Japanese Sushi Rice

Authentic Japanese sushi rice recipe using premium short grain white rice, sake, and homemade sushi seasoning.

Japanese Sushi Rice

  • Servings: 4 servings

The secret to perfect sushi starts with perfect sushi rice. In this recipe, we’ll be using super premium Japanese short grain white rice. Two of the best brands available are Tamaki Gold and Tamanishiki. Look for “First Crop” or “New Variety” on the bag.


  • 2 cups Japanese short grain white rice (Tamaki Gold or Tamanishiki)
  • 2 tbsp Sake
  • 2 cups water (bottled water preferably) minus 2 tablespoons of water. Add 2 tablespoons of Sake to replace the 2 tablespoons of water in your second cup of water.
  • 1 piece Kombu (4 x 6 inch)

For the Homemade Sushi Seasoning:

  • 4 tbsp plain Japanese Rice Vinegar (not the “seasoned” rice vinegar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  • Wash the Rice. Put the 2 cups of rice into the pot it is to be cooked in and cover with clear cool water. Swirl gently around with your hand in the pot to remove the “starch” that is on it. Repeat this process 4 to 6 times as necessary until the water is mostly clear. Drain this final rinse water thoroughly.

  • Add 2 tablespoons of Sake to your 2 cup measure first and then fill the remaining 2 cups with water.

  • Add your water/sake mixture to your rice in your pot.

  • Lightly wipe off the Kombu if you have it and put it in the pot.

  • Set the pot to the side to let the rice soak. This should take around 20 minutes give or take a few minutes.

  • Turn the heat up to high, bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat to low to reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on the pot.

  • Cook for 15 minutes and then turn off the heat.

  • Let the rice “steam” for 20 minutes. DO NOT take the lid off of the pot during this time.

  • Take the lid off and fluff the rice by turning it lightly over a few times using a wooden rice paddle. Replace the lid while you prepare your sushi seasoning. Wait 5 minutes after you fluff the rice in this step before going to the next step.

  • Mix together the 4 Tbsp rice vinegar, 5 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl.

  • Dump the hot rice into a very large bowl or preferably in a traditional wooden sushi tub called a hangiri.

  • Spread the rice out and pour the vinegar mixture all over the rice.

  • Mix the rice using a side to side cutting motion with the edge of your wooden spoon. All of this helps to evaporate the liquid faster which gives the rice a nice shine and also helps prevent mushiness.

  • Cool to room temperature before using to make your sushi. You can cover the Hangiri with a damp tea towel or damp cloth while it is cooling to keep the rice from drying out.

  • If you are using a rice cooker, just measure the rice and water in U.S. cups as stated in the recipe and turn it on and you will be fine. If you are using a fancy rice cooker with all the bells and whistles, you may NOT have to do the 20 minute soak to get the rice white before cooking and you may not have to wait 20 minutes to “steam” the rice after the unit cuts off as the steaming may already be compensated for during cooking time.