I'm interested in learning to make my own sushi.

Every guide I have read has stressed that the rice has to be rinsed thoroughly.

The bags of rice I generally buy say not to rinse the rice in order to preserve the nutrients. What is the reason behind rinsing rice?

  • As I grew up, rice was always ringed before cooking. I followed that process until I met a woman from brazil who share her rice cooking technique. Here goes: when cooking one cup of dry rice, first add one tablespoon of olive or canola oil to the saucepan that will be used to cocoon the rice. Heat the oil just enough to make it flow. Add the rice and shake or stir the rice until it is coated with oil. Add cold water and salt then bring rice to a risk boil and let boil for one minute. Cover the pan and leave on very low heat for approx 15 min. Let stand 3 minutes and serve. I guarantee separate
    – user13921
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 15:35

5 Answers 5


It removes excess starch, so your sushi rice doesn't turn into nasty glutinous slop. The texture of the rice is very important, so you'll need to rinse it several times before you steam it. Make sure the water is nice and clear after the last time you rinse it, and make sure you buy japonica or similar: if you use regular rice, you may not get good results.

I wouldn't worry overmuch about the nutritional content of white sushi rice (you can starve on a diet of it). It's what you put into your sushi that'll give it nutritional value.

  • 1
    Good point. What about in non-sushi applications? Should I always rinse rice? or, is it OK not to rinse when I'm not making sushi?
    – Jacob R
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 19:57
  • 9
    @Jacob R: for risotto, you never rinse the rice, as you specifically want the starch that you're washing away.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 12, 2010 at 20:05
  • 2
    @Myself: To clarify: it's okay NOT to rinse rice. I never rinse unless I'm making sticky rice or some other kind of steamed rice. Commented Jul 14, 2010 at 16:07
  • 1
    I always rinse rice when I want fluffy light rice as you need to remove that starch, but don't rinse for sticky Thai rice or risotto
    – vwiggins
    Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 12:37
  • 1
    Totally unrelated to the Asian / sushi aspect of this.. rinsing the rice at least once can get you a fluffier-looking Spanish or Mexican rice when presentation counts.
    – zanlok
    Commented Dec 9, 2010 at 23:35

Rice that says 'not to rinse' has already been cleaned and enriched with vitamins because of the nutrients removed in milling. Rinsing it will remove the vitamins. Rices that have not been cleaned and enriched need to be rinsed because they are dirty and sometimes have a powder added after milling. Sticky rice definitely needs to be rinsed several times, then soaked for a few hours, drained and finally steamed to cook.


I never used to rinse rice when I lived in the states, because the instructions said specifically not to rinse it. Then I married a Samoan and moved to New Zealand. My husband's uncle who was visiting from Samoa found it strange I never rinsed the rice and told me that in Samoa, they rinse it extremely well. I told him in America the instructions say not to wash, but it seemed he may not have believe me. There were no such instructions on the New Zealand rice bag. So, I decided to ask one of my Samoan friends why it's important to them to rinse the rice. They said it's because there could be bugs in the rice bag. Well, for the last few months I've been rinsing rice in cold water a few times before I put it in the rice cooker. The other day, sure enough, a bug came out! I think I will always rinse the rice now. LOL


I use California Calrose type rice for making sushi. I follow the basic cooking instructions on the bag. Then I use the sushi vinegar and salt when finishing off the rice during the cooling phase. I never rinse the rice and it always turns out perfect.

  • Strictly speaking, this doesn't exactly answer the question, which is more about why rice gets rinsed, not just whether it's necessary.
    – logophobe
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 16:23

To rinse or not to rinse, this is the question. It will depend on the type of rice you bought and where it's from. The process of making "white" rice is taking the hull or husk off of "brown" rice. The hull contains all the rice bran and vitamins, the good stuff. There are many non-rinse white rices out there. They have had the lost minerals and vitamins sprayed on the rice grains. So to wash this type of rice is washing away some of the nutritional value.

Some other rices, especially those from outside US, say Jasmine rice from Thailand, Basmati rice from India, need to be washed very throughly, as to clean the rice. This means bugs, dust, dirt, and rocks are some of the things that can get inside the bag. This will also make the rice less sticky when cooked. The washing also rinses away the extra starch.

Traditionally Japanese rice, needed to be rinsed and washed to remove the talc powder used for anti-caking. Japan tends to be very hot and humid in summer, and adding powder to the hulled rice made it last longer and not stick together. So washing the rice in cold water and then rubbing the grains in your hands would remove the starch and the talc powder.

Generally one would rinse till the water ran mostly clear. Then it was put in a strainer and let to dry out and then put into the rice cooker with water and let to rest for 10-20 minutes. Fancy rice cookers have a timer for this reason.

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