The Ultimate Guide to the Best Donabe Recipes, Donabe Rice Cookers and Donabe Pots

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​Also see: Best Carbon Steel Woks

The Donabe is used to create communal family one pot meals to shared at the dinner table. Used in Japanese for centuries, its usually made of clay - which allows heat and moisture to evenly move throughout the pot during the cooking process. This creates rich, deep flavors in even the most basic of dishes. The pH balance of the food is neutralized as the clay is alkaline and fuses with any acidity present in the food.

THE 10 BEST DONABE RECIPES

1. Authentic Japanese White Rice

Donabe Recipes - white rice

Photography: toirokitchen.com

You can easily make super authentic Japanese rice using your Donabe cooker, see recipe here

2. ​Salmon Ikura  Donabe Rice

Donabe Recipes - Salmon Ikura Rice

Photography: sfchronicle.com

​Rich salmon flavored rice topped off with salmon roe and ending with perfectly crispy rice at the bottom? Yes please. Recipe here

3. Seafood Nabemono

donabe recipes rice cookers and pots

Source: thekitchn.com

A soothing bowl of rich seafood goodness? Sign me up! Recipe here

4. Anything Goes Donabe​

Donabe Recipes - Anything Goes

Source: Epicurious.com

With the right broth and base starting off this dish, anything you add will be infused with all the delicious flavors. This Donabe is your oyster! Recipe here

5. Yuzu Butter Cod

Donabe Recipes - Yuzu Butter Cod

Source: toirokitchen.com

This is a super healthy, light and tasty dish perfect for the spring but also tastes great in the winter! Recipe here

6. Steam-fry Curry Yakisoba

Donabe Recipes - Curry Yakisoba

Source: toirokitchen.com

Betcha didn't know that you could use your Donabe pot to make Yakisoba noodles. In fact you probably didn't know that it could make noodles at all! Heres how. 

6. Steamed Mussels, Chinese Sausage, and Green Curry

Donabe Recipes - Steamed Mussels, Chinese Sausage, and Green Curry

Source: goop.com

Look! Gwenyth Paltrow eats Donabe hot pot too! Check out this recipe from the delicious Asian-fusion restaurant Otium in Los Angeles, featured on Paltrow's Goop website. Recipe here.

7. ​Roasted Asparagus with Preserved Lemon

Donabe Recipes - Roasted Asparagus with Preserved Lemon

Source: toirokitchen.com

Your Donabe can also be used to make veggies and other side dishes also. These asparagus recipe infuses them with lemon goodness. Recipe here.

8. Sun-Dried Mushroom & Tofu Hot Pot

Donabe Recipes - Sun-Dried Mushroom & Tofu Hot Pot

Source: sfchronicle.com

​To get the true flavor of the mushrooms in this hot pot recipe, sun dry the mushrooms a day ahead of time. If you are too lazy or time crunched, just cook them as is, it'll still be delish! Recipe here

9. Shabu Shabu

Donabe Recipes - Shabu Shabu

Everything you need to know about making the most delicious Shabu Shabu in your Donabe pot. Recipe here

10. ​Kimchi Nabe

Donabe Recipes - Kimchi Nabe

Kimchi makes everything right. The Koreans love stews and a Korean inspired stew does great in the Donabe pot too! Recipe here

THE BEST DONABE COOKBOOKS

Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking

Best Donabe Cookbook - Donabe- Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking
5.5 or 10 cups
13.7 x 10.1 x 8.2
6.8 lbs
Made in Japan

This is the ultimate guide to Donabe cooking, really the only cookbook dedicated to Donabe that exists in English. This beautifully photographed cookbook features home-style recipes from Japan and modern spins on recipes that can be made in the Donabe. 

Although the Donabe is most traditionally used for one-pot meals, this book features the Donabe to be used to make a variety of additional dishes: side dishes, entrees and more. There are also many vegetarian and vegan recipes featured. Some delicious recipes featured include Very Juicy Chicken Wing rice, Simmered Tofu Hot Pot and Steam Roasted Oysters.

If you plan on cooking with a Donabe, this cookbook is a must-buy! It features 104 recipes and details about Japanese ingredients, how to season your Donabe and much more. 

Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals

Best Donabe Cookbook - Japanese Hot Pots- Comforting One-Pot Meals
6, 14, or 20 cups
8.2 x 8.1 x 10.3
4.2 lbs
Made in China

This gorgeous book is dedicated to nabe, one pot meals that are cooked at the table, served communal style. 50 traditional Japanese hot pot recipes are featured. The first quarter of the book is dedicated to the study and explanation of Japanese Hot Pot culture, ingredients, techniques and more.

A Donabe is not required to accompany this book but would definitely work fantastically in conjunction with these recipes. The recipe directions are easy to follow, substitutions are included in addition to recommended vendors for more obscure items. Standout recipes include the Old Tokyo Tuna-Belly Hot Pot, Beef Sukiyaki and Duck Gyoza Hot Pot. 

