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Cuckoo 3-Cup Twin Pressure Induction Rice Cooker & Warmer: Broken Promises

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Cuckoo 3-Cup Twin Pressure Induction Rice Cooker & Warmer: Broken Promises

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Back in March at my favorite trade show, the guy at the Cuckoo rice cooker stand glossed over a new model in favor of one with more bells and whistles.

“Wait,” I asked, “can we go back one?”

Reluctantly, he did, and it was like catnip for me: a rice cooker that uses induction heat with an option to cook it with pressure.

In my book, rice cookers are among the most convenient of kitchen appliances, making good rice and keeping it warm and ready for an extended period of time. Pressure-cooker rice became an Instant-Pot crowd craze a few years back because it can create distinct grains with no mushiness. It’s really good rice. Induction heating makes for incredibly efficient and consistent heat. These were all the bells and whistles I needed.

Against the Grain

Chez Joe, we’re the kind of household that’s had the same nice, middle-of-the-road rice cooker for going on 12 years. It’s safe to say that our machine has been cooking rice or keeping it warm for more than half that time, so I was excited to take the Cuckoo CRP-MHTR0309F (confusingly aka CRP-MH03) for a spin. It’s a 3-cup model that’s part of Cuckoo’s “Fuzzy Series” of cookers, and I wanted to see how it performed against a similarly appointed Zojirushi that I reviewed in 2020.

Instead of dragging you on a boring ride through my extensive testing, I’ll just say that I had a fuzzy series of results. I’ll give you the top-line summary.

After more than a month of heavy rice testing and consumption featuring different types of rice on many different settings, the results were so … peculiar … that at the end, I just went back and graded each round on a 10-point scale in the margin, then looked at the results. Yes, my taste tests were subjective, and the fact that the Cuckoo costs a lot—around $400—factored into the score a bit, but the sad truth was that only a quarter of all the batches I tested scored higher than a 5. Normally, at this part of the story I’d go deep into the nitty-gritty of all of its capabilities, but with scores that low, there’s not much point.

Let’s start with a compliment. I will say that it cooked brown rice very nicely on its “Super Turbo” setting the first time I made it, but subsequent tests on the same setting with different quantities of rice left it very al dente once and somehow sticky and al dente the next time.

The first batch of white rice I made was cooked into such mushy submission, my wife Elisabeth said that it reminded her of what her Japanese grad-school roommate referred to as “rice for sick people.” Every white rice test, pressure or not, scored a 4 or below. Even short-grain white on the non-pressure setting, which should be the North Star for all rice cookers, was all over the map; it was fine, but certainly not $400-list-price rice-cooker fine. In a ding that will cause many rice-cooker purists to turn up their noses, there was occasionally browning on the bottom of just-cooked rice, and some caused by the keep-warm function.

I checked with a Cuckoo rep to make sure I was using the right kinds of rice, as some manufacturers use specific brands of rice to calibrate their machines. That was also a dead end, as Cuckoo has no preferred brands, saying its machine’s smart algorithms should yield perfect rice.

Photograph: Cuckoo

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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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