The best Sushi Rice recipe is slightly sticky, tender, and never mushy! It’s the perfect base for restaurant worthy sushi rolls, poke bowls, sushi burritos, and more! We’ve included step-by-step instructions and tips for the stovetop, Instant Pot, or rice cooker.

Looking for more seafood recipes? Try Lobster Roll, Poke Bowl, or Easy Homemade Crab Cakes!

A wooden sushi rice bowl filled with seasoned sushi rice, ready to be used for homemade sushi.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Authentic – This recipe is courtesy of our wonderful Japanese friend, Maria, who was kind enough to have us in her home to make Sushi! We loved learning about her culture and soaking up her knowledge of of how to make sushi rice, California Rolls, spicy Tuna Rolls, Tamaki hand rolls and more.
  • Easy – Just a few simple steps and you will be making sushi rice like a pro! Make sure to follow Maria’s tips for easy sushi rice.
  • FUN! – Once you know how to make sushi rice you can enjoy sushi making nights with friends, or just impress your family by making sushi from home.

Did you know that Sushi means sour rice because the rice is seasoned with a vinegar mixture. Sushi rice is used to make sushi rolls, sushi or poki bowls, sushi burritos, sashimi and nigiri.

How to make Sushi Rice:

Wash Rice: Add rice to a fine mesh strainer and run under water in a circular motion, massaging it gently with your hands, until the water runs clear, which could take several minutes. It’s very important to wash the rice well. Drain well, gently shaking off any excess water. This is the rice that Maria uses.

Rice for sushi being washed in a fine mesh strainer with a bowl underneath.

Cook Rice on the stovetop, instant pot or in a rice cooker.

  • Stovetop: Add rice and water to a medium saucepan. Close the lid and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once water is boiling, reduce heat (keep covered) and cook for 13 minutes. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Instant Pot: Add water and rice to Instant Pot. Cook on High pressure for 4 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release.
  • Rice Cooker: Add water and rice and use white rice setting.

Fluff/Slice Rice: Use a flat plastic paddle (rice cookers often come with these), or silicone spatula, to “slice” the rice in the pot, at a 45 degree angle to fluff it.

Japanese short grain rice cooked and sitting in a Japanese rice cooker.

Make Sushi Vinegar: For the sushi rice seasoning, stir sugar, salt, and rice vinegar together. Heat the mixture for 20-30 seconds in the microwave, and then stir it, to make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Two images showing the sushi vinegar seasoning with all the ingredients added, then after with the sugar and salt dissolved in the rice vinegar.

Transfer hot rice to Bowl: Wet a wooden sushi rice bowl, or a large plastic shallow bowl with water (to help keep the rice from sticking). Dump any excess water. Add the rice and continue to “slice” the rice at a 45 degree angle to fluff it and separate the chunks of rice.

A wet wooden bowl filled with sushi rice and being sliced and cooled with a flat plastic paddle.

Add Vinegar: While the rice is hot, drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice, and continue to slice it at a 45 degree angle, while fanning it at the same time with a fan or a paper plate. This helps to cool the rice so the rice will shine and not get mushy. Stop fanning once all of the vinegar mixture is incorporated.

Sushi rice seasoning being poured on Japanese short grain rice to prepare for sushi.

Cool to Room Temperature: It’s essential to allow the rice to cool to room temperature before making sushi! If the rice touches the Nori when it’s warm, the Nori will wrinkle and shrink.

Sushi rice in a large flat wooden bowl being cooled by a Japanese fan.

Cover Rice: Once at room temp, cover sushi sticky rice with a damp towel to keep it from drying out, while you prepare your California Roll or Spicy Tuna Roll.

Sushi rice ready to be used to make sushi, covered with a damp Japanese cloth.

Pro Tips for Perfect Sushi Rice:

  • Use the right type of rice: Japanese short or medium grain for sushi is a must! It’s very sticky because it has more moisture. This is the rice that Maria uses (I found it easily at my local Asian market), and this sushi rice also gets good reviews on Amazon.
  • Wash rice! Traditional sushi rice instructs you to soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Maria skips this step as she has found it unnecessary, as long as the rice is properly rinsed very well until the water runs clear. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer, over a bowl, so you can see if the water coming through is murky or clear.
  • Make sure all water is absorbed from cooked rice before removing rice from pot. Wet or soggy rice will not work!
  • Add the vinegar mixture when the rice is HOT!
  • Slice the rice with a rice paddle at a 45 degree angle to fluff it, so it doesn’t get mushy and fan the rice (a paper plate would work!) to help it shine and cool.
  • For authentic sushi rice, add Kombu. Traditional sushi rice is cooked with kelp called kombu, because it gives it umami flavor. It has a distinctive smell and taste that not everyone loves.

