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How to make sushi rice

Learn how to make sushi rice using these easy step-by-step instructions. In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify the art of cooking sushi rice, exploring various methods and tips to help you make the perfect sushi rice every time.

If you are a sushi lover, this guide is for you to make all your sushi dreams come true right in the comforts of your own home!

A bowl of sushi rice

What is Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is a short-grain rice that has been seasoned with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Traditionally, sushi rice is made from Japanese short-grain rice, such as Japonica or Calrose rice, which has a high starch content that contributes to its stickiness.

Sushi rice is used to make sushi rolls (such as California roll, shrimp tempura rolls, spicy tuna rolls), poke bowls or sushi bowls, and sushi bake.

Types of Rice to Use

When it comes to making sushi rice, using the right type of rice is crucial for achieving the desired texture and flavor.

Japanese short-grain rice, such as Koshihikari or Calrose rice, is the preferred choice due to its sticky consistency and ability to hold together well.

These varieties have a higher starch content compared to long-grain rice, which results in the characteristic chewy texture essential for sushi rice.

In a pinch, medium grain rice can be used as well. Avoid using long grain rice. Jasmine rice, basmati rice are considered long grain rice.

You can get short-grain and medium grain rice in most regular grocery stores, Asian grocery stores or online. They are sometimes labelled ‘sushi rice’, ‘short-grain rice’, ‘calrose rice’.

How to make sushi rice

Wash Rice

Always start by rinsing the rice under cold water until the water runs clear to remove excess starch.

Cooking Sushi Rice on Stovetop

Cooking sushi rice on the stovetop is a simple method that requires little investment in additional equipments and yields excellent results with a bit of practice.

Then, add water and rice to a pot. When cooking rice on the stovetop, I typically do a 2:2.5 ratio of rice to water. So if we are cooking 2 cups of rice, we will be adding 2 1/2 cups of water.

Let rice soak in water for 30 minutes.

Then heat pot on stovetop until it comes to a boil.

Cooking short grain rice with water on stovetop

Once water is boiling, reduce the heat to low (to avoid burning the bottom of the pot), cover with a light lid (this is important to cook the rice well!), and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Avoid opening the cover until the 15 minutes time frame is up.

Fluffing sushi rice with a wooden spoon in a pot on stovetop

Cooking Sushi Rice Using the Rice Cooker

Using a rice cooker is perhaps the most convenient method for cooking sushi rice, as it requires minimal effort and produces consistent results.

After rinsing the rice, add water according to the rice cooker’s instructions, or do a 2:2.25 ratio of rice to water. So for every 2 cups of rice, use 2 1/4 cup of water.

Let rice soak in water for 30 minutes.

Cooking rice in a rice cooker

Select the appropriate setting and start the cooking cycle. Depending on the type of rice cooker used, you may be able to select a sushi rice setting to cook your sushi rice.

Cooked sushi rice in rice cooker

One of the most trusted and popular rice cooker is the Zojirushi rice cooker, a classic Japanese brand of rice cookers.

This is the rice cooker I have and it has a ‘sushi rice’ setting which cooks the sushi rice perfectly every time.

Seasoning Sushi Rice

When sushi rice is cooked, transfer to a separate bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Then add rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and salt to rice. Fold to combine to season rice.

Seasoning sushi rice in a bowl

Alternatively, you can find ‘sushi vinegar‘ sold in some stores. Sushi vinegar is basically vinegar that is already combined with seasonings such as salt and sugar that can be used to season sushi rice.

You will not need to add additional salt and sugar to season sushi rice if you are using sushi vinegar.

Using Sushi Rice

Sushi rice is used to make all types of sushi rolls, nigiri, sushi bowls, poke bowls, sushi bake…the list goes on! Pssst: and they are all delicious!

If sushi rice will be rolled in nori/seaweed, make sure to let it sit and cool for another 15 minutes or so before handling it.

This will make it easier to handle the sushi rice when rolling them with your hands, and to prevent nori/seaweed from becoming soggy.

Storage and Reheating

Storage: store cooked sushi rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To freeze, store in air tight container for up to 2 months.

Reheating: to reheat, drizzle a few drops of water onto sushi rice, and reheat in the microwave until it is heated through.

A big bowl of sushi rice

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to use kombu?

Kombu is a type of seaweed with strong umami flavors. You can place a piece of kombu in the water when cooking the rice. This is a traditional method of cooking sushi rice, but because kombu cannot be found in most grocery stores, you can omit it.

Can I use glutinous rice or jasmine/basmati rice?

No. It will not taste the same as sushi rice. You will need a short grain rice to make sushi rice. Glutinous rice and Jasmine/basmati rice are not the same as short grain rice. Glutinous rice needs to be steamed, not boiled in water; jasmine/basmati rice is a long grain rice, and will not have the same sticky texture as long grain rice.

Can I freeze cooked sushi rice?

Yes, you can freeze leftover sushi rice for up to 2 months. Place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag, making sure to remove any excess air before sealing. Thaw the rice in the refrigerator overnight before reheating using instructions above.

A bowl of sushi short grain rice

How to make sushi rice

Comprehensive and step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect sushi rice every time. Sushi rice is a classic dish in Japanese cuisine, and is sticky, chewy and perfectly seasoned.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: asian, Japanese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Soak time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 256kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 2 cups short-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Stovetop Method

  • Wash rice: In a large bowl, add water to rice to wash it. Water should be cloudy initially. Use your hand to swirl the rice around for a few seconds, and then drain water. Repeat this process until the water becomes clear.
  • Bring rice along with 2 1/2 cups of water to pot. Soak rice for 30 minutes.
  • Heat rice and water in the pot under medium heat. Once it starts boiling, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-17 minutes.
  • Once rice is cooked, open lid and fluff rice using a spoon.
  • Let rice sit for 10 minutes, then add rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Fold to combine.

Rice Cooker Method

  • Wash rice: Bring rice and water to the bowl in the rice cooker. Water should be cloudy initially. Use your hand to swirl the rice around for a few seconds, and then drain water. Repeat this process until the water becomes clear.
  • Add 2 1/4 cups of water to bowl with rice. Soak rice for 30 minutes.
  • Cook using settings in the rice cooker.
  • Once rice is cooked, open lid and fluff rice using a spoon.
  • Let rice sit for 10 minutes, then add rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Fold to combine.


Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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