I am planning to have my first attempt at making sushi by myself in a few days. Right now, I am still struggling with the rice and it's cooking. Many recipes/tutorials call for a rice cooker which I don't own, so I can only cook the rice in a pan on top of my stove.

I know this also can be done and the results can be quite good, but what is the best method for this? What ratio of water : rice should I use, how long should I cook the rice and at what temperature? How long should the rice rest? Anything I really have to take care of in general while cooking?


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    Given that you've placed such a large bounty, it sounds like you might not think lemontwist's answer is exactly what you're looking for. If by any chance you've tried it, or have an idea why you don't think it sounds good, you could comment on it.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 6, 2012 at 17:43
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    this is an art. it's best to do your homework and study it. good sushi rice takes a lot of effort and time. i tend to be full from sampling the rice before I even get to making rolls lol
    – D3vtr0n
    Nov 7, 2012 at 23:35
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    As far as ratios go: 440 g rice (Nishiki), 582 g H2O (or 660/782 for more, yes the ratios are different, that is to be expected) is what I use religiously after carefully weighing haphazard amounts and stumbling on them as working well.
    – Nick T
    Aug 6, 2013 at 1:03

5 Answers 5


It is the rice that is important, regardless of the cooker you use. If you think you are unable to find Sushi rice on your own in local market, why not check with a Sushi stall chef/owner near by?

Some people get mistaken with sticky rice, because really Sushi and sticky are on the same category. You could even say that Italian risotto is as well. However sushi rice is rinsed and surface starch is removed.

Yamikuronue has already given you some good insight. Perhaps she could tell you what rice you could buy :)

I hope you have the basic sushi rolling bamboo mat to help you with. From mine and many of others' experience, the mat is very useful.

I have used this brand to make nice maki rolls. The following recipe seems to be indicating a method (water sprinkling) that I saw/ate in a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo near Maru building. Hope it helps.

Edit 1: If you want to make best sushi out of normal rice, this is a bruteforce method we tried at home for the first time. Not the best Sushi found in a Sushi bar in Japan, but still it was a taste to remember, and an experience that made sense.

  • break the long grain rice (you can use a mortar, or bottle, or any clean/non-contaminated cylinder on your cutting board :) )
  • wash the rice until the starch goes away - even if it's not 100%, it's good enough when you have soaked it.
    • soak the rice
    • rinse and wash again and rinse
  • depending on the usual 'hardness' of the rice you use, and how much water you add per cup of rice, you may have to change the amount of water you add. For example, if you have 50g of raw rice, and 75g of water, then the total weight is 125g. You must keep the same total weight when you add water to the soaked/washed rice.
  • you can very well cook the rice in a pan
  • good heat to cook rice: after boiling, bring down the heat to minimum and let it be, no need to take lid off
  • once rice is cooked, you can mix it with sushi vinegar . If you do not have rice/sushi vinegar, then you can add some plain vinegar and pinches of salt
  • mix all, stir well

This gives you just nice rice for sushi :)

  • "However sushi rice is rinsed and surface starched is removed." <--- BRAVO!! This is very accurate!
    – D3vtr0n
    Nov 7, 2012 at 23:40
  • @Yamikuronue My apology for having a narrow nationality label on you based on your name :D Thanks for editing that, I will remember to avoid such texts in my posts going forward. It's just I am very excited about different nations' authentic cuisine. For all I have seen, the best authentic food for a certain country/region is always made by people originated/lived there. - Coz they usually know many proven methods of making something, and making best out of it. Receipe secrets from generations/authentic ingriendts in its original form... :))
    – bonCodigo
    Nov 8, 2012 at 8:17
  • Thank you! Your answer was very very helpful, I liked the way you explained the process step by step - now I feel confident to try it by myself.
    – Sven
    Nov 12, 2012 at 19:54
  • @Sven : Would love to hear/see your Sushi experience when you make them - it's going to be all yours, your own method :) your taste :)) Cooking is facinating.
    – bonCodigo
    Nov 12, 2012 at 20:06
  • Possible link update to recipe in para 5: Morimoto's Sushi Rice
    – mcalex
    May 20, 2023 at 16:52

The rice, as you know, is the cornerstone to quality sushi – no matter how superior seafood you obtain (which is also very important), if the rice isn't done properly your sushi fails.

Always use a glutinous, short-grained, japonica rice, or else your rolls and other sushi construction will likely fall apart as soon as your guests pick it up. A good quality rice will not have too many broken grains. Rinse it several (at least five or six) times, let it soak for 15-20 minutes at least one of the rinse cycles.

Unlike long grain rice, most sushi rice instructions (including what I use) call for equal amounts water and rice, or closer to it than the usual 2 parts water to 1 part rice. Bring it to boil, cover it then let it cook on your stove's lowest setting. Cook it without removing the cover for about 12-15 minutes before checking for doneness.

For two cups of rice, use about 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, and approximately two or three tablespoons of sugar. I recommend using unseasoned rice vinegar and adding sugar to your taste rather than using the pre-sweetened stuff, so you can control the amount. Add a couple of tablespoons of mirin (Japanese cooking wine), optionally a pinch of salt to taste.

Combine the other ingredients while the rice is cooling to about body temperature (98F; 36C), then mix gently with the rice, being careful not to smash or break the grains,then assemble your sushi.

Eat the delicious sushi until you either explode, or need a crane to lift you away from the table.

