Travel Rice Cooker – Product Review

Friday Oct 30 | BY |
| Comments (15)


You are not likely find a product called a “travel rice cooker” but that’s pretty much what the Panasonic SR-3NA is. This is a product that I absolutely love!

Last year, I was looking for the smallest rice cooker I could possibly find because I wanted to bring one with me on a trip. As many of you know, traveling overseas can present problems if you’re trying to follow a plant-based diet.

I’ve done my fair share of eating in hotel rooms. Usually, buying fruits and salads from the local store and then managing somehow to eat them in the room. Sometimes you’re going to stay somewhere for awhile and you might even be renting a place with a small kitchen.  I have always noticed that there was something missing in all those places that I visited — there was no rice cooker.

So you can cook rice in a pot but, it’s more difficult to clean,  and it’s not as practical. Plus a rice cooker has multiple other applications. For example:

  • Cooking grains, like quinoa. wild rice, lentils and oatmeal (not steel cut)
  • Also it can be used where there’s no stove top.
  • Prefect for reheating  soups and chili
  • Steam softer vegetables like broccoli, zucchini and cauliflower.

I found this super small rice cooker years ago and it has a very tiny footprint. Then I realized that it’s actually one of my favorite kitchen gadgets and one that I would recommend to everyone simply because of the price and the size.

Now surprisingly, you think that a rice cooker this small would not make that much rice, but it does! In fact, once you put one cup of dry rice in it you end up with enough rice for two or three people eating generous quantities or more, if it’s just a small side dish. It is as simple as it gets, there is no timer to set, no setting to choose, simply add water and rice and turn it on and it clicks when its done.  It doesn’t have a warmer so make your rice when you need it, you have about 15-20 minutes while the rice cools down.

In the past I’ve recommended the Japanese rice cooker by Zojirushi and I still do recommend them. I think they are great products and I use mine on a regular basis, but sometimes you just want something simple and fast. The Zojirushi rice cooker takes a long time to cook. It’s not a fast rice cooker. It is great for brown rice and all kinds of other grains and it is great to make specialty rice but if you want to make a batch of simple rice quickly, this small rice cooker is best!

Now please note that my so called “travel rice cooker” is not supposed to work with brown rice.  But, I have tried and it does the job very well, if you can boil the water first before adding it, or soak the brown rice in advance for at least 45 minutes, but it is mostly meant for white rice and other quick cooking grains.

I was however surprised at how well it cooked the mixtures of wild rice, sprouted rice and wild rice with quinoa and lentils.  Again I boiled the water first and let the machine do the work.  For anyone who cooks wild rice mixtures, you know this can be a little tricky since they all cook at different rates, but this method turned out perfect.

It is a great product that I think will be awesome for people, traveling, going on camping trips, spending time overseas and living in small apartments, or a single person who wants some simple rice to cook.  It is super easy to clean. It’s small enough to fit in most backpacks or suit cases and super light as well. It seems to still be available on Amazon.

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Joanne says:

    Hi, thank you for the great suggestion. I didn’t even realize they made rice cooker that small.

  2. ben says:

    I have this cooker as well, but I’ve found that forbidden black rice always comes out a bit hard. I do 2 parts water for every 1 part rice as recommended but maybe someone else has had better luck?

    For overnight oats, I use a Proctor Silex 1.5qt slow-cooker. I place a small bowl of steel-cut oats/milk and submerge in water inside the slow-cooker, this prevents a messy cleanup in the morning!

  3. Carol says:

    I noticed it has a non-stick aluminum pan which I thought were things we should be avoiding. I have a stainless steel rice cooker….not that small but works well!

  4. Virginia says:

    I noticed the cooking surface is non-stick coated aluminum. How can you be recommending NON-STICK and ALUMINUM?

  5. Renee says:

    Frederic, I’m “shocked” that as a health writer you are recommending aluminum/non-stick cookware! It’s just as important to cook with non toxic, inert, non leaching cookware as eating healthy foods, how contradictory!

    • This might make for an interesting article in the future. Many people have exaggerated the potential dangers without understanding the science of it.

      • Nicole says:

        A future article would be great. I, too, was shocked about the non-stick aluminum and thought maybe it was given a “pass” since this is for travel circumstances when it can be so hard to come across healthy food. Even the other, larger rice cooker you recommend is non-stick and I just can’t bring myself to buy it!

  6. Pati says:

    Every rice cooker I have ever seen has teflon coating.

  7. glenda says:

    Yikes! non-stick aluminium! I would agree with many of the commenters.
    Please discuss why you would recommend this. I have gotten rid of all my non-stick pans.

  8. George says:

    Have full-size rice cooker with stainless steel pot, and have used it for ages. Would love to find one that is travel size. I agree with some readers who commented to avoid Teflon (scratches and flakes off eventually) and aluminum rice cookers. The author says such concerns are unfounded re: cooking rice. What think Kevin and Annmarie?

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