Did You Know That The Zojirushi NL-AAC Has A Steamer Basket?

The Zojirushi NL-AAC model does not seem like a popular rice cooker with lots of reviews. For example, I did not know that the NL-AAC micom rice cooker has a steamer basket and a Steam setting. I never paid any attention to this Zojirushi micom rice cooker. The other models were more popular, so I simply ignored the NL-AAC10/18. However, this model might be worth a second look.


First, it is a micom rice cooker that uses fuzzy logic to cook a perfect bowl of rice.

Second, it is one of the few Zojirushi rice cookers that have a steamer basket and a steam function.

Third, this model is made in Japan. Of course, this makes it more expensive when compared to a model that is made elsewhere.

Fourth, it has menu settings for white/sushi, mixed, porridge, sweet, brown, steam and quick cooking. Other Zojirushi micom rice cookers might have more menu options such as the NL-BAC05 that has settings for cooking quinoa and steel cut oatmeal.

Fifth, it can keep the cooked rice warm with its automatic keep warm and extended keep warm functions. It can also reheat the rice that is being kept warm before serving it.

If you are looking for a fuzzy logic rice cooker with a steamer basket that is made in Japan, then the Zojirushi NL-AAC10/18 might be worth a look (check price on Amazon).

Zojirushi NL-AAC Model Numbers

There are two model numbers in this micom rice cooker series: the NL-AAC10 and the NL-AAC18. The former has a 1 liter capacity and the latter has a 1.8 liter capacity.

The rice capacity is based on how much raw short grain white rice a 180mL (6 oz.) rice measuring cup can hold. Accordingly, the NL-AAC10 has a 5.5-cup raw rice capacity and the NL-AAC18 has a 10-cup uncooked rice capacity.

Obviously, there is a small difference in the dimensions and electrical ratings of these micom rice cookers. However, they have the same beige color scheme. Of course, some newer Zojirushi micom rice cooker models have stainless steel main bodies that look more modern.

Zojirushi NL-AAC18
The NL-AAC18 has a 1.8 liter capacity.

How does the NL-AAC compare to other Zojirushi rice cookers?

The NL-AAC10/18 is not nearly as popular as the other models. That is probably why I have never written a review about it. Nevertheless, customers rate it just as high as other Zojirushi rice cookers. The retail price is also similar. Let us compare it to a few of the other models.

The NS-ZCC10/18 is a Neuro Fuzzy (micro computerized) rice cooker that is also made in Japan. It offers these menu settings: White (Regular/Sushi, Softer or Harder), Mixed, Porridge, Sweet, Semi-Brown, Brown, Rinse-Free and Quick Cooking. A spatula, spatula holder and 2 measuring cups (regular and rinse-free) are included with the rice cooker. However, it does not have a steamer basket. Nevertheless, it is probably one of the best-selling Zojirushi micom rice cookers (check price on Amazon).

The NS-TSC10/18 is another popular Zojirushi micro computerized rice cooker and warmer. It offers these menu settings: White/Sushi, Mixed, Porridge, Sweet, Brown, Cake, Steam and Quick Cooking. In particular, a steamer tray is included as one of the accessories. Furthermore, it also has a Steam menu setting so that you may cook rice and steam food at the same time. Yet, there is a limit to how much rice and food you can cook at the same time. You can learn more about it by reading this NS-TSC review.

The NS-TSC and the NL-AAC both have a steamer basket and a Steam setting, a feature that is usually more common for Tiger rice cookers than Zojirushi rice cookers.

If you want a micom rice cooker with a steamer tray that is made in Japan, then choose the Zojirushi NL-AAC10/18. If not, then the NS-TSC10/18 (which is probably made in China) will also cook your rice and steam your vegetables.

What is the cooking capacity of the Zojirushi NL-AAC10/18?

The included rice measuring cup holds approximately 180 ml, or 6.1 oz. The cooking capacity of the 1 liter NL-AAC10 is between 1 and 5.5 cups for raw white rice, whereas brown rice has a maximum of 4 cups. The 1.8 liter NL-AAC18 has a minimum capacity of two measuring cups of raw white rice and a maximum capacity of 10 cups. It can cook between 2 and 8 measuring cups of uncooked brown rice.

