The origin of the term “Sushi rice” refers to sour tasting rice. It has evolved over time to refer to the delicious rice served across the globe today and we’re going to tell you exactly how to make it, with the help of a rice cooker.
Rice cookers take the guesswork out of making rice and they will most likely do a better job making rice than you or I could over the stove or in a microwave. You simply load in your rice, add water, push a couple of buttons and 30 minutes later, you have fluffy, evenly cooked great tasting rice.
Advanced cookers can even adjust their cooking settings to properly account for variations in rice grains, water levels, cooking temperature, and even be used to cook proteins or steam vegetables.
- Buy “Japanese” rice at your supermarket.
- Use a rice cooker to make the rice for best results.
- The best ones, as seen in the video, are Japanese cookers made by Tiger and Zojirushi as reviewed here, and the most affordable ones are made by Aroma as reviewed here
Instructions for how to make sushi rice in a rice cooker:
Rice, called “shari” in Japan is a staple of Asian cultures, and the Japanese, in particular take their rice cooking very seriously. They expect and demand perfection in every grain and so should you.
Rice Selection: First off, you can’t use just any type of rice – it should be Japanese rice. You can typically find it at well stocked grocery stores or at specialty supermarkets.
Quantity: Cooking for 1 or 2 people? Then you should be fine with a 6 cup rice cooker (3 cups uncooked rice). If you’re cooking for a family, expect guests, or would like to have multiple servings over a few days, then you’ll need a cooker with at least a 10 cup capacity.
Wash the Rice: Be sure to wash your rice by either using a sieve or simply running it over cold water in a pot. This will remove extra starch, contaminants, and generally make your rice less clumpy. It only takes a few minutes but most people agree that it’s important and generally makes your rice taste better in the end.
Adding rice to the cooker: There’s variation in this step because how much water you use depends on the amount of rice being prepared.
Generally speaking, you should follow the guidelines of the manufacturer suggested water-to-rice ratios. It will usually explicitly spell out that you need to add water to fill line 1 for 1 cup of rice, for example. This could work out to a 1:1.5 cup ratio of rice to water.
Some rice cookers allow plenty of room for error and will auto adjust to compensate for over/under filling the cooker with the right amount of water, while other cookers require precise ratios. Again, see the guidelines provided by your particular brand of rice cooker.
When the cooker has finished cooking your rice, let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
Seasoning the Rice:
This is the fun part and what turns ordinary rice into traditional sushi rice.
The amounts depend on how much rice is being cooked. For example, how much vinegar should you use? Generally speaking, you should use 20-25% of the vinegar of the uncooked rice volume package. For example, for 400 grams of uncooked sushi rice, you should use 80ml of vinegar.
For example, for 2 cups of uncooked rice, combine the following amounts in a separate small bowl.
- ½ cup of rice vinegar.
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
- ¼ cup of white sugar.
Finally, pour the seasoning evenly over the rice when warm and use the provided spatula to mix and stir the rice so that the seasoning is distributed evenly. Technically, Japanese traditionally use a “hangiri” to stir their rice, a special wooden container used to mix the vinegar and rice, but more often than not, you can simply use a glass bowl.
If you want to produce fluff, evenly cooked and flavorful sushi rice, your best bet is to use a rice cooker. Its hard enough to get the exact sourness of the sushi rice just right, so it’s best to remove any guesswork from the actual rice cooking itself.
We’re biased towards Japanese rice cookers but there are certainly non Japanese rice cookers that are capable of making rice suitable for sushi rice. Here is a brief overview with detailed reviews available via the links.
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer
This is the classic Zojirushi Japanese rice cooker that has been in many homes for over a decade. It is one of the best selling and popular rice cookers of all time, and for good reason.
It does one thing and one thing only – cook amazing, moist, evenly textured and flavorful rice. White rice, brown rice, sushi rice, Spanish rice, you name it.
It’s fuzzy logic technology ensures that you produce great tasting rice every time regardless whether or not you mess up the water to rice measurements as it dynamically adjusts its cooking settings on the fly. You can read more about the Zojirushi here or see it on Amazon below
Aroma ARC-500SB Digital Rice Cooker
This is an affordable option (roughly $50) that is capable of producing enough rice for the family and plenty of guests as well. It’s a popular choice on Amazon as well with thousands of positive reviews.
At a glance, it has a stainless steel body with easy one touch operation via its large programmable buttons. It cooks rice fairly quickly and automatically switches to Keep warm mode when done cooking.
There is an upper tray that can be used for steaming vegetables and making protein, and it comes with a spatula to help stir and scoop up the rice.
It has a removable lid and inner pot to facilitate cleaning as well.
Tiger JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker
The Tiger rice cooker is also another good option for sushi rice. It does more than cook rice as it has an upper tray that allows you stem rice, cook protein, and even be used as a slow cooker.
It too is equipped with its own cooking system, branded Micom, that helps it adjust temperature and cooking settings on the fly.
You can read more about the Tiger rice cooker here.
Cuckoo CR-0631F Rice Cooker
Cuckoo is the best selling rice cooker brand in South Korea. If you want a rice cooker with a small footprint that packs a powerful punch, go with the Cuckoo.
It has excellent reviews on Amazon because it has easy to navigate LED buttons, makes a variety of rice grains, and doubles as a pressure cooker in addition to being a rice cooker.
The downside is that there is no technology like Micom or fuzzy logic to help account for user error when measuring water to rice ratios, it has a capacity of only 6 (cooked) cups, and can only be used for making rice.
Still, Cuckoo cookers are a crowd favorite that are increasingly giving Zojirushi a run for its money.
Zojirushi Induction Rice Cooker NP-HCC10XH
The top of the line model is the Sojirushi NP-HCC10XH. This is the gold standard in rice cookers and is only for the most demanding consumers who crave perfection in their rice. Any kind of rice.
Mess up the water ratios all you want. It has the ability to compensate and think for itself in order to produce evenly cooked, well separated, fluffy…perfect rice!
You can read about the Zojirushi here so we won’t go into more detail but suffice it to say that rice perfection will cost you a pretty penny as this unit is not cheap. But some may argue the investment is worth it given that it will turn out perfectly cooked rice for many years to come.