How to Make Sushi Rice
Yield: 5½+ cups loosely packed cooked rice (about 28oz)
Sticky, plump sushi rice is easy to make at home and is perfect for rolling your own sushi, speedy sushi bowls, sushi stacks, or a fun, fancy molded rice to serve alongside fish, a favorite curry, or other international dishes!

For a smaller rice yield, the recipe may be cut in half. Just remember to also use half the amount of seasoned vinegar.

For the seasoned vinegar:

  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons (18 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt (less ¼ teaspoon if using table salt)

For the sticky rice:

  • 2 cups (360g*) sushi rice
  • 2½ cups (20oz) water, plus extra for rinsing rice


  1. For the seasoned vinegar: Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir the mixture to fully dissolve the sugar and salt. This step may also be done on the stovetop. In this case, use a small pot and heat just to the boiling point, stirring occasionally, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat. The seasoned vinegar may be used right away or cooled and stored at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. For the sticky rice: Place the rice in a medium saucepan or other pot with a tight-fitting lid, and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, and pour off the water. Repeat 2 or 3 times or until the water is mostly clear. The last time, pour everything into a fine mesh strainer and drain the rice well.
  3. Return the rice to the pot along with 2½ cups of cool water. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Once the water begins to simmer evenly across the surface, stir the rice, reduce the heat to low or medium low (just enough to maintain a gentle simmer), and cover the pot. Cook for 14-15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the pot from the heat, with the lid still on, let the rice rest for 10 minutes. (I recommend using a timer for the cooking and the resting.)
  4. Immediately after the rest period, remove the lid and stir in the seasoned vinegar. Fold to thoroughly coat each grain, breaking up any clumps. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi. Helpful hint: Cover with a damp towel lightly touching the surface to prevent the rice from drying out.


*Rice weighs 180 grams per cup. I have found that this weight translates to a slightly scant cup. This may be why some people have trouble cooking rice: if you unwittingly measure too much rice, there won’t be enough water, and the rice will likely stick to the pot before it’s done cooking. If you don’t have a scale, I recommend filling the measuring cup just below the rim or at least running the straight edge of a knife across the top to ensure the cup isn’t overfilled.

Using the sticky rice for something other than sushi? You may omit the seasoned vinegar. For more flavorful rice, however, you may wish to stir in the salt as the water comes to a boil.

To make sushi rice in a rice cooker: For this preparation, use 2 cups rice and 2 cups water. After rinsing and draining the rice, briefly stir the rice and water together in the bowl of a rice cooker. Cover and cook according to the device instructions.

Storage: When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the rice will keep for up to 3 days.

To reheat rice: I use the microwave and find it helpful to add a light sprinkle of water and cover the rice with a damp paper towel. This allows the rice to rehydrate a little while reheating.

If you’d like to make sushi bowls that include nori:
Toast the nori: In a large skillet over medium heat, warm a sheet of nori until it’s crisp enough to crumble easily, flipping halfway, about 5 minutes. It will turn a brighter shade of green. Alternatively, for a speedier toasting method, you may hold the sheet of nori with tongs and carefully heat it over a gas burner set to low.
Remove from heat and tear the nori sheet into quarters. Next, directly over the pot of rice and using your hands, crumble each quarter into very small pieces and drop them right into the pot (do this right after cooking, resting, and adding the seasoned vinegar to the rice). Stir the nori into the rice and set the rice aside to cool as directed. Toasted nori adds a subtle, briny flavor to the rice and can also be using as a topping or garnish on the sushi bowls.

For making sushi: Plan on 6 ounces (or 1 lightly packed cup) per sheet or nori.

For sushi stacks: For these, I use a 1 cup dry measure to form the stacks and use a loosely packed measurement of about 5 ounces per cup. (With this sushi rice recipe, there will be enough rice for 5 stacks – 6 if you go a touch scant on the rice). Then for each stack, I first add a chopped seafood of choice, followed by diced cucumbers and scallions, then a layer of mashed avocado, followed by ½ cup (2½ ounces) sushi rice, which compressed to about ⅓ cup. Once gently packed, I flip the stack onto a plate and drizzle with 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari and a drizzle (1-2 teaspoons) of sriracha mayo.


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