Zojirushi NS-YAC 10/18 Umami Rice Cooker Review



If you have “graduated” from eating plain white rice and developed a discerning palette for the subtlety in the aroma and texture, then Zojirushi NS-YAC10/18 Umami 5.5 or 10 Cup Rice Cooker might be the next step up on your quest for the ultimate rice cooker. The exclusivity of this rice cooker is in its Umami setting that adds the fifth dimension to food flavor and tasting. Doesn’t it sound intriguing?

Table of Contents (click a title to jump ahead)

Capacity | Heating Technology | Easy to Use | Other Features | Helpful Tips | Customer Reviews | Pros and Cons | Price, Warranty and Where to Buy

Zojirushi NS-YAC 10/18 Capacity

The Umami rice cooker series come with two different capacities, 5.5 and 10 cup uncooked rice. The smaller size is suitable for a small to medium-sized family and the 10 cup is plenty to feed 6 to 8 average eaters. Given the price difference is only a few bulks, I would opt for the 10-cup one. You don’t have to cook 10-cups of rice when you don’t need it. The minimum size recommended for the 10-cup cooker is 2 cups of uncooked rice to really get the best result. In fact, I cook 2 cups of rice using a 10-cup rice cooker all the time.

Heating Technology in Zojirushi NS-YAC 10/18

What keeps the rice cooker heated, how and when it’s heated is the “gut” of the selling point for each rice cooker manufacturer. Umami rice cooker deploys Fuzzy Logic technology, trademarked by Zojirushi. The computer chip is in control of how long and how high of temperature the rice or other meal should be cooked. Cooking rice is a serious business if you haven’t guessed it by now. Zojirushi has been in the rice cooker business for over 40 years. Innovation is really the lifeblood for them in order to compete in the space.

Not only is Zojirushi the leader in innovation, it also excels at aesthetic design. The Umami rice cooker represents the perfect intersection between function and form. No wonder that so many people keep the rice cooker on the kitchen counter just to show off.

NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker & Warmer: Is It Easy to Use?

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As much as it has the cutting edge technology, Zojirushi hasn’t forgotten that the rice cooker is used by everyday people just like you and me. The design philosophy is to make it as intuitive as possible and the parts detachable for easy cleaning. The trick is to test out which menu setting to use to produce the best tasting rice.

How to clean the inner pot that has odor: Fill the pot with water up to water level 1 for white rice for the 5.5 cup rice cooker and level 2 for the 10 cup one; close the outer lid and press the menu button to select the Quick menu setting, press “Start/Reheat” button, when the rice cooker completes cooking and switches to Keep Warm mode, press the “Cancel” button. Wait until the Main Body cools down, discard the water and clean accordingly.

Other Features – NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker

LCD and Timer: The rice cooker has a standard LCD display and timer.

Menu Selections: The menu is set for ten different types of rice or cooking: white, brown, GABA brown, sweet, mixed, porridge, rinsed-free, quick, sushi and Umami rice, slow cook.

No Options to Choose Texture: Unlike NS-ZCC10/18 models, the Zojirushi Umami rice cooker doesn’t include options for rice texture (e.g. softer or harder).

Slow Cook Option: The Umami rice cooker also has a slow cooker function for making soups and other meals.

Umami Setting: The biggest differentiator for this rice cooker against other models within the Zojirushi lines or other competitors is the Umami setting. Please refer to my post on Umami about the definition and its contribution to the depth of food flavors and tasting.

The Umami setting soaks and steam rice longer to get the enhanced flavor. Many customers reported that they’ve never tasted rice this good. There is an aftertaste of sweetness to the rice and eating plain Umami rice is a rare treat.

GABA Brown Rice Setting: Another unique setting is the GABA brown rice. GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, a naturally occurring nutrient in brown rice. GABA rice setting has an activation process where the cooking temperature is kept at 104 degrees F for 2 hours. Then the temperature reaches to a boiling point of 212 degrees F.

