Asian Recipes/ Japanese/ Most Popular Recipes/ Recipes/ Side Dish

How to Cook Sushi Rice – Rice Cooker, Instant Pot & Stovetop

28/11/2023

Cooking the perfect sushi rice at home has never been easier! Learn how to cook sushi rice using three easy methods – rice cooker, instant pot or stovetop. No soaking required and only 5 minutes prep.

Sushi rice in a large bowl with chopsticks.

Why We Love This

Making sushi rice at home is one of the most satisfying and helpful kitchen skills to have. Master this, and you’ll be able to whip up classic hand roll sushi, onigiri or sushi bowls in no time.

We’ve got you covered no matter what equipment you have on hand. Rice cooker? Check. Instant pot? You bet! Classic stove top? Yep. Get ready for fluffy, sticky, PERFECT sushi rice.

Related: Miso Soup / Teriyaki Tofu / Kinpira Gobo

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Layering sushi rice onto a nori sheet with rice paddle.

What is Sushi Rice?

Japanese sushi rice is a premium short grain rice, shorter and rounder than it’s basmati and jasmine counterparts. It’s also a sticky rice, making it the perfect medium to form those small bite-size sushi pieces. While Japan is known as the sushi capital of the world, sushi rice or short grain rice actually originates from China!

What You’ll Need

  • Sushi Rice – The most popular type of sushi rice is koshihikari, and this is the type we recommend. It’s now found in most supermarkets, Asian grocers or online. The short grain rice is small, and will be noticeably different from long grain rice. While there is no true substitute for sushi rice, the closest would be to use arborio rice.
  • Water – Where possible, use filtered cold water for the tastiest finish!
  • Sushi Vinegar – Also known as seasoned rice vinegar, this sweet and salty vinegar infuses with the rice and complements the flavours of fish when used in sushi. As a bonus, it also adds to the stickiness and helps the rice to hold its shape. You can easily make it at home with a ratio of 3:2:1 (3 tsp rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of salt). Lightly heat on the stove or in the microwave until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Or use store bought sushi vinegar – the most popular brand is Nakano. Look for the red cap – this is pre-seasoned with sugar and salt. The green cap is just regular rice wine vinegar.
Ingredients laid out to make sushi rice.

How to Cook Sushi Rice at Home:

In a Rice Cooker

  1. Place sushi rice into the rice cooker bowl, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain.
  2. Fill water to the 2 cup fill line in your rice cooker.
  3. Select Rice and Start. (Or the applicable buttons for your model. Button names may vary depending on your rice cooker.)

In an Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)

  1. Place sushi rice into the instant pot bowl, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain. Add the 1 cup of water to the rinsed sushi rice. Place pressure cooker lid on and make sure it is sealed correctly and the valve is closed.
  2. Cook on High Pressure – 3 minutes, then natural release steam for 10 minutes. Slow release any remaining pressure.

On the Stove (No Soaking Required)

  1. Add sushi rice to a medium saucepan, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain.
  2. Add the 1 ¼ cups of water to the rinsed sushi rice. Place over high heat and bring to a boil with the lid off.
  3. Next, cover and reduce to the lowest setting for 15 minutes. Take off heat and steam for further 10 minutes with the lid still on. Note: Do NOT remove the lid to peek at all during the cooking process, the steaming is crucial to perfect rice.
  4. Finally, remove the lid.

How to Season Sushi Rice with Vinegar

  1. Allow sushi rice to cool by transferring into a wooden bowl, non-stick wide pan or chopping board. Add 1 tbsp of sushi vinegar per cup of uncooked rice and gently fold through with a rice paddle (or wooden spoon) so you don’t break the sushi rice.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Don’t Over Stir The Rice – It’s delicate, so stir it as little as possible to avoid breaking or mushing the grains.
  • Be Quick – When rinsing your rice, be quick to avoid the rice picking up too much moisture from the water.
  • Batch It – Double or triple the recipe and remember 1 cup of uncooked sushi rice is 3 cups of cooked rice!
  • No Sieves or Colanders – When rinsing, don’t use a sieve to rinse sushi rice as it can break the grains of rice.
  • No Peeking – No matter which method, don’t lift the lid while cooking, as this will let out the steam that’s crucial to the perfect fluffy rice.
  • Sushi Vinegar Amounts – Start at 1 tbsp of sushi vinegar per 1 cup of uncooked rice, then move up to the recommended 2 tbsp. Allow the vinegar to absorb into the rice, and the flavours to mellow. It will lose the intense vinegar flavour over time.
  • Serve With – Sushi rice is great served alongside nikujaga, miso soup and okonomiyaki! You can also use leftover sushi rice in zosui rice soup!

