Instant Zest 8-Cup Rice And Grain Cooker Review

The popular Instant Pot brand has expanded their lineup with the Instant Zest, a dedicated rice and grain cooker. Available in 8-cup and 20-cup sizes, this appliance quickly and conveniently cooks rice, oatmeal, grains, steamed vegetables, and fish. With its focused functionality, the compact Instant Zest promises fluffy results and easy cleanup when preparing your favorite grains and sides. This review will focus on the 8-cup model, which yields 8 cups of cooked rice (measurement is based on 180ml cups).

Instant Zest 8-cup Rice Cooker: Summary

The Instant Zest 8-cup electric rice cooker has received some negative reviews due to issues like leaking starchy water, which might be due to user error, or even incorrect instructions.

Despite its compact 8-cup capacity, it features a non-stick ceramic inner pot and is a good value for a small family. The cooker offers programs for various grains and rice, plus delay start and keep warm functions for convenience.

Users typically find it easy to use, clean, and efficient for cooking rice automatically. However, the ceramic pot requires more care than stainless steel and poses potential health risks. The small size and small water collection reservoir have also been cited as inconveniences.

Overall, the Instant Zest rice cooker is praised as an excellent product for cooking rice and grains, though improper use has led to some complaints (check price on Amazon – paid link).

Instant Zest 8-Cup vs. 20-Cup Model

Instant Zest Plus 20-Cup Rice Cooker
The Instant Zest Plus has more capacity and extra menu options.

The 8-cup Instant Zest rice cooker has four cooking programs: White Rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, and Oatmeal. It also offers steam and delayed start settings, plus a keep warm function. With a 4-cup uncooked or 8-cup cooked capacity (180ml cups), it’s well-suited for small households.

The larger Instant Zest Plus model boosts capacity up to 20 cups of cooked rice. Beyond basic rice cooking, it provides more versatile programming: White Rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Mixed Grains, Steam, Sauté, Oatmeal, Barley, Couscous, Bulgur, Risotto, and Slow Cook. A steamer basket allows quick steaming of vegetables and other foods.

White RiceYesYes
Brown RiceYesYes
Mixed GrainsNoYes
Slow CookNoYes
Delay StartYesYes
Keep WarmYesYes

Compared to the 8-cup model, the Instant Zest Plus offers additional settings for grains like barley, couscous, and bulgur. It also includes sauté and slow cook modes, expanding its functionality beyond rice cooking alone.

What do people really think about the Instant Zest rice cooker?

The Instant Zest 8-cup electric rice cooker received mixed reviews. A few users experienced issues with improperly cooked rice and overflowing water. They found the cooker unreliable and overpriced compared to other Instant Pot models. Other users also struggled to find compatible recipes, adding to the frustration. Attempts at cooking oatmeal resulted in messy overflow for some users.

Ultimately, certain users concluded a higher-quality cooker would be a better investment for tasty, consistent rice. The lack of clear instructions for the included measuring cup also disappointed customers.

Therefore, the Instant Zest 8-cup rice cooker failed to meet the high expectations of certain users. They felt frustrated with the cooker’s performance and functionality for basic foods like rice and oats. Some are actually considering purchasing a different electric cooker instead, such as the Aroma ARC-914SBD rice cooker, which is a popular model that can cook a maximum of 8 cups of white rice. You may read my Aroma ARC-914SBD review here.

Nevertheless, many appreciate the durability compared to other brands. The nonstick pan is easy to clean, but there’s a debate on whether dishwashing the inner pot might damage it in the long run. Measurement marks are hard to see on the dark interior of the pot.

Overall, it seems like the Instant Zest 8-cup electric rice cooker is as efficient and convenient as other cheap rice cookers. Personally, I do not feel more of a zest towards this rice cooker than any other cheap digital rice cooker.


In summary, while some users feel the Instant Zest 8-cup rice cooker takes too long to cook rice and oatmeal and lacks detailed instructions and recipes, most find it makes decent rice for an affordable price.

The main complaints are that it lacks other rice settings beyond white and brown rice, the inner pot markings are hard to read, and it does not have a stainless steel inner pot like the Instant Pot multi-cooker models.

To conclude, users generally agree that it is a good budget rice cooker that makes acceptable rice despite a few shortcomings like limited settings, lack of recipes, and difficult to read markings (buy on Amazon – paid link).