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Sushi Rice

Sushi Rice Recipe

Updated on 11 Jan 2021. 

Sushi (すし、寿司) is a Japanese dish made up of cooked vinegared rice which is commonly topped with other ingredients or put into rolls.

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With the base sushi rice (酢飯) recipe, you can make all types of sushi such as nigiri zushi,  maki zushi, inari zushi and temaki. For fellow sushi lovers, here’s a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to cook sushi rice. This will be the base rice recipe for all sushi recipes.


How to Cook Sushi Rice

Measure the rice. Use short-grain white rice.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

Rinse the rice in a few changes of water until the water runs less cloudy (skip this step if you are using pre-washed rice). Drain the rice in a colander for roughly 30 minutes. Draining the rice is believed to improve the texture and appearance of the cooked rice, but I skip this step most of the time.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

Measure and add water for cooking the rice (1 cup rice: 1 1/4 cup water). My rice cooker is a Japanese brand so the pot came with its own water marking for sushi rice. Also, there is a mode to schedule the completed cooking time of the rice, so I take this chance to soak the rice for about 1-2 hours before it starts cooking. Optional – add a piece of kelp/konbu (make cuts all over; pictured above) and sake for additional flavour. Cook the rice using a rice cooker or simmer over the stove top.

Japanese Sushi Vinegar

While waiting for the rice to cook, prepare vinegar mixture by mixing rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small, non-aluminum saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. You may also use a microwave oven and heat using low power for about a minute. Alternatively, use ready-made seasoned rice vinegar which has already been mixed with sugar & salt, and can be used straight from the bottle.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

When the rice is cooked, discard the piece of kelp.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

Transfer the cooked rice (while it is still hot) to a hangiri or any wide bowl. Pour prepared vinegar mixture over the rice. Stir the rice (gentle slicing action) using a rice paddle with one hand, while fanning the rice with a paper fan on the other hand. Do so until the rice has cooled to room temperature. Fanning the rice gets rid of excess moisture and gives the rice grains a glossy look.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

It is difficult for me to coordinate everything with only 2 hands (fanning, stirring & photographing), so I mounted a portable fan along the side of my kitchen cabinet to automate the fanning process.

How to Cook Sushi Rice

Cover the bowl of rice with a damp slotted cloth (dim sum cloth is perfect for this role) to keep the rice fresh and moist. Use the rice as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours. Wrap leftovers in cling wrap before refrigerating.

Making sushi (nigiri)

Your sushi rice is now ready to be used for making all kinds of Japanese sushi.

38 comments on “Sushi Rice”

  1. I really love this! I can eat sushi rice, without any other stuff. The rice is really tasty! May I know what kind of rice cooker are you using?

  2. Hi I have never attempted making sushi and would like to give a try tonight. By the way how do I defrost the fish roe (Tobiko) and to use it for my sushi please. Thanks

    • Hi Ag, good luck and hope your sushi rice is a success. I usually buy frozen fish roe too; to defrost, I transfer the fish roe from the freezer to the chiller just before bed time and I find that the fish roe will be thawed by the next day and still stay chilled.

  3. I noticed that you said if the rice is refrigerated it will turn hard and dry…Is there any way to save some of the rice or do I have to use it all immediately?

    • Hi, I do not know of a good way of keeping the rice refrigerated without compromising on the quality. I usually cook enough to last one day, and cover the leftovers with a damp dim sum cloth to be used throughout the day.

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  5. Thank you! I love sushi but no way for me to get it right, I hope this time I get it

  6. How much vinegar?

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  8. The “cup” of rice referring to is the rice cooker cup or regular cup on the measuring cup? Thanks!

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