Cooking (activation + cooking) may take 3 hours and 15 minutes to 35 minutes. During the activation process, a naturally occurring nutrient in brown rice increases to 150% comparing to the non-activated brown rice. GABA is said to lower blood pressure and relieve stress.

The NS-YAC10/18 rice cooker will switch on to “Keep Warm” upon finishing cooking. An “Extended Keep Warm” is available if needed and so is reheating cycle.

Cord: Detached cord to keep the kitchen counter neat and tidy

Color: Pearl white

Dimensions: 10-1/8 x 15 x 9-3/8 inches for the NS-YAC10 5.5 cups and 1-1/8 x 16 x 10-3/4 inches for the NS-YAC18 10 cup

Accessories: A rice spatula, a spatula holder, two measuring cups and recipes

helpful-tipsHelpful Tips for NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker

  1. Use the inner cooking pan only for this rice cooker
  2. Replace the inner pan if it’s worn out
  3. Do not pour vinegar into the inner cooking pan when making sushi rice
  4. Add vegetables and meat to the rice, no more than 30 to 50% of the rice volume
  5. Seasoning should be added to the liquid (water or broth) before adding to the rice

NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5According to some customers, the Umami rice cooker is a steal comparing to the premium cooker. Yet the quality of cooked rice and the unique Umami savoriness are every bit tasty as that by the pressurized rice cooker. The cooked rice is slightly chewy with a depth of flavor and a hint of sweetness. Some people couldn’t help but eating a big gob of piping hot rice right from the pot. The old saying is so true, “You get what you pay for”. Most of the customers were so glad that they ponied up this much money for a rice cooker.

Pros and Cons of NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker

ProsDoubling up as a rice cooker and slow cooker, the Umami NS-YAC10/18 rice cooker led the way in the innovation of rice cooker. It breaks free from the once utilitarian kitchen appliance purpose into the food tasting and savoring pleasure. With GABA brown rice setting, it also enhances the nutritional value by leaps and bound. A little rice cooker has definitely carried its weight in helping us live healthier lives.

ConsThere are drawbacks to this otherwise innovative product: expensive and takes much longer to cook rice.

Price, Warranty and Where to Buy – NS-YAC10/18 Rice Cooker

One-year limited warranty is offered by Zojirushi. You can call 1-800-733-6270 regarding any warranty issues and questions. If you need to make a claim, be sure to include your name, address, daytime phone, a description of the problem and a copy of the receipt of purchase.

If you are still on the fence, maybe you should head over to Amazon to read more customer reviews to see if this is the right rice cooker for your needs.

For current price on Amazon, please click on the button below:

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  1. acolyte says:

    Hello, I’m interested in this rice cooker, but I also realize that the induction heating (NP-HBC10) is only slightly more expensive than this one.

    Do you think it’s worth to spend $70 more for the induction heating version? I note that this product is pretty much newer than the induction heating version.


    • Rice Queen says:

      The NS-YAC1/18 model has a lot of great features that should be sufficient in cooking great rice. I’d save the $70 to buy some good rice and other utensils.

  2. laura richardson says:

    Hello Lei.
    Thanks for your great website. Your article sold me on the Zojirushi Umami but I also want a steamer. Do you think it’s worth it to sacrifice the steamer option?

    • Rice Queen says:


      Thanks for your kind words and glad you found the info helpful. If I were you, I wouldn’t be worrying too much about not having a steamer. In fact, I’ve never used the steamer for my rice cooker. It’s quite small and it takes too long to steam while cooking rice anyway.

      Good luck!


  3. Nancy Watson says:

    Is the slow cooker feature as good as a crock pot? I am trying to decide between the ZCC10 and YAC10, the GABA rice feature, umani, and slow cooker are making me lean towards the YAC10. I mainly want to use this for brown rice and steel cut oats.

    • Rice Queen says:


      I’d get the NS-YAC10 for the extra features. I am not sure if I would use it as a slow cooker that often due to the capacity size unless you have a small family.

      Hope it helps. Good luck in your family decision!



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