The 30-Second Verdict:
The Aroma ARC-150SB is a great bargain, capable of cooking white or brown rice while also steaming vegetables or meats, as well as cooking roasts, stews, jambalayas, chili, and even quinoa.
It is a very flexible small appliance with a high capacity (20 cups of cooked rice). In addition to all that, the 15-hour delay timer allows you to place all ingredients inside the cooker and choose when you would like to have the meal done. It will then beep once the meal is ready and automatically switch to Keep Warm mode, meaning that even if you or your family are delayed to start eating for whatever reason, your meal will be kept at just the right temperature for up to another 8 hours. Can you imagine having a personal chef on demand after a long day at work?
The value offered here is also unbeatable. Click here to see Amazon’s great price or keep on reading my Aroma ARC-150SB review if you want more details.
If you like rice and you tried to cook it at home, you know it can be a chore. Between adjusting just the right temperature at the stove and watching the cook time, it simply takes away part of your attention that could be directed towards cooking other dishes or tidying up the kitchen before the meal.
This is why today I am writing this Aroma 20-cup rice cooker review – more specifically, the ARB-150SB model, which is also a food steamer and a slow cooker. Put simply, it offers great value for the money. You can set it and forget it by simply touching a button.
If you are not familiar with a rice cooker, they are a *staple* in Asian families – pardon the pun!
A rice cooker will, most essentially, cook rice – be it white or brown. This is how you can also always eat your fluffy and warm rice at just the right temperature, even if it takes you 10 or 15 extra minutes to gather everyone around the table, because these cookers automatically switch to Heat mode once the cooking is done.
This Aroma ARB-150SB, however, has a few other tricks up its sleeve.
First of all, due to its large capacity, it steams meats and veggies on top of your rice while you cook it below. That means you only have one pan to wash, reduce and control your nutrient intake (and count them macros!), and manage only one appliance for your entire meal.
You can also use its Slow Cook function to prepare roasts, stews, chilis, and even jambalayas. If you cook a bigger portion, you can freeze part of your meal and have a quick, homemade meal when you are short on time.
This added flexibility for almost no extra space is excellent for college students on a budget, people cooking at home under a time constraint, and also folks who have small kitchens and little to no countertop availability.
- Dedicated menus for White Rice and Brown Rice. Preparing a full batch to 20 cups of cooked white rice takes only 35 minutes. Just make sure to rinse the rice prior to cooking it, since it helps avoid caramelizing the bottom layer of the rice. Rinsing the rice also removes the excess starchiness, which would have to be washed from the cooker after using it anyways.
- Slow Cook function, which can be used for preparing roasts, chilies, jambalayas, stews, soups, and so on. Its capacity is 4 quart (3.8 liter) and it can be programmed for up to 10 hours – a pot roast takes around 4 hours of your unsupervised time, meaning you can do something else and let the rice cooker do its job.
- Delay Timer, when combined with the three previous menus, so you can load your rice cooker with all ingredients and leave for work early in the morning, and arrive back later in the evening to a fully cooked meal.
- Should you be late, the Keep Warm kicks in automatically and you will still eat a freshly cooked meal at just the right temperature for up to 8 hours.
- You can set the Delay Timer for up to 15 hours, meaning you can place all ingredients inside your cooker early in the morning and come back home in the evening to a warm, homemade meal. Much healthier and cheaper than ordering takeout food, plus you get to control portion sizes.
- Due to its bigger size and the presence of a steaming tray, you can easily prepare one-pot meals and steam seafood, chicken, veggies on the upper tray at the same time you cook rice. How is that for practicality?
You can also use this rice cooker to cook quinoa and millet by following these simple steps:
- Soak the cereal overnight in the cooker and it will sprout.
- Rinse it the next morning and cook it normally.
Your quinoa (or millet) will be much fluffier and tastier. The soaking process also removes the excessive bitterness from quinoa.
The performance is stellar. My reasoning is purely based on the cost-benefit ratio offered here.
Consider that you can prepare rice for your entire family, plus the eventual guest, in around 35 minutes and forget about it while cooking something else entirely.
Ensuring perfect results comes from 3 simple steps:
- Accurately measure the rice using the provided cup.
- Rinse the rice to remove the excess starch and avoid caramelizing the bottom layer.
- Measure the water until the corresponding level for the amount of rice you placed in the cooker – there is a level written inside the inner pan and this is the most accurate way of measuring the rice-to-water ratio.
You can also use this rice cooker as a slow cooker and prepare stews, chilis, soups, and even jambalayas. Make a bigger stews the first few times and freeze a portion. This way you can have homemade, healthy, superfast meals ready to go without any extra effort.
The box that arrives to your home weighs 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg). The rice cooker itself weighs 5 lbs (2.2 kg). Moving it around is easy because the lid has a good handle on top.
Once you open your box, you will find the rice cooker, the accessories – measuring cup, steam tray, and serving spatula – and the documentation – user manual and warranty.
You can store all the accessories inside the rice cooker when you are not using it, which can both save space and simplify your life by leaving all things handy when you decide to use your rice cooker.
The rice cooker’s height and length are 10.8 in (274 mm) and width is 11.8 in (300 mm).
That means it will use approximately half the depth of the average kitchen counter space (the standard is 25 in/635 mm deep) and leave you enough room in front of the rice cooker for a cutting board or a plate.
- Versatility. You can cook white or brown rice and steam food at the same time. You can also use it as a slow cooker. You can also cook quinoa.
- Easy to clean. The inner cooking pot has a high-quality non-stick material.
- Lightweight. You can carry it from the place where you store it to your kitchen counter.
- Compact. If you use it daily like me, I always leave it on my counter and it doesn’t feel cumbersome at all.
- Easy to use. The digital controls are simple to use and set.
- Unbeatable price. More than being one of the cheapest models currently for sale, when you consider its capacity size and features, buying one of these simply makes sense.
- Un-detachable inner lid. That is less practical, since the vast majority of competitors allow you to remove the inner lid and wash it separately. Here you either clean it as soon as the rice is ready, and all the “rice gumminess” is still warm and easy to clean, or you do it after your meal, and fight with dry rice starch.
- Power cord length. It is somewhat short. On the other hand, the excess cord does not dangle around your counter, so that is definitely a matter of perspective.
- Plastic steaming tray. I am nitpicking here but I have to mention it. If you steam certain veggies such as carrots, they will dye the plastic.
In one word? Great!
It is a well-known fact that you will save money by making your own meals at home instead of going out to a restaurant, but think about it – having friends at home and cooking your meal in your huge rice cooker saves you money and gives you a different scenario for your social life.
Plus you get to fully control the quality of your ingredients and portion sizes, which is good for your health too.
One dinner a week and by the end of the month this baby will have already paid itself.
My Final Opinion:
This is one of the best appliances I have reviewed so far. It has a great capacity, while not being too cumbersome on the kitchen counter.
It is flexible enough to prepare much more than white and brown rice, such as quinoa, soups, stews, roasts, jambalayas, and even chili. I can also steam vegetables and meats while cooking rice, which helps me cut prep time and pot washing afterwards.
I also order takeout much less often, so I save money and control the quality of the ingredients I eat.
The 15-hour delay timer ensures that I can preset all ingredients whenever I have time and choose the time when my meal will be ready – by which time it sounds a beep and auto-switches to Keep Warm function, just in case I am not around for any reason. It feels like having a personal chef after a long day of work.
Click here to buy it from Amazon now