So i'm trying to make sushi rice and i know the essential component is the vinegar/sugar/salt mixture (with the optional kombu, which i don't have access to, so i omit entirely). I would like to hear your opinions on the ratios of the vinegar to sugar to salt. I have seen several but have not chosen my favourite yet. Also does anyone know for certain if salt is added to make the overall flavour sort of bitter-sweet, or... ?

On a related note: how important is the fanning of the rice? I mean, come on, to me sitting besides the rice and fanning with a giant palm leaf to fend off the excess moisture from your rice-pharaoh just seems utteryl ridiculous. In cooking there always have been supposedly imporatnt fancy techniques that are considered essential by every blogger, ever, yet in reality have little to no impact on the quality of the dish.

  • My goodness, the first recipe in my search result was Alton Brown's (see link) which calls for a whole tablespoon of salt to be mixed into two cups of cooked rice! Whatever you do don't use those proportions. Jan 21, 2015 at 19:25
  • You can use a desk fan for the fanning, but you want to fan it. Fanning is important for the final shape-ability of the rice. Jan 21, 2015 at 20:21
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    @ChrisSteinbach The recipe is for 2 cups of raw rice, and specifies kosher salt. AB's preferred brand is half as dense as table salt, so it ends up 9g salt / 2 cups rice, which is still slightly salty (I've made it for years), which is how I got here from Google. :)
    – event_jr
    May 27, 2017 at 20:58

3 Answers 3


I did an online search for the first 10 sushi rice recipes with distinct ingredient proportions and came up with the following ratio (by weight):

1:0.08:0.16:0.02 (Raw Rice:Sugar:Vinegar:Salt)

With cooked rice,

1:0.03:0.06:0.01 (Cooked Rice:Sugar:Vinegar:Salt)

Or, if you prefer:

For 1300g / ~6 cups Sushi Rice

400g or 2 cups of raw sushi rice (about 1200g or 6 cups of cooked rice)
32g or 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
63g or 4 tbsp vinegar
7g or 1tsp salt

I've not tried these proportions yet but I usually find that a simple average of 10 to 20 distinct recipe proportions gives me a good starting point for experimentation. At the very least averaging helps avoid nasty surprises like the saltylicious recipe of Alton Brown I linked to in my comment above.

Another answer here suggests a Salt:Sugar:Vinegar ratio of 1:2:2, whereas my figures suggest something closer to 1:5:9 if we are talking weight ratios (the other answer doesn't specify).

You asked whether salt would help give the rice a bitter sweet taste. In my experience sushi rice has no obvious bitter taste, but it does have a sweet-sour flavor that the vinegar and sugar lends. Salt helps other flavors play nicely with each other and at the same time adds a delicate flavor bass note of its own.

In my opinion you are unlikely to find a favorite recipe by adjusting the proportions alone. There are preparation techniques to play with, varieties of rice and types of vinegar. Many sushi rice recipes feature mirin, sake, kombu or dashi in the list of ingredients. Experimenting with any of these things will likely necessitate altering the ingredient proportions from what I give here.

  • When I say that salt adds a "delicate flavor" I'm not sure at all that I'm on target. The taste may be faint, but it's not frail. Nevertheless, I stand by the musical analogy of bass notes in the sense that you hardly notice the taste of salt when you eat (at least this is so if you have the right amount) but you would miss it if it wasn't there. Jan 21, 2015 at 22:31
  • That's the weight of rice after cooking, right?
    – Cascabel
    Jan 21, 2015 at 23:30
  • @Jefromi Actually uncooked rice. I'll update. Jan 22, 2015 at 6:04
  • informative and well written answer, thanks! Although i already did look around the interwebs, myself, i was looking for more of this community's opinion
    – mathgenius
    Jan 22, 2015 at 9:40

I hover around what I think is 1:2:2 with Salt:Sugar:Rice Vinegar. Use enough so that you can coat all of your rice, but not drench it.

Before cooking, rinse the rice. I believe this removes excess starch from the rice. Skipping it makes my rice sad. After cooking you fan it while folding in the sushi vinegar mixture. I believe this cools it without drying it out and gets a thin coat of the mixture evenly distributed over the rice. Skipping it makes my rice sad.

Remember that you don't make good sushi with sub-par ingredients.

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    I love the phrase "makes my rice sad".
    – Stephie
    Jan 21, 2015 at 19:26
  • To make the answers easier to compare maybe you can say whether the ratio you give is for weight or volume. Jan 21, 2015 at 22:16
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    like Chris said, it'd be easier to know if you mean volume or weight ratio, as that ratio in volume is INSANE (no offense) :D
    – mathgenius
    Jan 22, 2015 at 7:30
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    It is by volume. It has been called into question if this is too much salt, and I stand by my proportions. I do also tend to use far less dressing overall for the rice than I assume is usually used as well.
    – user32628
    Jan 23, 2015 at 16:00

Measured by volume: 7 rice vinegar, 5 sugar, 2 sea salt (or 1 table salt). Add a piece of kelp if you plan to age it. It is best aged for at least two weeks. If you need to use right away, skip the kelp and melt the ingredients in a hot pan, then cut the heat immediately to avoid cooking out the vinegar's acidity. The vinegar should be measured at 15% of uncooked rice by volume.

This is based on Sushi Chef Institute's recipe.

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