FAQs

What’s the difference between a regular cup and a rice cooker cup measure?

A regular measuring cup holds 200g / 7oz of uncooked rice, whereas a rice cooker measuring cup is smaller and holds only 140g / 5oz of sushi rice. Make sure you account for the difference depending on which cooking method you use for your sushi rice.

Can I freeze sushi rice?

While it’s best enjoyed on the day of cooking, it’s also fine to freeze sushi rice. Allow it to fully cool down first, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Why did my sushi rice turn out mushy?

There are a few reasons why your sushi rice can turn out mushy. Here’s the most common causes:
– Not all the rinsing water was discarded.
– You added too much water.
– You might have opened the lid while cooking (remember – no peeking!). Or you didn’t have enough steam or pressure (if using instant pot) to cook the sushi rice through evenly and evaporate the water content.

Bowl of sushi rice with pot in background on blue material.

Types of Sushi Rice Cookers and Equipment

Rice Cookers

These are the easiest way to cook your rice. They come with their own rice measure cups and fill lines, and a simple start button, so you’ll cook the perfect amount every time. You can also use a rice cooker to make sekihan (Japanese red bean sticky rice).

T-Fal Rice and Multicooker

This what we use at home. It always cooks the rice to perfection, and it doubles as a multicooker so you don’t have to use it for just rice!

Tiger Rice Cookers

While Zojirushi is a popular brand in Japan, Tiger Rice Cookers are our fave, and what we use while we’re in Japan. Both our Osaka-mums – Yoshiko and Rieko – have Tiger rice cookers, and we find them so easy to use!

Instant Pot (Pressure Cookers)

Instant Pots are great for cooking rice, if you want a cooker that has multiple functions other than just rice. That way you cut down on the amount of appliances in the kitchen.

Ninja Foodi

Ninja Foodi is the brand of pressure multicooker we use at home. We love this as it comes with two lids so it doubles as an air-fryer, among quite a few other modes.

Instant Pot Duo

The Instant Pot Duo is one of the most popular pressure cookers on the market, with the Duo a little cheaper than it’s higher end models. We haven’t used one ourselves, but know they’re a reputable brand of pressure cookers.

Stovetop Saucepans

Most non-stick saucepans with a fitted lid will work well for cooking rice on the stove. We use Japanese style saucepans similar to the below, known as Yukihira or hammered style saucepan with wooden handles. These are great as the handles never get hot, and it doesn’t use plastic.

For Seasoning the Sushi Rice

The last two pieces of equipment to get that sushi rice just right – hangiri and shamoji – otherwise known as a wooden rice container and rice paddle. If you can’t source them, a wide pan and wooden spoon work great as alternatives.

The wooden sushi bowl is known as hangiri and the wooden rice paddle is known as shamoji.

Ready to add some colour and flavour to your sushi rice? Make these with it:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Bowl of fluffy white sushi rice made in the instant pot.

How to Cook Sushi Rice – Rice Cooker, Instant Pot & Stovetop

Cooking the perfect sushi rice at home has never been easier! Learn how to cook sushi rice using three easy methods – rice cooker, instant pot or stovetop. No soaking required and only 5 minutes prep.
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rest and Steaming Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Course: Basics, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 3 cups cooked rice
Calories: 917kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Rice Cooker Ingredients

  • 2 cups sushi rice 280g / 10 oz, IMPORTANT: Uses smaller rice cup measure that comes with cooker.
  • water filled to 2 cup fill line
  • 2 tbsp sushi vinegar store bought or homemade from 3:2:1 rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt

Instant Pot Ingredients

  • 1 cup sushi rice 200g / 7oz
  • 1 cup water 250ml / 8.5oz
  • 1 tbsp sushi vinegar store bought or homemade from 3:2:1 rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt

Stove Top Ingredients – No Soaking Required, Absorption Method

  • 1 cup sushi rice 200g / 7oz
  • 1 ¼ cups water 312ml / 10.5oz
  • 1 tbsp sushi vinegar store bought or homemade from 3:2:1 rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt

Instructions

Rice Cooker Method

  • Place sushi rice into the rice cooker bowl, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain.
    2 cups sushi rice
  • Fill water to the 2 cup fill line in your rice cooker.
    water
  • Select Rice and Start. (Or the applicable buttons for your model. Button names may vary depending on your rice cooker.)