Is the inner cooking pot nonstick?

The inner cooking pot has a nonstick coating that needs special attention to prevent damage. The cooking pot should only be used for cooking rice in the rice cooker. Be careful when using the pot to rinse and wash the raw rice: use your hand to stir the rice, but never use a whisk. Likewise, do not use a metal ladle or spoon when serving the cooked rice. You may clean the inner cooking pan with a soft sponge, but avoid using metal or nylon brushes, abrasive sponges, bleach or vinegar that will damage the nonstick coating. If the nonstick coating starts peeling off, then you should replace the old pot by ordering a new one.

The NL-AAC has a nonstick coated inner cooking pot
Similar to other Zojirushi micom rice cookers, the cooking pot has a nonstick coating.

What are the estimated rice cooking times?

In the first place, the capacity of the rice cooker might make a difference of a few minutes. Other factors that will influence the actual rice cooking times are the room temperature, water temperature, amount of water and the voltage. Yet, overall the difference between the cooking times of the 1 liter and the 1.8 liter model are insignificant.

For the most part, white rice takes between 50 and 60 minutes to cook. The Quick Cooking function decreases the estimated cooking time to between 30 and 45 minutes. The Brown Rice setting requires patience because it might take almost two hours to cook brown rice.

How does the steam function work?

First, you add water into the inner cooking pot, about three or four measuring cups. Insert the nonstick pot into the rice cooker and place the steamer basket on top. Arrange the food carefully inside the steamer and check that the inner lid set and steam vent cap is attached. Do not steam food that is larger than 3.5 cm thick because it might press against the inner lid set and cause problems.

Now you may close the lid, plug the removable power cord into the rice cooker and the power plug into an electrical outlet. Press the Menu button until the Steam setting is selected. The default steaming time is 40 minutes, but you may use the Time Setting buttons to increase or decrease the steaming time to anywhere between 1 and 60 minutes. Check the operating instructions for the estimated cooking times of various vegetables and meat. For example, broccoli might require 15 minutes to steam while potato pieces need about 40 minutes. One chicken fillet has an estimated cooking time of 30 minutes.

When you have chosen the estimated cooking time, press the Start button. The NL-AAC10/18 micom rice cooker will sing or beep and the display will show the remaining time. It will beep again when it has finished. You should press the Cancel button and remove the food from the steaming basket to prevent it from getting soggy. Just be careful because the interior will be hot and steamy.

The NL-AAC10/18 has a steamer basket
The steamer basket is BPA free.

Why is the food not properly steamed?

There are a few reasons why the food in the steamer tray is not completely steamed.

In the first place, was there enough water in the pot to produce sufficient steam? You should add 3 measuring cups (540 ml) into the pot of the 1 liter model. The 1.8 liter model requires 720 ml of water in the pot for steaming.

Another reason might be the amount and size of the ingredients. If there are too much food or if it is too large, then it might not cook properly. Either cut the food into smaller, thinner pieces or increase the cooking time. Vegetables that are still hard can be cooked further by repeating the steam process, but add additional water so that the pot does not boil dry.

Is it possible to keep steamed food warm?

No, the Keep Warm mode is not activated after using the Steam menu setting. You should remove the steamed food after it has been fully cooked. The steamed food will not be kept warm if left in the steaming tray.

Can rice and food cook at the same time?

Rice and food can be cooked simultaneously, but the amount of rice is limited. You may only cook 1 measuring cup of raw rice with the NL-AAC10 or between two and four cups with the NL-AAC18. Make sure that the surface of the uncooked rice is level inside the pot to prevent the possibility of the cooked rice pressing against the steaming basket. The White or Sushi menu option should be used when cooking rice and food at the same time. Keep in mind that food that requires only a short steaming time, such as spinach, will be overcooked by the time the rice has finished cooking.

Zojirushi NL-AAC: Verdict

Briefly, if you desire to cook rice with a Zojirushi micom rice cooker that is made in Japan and has a steamer basket, steam function, delay timer, extended keep warm and quick cooking setting, then the NL-AAC10/18 might be worth buying (buy on Amazon).