Sushi rice is called sumeshi in Japanese. It is essential to making sushi, and contrary to what you may think, it is not just plain white rice that is used. It is cooked and then seasoned to have a tangy sweet taste.

How to Make Perfect Sushi Rice

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  • 2 cups sushi rice (short grain)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp herbamare or salt (You can use more if you wish, but you’re going to dip the sushi in soy sauce anyways which is very salty)
Tools needed
  • Fine mesh strainer or sieve
  • Rice paddle or wooden spoon
  • Large Wooden/Glass/Ceramic/Plastic bowl (not metal)


  1. Measure out 2 cups dried sushi rice (short grain white or brown rice. It must be short grain!) You can double if desired, but this will make enough sushi for at least 4 large rolls and a small roll or two. Enough for 2 adults for dinner, or two single lunches.
  2. Rinse your rice through a fine metal sieve until the water runs clear, OR soak in a large bowl of water and mix around by hand to get the excess starch off. Rinse and soak a few times until the water is clearer. This is important and will make your rice turn out better.
  3. (Optional) Let your rice soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Place rice and 2 cups water into rice cooker or pot. (If using more rice, always use a 1:1 (same) ratio of rice and water)
  5. Rinsed sushi rice in rice cooker
  6. Rice cooker instructions: Set the white rice program and let it cook. My favourite rice cooker is my Zojirushi 5 1/2 cup rice cooker because it has settings for white rice, brown rice, mixed rice, porridge and cake. Yes you can even cook cake in this rice cooker! It’s wicked. Check it out. If fancy rice cookers aren’t of any use to you, check out this Hamilton Beach rice cooker (for $45 with free shipping) I use frequently when cooking at my mom’s house. It’s great too for basic rice and has never overcooked or burned the rice. I used to use those $10 rice cookers with just an on off button, but often times they would turn off before the rice was done, overheat and cause overcooked or crusty rice. If cooking for a family, I highly suggest getting a decent rice cooker to free you up from the stove and the guesswork of making perfect rice. When the rice is done cooking and the buzzer goes off, leave the rice for 10 minutes to let steam. Don’t open it and don’t touch it.
  7. Stove top instructions: In a pot, place the rinsed rice and equal parts of water and bring to a boil. Stir the rice occasionally to prevent any grains from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to medium low, cover with a lid and steam. Do NOT open the lid until the rice is done steaming. You will lose your moisture and heat and jeopardize your rice being cooked evenly. Use a clear glass lid if you can. The rice is done cooking when the water disappears, this happens between 8 and 10 minutes depending on the type of stove you have. Remove the rice from heat.
  8. Measure 3 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp granulated sugar and 1 tsp herbamare or salt. You can use more salt if you want, but really its not necessary if you’re going to be dipping your sushi in soy sauce which is super salty anyway.
  9. Make sushi vinegar. Heat a small pot (not metal) over medium heat and add vinegar, sugar and herbamare (or salt). Stir.
  10. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in pot.
  11. When it is bubbling and everything is dissolved remove from heat and let cool.
  12. Remove rice from pot or rice cooker with a wooden spoon or that plastic rice scoop you have. You basically want to scrape the bottom and dump the rice in 1 or 2 strokes so that you don’t damage the sushi rice too much and mash it. Pour it out into a wooden, glass or plastic bowl. If you put it in a metal mixing bowl, you risk the chance of ruining the flavour when pouring vinegar on it and it reacting with the metal. Don’t do it. Only scoop out perfectly cooked rice, if any is stuck or undercooked, leave it in the pot.
  13. Gently cut into sushi rice with paddle to break up.
  14. Season sushi rice by drizzling sushi vinegar evenly across rice. Cut into rice gently again to combine and spread out the seasoning.
  15. Let your perfect sushi rice cool off before making sushi. If it’s too warm it can stick to the sushi mat and be hard to work with. Now you are ready to prep your veggies or filling for sushi rolls!

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