How To Make Sushi Rice + Seasoning

This simple sushi rice recipe will show you how to make this classic dish using an Instant Pot and on the stovetop, as well as how to create the perfect sushi seasoning using just a few pantry ingredients.

Two bowls of sushi rice

Versatile, flavorsome, and surprisingly simple to make, this Japanese-inspired rice recipe is a fantastic base for sushi, as well as a whole host of Asian and Polynesian dishes. In my opinion, the perfect sushi rice strikes a balance between sticky and firm. You want your rice to be fluffy and ever so slightly chewy, but never gloopy. Your seasoning should provide a kick of seasoning, without losing its delicate natural flavor.  This step-by-step guide will show you how to make sushi rice the easy way, using two popular cooking methods.

Sushi Rice Ingredients

You will need the same basic ingredients whether you use the Instant Pot or stovetop method. 

Short-Grain White Rice

Hand holding washed sushi rice

The majority of sushi is made with short-grain white rice, often referred to as “ordinary Japanese rice”. Short-grain rice is characterized by its plump, pearl-shaped grains, which stick together when cooked. It contains a higher level of moisture than regular long-grain rice, making it perfect for rolling and shaping. 

Thanks to the rising popularity of sushi, short-grain rice is readily available in most grocery stores. Often it is simply labeled “sushi rice”. My go-to brand is Nishiki – they have just introduced a new milling process which cuts out the need to wash the rice before cooking. Check the package instructions (for the brand you’re using), to determine if washing is required. I’ve included rice washing instructions in step one below.

Sushi Seasoning

ingredients to make sushi rice seasoning

Sushi rice seasoning should be a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour. My recipe is super simple and calls for just three ingredients: 

  • Rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt

Stovetop method: Place the ingredients into the small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved.

Microwave: Place the ingredients into a small bowl (or a mug) and heat in the microwave for  1.5-2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. If your microwave is particularly hot then play it safe by heating for one minute, removing and stirring, then returning for an additional 30 seconds until the sugar has dissolved.

A Note On Rice to Water Ratio

Although most sushi rice recipes use short-grain rice, you will need to use different amounts of water for Instant Pot versus stovetop methods.

If you cook your sushi rice in an Instant Pot, you should use a rice to water ratio of 50:50.

If you cook your sushi rice on the stovetop, you should use a rice to water ratio of 30:70.

How to Make Sushi Rice in an Instant Pot

Bowl of sushi rice cooked in the instant pot
  1. If required, wash your sushi rice. Place the rice into a deep pot and cover with cold water. Swish the rice around until the water goes cloudy, then drain out as much water as possible. Keep repeating this process until the water is completely clear. This normally takes about 3-4 rinses.
  2. Tip your washed rice into the Instant Pot container, along with clean water.
  3. Lock the lid into place and turn the valve to sealing.  Select the high-pressure option and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.
  4. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, before manually releasing any remaining pressure and removing the lid.  

Tip: Save the water used to rinse the rice and feed it to your plants!

How to Make Sushi Rice on the Stovetop

Bowl of sushi rice cooked in the instant pot
  1. If required, wash your sushi rice. Place the rice into a deep pot and cover with cold water. Swish the rice around until the water goes cloudy, then drain out as much water as possible. Keep repeating this process until the water is completely clear. This normally takes about 3-4 rinses.
  2. Tip your washed rice into a pot, along with clean water.
  3. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to low heat to simmer.
  4. Keep over the heat until all the water has been absorbed, which should take around 20 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow to cool. 

How to Assemble

Photo showing pouring sushi rice seasoning into cooked sushi rice

Once your rice and seasoning are ready, it’s time to begin assembling your sushi rice! Pour the seasoning over your warm rice, and stir carefully until they are well combined. Take this step slowly to avoid mashing your grains – you want to keep your sushi rice intact. 

At first, your mixture may seem too wet, but don’t worry! It takes a couple of minutes for the sushi rice to absorb the seasoning. 

Spoon of cooked sushi rice

Serving Suggestions

As I mentioned at the start of the post, there are countless ways to enjoy this sushi rice recipe. The most obvious choice is to roll it into healthy veggie sushi.

You could also get creative making vegan sashimi or onigiri, or even turn your sushi rice into a sushi burrito fusion. Whichever way you choose to serve your rice make sure you allow it to cool first, as this is when it holds its shape best. 

Thanks for checking out this Sushi Rice post! If you try it, please let us know what you think with a comment and rating. Every bit of feedback helps make The Plant Riot even better!

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Bowl filled with sushi rice

How To Make Sushi Rice | Stovetop + Instant Pot


  • Author: Rachel Steenland | The Plant Riot
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes + venting/cooling
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Delicious + simple sushi rice recipe with classic sushi seasoning | Instant pot and stovetop cooking instructions, tips and tricks!


Ingredients

Scale

Sushi rice – Instant Pot

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 cup water

Sushi rice – Stovetop

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 1/4 cup water

Sushi rice seasoning

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Wash and drain sushi rice: Place the rice into a deep pot and cover with cold water. Swish the rice around until the water goes cloudy, then drain out as much water as possible. Keep repeating this process until the water is completely clear. This normally takes about 3-4 rinses.
  2. Cook sushi rice according to desired method:
    • Instant Pot: Place washed and drained sushi rice into the Instant Pot, add water. Cover with lid and move handle to sealing. Select the ‘rice’ setting and cook for 12 minutes. Once cooked, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then flip the steam release handle to venting to release the remaining pressure before removing the lid. Remove lid and fluff cooked sushi rice with a fork.
    • Stovetop: Place washed and drained sushi rice into a medium size pot, add water, and cover with lid. Bring contents to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool (with the lid on) for 10  minutes. Remove lid and fluff cooked sushi rice with a fork.
  3. Prepare the sushi rice seasoning.
    • StovetopPlace the ingredients into the small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved.
    • MicrowavePlace the ingredients into a small bowl (or a mug) and heat in the microwave for  1.5-2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. If your microwave is particularly hot then play it safe by heating for one minute, removing and stirring, then returning for an additional 30 seconds until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Pour sushi rice seasoning over the cooked rice and carefully stir through. Being careful to not break up the rice and turn it to mush.

Use sushi rice while warm (for sushi bowls) or cool for an hour before making sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri.

Notes

  • Store cooked sushi rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze portions for later use.

Keywords: how to cook sushi rice


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