I have a sushi rice bag from Sun Rice. They write on it that we should only wash it for 5 minutes then boil it. But I know that sushi rice should be washed for more than that and soaked in water for at least 2 hours. I did it and left it for 2 hours. Then I boil it (1 cup of rice to 1 and 1/4 cup of water). But when I started making the sushi, the rice started to expand and not sticking to each other.

The problem is because of the 2 hours or I didn't left the rice cook until all the moisture gone ?

  • 1
    I don't know about the issues related to soaking -- but if it was still wet at the end of cooking, there's no way it's going to be sticky.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 11:58
  • Exactly, have you tried with less water or more time?
    – malix
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 15:35
  • Rice comes prepared lots of different ways. Some rice is unwashed and needs to be rinsed a lot, some has already been partially washed, some has been thoroughly washed. Just follow the instructions and don't do anything extra. Sounds like everything is just too wet.
    – MattPutnam
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 15:38
  • 2
    Soaked rice needs less water when boiling. Soaking the grains for two hours to me sounds like the rice would be better treated in a steamer after that.
    – Escoce
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:26
  • Did you not fold in any seasoned rice wine vinegar? Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


It's hard to say exactly which thing was the issue. Rice sticks to itself because of starch on the surface.

As Joe pointed out, if it's actually still wet, it's not going to stick. It doesn't get sticky until it's dry enough for the starch to be sticky instead of just starchy water.

But even if you did let it cook/dry properly, the extra washing and soaking could well have been an issue too. One of the main things washing does is remove starch. If you manage to remove too much, you could well stop the rice from being sticky.

So... I'd suggest following the instructions that came with the rice, and seeing how it goes. It might be suggesting less washing and soaking than you expect because it's a less starchy variety of rice.

  • 1
    Actually, washing away all the powdered starch on the surface of the rice is critical for making the rice sticky, otherwise the powder will stick to powder and inhibit rice sticking to rice. As far as I know, you can't over-rinse it. But the rice being too wet is a factor. I've never soaked my sushi rice, only rinsed it. Source: my brother who spent two years as the rice shef in a 3-star (Michelin) restaurant in Kyoto. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:47
  • 1
    @ToddWilcox I've had an awful lot of quite sticky rice that wasn't rinsed.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:53
  • Not all rice has the same amount of pulverized starch powder on the outside of it before it's rinsed. Plus, unrinsed rice is not necessarily completely unsticky. Regardless of how sticky any rice is right out of the bag, rinsing rice makes it stickier, not less sticky. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:57
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    @ToddWilcox If rice starts out with a lot of starch in it, it'll end up really sticky, just a big mess of starch and rice stuck together. Rinsing it definitely makes it less sticky at that point. And even if there's not a whole lot, the powder doesn't stay as powder and somehow just stick to itself. It's all with the rice, so once the water's gone, it ends up either collected on the bottom of the pot/cooker or on the surface of the rice - where it's sticky. I know rinsing is regarded as the "right" way, but I'm not sure it has the reduced stickiness effect you're describing.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 17:04
  • What I know guys that with the same rice I made sushi for new years eve and it was a killer, all loves it and say that it seems like the taste from a sushi 5 star restaurant. I used the same rice technique this time, but it was messy and rice start to fell off the nori Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 6:36

Using a rice cooker (or perhaps a traditional earthenware pot) can be a big help. Although rice cookers look like dumb devices like a basic toaster, they often include fuzzy logic controllers that intelligently adjust things.

You can still mess things up with too much water or leaving the rice in too long, but there's a much bigger margin for error this way.

  • It also depends on the rice cooker, the Japanese-style ones have all sorts of different options and configurations.
    – JAB
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:53

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