Sushi Recipes:

Tools Needed:

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Recipe

A flat sushi rice bowl filled with perfect sushi rice, ready to be used.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Cooling Time 20 mins
Total 50 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Wash rice*. Add rice to a fine mesh strainer and run under water in a circular motion, to wash the rice. Wash it, massaging it gently with your hands, until the water runs clear, this will take a few minutes. (I like to place a bowl in my sink, to catch the water and be able to see if the water coming down is murky or clear). It’s very important to wash the rice well.
  • Drain well, gently shaking off any excess water.

Cook Rice:

  • Stovetop: Add water and rice to saucepan. Close the lid and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once water is boiling, reduce heat (keep covered) and cook for 13 minutes. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Instant Pot: Add water and rice to Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release.
  • Rice Cooker: Add water and rice and cook on white rice setting.
  • Make Sushi Vinegar: Meanwhile, make the rice vinegar mixture. Stir sugar, salt, and rice vinegar together. Heat the mixture for 20-30 seconds in the microwave, and then stir it, to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
  • Fluff/Slice Rice: Use a flat plastic paddle (rice cookers often come with these), or silicone spatula, to “slice” the rice in the pot, at a 45 degree angle to fluff it.
  • Wet a wooden sushi rice bowl, or a large plastic shallow bowl or container with water (to help keep the rice from sticking). (Pour off any excess water. in bowl.) Add the rice and continue to “slice” the rice at a 45 degree angle to fluff it and separate the chunks of rice.
  • Add vinegar. Fan and Fluff/Slice. While the rice is hot, drizzle the vinegar mixture over the rice, and continue to slice it at a 45 degree angle, while fanning it at the same time with a fan or use a paper plate. This helps to cool the rice so the rice will shine and doesn't get mushy. Stop fanning once all of the vinegar mixture is incorporated. Allow the rice to cool uncovered.
  • Cool to room temperature: It’s essential to allow the rice to cool to room temperature before making sushi! If the rice touches the Nori when it’s warm, the Nori will wrinkle and shrink.
  • Once at room temp, cover rice with a damp towel to keep it from drying out, while you prepare sushi.

Notes

Yield: This makes enough rice for about 6 large (full nori sheet), or 10 small sushi rolls (half of a nori sheet). 
Rice: Japanese short grain rice for sushi is a must!  Please do not use long grain or instant rice. This is the rice that Maria uses (I found it easily at my local Asian market), but this sushi rice also gets good reviews on Amazon.
Sugar: Maria uses organic cane sugar.
Rice Vinegar: You may notice “sushi vinegar” at the store, which already has salt and sugar added, but Maria prefers the taste of regular rice vinegar with sugar and salt mixed in.
Rice bowl for sushi: If you’re serious about sushi making it’s worth it to buy a wooden sushi bowl , but a large shallow plastic bowl or container will work. Make sure to wet it before using, so the rice doesn’t stick.
Pro Tips:
  • Wash rice! Traditional sushi rice instructs you to soak the rice in water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Maria skips this step as she has found it unnecessary, as long as the rice is properly rinsed very well until the water runs clear. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer, over a bowl, so you can see if the water coming through is murky or clear.
  • Make sure all water is absorbed from cooked rice before removing rice from pot. Wet or soggy rice will not work!
  • Add the vinegar mixture when the rice is HOT!
  • Slice the rice with a rice paddle at a 45 degree angle to fluff it, so it doesn’t get mushy and fan the rice (a paper plate would work!) to help it shine and cool.
  • For authentic sushi rice, add Kombu. Traditional sushi rice is cooked with kelp called kombu, because it gives it umami flavor. It has a distinctive smell and taste that not everyone loves.
Sushi Recipes:
California Rolls
Spicy Tuna Rolls

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 4gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 295mgPotassium: 43mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gCalcium: 5mgIron: 2mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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