If you are looking forward to warm and comforting dinners at the table to to be enjoyed with family and friends, make sure to pick this up!

THE BEST DONABE RICE COOKER

Milo - Japanese Donabe Rice Cooker

Best Donabe Pot - Milo
1.5 cups 
6" x 6" x 4"
3 lbs
Made in China

Milo's Japanese Style Donabe is affordably priced and perfect for making fluffly rice or delicious stews. It's perfect for serving 2-4 people and can make 4 cups of cooked rice. It's totally safe to use on the stovetop or in the oven. 

The measurements are L 6" W 6" H 4" and it weighs 3 pounds. This Donabe comes with a 30 day money guarantee so you have nothing to worry about with your purchase! You can definitely use this pot on an electric stove and it is hand wash only. This is the ideal Donabe for cooking rice!

Hase Ceramics - Kamado-san 3 Gou

Best Donabe Pot - Hase Ceramics
3 cups 
9.45 x 9.45 x 7
7.7 lbs
Made in Japan

Hase Cermaics Kamado-san 3 Gou is imorted straight from Japan and measures 9.45 x 9.45 x 7.09 inches. It weights 7.7 pounds. This authentic pot is made from clay from the Iga-yaki(伊賀焼) region in Japan. This special clay breathes extremely well.

I love the rice that you can make with this Donabe, its fluffy on top and perfectly browned and crunchy at the bottom. The bottom is super thick and this allows for even cooking throughout. It's easy to use and is thick and heavy so be sure to factor in some additional cooking time for after you remove it from the heat. Bring it out sizzling to the table and everyone will be super impressed!

HOW TO USE A DONABE

Once your Donabe is seasoned, the Donabe is incredibly simple to use. You can just place all your ingredients inside the Donabe, bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes and your meal will be ready to enjoy. ​

You can put all your ingredients into your Donabe at once, to be enjoyed as a communal stew, or use the Donabe for Shabu Shabu, dipping and cooking your meat and protein during the meal. ​Either way, the Donabe symbolizes love, family, and sharing. 

SEASONING A DONABE​

The reason that you have to season your Donabe is because it is made of porous clay. ​ Using rice to season the pot, the starch will fill up the pores in the clay pot to strengthen it against heat damage and also to keep the clay from staining or creating unwanted smells in the food. It will increase the lifespan of your pot. These instructions are for seasoning a Donabe to feeds 4-6 so adjust according.

  1.  Add 2 cups of rice to a bowl and add cold water while massaging the rice. Keep the rice water.​
  2. Using the rice water that you just collected, fill the clay pot up to 80% rice water. 
  3. Place the pot on medium-low heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat on low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and let everything cool. 
  5. Once cool, pour out the rice water and rinse with fresh water. 
  6. Use a cloth to dry the pot and let it cool overnight before using it. 

THE BEST DONABE POT

DONABE POT

Name

DIAMETER

Weight

MEASUREMENTS

ORIGIN

Best Donabe Pot - Kotobuki

Kotobuki - Kyoto Maple

9.75"

5.3 lbs

10.5 x 10.4 x 4.5

Japan

Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker - Aroma

JapanBargain

9"

6.5 lbs

11" x 11" x 4"

China

Best Donabe Pot - Kotobuki Ivory

Kotobukiya - Ivory

8.5"

3.8 lbs

10 x 9.6 x 3.9

Japan

Best Donabe Pot - IPPINKA

IIPINKA

10.6"

6.6 lbs

10.8" x 13" x 7"

Japan

Best Stainless Steel Rice Cooker - Tatung

M.V. Trading

11"

N/A

N/A

Japan

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DONABE POT

# of Cups of Rice (Uncooked)

Does the rice cooker cook 6 cups of uncooked rice or 20? Check this icon below to find out. 

Weight

We found out the weight of each rice cooker, just look below to find the details.

Total Measurements

Look for this icon below and you will find the measurements of each and ever rice cooker.

Heat Source

Is your rice cooker made in China, Japan or Taiwan? Check this icon for the info!

 Kotobuki - Kyoto Maple Donabe Hot Pot

Best Donabe Pot - Kotobuki
9.75" Diameter
10.5 x 10.4 x 4.5
5.3 lbs
Made in Japan

Kotobuki is a high quality Donabe brand that appears more than once on our list. This pot is made of earthenware and is perfect for serving 2-3 people. This is  Kyoto maple hot pot, ideal from making nabemono.

It measures in at 10.5 x 10.4 x 4.5 inches and 5.3 pounds and has a 9.75 diameter. This Donabe is made in Japan and its a very pretty addition to any kitchen. It has a Japanese rustic look and cooks very evenly and holds the heat quite a long time after you remove it from the heat.

