Sushi Rice Recipe

Some of my friends think it’s super fancy that I make sushi rice all the time.  Like most of the things I do that people think are super fancy, sushi rice is not.  I make it all the time in lots of things!  There’s sushi, for one.  Also, sushi rice bowls,  Thai beef, and lots of other yummy things.

Sushi rice is particular.  It’s not difficult.  But there is a way to make it correctly and a way to make yourself a big pot of goop.  So I hope this recipe demystifies sushi rice, and allows you to make all your rice hopes and dreams come true.

Sushi rice is sometimes called glutenous rice.  Don’t worry fellow celiacs – there’s no gluten.  It’s called that because it is really sticky.  On a side note, glutenous rice/sushi rice/sweet white rice (as it is also known) flour all make excellent roux (rouxes, rouxs…sorry I don’t know the plural of roux) in gluten-free sauces!


Here’s what sushi rice looks like before it’s cooked.  It’s very short and fat, and inside it lies the enemy – lots and lots of starch that must be eliminated.  If you don’t rinse away the starch, you will not make rice.  You will make solidified goop. Most of the prep of sushi rice centers around getting out the starch.

Sushi rice expands a lot less than other rices.  Don’t count on it doubling like jasmine rice.  If you want three cups of rice, use two cups or so of raw rice.

soak the rice

Step 1: Soak the rice for about an hour.
This really helps, but if you’re in a pinch you can skip it.  However, it does make a difference.  If you do skip it, you’re going to have to do the next steps a few more times.

rince the riceStep 2: Drain and Rinse the rice in a colander.
You’ll be surprised at how white the water is.  That’s the starch.

Soak and scrub

Step 3: Put the rice back in the bowl, fill up with water and scrub the rice around.
Scrubbing the rice around fills sort of like you’re exfoliating your hands.  I try not to think about this though, because that means my dead skin cells are in the rice.  Gross.

And now repeat…drain, rinse, put back in the bowl, fill with water..

Do this until the water is clear.

clear rice

Finally after four rounds of wash/rinse/repeat, the water was clear!

add water

Step 4: Put the rice in a regular-sized sauce pot.  Add water.
The general rule of thumb is to put your finger at the top of the rice and add water until the water reaches your first knuckle.  Now, if you’re super tall or super short and have proportionally large or small hands, adjust accordingly.  I’ve used this making 2 cups and 6 cups of rice and it always works, assuming you’re using a standard-sized pot.

Step 5: Cookin’ Time
Bring to a boil.  Just as soon as it comes to a boil, throw on your lid and turn the burner to low.  Let it simmer for 15 minutes.

You now have 15 free minutes of productivity.  Or not.


Step 6: Steamin’ Time
After it’s cooked and you’ve paused Netflix finished being productive, remove the pot from the heat, but don’t remove the lid.  Let the rice steam for 10 minutes.


One of the reasons sushi rice is so good is that it’s seasoned with the greatest combination of rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  You can buy seasoned rice vinegar that contains the salt and sugar.  I buy unseasoned because I use the rice vinegar in other recipes too.

I enjoy the texture of sushi rice, so I use it in Thai dishes as well as traditional Japanese dishes.  During those times, I do not add the vinegar mixture.

Mix 1/3 cup vinegar, 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp of kosher salt.  Microwave it until the salt and sugar are incorporated, about 45 seconds.

Mix the vinegar solution with the rice.


Sushi Rice Recipe
  1. 3 cups sushi rice
  2. water (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups)
  3. 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  4. 3 tbsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. Soak the rice for an hour. Drain, rinse, wash the rice. Put it back in a bowl and submerge it in water. Scrub between your fingers, drain, rinse, wash and submerge again. Do this until the water is clear.
  2. In a medium sauce pot, add rice and fill with water up to your first knuckle. Bring to a medium boil. Once boiling, immediately cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes and then remove from heat, keeping the lid on, for the rice to steam for another 10.
  3. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt together and microwave until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Mix in to rice and stir with a large spoon.
The Accidental Okie