Review: Zojirushi NL-BAC05 Cooks Rice, Quinoa And Steel Cut Oatmeal

Are you a single person searching for a small capacity rice cooker that makes rice, oatmeal and quinoa? The answer is here: the Zojirushi NL-BAC05 is a 3-cup rice cooker with menu settings for both steel cut oatmeal and quinoa. Our review of the Zojirushi NL-BAC05 microcomputer rice cooker provides you with information on its capacity, cooking pot, menu settings, keep warm modes, reheat function and delay timer. We also answer a few questions before ending with our conclusion.


The Zojirushi NL-BAC05 can cook as little as half a cup of white or brown rice. The minimum for short grain sushi rice seems to be one cup. The nonstick inner cooking pot can cook up to three cups of sushi or white rice, but only two cups of brown rice. It can handle up to 1.5 cups of quinoa or oatmeal.

Always use the included measuring cup to measure the rice. This measuring cup has a 6 oz. (180 mL) capacity. Add water according to the water level markings for sushi, brown or white rice.

Nonstick Cooking Pot

The inner surface of the cooking pot is covered with a nonstick coating, which needs special care to prevent damage. Metal utensils will scratch the surface. Never hit the pot with a utensil.

The inner cooking pot is not dishwasher-safe. Wash it by hand with a sponge, but do not use nylon scrubbing brushes or nylon sponges. Do not use abrasive cleaners or bleaches.

The nonstick coating should last for a few years, but it eventually peels off. You may still use the pot for cooking rice, or you may decide to purchase a replacement pot.

Zojirushi NL-BAC05 nonstick inner cooking pot
Nonstick pot with water level markings.

The NL-BAC05 offers the usual white/sushi, brown rice and quick rice functions found on other Zojirushi microcomputer controlled rice cookers. However, it also has new menu options.

  • White/Sushi (use short or medium grain rice)
  • Quick (cooks rice in 25 to 40 minutes, but texture is harder)
  • Brown (use short or medium grain brown rice, two cups maximum)
  • Long Grain White
  • Quinoa (cook from half a cup to 1.5 cups)
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal (1.5 cups is the maximum amount)
  • Cake (make sponge cake or cheesecake)

Keep Warm Modes

There are two warmer settings: regular keep warm and extended keep warm. The regular keep warm mode has a higher temperature to prevent odor development. Extended keep warm mode has a slightly lower temperature to prevent the cooked rice from drying out. You can select the extended keep warm mode by pressing the MENU button. You may keep white rice warm for up to 12 hours, but then you should either eat it or refrigerate it.

There are a few things to know about the extended warmer function. First, do not use it to keep brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oatmeal and cake warm. Second, do not keep germinated brown rice on extended keep warm. Third, it cannot be selected if the rice cooker has already been in regular keep warm mode for more than twelve hours.

The NL-BAC05 rice cooker switches automatically to regular keep warm after the rice is cooked. The START light will turn off and the KEEP WARM light will light up. You should stir the rice to release excess moisture and to loosen the grains. This quick stir prevents the rice from burning or sticking together.

Reheat Function

The NL-BAC05 has a reheat function. You can reheat white rice which are being kept warm (in both regular and extended mode) by pressing the START/REHEAT button. You might loosen the white rice and add one or two tablespoons of water before reheating it. It takes less than ten minutes for the rice cooker to reheat white rice. However, reheating brown rice is not recommended due to possible scorching and discoloration of the grains.

Delay Timer

The rice cooker has a small coin-shaped lithium battery which provides power to the 24-hour clock and memory storage. The current time, menu selection and delay timer settings are saved even when the rice cooker is unplugged from the wall. However, the battery will run out of power after a few years. The display will blink ‘7:00’ when this happens. You then have to contact Zojirushi’s customer service to get the battery replaced.

Make sure that the clock time of the rice cooker is correct before setting the timer. The maximum delay time you set should not exceed 13 hours. Do not set the timer for longer than 8 hours when cooking steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. The delay timer does not work with the quick and cake settings.

Zojirushi NL-BAC05 Micom Rice Cooker table rice bowl
Perfect for small servings of rice, quinoa or oatmeal!

Is the NL-BAC05 made in Japan?

No, it is not made in Japan. It would have said so on the control panel if it was. The price tag would also have been higher.

How much oatmeal can it prepare?

The minimum amount is half a cup of oats. The maximum amount of steel cut oatmeal is 1.5 cups. Use the included 6 oz. measuring cup.

How much power does it consume?

It uses only 24 watts when keeping rice warm. It uses about 500 watts when cooking rice. The NL-BAC05 has an electrical rating of 120V, 60Hz, AC.

Could it boil over?

It is important to follow the instructions in the manual for rinsing the rice grains multiple times before cooking it with the rice cooker. Also, did you use the correct water level marking on the inside of the pot when you added water? Did you use the right menu setting? Quinoa and steel cut oatmeal are more likely to boil over than rice. Therefore, be careful to select the right menu setting when cooking these grains.

What accessories are included?

Only two accessories are included. The rice cooker comes with a spatula and a measuring cup. There is no spatula holder. A product manual for the NL-BAC05 is probably included too.

Zojirushi NL-BAC05 Micom Rice Cooker Warmer with measuring cup spatula
A measuring cup and spatula are included.


One complaint about digital rice cookers with microcomputers is that they take twice as long to cook rice when compared to analog electric rice cookers. For example, the Zojirushi NL-BAC05 has an estimated cooking time for white rice of approximately 60 minutes. However, the cooked rice does taste better.

The new menu settings for cake, quinoa and steel cut oatmeal are a welcome addition to the Zojirushi NL-BAC05 rice cooker. You can cook more with it than just rice! However, its 3-cup size means that it is not recommended for large families. It is the perfect size for singles or couples (buy it on Amazon).

Thank you for reading our Zojirushi NL-BAC05 Micom rice cooker and warmer review!