Japanese White Rice Four Ways

Both Japan and Korea use similar short to medium grained rice to make the luscious bowls of white rice served at every meal. The Japanese eat both medium grained rice and short grained rice for sushi. The Koreans favor the short grained rice. There is an art to making the perfect Japanese rice and it’s more about how the rice is cleaned and soaked, less about how it is cooked. This recipe shows how to make wonderfully fluffy and slightly sticky rice using three different cooking methods: rice cooker, steamed on the stove top, and in an Instant Pot.

Chinese long grain rice

Japanese Rice Four Ways

It doesn't take long to cook a beautiful bowl of fluffy rice, but it does take the 35 minutes to properly rinse and soak the rice beforehand.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Banchan, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese, Korean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Soaking: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Rice cooker, instant pot, or medium saucepan with lid
  • Wire mesh strainer, measuring cup


  • 2 cups Japanese short grain rice
  • cups Water
  • ¼ cup Seasoned rice vinegar for Sushi rice. (Sub: 4 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp kosher salt, warmed to dissolve)


1. Sumeshi – Sushi Rice

  • Makes Japanese rice using one of the methods below. When rice has finished cooking, evenly pour seasoned rice vinegar all over the cooked grains. Using a wooden spoon, gently toss everything around to distribute the vinegar thoroughly. Sushi rice may be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days in an airtight container. To reheat, microwave at 70% power in 30 second intervals until it becomes warm and fluffy.

Preparing Rice

  • Rinsing – Accurately measure rice into a bowl. The bowl of the rice cooker or Instant Pot is fine. Gently massage the rice with your hands for a minute or-so. Drain milky white water by tipping it out of the bowl. Repeat process 4-5 more times until water is almost clear.
  • Soaking – Cover rice in bowl with water and let soak for exactly 30 minutes. Drain rice through a strainer, rinse, and shake off excess water.

2. Rice Cooker Method

  • Pour prepared rice back into the rice maker bowl. Pour in 2¼ cups water. Set to "white rice" and select cook. When rice is cooked (machine will beep), leave for 10 minutes without opening. After 10 minutes, open the top and remove excess moisture from lid with a paper towel. Make a crosshatch on top of the rice with a spatula. Turn over ¼ sections and fluff with a fork or the spatula. Do the same for the other quadrants. This not only fluffs the rice up but helps remove excess moisture and break up the compressed rice at the bottom. Rice will keep warm anywhere from 4 hours to 24 hours, depending on the rice cooker.

3. Stove Top Method

  • Pour prepared rice into a medium saucepan and add 2¼ cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. When water starts to boil (bubbles coming out of rice), reduce heat to lowest of lows and cook for 15 minutes. Do not lift lid. Turn off heat and leave on burner for 10 more minutes without lifting the lid yet. Fluff rice using the same crosshatch method as above. Cover to keep warm.

4. Instant Pot Method

  • Pour prepared rice back into the Instant Pot bowl. Close lid and set pressure valve to SEALING (not VENTING). Set on HIGH pressure for 2 minutes. With 5 minutes to pressurize the pot and 2 to steam, it should take around 7 minutes to complete. Pot automatically switches to KEEP WARM and begins to naturally release steam. After timer hits 10 minutes, carefully move valve to VENTING. Once steam has been released, release valve will drop and allow the cover to be removed. Fluff rice using the crosshatch method as above. Keep warm.


  • Japenese rice is medium grained. Short grained rice is also called “Sushi Rice” and is used in Korean cooking. Add rice vinegar to make sushi rice in Japan.


Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.01g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 3mg

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