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Instant Pot Sushi Rice

Learn how to easily make instant pot sushi rice for restaurant-quality cooked and seasoned sticky rice every time. Use it as a side, in sushi, poke bowls, sushi burritos, and beyond.

The way to get restaurant-quality sushi rice with the best taste and texture is to make it in the instant pot (an electric pressure cooker if you’re unfamiliar). Not only does this method reduce the cooking time, but it also consistently results in fluffy cooked rice with a chewy, sticky texture.

Ingredients

  • Sushi rice – typically a Japanese short-grain white rice that is sometimes also labeled as medium-grain rice. Avoid long-grain and whole-grain rice varieties because they don’t have the same texture and stickiness.
  • Water.
  • Rice vinegar – also called rice wine vinegar.
  • Organic cane sugar.
  • Kosher salt.

You will need an Instant pot to make this sushi rice recipe.

How to Make Instant Pot Sushi Rice

Rinse the rice. Place the sushi rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with running water for 1-2 minutes while pushing the rice around with your other hand. Once the water runs clear, shake off the excess water, and add the drained rice to the instant pot insert along with 2 ¼ cups of fresh water. Stir together so the rice is completely covered.

Pressure cook. Secure the lid, set the valve to the sealed position, and manually set the time to 5 minutes at high pressure. Do a natural release for 10 minutes and then a quick release to let any additional air escape before carefully removing the lid and discarding any water that’s in the lid.

Prepare the sushi vinegar. In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and gently heat in the microwave for 15 seconds to help the sugar dissolve then stir to combine. Pour over the warm cooked rice and use a “cutting method” with a rubber spatula or rice paddle to mix the rice until the seasoning is distributed.

A bowl of sushi vinegar.

Let it cool. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl so it’s touching the surface of the rice to prevent it from drying out. Then let it sit at room temperature to cool. If not using right away, store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this instant pot sushi rice using what you already have? Here are some ideas

  • No rice vinegar? – use seasoned rice vinegar, but leave out the sugar and salt because it already contains those ingredients.
  • No organic cane sugar? – you can also use honey.
  • Variations – instead of water, you can cook the rice in broth to add more nutrition and flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to rinse sushi rice?

Yes, you need to rinse sushi rice to remove the excess starch, which is why the water will be murky before it runs clear.

What is a natural release?

Once the time on your instant pot timer goes off, let it rest for an additional 10 minutes. Don’t adjust the valve, just let the pressure come down naturally.

What does it mean to quick-release the pressure?

Quick release by carefully turning the steam valve from the sealing position to the venting position. This lets out any additional air that is left.

How to reheat sushi rice?

The best way to reheat sushi rice so it doesn’t dry out is to put it in a microwave-safe bowl and place an ice cube in the center with a piece of parchment paper over the top (see my salmon rice bowl recipe for photos). Reheat it for 1 minute and 30 seconds then remove it from the microwave and discard the remaining ice cube. This method adds moisture back into the rice by gently steaming it.

Top Tip

Disregard the “rice” setting button on your machine. Because every instant pot model is different, we’ll be adjusting the time manually. Older models such as the Instant Pot Lux (what I use) only cook at high pressure, so just manually adjust the time to 5 minutes. All the newer pressure cooker models have the option to cook at high or low pressure, so be sure to choose high pressure and then adjust the time.

Recipes That Use Sushi Rice

Instant Pot Sushi Rice

5 from 5 votes
A bowl of sushi rice made in a pressure cooker.
Learn how to easily make instant pot sushi rice for restaurant-quality cooked and seasoned sticky rice every time. Use it as a side, in sushi, poke bowls, sushi burritos, and beyond.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serving Size 6 cups cooked rice

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice. Place the sushi rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with running water for 1-2 minutes while pushing the rice around with your other hand. Once the water runs clear, shake off the excess water, and add the drained rice to the instant pot insert along with 2 ¼ cups of fresh water. Stir together so the rice is completely covered.
  • Pressure cook. Secure the lid, set the valve to the sealed position, and manually set the time to 5 minutes at high pressure. Do a natural release for 10 minutes and then a quick release to let any additional air escape before carefully removing the lid and discarding any water that's in the lid.
  • Prepare the sushi vinegar. In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and gently heat in the microwave for 15 seconds to help the sugar dissolve then stir to combine. Pour over the warm cooked rice and use a "cutting method" with a rubber spatula or rice paddle to mix the rice until the seasoning is distributed.
  • Let it cool. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl so it’s touching the surface of the rice to prevent it from drying out. Then let it sit at room temperature to cool. If not using right away, store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Disregard the “rice” setting button on your machine. Because every instant pot model is different, we’ll be adjusting the time manually. Older models such as the Instant Pot Lux (what I use) only cook at high pressure, so just manually adjust the time to 5 minutes. All the newer pressure cooker models have the option to cook at high or low pressure, so be sure to choose high pressure and then adjust the time.
SUBSTITUTIONS:
No rice vinegar? – use seasoned rice vinegar, but leave out the sugar and salt because it already contains those ingredients.
No organic cane sugar? – you can also use honey.
Variations – instead of water, you can cook the rice in broth to add more nutrition and flavor.
5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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