How to Cook Sushi Rice in A Pot

Sushi rice, often referred to as shari or sushi, is essential to sushi. It is known for its distinct sticky and slightly sweet texture, providing the perfect base for various sushi rolls and nigiri types. Cooking sushi rice in a pot is straightforward and yields the desired stickiness and flavor. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to make sushi rice in a pot so you can create delicious sushi dishes at home.


  • Sushi rice (short-grain or medium-grain)
  • Water
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt


  • A fine-mesh strainer
  • A large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • A wooden rice paddle or spatula
  • A non-metallic bowl (for seasoning the rice)


Measure the Sushi Rice

Determine the amount of sushi rice you want to cook. You can adjust the quantity based on your needs, but we’ll use 2 cups of sushi rice as an example for this guide.

Rinse the Sushi Rice

Place the sushi rice in a fine-mesh strainer or sieve.
Rinse the rice under cold running water while gently agitating it with your fingers. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Rinsing removes excess starch from the rice, which can contribute to stickiness.

Soak the Sushi Rice

Soaking the rice is crucial to ensure the grains cook evenly and absorb the seasoning. After rinsing, place the sushi rice in a non-metallic bowl.

Add enough cold water to cover the rice by about an inch. Allow the rice to soak for 30 minutes.

Drain the Sushi Rice

After the soaking time, drain the soaked sushi rice thoroughly in the fine-mesh strainer. Be sure to remove all excess water.

Cook the Sushi Rice

Add the drained sushi rice and water to a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid. The general ratio for sushi rice is 1.1 to 1, meaning 1.1 cups of water for every 1 cup of sushi rice.

For our 2 cups of sushi rice example, you’ll need approximately 2.2 cups of water.

Bring to a Boil

Place the pot with the rice and water over high heat and boil while uncovered.
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove. Quickly cover the pot with the tight-fitting lid.

Simmer and Steam

Allow the sushi rice to simmer gently for approximately 15-20 minutes. This time can vary depending on your stove and the specific type of sushi rice, so it’s best to consult the packaging instructions for more precise cooking times.

Do not lift the lid during this time, as it will release steam and disrupt the cooking process.

Turn Off the Heat and Let It Rest

After the recommended cooking time, turn off the heat completely, but keep the pot covered.
Allow the sushi rice to rest for an additional 10-15 minutes. This resting period allows the rice to steam and finish cooking evenly.

Prepare the Sushi Rice Seasoning

While the rice is resting, you can prepare the sushi rice seasoning. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve. Do not boil the seasoning; you only need to warm it.

Combine and Season the Sushi Rice

Once the sushi rice has completed its resting period, transfer it to a large, non-metallic bowl.
Drizzle the warm sushi rice seasoning over the rice while gently folding and mixing it using a wooden rice paddle or spatula. Mix until the rice is evenly coated and has cooled to room temperature.

Use the Sushi Rice

Your perfectly cooked and seasoned sushi rice can be used in your favorite sushi rolls, nigiri, or other sushi dishes.

Tips for Perfect Sushi Rice

Use a heavy-bottomed pot with a well-fitting lid to maintain consistent heat and trap steam effectively.
Be precise with the water-to-rice ratio to achieve the desired texture.

Soaking the rice before cooking is crucial for even cooking and proper seasoning absorption.
Avoid lifting the lid during cooking and resting to prevent the escape of steam, which can lead to unevenly cooked rice.

Use a wooden rice paddle or spatula for mixing and folding the seasoning into the rice, as metal utensils can affect the rice’s texture.


Cooking sushi rice in a pot is a straightforward process that involves rinsing, soaking, precise cooking, and proper seasoning. Following these steps and tips, you can create perfectly cooked sushi rice with the ideal stickiness and flavor, allowing you to craft delicious dishes at home.

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