Step by step directions for how to cook perfect Instant Pot sushi rice! This foolproof method results in perfectly sticky sushi rice every time. Use it in sushi rolls, poke bowls, sushi hand rolls, and more!
The Instant Pot is perfect for cooking up delicious sushi rice at home. Just like Instant Pot jasmine rice, and Instant Pot basmati rice, this is such an efficient hands-free way to cook rice with the perfect texture and flavor.
Sushi rice is made with short-grain Japanese sushi rice, and is an important element to making delicious authentic-tasting sushi rolls at home. Made with a combination of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt - the resulting rice is sticky, and has a perfectly balanced sweet, salty and tangy flavor.
With this foolproof method for Instant Pot sushi rice, you'll have perfectly cooked sushi rice every time. No more wet and clumpy, mushy, undercooked, or bland sushi rice! This recipe is vegan, cooks up in under half an hour, and made with four simple ingredients.
Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
- this sushi rice has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tangy
- the Instant Pot does all the heavy lifting and means you do not have to watch for a pot to boil over
- you can store leftovers and use it up in a variety of ways!
- Sushi rice - we recommend using short-grain Japanese sushi rice. See below for more details!
- Rice vinegar - adds some sweetness and acidity. We used seasoned rice vinegar - which is slightly sweetened and contains salt. You could also used unseasoned rice vinegar, but seasoned rice vinegar is preferred for sushi because it adds extra flavor and is also less acidic. We don't recommend swapping for other types of vinegar, as this would change the flavor.
- Sugar - regular white granulated sugar is ideal
What Kind of Rice Can You Use?
When it comes to sushi rice, there is a confusing variety of options! You may be wondering... "is short grain sushi Japanese rice the same as medium-grain Japanese sushi rice?" and "can I use arborio rice as a substitute for short-grain Japanese sushi rice?" It turns out, it all comes down to grain size, and the starches that the rice contains.
The Best Option
Stick to short-grain Japanese sushi rice for best results. If possible, look for "new crop" on the package. New crop means the rice is freshly harvested, and will have a more fluffy texture! Here are a few options:
- Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice
- Lundburg Family Farms Short Grain Organic Sushi Rice
- Koshihikari Sushi Rice
- Medium-grain Japanese sushi rice - is about 1 mm longer than short-grain sushi rice, but apparently this 1 mm makes a difference! According to experts at Cook's Illustrated, shorter grain rice varieties rated high for taste in comparison to medium-grain varieties. You can swap short grain sushi rice for medium grain sushi rice, though short grain is preferred.
- Arborio rice - is an Italian rice used for cooking risotto. While you may have seen recommendations to use arborio interchangeably with Japanese sushi rice, arborio is quite different. While it does contain a similar profile of starches to sushi rice, it is more firm and al dente in the centre compared to sushi rice.
- Jasmine rice - is a long-grain white rice that is not suitable for sushi as it does not have the same sticky starches (called amylopectin) as sushi rice. This long grain rice doesn't have the same texture as sushi rice, and will not stick together.
- Basmati rice - just like jasmine rice, basmati rice is a long grain white rice that is not a good substitute for sushi rice.
Step by Step Directions
Rinse sushi rice well in a colander, or by swirling with water, changing the water until it runs clear.
In the stainless steel inner pot of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, combine the rice, water and salt.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to the 'sealing' position. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. When the cooking cycle completes, allow for a full natural pressure release (15 minutes).
Natural Pressure Release- when the Instant Pot completes the cooking cycle, allow it to sit until the pin drops, or for a set amount of time. Find out more about when to use a natural pressure release in Instant Pot 101!
Add the rice vinegar and sugar, and fluff the rice up with a paddle or fork. Cool before rolling sushi.
Tips For Success
- Don't skip the rinsing step! This is very important for sushi rice. Give it a nice long rinse before cooking. At first the water will be white and milky in color. Rinse until the water runs clear.
- Make sure the rice is in single, even layer covered by liquid (not stuck to side of pot). If rice is not evenly covered in water, it will result in uneven cooking and potentially undercooked rice.
- After adding all your ingredients to the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot, give the rice a gentle stir to ensure that the rice forms a somewhat even layer across the surface of the pot.
- If making sushi rolls, let the rice cool to room temperature before rolling. Let it sit for 10 - 15 minutes in a bowl before beginning to roll.
- Use a glass bowl and wooden spoon (not metal) when handling the rice to avoid damaging the delicate, fluffy grains.
No. Short grain brown rice will not work as well. It does not have the same sticky starch as short-grain Japanese sushi rice. That being said, if you're making a poke bowl or sushi bowl (where the rice doesn't need to hold a sushi roll together) this could work. You may need to adjust the cook time as short grain brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.
Yes you can! Simply double all ingredients, and use the same cook time.
Yes, even though there's only 1 cup of liquid it worked just fine in our 8 qt pot!
You will need 75-80 grams of uncooked sushi rice per sushi roll. It's a good idea to cook a little extra, just incase. 1 cup of uncooked sushi rice (which is approximately 225 grams) should make about 3 sushi rolls. The serving size for sushi rolls is typically 2 rolls per person. For more sushi rice calculations, see this handy sushi rice conversion tool!
Use it Up
- in homemade sushi rolls
- in this vegan sushi bowl meal prep
- in salmon wraps
- in poke bowls
- in vegan sushi rolls
- serve as a side dish
- In a power bowl
- Add a sheet kombu for extra umami flavor! You can do this by adding the kombu on top of the rice while it rice cooks. Remove the kombu before serving.
- Use a natural sweetener such as honey or coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar
Storage + Food Safety
If not handled properly, rice can be at risk of growing harmful bacteria that can make you sick. If you follow the following steps, you will be perfectly fine:
- Get it into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking - do not let it sit at room temperature for too long as this is the temperature at which harmful bacteria can replicate
- Store in an air tight container for up to 4 days
- Reheat until steaming hot
- Do not reheat more than once
Read more about rice & food safety here!
- Fridge - let cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days
- Freeze - cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.You can freeze it in meal prep containers or in freezer bags (I love these re-usable silicone freezer bags!). Some people add a little bit of water when re-heating freeze/thawed rice, as it does end up slightly dryer than fresh rice.
- 1 cup sushi rice see note 2
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar see note 3
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Rinse- Rinse sushi rice well in a colander, or by swirling with water, changing the water until it runs clear.
- Combine- In the stainless steel inner pot of a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot, combine the rice, water and salt.
- Cook- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to the 'sealing' position. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. When the cooking cycle completes, allow for a full natural pressure release (15 minutes).
- Fluff- Add the rice vinegar and sugar, and fluff the rice up with a paddle or fork. Cool before rolling sushi.
- This recipe makes roughly 1.5 cups of cooked rice, which should be enough to serve three people.
- Stick to short-grain Japanese sushi rice for best results. If possible, look for "new crop" on the package. Medium grain Japanese sushi rice will also work, but short-grain is preferred.
- We used seasoned rice vinegar in testing this recipe.
- Fridge - let cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days
- Freeze - cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
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