How to Cook Sushi Rice in Rice Cooker

Cooking sushi rice in a rice cooker is a convenient and reliable way to achieve the perfect texture and stickiness required for making delicious sushi rolls and other Japanese dishes. Sushi rice, also known as shari or sumeshi, is a crucial component of sushi, and its preparation requires some specific steps to get it just right. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of cooking sushi rice in a rice cooker, step by step, to ensure that your rice turns out exactly as it should.

Ingredients and Equipment

Before you begin, gather the following ingredients and equipment:



  • Rice cooker
  • Wooden or plastic rice paddle
  • Large wooden or glass mixing bowl
  • A clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how to cook sushi rice in a rice cooker:

Measure the Rice

Measure the desired amount of sushi rice using a measuring cup. The standard serving size for sushi rice is typically around 1 cup of uncooked rice per person.

Rinse the Rice

Rinse the sushi rice under cold running water in a fine-mesh strainer or fine sieve. Gently stir the rice with your fingers while rinsing until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch, which can make the rice too sticky.

Cook the Rice

Place the rinsed sushi rice in the rice cooker’s inner cooking pot.

Add the appropriate amount of Water based on the rice cooker’s water-to-rice ratio instructions. For sushi rice, the ratio is usually 1:1. This means you’ll use an equal amount of Water as the amount of rice you measured in Step 1.

Start the rice cooker and let it do its job. When the rice is done cooking, it will automatically switch to the “Keep Warm” mode.

Prepare the Seasoned Vinegar Mixture

While the rice is cooking, prepare the seasoned vinegar mixture. In a small saucepan, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of salt

Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring continuously until the sugar and salt completely dissolve. Do not let it come to a boil.

Once dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the seasoned vinegar mixture cool to room temperature.

Mixing and Seasoning the Rice

When the rice cooker completes its cycle, leave the rice undisturbed for about 10 minutes to allow it to steam and settle.

After 10 minutes, transfer the cooked sushi rice to a large wooden or glass mixing bowl. A wooden bowl is traditional for sushi rice, as it doesn’t react with the vinegar.

While the rice is hot, gently fluff it with a wooden or plastic rice paddle to release excess steam and moisture. Be careful not to smash the rice grains.

Gradually add the seasoned vinegar mixture to the rice in small portions while gently folding it. Use a cutting motion to combine the vinegar with the rice to distribute the seasoning evenly. Continue until all the vinegar mixture is incorporated.

Fan the rice as you mix it to help cool it down and give it the desired glossy appearance. Continue fanning until the rice is close to room temperature. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture and stickiness for sushi rice.

Cover and Rest

Once the sushi rice is properly seasoned and has cooled to room temperature, cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. This prevents it from drying out while you prepare your sushi ingredients.

Use the Sushi Rice

Your sushi rice is ready to make sushi rolls, nigiri, or other Japanese dishes. Ensure your hands are slightly wet when handling the sushi rice to prevent it from sticking.

Tips for Perfect Sushi Rice

To ensure that your sushi rice turns out perfectly every time, consider the following tips:

Use Sushi Rice: Use short-grain Japanese sushi rice for the best results. Other types of rice will yield different textures and stickiness.

Rinse Thoroughly: Properly rinsing the rice is essential to remove excess starch and prevent it from becoming overly sticky.

Measure Water Accurately: Follow the water-to-rice ratio recommended by your rice cooker’s instructions for sushi rice. This is typically a 1:1 ratio.

Season Gradually: Add the seasoned vinegar mixture to the rice gradually, ensuring even distribution while maintaining the desired texture.

Fan the Rice: Fanning the rice as you mix it helps it cool down and gives it the classic glossy appearance.

Cover While Resting: Always cover the sushi rice with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap while it rests to prevent it from drying out.

Keep It Moist: To keep sushi rice moist while preparing your sushi, you can place a damp cloth over the bowl. This prevents the rice from drying and becoming too firm.


Cooking sushi rice in a rice cooker is a straightforward process, but the key to success is the proper preparation and seasoning of the rice. With the right ingredients and technique, you can achieve perfectly seasoned sushi rice ready to be used in various delicious sushi dishes. Whether making sushi rolls, nigiri, or other Japanese delicacies, your homemade sushi rice will be a standout feature of your culinary creations. Enjoy your sushi-making journey!

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