Go Grains Rice Cooker–Product Review

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of my new Go Grains rice cooker, promising that I would report back on what I think of it. Now that I’ve had a chance to use it several times, I can share my thoughts.*

To get right to the point, I love it. This rice cooker has so many great features: easy-to-use presets for everything I cook, including brown rice, white rice, and steel cut oats; a delay timer to have grains ready when needed; fuzzy logic to keep food at its optimal texture and water content; and a ceramic nonstick coating that is free of the worrying components found in traditional nonstick.

Read on for more details and a short overview of the rice cooker itself.

The Product

The Go Grains rice cooker is made by GreenLife. Although they call it a rice cooker officially, it is actually a rice and grains cooker. It has presets for white and brown rice, quinoa, and steel cut oats, meaning you just measure the grain and water, put them in the cooker, press a couple of buttons, then let it do its thing. It will cook the grains, beep when it’s done, then automatically shift into “Keep Warm” mode. It is so incredibly easy.

In addition to the cooker itself, you also get a spatula and measuring cup that is customized to provide the exact measurements needed for each type of grain.

Why I Chose It

There were a number of factors behind my purchase.

First, let me compare this to our old way of cooking rice. We had a generic steamer that cooked rice along with other foods, like vegetables and fish. Because that appliance promised to do so much, it ended up doing nothing particularly well. It was an emergency purchase–something cheap to get us through after our previous steamer suddenly died. (That one had served us very well, seeing us through more than ten years of use for everything from steaming fruits and vegetables for baby food to cooking rice on a weekly basis.)

It didn’t take long to see that our new rice steamer was very poorly designed: brown rice took 70 minutes, but the timer wouldn’t go past 59, forcing us to add time partway through cooking; the water reservoir didn’t hold enough water for a full batch so the thing would beep obnoxiously and pause cooking until we refilled; and the components didn’t fit well together, so it had a tendency to leak. Plus, the bowls were made of hard plastic that I was uncomfortable subjecting to so much heat.

Second, let me admit that I am terrible at cooking rice on a stovetop. I have no idea why, but I always end up with the heat too high or too low, so there is either water left at the end of the cooking time or rice burned onto the pot. I could never achieve the perfect texture you get in restaurants, nor could any of our previous steamers, so I wanted a real rice cooker.

As with any purchase I make, I did a lot of research. I found that many of the most highly rated rice cookers–Zojirushi, Cuckoo, Aroma–sounded fantastic but were just way too big. We are a small family and we do not need to cook 5 or 6 cups of rice at once. And while it is likely possible to cook less in a large rice cooker, I had concerns about how the rice would turn out. Not to mention, I didn’t see the point of spending money on a big rice cooker that would never be used to its full capacity. Finally, I was also leery about the nonstick coating they all seemed to use.

Enter Go Grains. It is very small but cooks the perfect amount for us. Its little nonstick cooking pot is ceramic and derived from sand, with no PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium. This cooker, like some of the big names, also has “fuzzy logic,” which, according to How Stuff Works, means it contains a computer chip that directs it to “make proper adjustments to cooking time and temperature,” giving it the ability to “react, making precise fluctuations in cooking time and temperature depending on the program selected.” In other words, it will adjust, as needed, to ensure the rice is optimally cooked.

I was also keen on the preset for steel cut oats, figuring it would help me start incorporating more of that slow-cooking whole grain in my diet. (I never have 25 minutes in the morning to cook these oats and I am not a fan of overnight oats, at least in my limited experience of trying them.) The delay timer was another appealing feature, since it can be used for the aforementioned steel cut oats, ensuring they are hot and ready when I get out of bed in the morning.

It sounded perfect–set it and forget it–which is exactly what I needed.

What I Like About It

I have cooked both brown and white rice a number of times, with the delay timer and without. The rice cooks really well–it has a great chewy texture and is never waterlogged. (Note that you have to rinse the rice before cooking, which helps reduce browning.) The only feature I haven’t used in the Go Grains Cooker is the preset for quinoa, which I don’t love and rarely eat.

This rice cooker makes everything so easy. You measure your grain in the measuring cup provided. For rice, the water amounts are indicated on the inside of the cooking pot, so you just add the rinsed rice, then fill with water to the applicable line. For oats, just follow the instructions in the manual: one measure of oats and 2 1/2 of water. One measuring cup of rice makes enough cooked rice for three of us, while one measuring cup of oats makes two meals for me. (But I load my oatmeal with fruit and nuts to make it more filling, so that might affect the amount of oats I need.)

I’ve used the “Keep Warm” option for rice with no trouble. I do recommend giving it a stir with the included rice paddle at the end of the cooking time to fluff it. The rice can get a bit sticky at the bottom of the pot if it’s kept warm for a long time.

The delay timer is a really handy feature. I’ve used it to set rice ahead of time when I need to focus on other food prep, and overnight to have steel cut oats ready in the morning. In both cases it worked like a charm. The manual recommends stirring oats a couple of time partway through the cooking time which may sound like it defeats the purpose of a delay timer, but I get up in time to stir them once or twice, during the latter part of cooking. While the oats finish cooking, I chop the fruit and nuts I add to them.

Cleaning is easy too. Just wash the pot and the inner cover in warm, soapy water. You can use the top rack of the dishwasher, but I prefer to hand wash stuff like this. I let both the pot and inner cover air dry overnight to ensure they are completely dry–a must to prevent damage to the rice cooker.

My only question centres on longevity: will this rice cooker last? I’ve had it for close to two months and used it at least twice a week. It seems durable and well-built so I am optimistic I will have it a long time.

Potential Negatives

I read many reviews of the Go Grains rice cooker before I bought it. The main criticisms centred on cooking time, the buttons being a bit finicky, and the potential for water to seep out of the top release valve. As I’ve used it, I have found those are legitimate criticisms, but certainly not deal breakers for me.

First, regarding cooking time, I don’t think this cooker takes longer than any other. Cooking rice on a stovetop might be faster, but, in my humble opinion, it is also more hassle. You just have to plan for extra cooking time with this rice cooker or any other–if you know brown rice takes 70 minutes (which was also the case with our old rice steamer), set it ahead of time.

I thought the criticisms about the buttons sounded a bit nitpicky, but it’s true that they can be a little hard to press and not as responsive as you might expect. I’ve found that you just have to tap on them more than press.

As for water seeping out the top, yes, that does happen occasionally, especially with oats. In my experience, the only time it happened with rice was when I overfilled the water cup, figuring a little extra wouldn’t matter. Apparently it does. For oats, stirring them helps contain the boiling that can cause seepage. In any case, we’re not talking about a ton of water here. It’s a very small amount of starchy water that will leave some residue on the top of the cooker, but you can easily wipe that away with a damp cloth. After the copious leaking of my previous rice steamer and the challenges I face with stovetop cooking, I find a bit of water no problem at all.

The Bottom Line

If you live alone or have a small family, the Go Grains rice cooker is a fantastic option. Even a single batch of rice is enough for the three of us–about 3 cups–but there is an option to make more. It takes up limited space in a kitchen and offers a great amount of functionality for its small size.

Most major housewares retailers sell the Go Grains rice cooker in the US. Here in Canada, I’ve only found it on Amazon. For some reason, the yellow is the cheapest of all the colours.

Go Grains Rice Cooker

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* Please note that this is not a sponsored or affiliate post.

Image of rice: 129453340 © QualitDesign | Dreamstime.com

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