Sushi Rice
Recipes > Dinner > Side Dishes > Sushi Rice

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Recipe Checklist:
  • 2 C Medium Grain Sushi Rice
  • 3 C Distilled Water
  • ¼ C Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 T Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ C Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t Kosher Salt
Tools & Equipment
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Medium Saucepan or Rice Cooker
  • Wooden Mixing Spoon or Shamoji
  • Wooden Mixing Bowl or Sushi-Oke
5 cups
+ -



Before we begin the Preparation, the Second of Smart Kitchen’s 4 Levers of Cooking,™ let’s talk about the Rice choice a second before we prep it. We are calling for a Medium Grain White Sushi Rice (Minute Rice and Converted Rice won’t work well here) because it is a stickier type of Rice than a regular Long Grain White Rice. Some chefs suggest using a Short Grain Glutinous Rice, which is a true Sticky Rice, for Sushi Making. We don’t because we find the Glutinous Rice to be too sticky, with the grains becoming clumped together. We prefer Glutinous Rice for desserts.

The choice of water is also important. We call for Distilled Water because it removes all impurities and even the hardness from hard water. Distilled Water is sold at most grocery stores. If you can’t find Distilled Water the next best choice will be Filtered Water.

With the Rice and water choices covered, our only real prep for Sushi Rice is to rinse the Rice before use.

To rinse, place the Sushi Rice in a large Mixing Bowl and wash it with cold Water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the Medium Grain Sushi Rice in a Colander or Fine Mesh Strainer and set aside for 30 minutes to dry.


With the Rice rinsed, it is time to start cooking. Our preferred method for cooking Sushi Rice is with a Rice Cooker, but we realize that not every kitchen has one. We will give the directions for working with a Rice Cooker first and then offer an alternative version working with a medium-sized Saucepan.  Both versions will do well if the rinsed Sushi Rice is pre-soaked in the distilled cooking water for at least 30 minutes before being introduced to the heat to avoid any chance of the Starch in the Rice Grains bursting.

For the Rice Cooker, place the rinsed and soaked Sushi Rice into the device and start it. The red light (or similar alert) will turn on when the Rice Cooker is hot enough and actually cooking. Let the Rice Steam in the Rice Cooker for about 20-30 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Once all of the water is absorbed and the Rice tastes ready (soft but firm), shut off the Rice Cooker. Let the Sushi Rice Rest for another 10-15 minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle, and then it is ready for use.

Alternatively, we can cook Sushi Rice on the stovetop. Combine the water and the Sushi Rice in a medium-sized Saucepan. Let it soak for about 30 minutes before bringing it to a Boil using High Heat. Once it is Boiling, reduce the cooking heat to Low Heat and let the Sushi Rice Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes when the water should be absorbed and the Sushi Rice should be soft but firm. Once it is cooked, turn off the heat and let it Rest until it is cool enough to handle. It is ready for use.

While the Sushi Rice is resting from either method above, place a second small Saucepan over Medium Heat. Pour in the Rice Wine Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, and Granulated Sugar to make the Sushi Vinegar (sushi-zu) which is actually an Asian-Style Gastrique.

Simmer these ingredients together until the Granulated Sugar has dissolved and the Rice Wine Vinegar aroma has been cooked out. This will take approximately 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Next we are going to combine the cooked Sushi Rice with the Sushi Vinegar/Gastrique. Place the Sushi Rice into a medium Mixing Bowl. Non-metallic bowls are best to avoid any interaction with the Rice Vinegar. The Japanese use a wooden bowl called a Sushi-Oke.

Slowly pour in the Sushi Vinegar gently fold it into the Sushi Rice using a Wooden Spoon or a Shamoji (a Japanese Rice Spatula). Be mindful not to smash the Sushi Rice. Once the Sushi Vinegar has been evenly incorporated, the Sushi Rice is ready for service. It is best to use cooked Sushi Rice as soon as possible.

Sushi Rice should be made a few hours (1-3) before use. It does not hold well and won’t be very good after an extended refrigeration.