While you can definitely make sushi with any number of alternative rices and grains, the easiest and most reliable type of rice for sushi is short-grain white rice. If possible, look for a Japanese variety, or something that is specifically marked as sushi rice. Classic sushi rice is predictible and easy to work with, making it perfect for sushi beginners. It's my go-to rice for parties, classes, and demos.
How much rice should you cook?
Every cup of uncooked rice should provide enough to make between four and six sushi rolls. You can estimate five rolls per cup of rice pretty accurately. Most people eat between two and three rolls in one sitting. Here's how I usually plan for my parties and classes:
- 2 people = 1 cup
- 4 people = 1 1/2 to 2 cups
- 6 people = 2 1/2 to 3 cups
- 8 people = 3 1/2 cups
Rice Seasoning Recipe
Makes enough to season a three-cup batch of rice
- 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Directions: Warm rice vinegar, then whisk in salt and sugar until fully dissolved.
How to Prep Sushi Rice
- Rinse - Start off by dumping the uncooked rice into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water, swish it around, then drain. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. This could take around ten rinses.
- Soak - Fill the bowl one last time, then soak the rice for thirty minutes before draining it again.
- Add Cooking Water - Add 1 1/2 cups of cold water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice.
- Bring to Boil - Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Watch the pot so that it doesn't boil over.
- Simmer - Reduce the heat to low as soon as it comes to a boil, and leave it to simmer for twenty minutes exactly.
- Uncover - As soon as twenty minutes go by, turn off the heat and uncover the rice.
- Turn Out - Transfer the rice to a large, wide mixing bowl. Use a paddle or wooden spoon to gently spread and separate the grains to help it cool.
- Season - Drizzle the rice seasoning over the hot rice while gently turning the grains over and over. Try not to smash or stir the rice. Just move it around gently.
- Cool - Allow the rice to cool a little bit before starting to make your sushi. Ideally, sushi rice should be at room temperature when it is time to make your rolls.
- Cover the cook pot as tightly as possible. I like to use a small cast iron pot to cook my sushi rice. If you are using a metal pot, try putting something on top of the lid to weigh it down. Just make sure that whatever you use is sturdy and heatproof. A sealed jar full of dried beans, for example, works really well.
- Don't let the rice dry out. If you need to wait for a while before making your sushi, cover the bowl with a clean, moist kitchen towel. Don't refrigerate the rice. Instead, try to cook it right before it's time to roll your sushi.
- Time very carefully. Use a kitchen timer or a smartphone to keep track of cooking and soaking times. Over or under-cooking will affect the rice's texture.