Instant Pot Method

  • Place sushi rice into the instant pot bowl, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain.
    1 cup sushi rice
  • Add the 1 cup of water to the rinsed sushi rice. Place pressure cooker lid on and make sure it is sealed correctly and the valve is closed.
    1 cup water
  • Cook on High Pressure – 3 minutes, then natural release steam for 10 minutes. Slow release any remaining pressure.

Stove Top Method

  • Add sushi rice to a medium saucepan, cover with water and rinse 2-3 times using your hands until water is more translucent (doesn’t have to be clear). Drain.
    1 cup sushi rice
  • Add the 1 ¼ cups of water to the rinsed sushi rice. Place over high heat and bring to a boil with the lid off.
    1 ¼ cups water
  • Next, cover and reduce to the lowest setting for 15 minutes. Take off heat and steam for further 10 minutes with the lid still on. Note: Do NOT remove the lid to peek at all during the cooking process, the steaming is crucial to perfect rice.
  • Finally, remove the lid.

To Season the Sushi Rice

  • Allow sushi rice to cool by transferring into a wooden bowl, non-stick wide pan or chopping board.
  • Add 1 tbsp of sushi vinegar per cup of uncooked rice and gently fold through with a rice paddle (or wooden spoon) so you don’t break the sushi rice.
    2 tbsp sushi vinegar

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t Over Stir Your Rice – it’s delicate so mix it as little as possible.
  • Be Quick – When rinsing your rice, be quick to avoid the rice picking up too much moisture from the water.
  • Batch It – Double or triple the recipe and remember 1 cup of uncooked sushi rice is 3 cups of cooked rice!
  • No Sieves or Colanders – When rinsing, don’t use a sieve to rinse sushi rice as it can break the grains of rice.
  • No Peeking – Don’t lift the lid if using stove top method, as this will let out the steam that’s crucial to the cooking.
  • Sushi Vinegar Amounts – Start at 1 tbsp of sushi vinegar per 1 cup of uncooked rice, then move up to the recommended 2 tbsp. Allow vinegar to absorb into the rice, and the flavours to mellow. It will lose the intense vinegar flavour over time.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Sushi Rice – Rice Cooker, Instant Pot & Stovetop
Amount per Serving
Calories
917
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Sodium
 
27
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
190
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
201
g
67
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
17
g
34
%
Calcium
 
34
mg
3
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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How to Cook Sushi Rice - Rice Cooker, Instant Pot & Stovetop

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Stef
    20/03/2022 at 9:09 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Wandercooks, this is by far the best sushi rice recipe from what I have seen. Also a good explanation given. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      24/03/2022 at 8:06 pm

      Cheers Stef! So glad you found it helpful. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mandy
    20/01/2022 at 11:32 am

    In the recipe for the different cooking methods you say 2 cups if rice weighs 280 grams/10 oz. But then 1 cup of rice weighs 100 grams/7 oz…. I’m horrible at math and love to weigh my ingredients, but that seems super confusing to me.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      20/01/2022 at 12:39 pm

      Hey Mandy, we mention an important note next to those 2 cups of rice for the rice cooker method – that weight is for a SMALLER cup size that comes with the rice cooker itself. It is not a standard cup size, and only used with the rice cooker, not if you’re making it on the stove top or instant pot. So 1 Rice Cooker cup is 140g, and 1 Standard Cup is 200g. This is why it doesn’t match the others, and I know it is a little confusing, but I hope that makes more sense now. If you have a rice cooker that didn’t come with the smaller measuring cup – you can then weigh it as per the grams or ounces for that method only. Let me know if you have any more questions, always happy to help!

  • Reply
    John
    20/01/2022 at 5:32 am

    Why is there no mention of how much salt and sugar, to add to vinegar solution?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      20/01/2022 at 9:12 am

      Hey John, it’s quite common to buy the sushi vinegar already made up with the salt and sugar content. We mentioned you can easily make it at home with a ratio of 3:2:1. 3 tsp of rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar in a pinch), 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of salt, lightly heated on the stove or in the microwave until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Then use as normal for the recipe. If you want to make a larger batch for lots of rice, just increase the amounts with the same ratio, eg, 1 cup rice wine vinegar, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup of salt. I hope this helps and enjoy your sushi! 🙂

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