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    "glutinous, short-grained" is not to be confused with the rice used to make Mochi (もち米 or "Mochigome"), which is called "glutinous" rice in English and has extremely short grains. I have occasionally seen Japonica labelled "medium grain". The important point is to ensure it says, somewhere on the package, "Japonica", "Japanese", or "Sushi". Nov 6, 2012 at 19:52
  • @Yamikuronue: thanks for the insight – had to look up that term and they sound good! Would I be run out of the country and banned for life if I made them and rolled them in brown sugar? :^D Nov 6, 2012 at 20:01
  • what, Mochi cakes? That sounds awesome :D Nov 6, 2012 at 21:01

I tend to buy pre-packaged "Sushi rice". It's short grain rice, but it will have instructions on how to prepare and cook it. It helps me and it always comes out perfect. It's also local and organic and a bit expensive, but like you, I have no idea how to cook short grain rice from bulk.

You MUST rinse the rice repeatedly. Soak and rinse. Soak and rinse. Repeat many times. Wash it with good cold water until the water runs clear through it. Be sure to use your hands to stir it in the water, you will see the water turn to milk. I'd say you will need to rinse a good 1 cup of rice at least ten times, maybe twenty. It makes a huge difference on the finished product. You want your rice to have a shiny appearance and to look clear once it's finished cooking. It should look "glassy". You do not want the rice too sticky, white or milky because it's harder to roll and is chewier.

Once the rice is cooked, the real secret I notice that many people skip is using vinegar, a paddle and a fan blowing on the hot rice to cool it down. This is a traditional step that is easily skipped, and in my opinion, makes it real sushi rice. A good fan, a good paddle and good rice vinegar are very important, to get the right texture for rolling the rolls. Before electric fans the Japanese used to use Palm leaves and other methods for fanning by hand. Some traditional places still do it with palm leaves.

Once the rice is cooled down to room temperature, it's ready to roll. You need plenty of vinegar for your hands, to keep the rice from building up on them. You will understand that after your first roll. Keep the vinegar near, you're going to need it and often!

Of course, a lot of the Japanese I know tend to use the Zojirushi rice cookers. They make life easy for someone who wants to do this often.

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    Devtron, I've rolled back your answer-removing edit, because your answer is definitely worth keeping. Feel free to edit again if you feel it's important to compare American and Japanese sushi rice; just try to do it a little more objectively. Saying "ewwww" doesn't help anyone - tell us why you think Japanese sushi rice is better, what's different about it. This is especially true since the question is about how to cook the rice on the stove, not US vs. Japan, and it's best to avoid straying too far off-topic in answers.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 9, 2012 at 16:00
  • It sounds like you have plenty of useful knowledge that'd be quite welcome here (including this answer), but one thing we're not too big on is rudeness, so if a user trying to helpfully edit your posts provokes this kind of response, then no, maybe you shouldn't post here anymore.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 9, 2012 at 17:51
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    I had to approve the edit removing the "ewww" part of your answer, and I thought twice before approving. But in the end, I thought that the tone was a bit offensive, lowering the quality of your otherwise good answer, so I approved the edit and then upvoted the new version. I would find it perfectly OK if you again include an explanation that sushi sold in America does not taste authentic, warning others that they don't have to use that experience as the ideal sushi. It is your original tone which made it sound like a non-constructive rant, that's why I approved the removal.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 10, 2012 at 19:29

It's entirely possible to cook using a hob:

  1. Use a 1:1 ratio of rice to water in a heavy pot/Dutch oven. If you're using kombu, use a 2" piece for every 2 cups of rice, slit the kombu first to release the flavour
  2. Bring the rice to a boil, then simmer at the lowest heat setting (remove the kombu).
  3. Once it starts to simmer, put the lid on the pot and don't take it off until you're finished.
  4. Cook the rice for about 15 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit undisturbed for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a rice paddle.

I have never attempted to make my sushi rice differently than my normal rice. I know there are sushi rice recipes that call for rinsing and draining the rice several times before cooking, but I simply don't care enough to go through that effort for (at least what I perceived to be) almost no difference in the end product. I also don't bother paying extra for sushi rice, I just go for my normal basmati or jasmine, whichever is cheapest.

That said, here's my method. Add one part rice and two parts water to a stock pot. Cover and cook on high until boiling, then reduce the heat to as low as possible. Don't take the lid off until the very end to taste test. Don't stir while it's steaming. I don't set a timer, I simply check in 10-12 minutes until the rice is done. (I know when it's done by tasting it, you can tell it's getting close when there's not a lot of water left in the pan.) This method works very well on a gas range. I just moved to a new place with an electric stove, and I've realized I have to heat the rice lower than the hottest setting so that when I turn it to low it doesn't boil over.

  • If you're gonna vote me down, at least tell me why please! I make sushi using rice cooked with this method. So it's a perfectly reasonable answer.
    – lemontwist
    Nov 3, 2012 at 21:20
  • Hey, it wasn't me who voted you down :-) I just want some more opinions because I know that good rice is an essential part of sushi. Actually I think it's interesting that you don't even use special rice because many sources say you need that special rice.
    – Sven
    Nov 6, 2012 at 18:32
  • @sven, it's all good, just want to learn how I can make my answer better. I also read that you need special rice to make sushi.... But it was so time consuming I just don't bother, and I love how my sushi tastes!
    – lemontwist
    Nov 6, 2012 at 19:39
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    @lemontwist, how do you hold yours together using long grain, or is it just loose rice wrapped in seaweed and/or salmon skin? Some of us aren't the most graceful eaters... :^D Nov 6, 2012 at 20:05
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    you MUST rinse the short grain rice until its clear. it makes all the difference in the world.
    – D3vtr0n
    Nov 7, 2012 at 23:23

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