How to Make Sushi Rice (Sumeshi or Shari)

Here is the recipe for making sushi rice at home including how to make sushi rice in a rice cooker. A key tool is the wooden rice tub. In a pinch a non-finished large wood bowl will do. And perhaps the most important step is adding the vinegar mixture and cooling the rice.

Ingredients for making 8 cups of sushi rice:

3 cups rice
3 cups water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (komezu)
2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
1 -1/2 tsp sake (optional)

Ingredients for making 6 cups of sushi rice:

2-1/4 cups rice
2-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (komezu)
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sake (optional)


Rinse the rice in a glass bowl with several cups of water. Stir the rice in the water for about 30 seconds, then drain. Repeat a few more times until the water is almost clear. Rinsing the rice will remove the excess powdery starch and impurities leaving your cooked rice shiny and flavorful.


In a large pot add the water to the rice and let soak for 30 minutes. This allows the grains to better absorb moisture during the cooking process.

Make Sushi Vinegar

In a small sauce pan combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Over low heat, stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Do not boil. Once dissolved, set aside to cool. Once cooled add the sake (optional). You can make this in advance and store indefinitely in a cool dark cupboard.


If you are using an electric rice cooker simply follow the directions for your particular model. For stovetop bring pot of water and rice to a boil, stir once, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. When the rice has finished cooking (with either method) let it stand for 15 minutes.

This is a good time to soak your wooden rice tub (sushi-oke or hangiri) and bamboo rice paddle (shamoji) in cool water for 30 minutes. Drain and wipe with a dry towel. Moist wood is essential or it will soak up moisture and rice vinegar from the rice.


Transfer the rice to the wooden rice tub (sushi-oke or hangiri) or wooden salad bowl (no metal bowls!) and pour your sushi vinegar over the rice. With your rice paddle in one hand and fan in the other, gently but quickly toss the rice while fanning to cool the rice and mix in the vinegar. Keep this up for 10 minutes until the rice has cooled to room temperature. You can use a small electric fan if your arm gets tired.


Your rice will have a nice sheen and is now ready to use. Cover with a damp cloth if you cannot use right away to keep your rice moist.

This will make enough rice for (using 8 cups rice / 6 cups rice):
12/9 inside-out rolls (Saimaki)
8/6 traditional thick rolls (Futomaki)
20/15 thin rolls (Hosomaki)
30/22 hand rolls (Temaki)
110/80 pieces of Nigiri