iconic golden crust of tahdig on plain basmati rice. This dish is what arguably drives many people to buy a Persian rice cooker in the first place.
So, in this section, we will teach you how to use your Persian rice cooker for cooking up this exotic meal. Once you learn how to make it, you should be able to use your device to cook any other Persian dishes as long as you have the recipe. A quick search on the internet should give you any recipes you may need.
The specific meal that we are preparing should give you enough for 6 servings. If you want to prepare for more, just add more of the same ingredients according to your requirements.
Ingredients You Need
- 3 cups of basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons of finely ground sea salt
- 1¼ tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- First, take your basmati rice and rinse it thoroughly. You can use a perforated bowl or a regular pot. Just make sure you drain it thoroughly.
- Then, place all the ingredients in the inner pot of your rice cooker. Add 4 cups of cold water to the mix
- Use a spoon or paddle to stir the ingredients gently.
- Plugin your rice cooker set the timer to 60 minutes, and cover it up—hit start.
Once you have your rice cooker all set up and the ingredients cooking inside, all you have to do is wait for the timer to go off. When it is time to take it out of the cooker, make sure you have a large platter ready where you can serve the rice. Ideally, the platter should be larger than the opening of the rice cooker.
Wear a pair of oven mitts and hold both sides of the rice cooker by the handle. Open the lid, and with one swift motion, lift it upside down, holding the platter along the mouth of the rice cooker pot. Slowly lift the pot, and you should be able to see the tahdig at the top of the rice.
Make sure to dig in right away, as the tahdig can lose its crispiness if you take too long to start eating.
Types of Persian Rice
Particularly for Iranian migrants outside of Iran, finding the perfect rice brand that is similar to what they are used to can be difficult. We asked our overseas Iranian team members what their favorite Persian rice brands were in order to resolve this issue.
It is important to know which brands of Persian rice to use if you intend to prepare it. There are many factors that influence the quality of rice, such as its size, texture, and so on. It is important to choose the right brand in order to achieve the desired taste and aroma. Below are a few Persian rice brands you won’t regret:
- Dunar Elonga Basmati Rice
A good brand of Persian rice is Dunar. Basmati rice with long grains has an excellent aroma. Kateh, Dami, and Polow, traditional Persian rice dishes, make excellent use of this rice. A number of our team members indicated that this is their preferred brand of Persian rice. This is especially true because the grains retain their good consistency after cooking while being so fluffy.
- Zaika Parboiled Zella Basmati Rice
White Basmati rice made by Zaika is delicious. After cooking for five to seven minutes, it is ready. You can eat them immediately because they are long, light, and fluffy. Our Persian staff members continue to enjoy this brand of rice. For busy people who don’t have a lot of time, this is the ideal Iranian rice brand.
- Atry Smoked Basmati
Iran is known for its smoked rice variety. Iranian basmati rice is of high quality. You’ll notice that the grains are relatively long, and it has a distinct smoked flavor. These grains can take twice as long to cook as regular basmati varieties. It only needs to be boiled until the center is firm but the edges are soft.
- Royal Brown Basmati Rice
This is the brand to try if you want to try something unconventional. Brown basmati rice differs from white basmati rice in terms of its properties. As well as taking longer to cook, the rice has a nut-like taste and is chewy. It also splits open easily. This brand is one of the most popular choices among our staff. Moreover, it is also packaged in a beautiful rice bag.
Is Persian Rice the Same As Basmati?
Yes, Persian rice is the same basmati rice that we all know and love. Since this long grain rice can hold its shape perfectly under steam, it is the ideal choice for many Persian dishes. Besides, this grain does not stick together, which is essential to prepare the golden crust.
However, this rice type has many variants, and the cooking process and taste vary for each of them. Some of the more popular basmati rice variants used in Persian rice are Gerde rice, Domsiah rice, Doodi rice, Lenjan rice, and Tarom rice.
How To Clean Persian Rice Cooker?
Here are the steps to properly clean your new Persian rice cooker.
- Unplug the cooker and let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Some models may take longer, so make sure you read through the instruction manual beforehand for any warning.
- Once the cooker is completely cooled, clean the lid. in some models, the lid is removable and can be cleaned in a dishwasher. However, if the lid in your unit is non-removable, use a sponge soaked in water to clean it well.
- To clean the inside of the cooker, use a moist rag. Resist using any cleaning chemicals as they can scratch the interior. If you find food stuck and hardened on the inside, you can use steel wool to eat away at it gently.
- After that, clean the outside of the unit with a moist rag thoroughly.
- Leave the cooker with the lid opened or removed and let it dry for about an hour. After that, it should be clean and spotless like new.
If you love Persian food and want to make some at home, investing in a Persian rice cooker is a good idea. Since these dishes are complicated to make at home, your cooker will make your life a lot easier.
We hope our extensive article on the best Persian rice cooker could help you find the right option. Now you do not need to find a Persian restaurant anytime you suddenly crave Tahdig rice.