Make sure to properly prep the pot when you get it and as long as you treat it well it should last you quite awhile. This is a high quality Donabe pot which will undoubtably impress your guests at the dinner table.

JapanBargain - Earthen Donabe Clay Pot 

Best Donabe Pot - Japanese Bargain
9" Diameter
11" x 11" x 4"
6.5 lbs
Made in China

JapanBargain's Earthen Donabe Pot is a family sized pot, great for cooking meals for 3-5 people. This pot is made in China and there are also instructions included on how to prep the pot and use it for the first time.

The diameter of the pot is 9 inches and the dimensions are 11 x 11 x 4 inches. This Donabe weighs 6.5 pounds. This pot is super easy to clean, nothing sticks to the bottom and you can use it in so many ways: roasting, braising, simmering, soups, rice etc.

This Donabe is great for making healthy meals. It's larger than it appears in the photo and ideal for cooking for a family of four. For a super versatile, family sized Donabe pot, check out this one from JapanBargain!

IPPINKA -  Iga Donabe Ceramic Pot With Steamer

Best Donabe Pot - IPPINKA
10.6" Diameter
10.8" x 13" x 7"
6.6 lbs
Made in Japan

IPPINKA's Iga Donabe Ceramic Pot holds 67 fluid ounces and has a 10.6 inch diameter. The surface of the pot is glazed which ultimately helps cook delicious, juicy food. This is classic style Donabe and its way more durable and heat resistant than the average Donabe pot.

The clay used to make Donabe is top of the line, premium Iga clay. Iga Clay comes from the Lake Biwa and the clay is jam packed with Carbon. This Donabe measures 10.8 x 13 x 7 inches and weighs 6.6 pounds. English instructions are included and this is just such a great artisan piece to add to your kitchen collection. This is the most premium Donabe pot on the list!

M.V. Trading  - Earthen Casserole Donabe

Best Donabe Pot - M.V. Trading
11" Diameter
N/A
N/A
Made in Japan

M.V. Trading Donabe is made of earthenware and hes a big guy, able to feed 4-5 people. Made with the ultimate craftsmanship in Japan this pot specializes in making nabemono. It's great for making a delicious, healthy Japanese winter stew for the family. 

I love that you can use this pot to make super delicious and juicy roasts and ribs.It's a 3 quart capacity pot, able to make 6 cups of cooked rice and measuring 11 inches in diameter. It features high quality hand crafted pewter markings on the exterior. This pot reminds me of a Korean bibimbap pot in style.   This Donabe retains heat nicely. It's easy to use, to clean and is just an all around great Donabe pot. 

Kotobuki Ivory and Black Crackle 8-1/2-Inch Donabe

Best Donabe Pot - Kotobuki Ivory
8.5" Diameter
10 x 9.6 x 3.9
3.8 lbs
Made in Japan

This little Donabe features a unique Ivory and black crackle design. It's made of Earthenware and is idea for making Nabemono. It's 8.5 inches in diameter and perfect for serving 2 people. It measures 3.8 pounds and measures 10 x 9.6 x 3.9 inches. This Donabe features excellent workmanship and is made in Japan. The excellent part of a Donabe is that you can make a quick stew in just about 30 minutes, featuring a deeply flavored, rich broth and perfectly tender ingredients. This is the perfect communal family pot and it not only makes delicious soups and stews but it cooks rice perfectly.

BEST ELECTRIC STOVE FOR DONABE

IMUSA - Electric Single Burner Stove

Best Electric Stove for Donabe - IMUSA

This little portable electric stove is super bargain priced and packs a bunch! Bring it anywhere that you have a power outlet and you can enjoy Donabe with your family and friends! It measures 3.5 x 9.8 x 9.1 inches and weighs  2.1 pounds. 

The temperature regulating knob is continuously variable and it helps up incredibly fast. The electric cord is about a foot and a half in length and its 1100W.

BEST BUTANE STOVE FOR DONABE

Iwatani Corporation of America - Portable Butane Stove Burner

Best Donabe Pot - Kotobuki Ivory

This is a great little high power stove for your Donabe. Perfect to bring to the dinner table, its indoor approved by CSA commercial. This stove is high power giving you 12,000 BTU/h.  I love that it has an automatic safety stop, perfect for forgetful people like me and it even comes with a carrying case.

This stove measures 14 x 11 x 4.2 inches and weighs 3.7 pounds. It holds any of the Donabes featured on this list and brings the heat pretty quickly, getting the contents in the Donabe boiling fairly quickly. Make sure not to turn up the flame too high or you risk cracking the clay pot.  This is a sturdy stove available at an affordable price. 

You can take this stove anywhere as it operates off butane canisters and doesn't need to be plugged into a wall. It's the best portable stove for Donabe!

Best Japanese Donabe and Hot Pot Recipes

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